Day: October 29th, 2006

Pierless nano love

Sunday, October 29th, 2006 | All Things, Friends

Chilly, clear Sunday morning. B met me at the apartment and as we stepped outside for brunch we could not help but notice the giant inflatable toilet that had taken over 68th Street.

Apparently the toilet slide was set up for DreamWorks’ new computer animated movie, Flushed Away. Voiceover stars Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman were scheduled to make trips down the 30-foot inflatable slide onto the red — actually: 2000 Flushes-blue — carpet for the afternoon premiere.

I was going to make the joke that this event really should have been held in Flushing, but Gothamist beat me to it.

Flushed Away

After our steak con huevos, we finished off the last of the milk teas I brought back from Hong Kong, and basked in the warmth of the apartment, before braving the gusty elements.

Our first stop: the Apple store on Fifth Avenue — my first time inside this shop, since its May opening. Quality photos abound of the $9 million 32-foot glass cube designed and paid for by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, so check them out on the Apple site. The entirely subterranean shop is located in the underground concourse of the General Motors building, opposite the Plaza Hotel, The store is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It is also the site of several marriage proposals. On opening day, James Lee, a Yale medical student, took advantage of the live timelapse photographs Apple webbroadcast that morning, arriving at the store in time for the 5:00AM launch. Once there, he held up three signs that read: “Uschi Lang. I love you. Will you marry me?” intended for his girlfriend, fellow Apple-devotee Lang, a student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. (It was no hoax, as some had initially speculated. She said yes.)

Among the weekend shoppers, I ran into PL and ML with their baby boy M, out shopping for a new computer. B took the opportunity to slip away, to scope out the sweet iPod nanos on display. Ooh — a surprise!

And now this is me – still firmly ensconced in Phase I, a.k.a. the “OH MY GOD IT’S SO SMALL AND SHINY” phase. (via Digg – thanks, B!)


B hadn’t yet seen Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center — which I checked out briefly during openhousenewyork weekend — and we were unsure about whether it was still on view. As it happened, the mirror was scheduled to be taken down on October 27, two days earlier, but dismantling a 23-ton circular stainless steel sculpture takes some time, so we were able to get one final peek.

Sky Mirror

Sky Mirror

Finally, what we’d been anticipating all week: the Pier! Of! Fear!

This Halloween event was taking place on Saturday and Sunday at Hudson River Park‘s Pier 54 for the seventh year in a row. According to the press release:

Hudson River Park’s Pier 54 becomes Halloween party central for a two-day festival featuring Halloween activities designed to thrill and chill children and adults of all ages. Returning to this year’s Pier of Fear is one of Manhattan’s best haunted houses. This enormous and eerie attraction is a guided tour through the haunted hallways and rooms of the Maze of Horrors featuring live actors and spectacular special effects. As night falls, the maze becomes even spookier for adults and older children.

All of which sounded like good fun. We arrived at the windblown pier as night rapidly fell, fully expecting to find the festivities in full swing. Instead, we came upon the rather desolate docks, where a couple of sad-looking stands (and one gyroscope ride) were set up to entertain. It was bitingly cold and dark — which seemed to have no dampening effect on the enthusiasm of the many kids who had descended upon the pier in their costumes.

The haunted house looked somewhat more promising, but the long line to enter discouraged us. We quickly assessed that it would not be worth our while to wait, and left, disappointed.

Pier of Fear

We trudged over to Westville, for a deliciously comforting dinner, so our trip to the West Village was not in vain. Their “smoky mac n’ cheese” — consistently ranked one of the best in the city — warmed our stomachs and raised our spirits. Marring the experience ever so slightly was that the cafe ran out of B’s favorite dessert: German chocolate cake.

After a bit of research, I learned that German Chocolate Cake is nicht Deutcher. The “German” refers to German’s sweet chocolate — which is itself named for Englishman Sam German, who created the mild baking chocolate bar for Baker’s Chocolate Co. in 1852. After a recipe incorporating the bar was published by a Dallas newspaper in 1957, the chocolate-buttermilk cake with coconut-pecan topping became immensely popular. General Foods, which then owned Baker’s Chocolate, reported sales of their brand jumped 73 percent that year.

Today, of course, most supermarkets carry ready-made mixes for German (possessive “s” dropped) chocolate cake. The original recipe doesn’t look too complicated, though, so I’m keeping it in mind as the mercury drops and I’m more in the baking mood.

Less complicated still (and probably just as warming): the German Chocolate Cake cocktail.

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