So, many years after high school I have the honor, privilege, and pleasure of keeping in touch with some excellent people I met many years ago. Just this past weekend, me and one of these friends shot out to NYC to hang out with 2 other friends.
It had been about 6 years since my last visit out there, which just so happened to be the weekend of Oct. 11, 2001. At that time, we hit up The Pizza Box, Joe's Pizza, Rocco's Pastry, the Met, the Guggenheim, saw "Rent", and saw the empty skyline from my friend's Empire State Building office and gazed out to where the 2 towers used to fill space. The remnants of the World Trade Center were still smoking, and windows downtown were all boarded up from the shrapnel and various destructive effluvium. American flags were everywhere, and New Yorkers were effectively moving ahead as New Yorkers do. Eff you, Taliban/Al Qaeda - you lose.
Fast forward to last weekend, and again we hit up the same restaurants, while also tooling around downtown and SoHo, walking from the Village up along the river into Midtown to the Carnegie Deli (obscene amounts of pastrami), scoring new Adidas at the flagship store, throwing the football around in Central Park (because the weather was amazing) and lounging at my buddies house on Allen. Enter fire poi.
So, one of my friends is in school getting his MFA in Dramatic Writing. His roommate is an ER doctor, who on off hours, hosts gatherings at the pad, where occasionally the big draw is fire poi. What's that? Well if you didn't click on the first link (and please take everything you read from Wikipedia with a grain of salt), does fire spinning sound more familiar? It's basically when someone spins these flammable devices using the ropes that are attached. It's best when you rock Fire Gauntlets, which is what I called the Renaissance Faire-warrior garb that the spinners wore. They either improve your control, protect your arm, or make you look like a thaumaturgic cheerleader...probably it's a combination of all three.
Of course, I cheered while a group of 20 or so watched the spinning. Everyone cheered. If you didn't you risked the spinner getting upset and spinning the fire chakras upside your head! You better cheer...fuhgeddabawtit. Excuse the HORRIBLE quality of video...the camera phone isn't exactly HD.
We also stopped by the New York Scientologists Central Office of Culty Goodness. Me and one of my buddies took a photo in front of it, and I know we were captured on the closed-circuit camera, so I know that my days are numbered. They know I know that they know, and we're now existing in a somewhat uneasy truce. I won't talk about the flying saucers, Xenu posters, and anti-psychiatric literature I saw through the window, and they don't threaten my family. Or worse still...John Travolta would crush me between his succulent hairy man-teats...ewwwww.
Needless to say, we had a blast. The city is amazing. Lots of big ballers, Ferraris, Maybocks, Lamborghinis, and Bentleys out there. The subway puts BART to shame. On the flight out, Joe Montana and Tracy Chapman were on board. The running joke for the weekend was a De La Soul lyric that we uttered at random, "De La Soul? / No Tracy Chapman". Alas, there were only non-celebrities on the return flight, and some suspect mystery farters that kept making the air a bad thing to bring into your body.