One Sunday about eight or nine years ago, I decided to hit the links for nine holes of golf, as guys liked to do on Sundays in May eight or nine years ago. It was a beautiful day and my wife was like, “Sure, whatever.” What did she care? I’d be out of the house and less likely to accidentally send a 4-foot long drill bit through our living room ceiling, as I had done within days of our having moved in together. The month of May might be the finest month for weather in Boston, and going to a nice course on a beautiful Sunday in the middle of the day is a recipe for long waits at every tee, but for some reason I found myself alone, except for the occasional foursome of cheerful ladies. Somewhere midway through my round, it occurred to me what was up: it was Mother’s Day, and I was a rare fellow with no (living) mother and a wife who hadn’t (yet) given birth to our children. Needless to say, with two young kids who appreciate their mom (and a husband who appreciates her too), golfing on Mother’s Day is now a thing of the past.
I’ve visited New York City enough to know that you have to make use of every available means of travel to get around, especially feet. I’ve driven cars, taken taxis, subways, and the occasional bus across town, and of course have walked for miles and miles. Now, I can also say I’ve ridden a bike in New York. Sounds like lunacy: New York traffic is frightening enough when you’re encased in a womb of metal and glass, let alone exposed and vulnerable. But I’m a guy who’s not afraid to show his vulnerable (or lunatic) side. Turns out fretting over whether or not to bring a two-wheeler into the city is wasted energy. Biking in New York felt entirely safe to me, not to mention pleasant and extremely convenient. I was able to drop off my friend and our gear at a hotel in Times Square, then head to a garage in a quieter neighborhood, where I had a coupon.
Now free of the car, I pedaled 10 blocks back to the hotel (nervously, with sweaty palms and all that). No big deal! The avenues are wide and have dedicated bike lanes, many with designated “door zones” so you don’t get killed when drunk taxi fares come stumbling out of cabs in the middle of the afternoon. Sundays are especially good for cycling through town: a ride from Times Square to Chinatown for dim sum is a leisurely 20 minutes; from there, the Williamsburg Bridge beckons you across the East River and into Brooklyn’s unique watering holes (try Lucky Dog or Spuytin Duyvil – awesome places for refreshments). Just going north and south is a breeze on the Hudson River Greenway, which is entirely separated from motorized traffic. No doubt, my advice to pedal around New York will be heeded by almost none of the millions upon millions of people who read this blog, but that’s not my problem. From now on, whenever I go to New York, I’m bringing along a bike (unless I choose instead to make use of New York's “bike share” program).
I’ve occasionally wondered what it would take for me and my family to quit Boston and move to New York City. And then I think: obviously, meatballs! Open a meatball restaurant in New York, and watch the money pour in.
The most important thing to do when you open a new meatball restaurant in Times Square is to give it an awesome name. Some options:
- Pat’s Meatball Emporium
- Pat’s House of Meatballs
- Smiling Pat’s Meatball Palace
- Barnicle Pat’s Meatball Garden
- Cornmeal Pat’s House of Wedding Meat
- Chutney Pat’s Meatball Cellar
- Husky Pat’s Meatball Zone
- Gritty Pat's Meatball Hut
- Speedy Pat's Meatball Express
- New York Pat's Boston Meatballs
- Boston Pat's New York Meatballs
- Pat's Noisy Meatball Bistro
- Howlin' Pat's Meatball Eatery
- Blind Boy McVay's Meatball Patio
- Mellow Pat's Meatball Cafe
- Greedy Pat's Meatball Sliders
Please take a moment to vote for your favorite, or offer alternatives.
The phone rings, interrupting a rare moment of quiet. Which robot is calling now? The one at CVS, reminding me for the third time to pick up a prescription? The City of Boston’s nutrition line, asserting that breakfast is key to my children’s educational development? Or our mystery caller, vaguely identified as “800 service” (i.e. marketing designed to waste my time). I investigate further, knowing that my wife gets annoyed if I let messages about retrieving the damned pills from CVS go to voicemail instead of listening for a second and then hanging up. It’s worse than I thought: “Big Brother” reads the Caller-ID screen. I knew that one day I’d be on Big Brother’s call list. (Though, in this case, I believe Big Sister was involved, too).