Monday, January 24, 2011

Passing for Manhattanites

Nothing like moving on up to the East Side, and staying at my parents’ apartment when they’re out of town for the weekend. Sure, we could subway in and out from Brooklyn, but there’s something about waking up walking distance from MOMA which just makes me feel more sophisticated. Plus, I’ve been promising Seconda that I’d take her to have a proper pot of tea at Alice’s Teacup, and there’s one a short walk from my parents’. Nearly every time we stay there, we pop by old Alice’s to grab some scones, but it is always so mobbed, we take them to go and wolf them down in a highly uncouth and un-Manhattan-like manner right in front of the restaurant, getting covered in crumbs and miserably attempting to apply clotted cream and jam onto the scone bite with nary a surface to rest any of it on. It’s just so terribly Brooklyn of us. For once, I wanted to eat INSIDE the restaurant, to have a pot of fancy schmancy tea, a pot featuring one of those ceramic whats-its that holds the round spout-sponge in place. But scoring a table for brunch at Alice’s Teacup is no small feat, it turns out.

Saturday morning, we rolled in around 11am, and it was a thirty minute wait. Undeterred I put my name down on the list. The front entrance was so crowded, however, there was no room for me, let alone my whining, havoc-wreaking children, and my beleagured husband holding the stroller. So I left my cell phone number with the hostess and took the fam to a pet shop a few blocks away where we pretended we were in the market for a dog so that Seconda could pet all the animals, while staying warm. After about twenty minutes, I consulted my phone and realized Alice’s Teacup had tried us. Horror of horrors -- we missed the call! I rushed the clan back over to claim our table but the hostess regretfully informed me that she’d given our table away and we could go back on the list, but it’d probably take another hour.

I stared at her, incredulous.

“Do you want to wait?” she asked.

“I AM BORED OF LIFE!” Primo yelled pounding on the glass counter.

“I WANT FAIRY WINGS RIGHT NOW!” Seconda bellowed behind him.

“NO!” I yelled at everyone, including the hostess, “No, I do NOT want to wait/”

She looked incredibly relieved.

“Who do you have to screw to get a table at Alice’s Teacup?” I asked David, outside/

“Well, maybe next time you should make sure your ringer’s on,” he pointed out, helpfully.

“OK, OK,” I grumbled, “Lets go downtown. Who needs the upper east side anyway?”

Downtown we went, to City Bakery, and to Books of Wonder, to the City Treehouse and to the Strand, where I spent a shit-ton on literature for the kids and one Robert Bolano book.

“You spent SEVENTY dollars?” Primo asked, incredulously, at the register, when I handed over my credit card.

“Are you the voice of reason?” I replied, “I thought we didn’t have one of those in this family/”

In the morning, I mobilized the children early to try Alice’s Teacup again. By 10:30, we were there, and less than a minute later, we were sitting down to some very fragile teacups.

“Success!” I exclaimed to David.

The children shared a small pot of “Hawaiian Paradise” tea, which Seconda found “sour! Needs sugar!” and we had a nice tasty pot of heavily-caffeinated Alice’s Tea, Scones were slathered in cream and jam in a highly civilized fashion and the Eggs Benedict were sinfully, disgustingly delicious. I forced the children to talk about high society subjects like the vocabulary coined by Lewis Carroll and the role of the witches in Macbeth. A perfect tea time. There wasn’t even a spill – that is, until Primo put his coat on and knocked the teacup over, dousing his chair. But we were on our way out, and after waiting an hour on line, I’m guessing the poor shmucks behind us would be grateful to sit down, even if it was on a wet seat.

Then off to Sony Wonder Lab and FAO Schwartz, for some free diversion. Free in the monetary sense only, however, because watching the Big Piano show at FAO did cost me my dignity and wrestling the life-sized Rapunzel doll out of Sec’s hands took a few weeks off my life, at least.

All in all, a good weekend. But I sure am glad to be back in Brooklyn.