Sunday, January 6, 2008

Good Times Square: Part Two

The previous evening, I had given my hotel room key to my good friend, Ben Pedersen, so he could meet me to celebrate my birthday. After the performance with Miley, I left the ABC building and booked it back to the hotel room to find Ben watching the Jonas Brothers Rockin' Eve performance. It was pretty strange to see, on national TV, the place where I was only moments earlier.

We contemplated leaving the hotel and heading back to Times Square for the big ball drop ceremony, but it sounded like so much trouble, considering the massive crowds, the cold weather and the fact that we had a nice warm room with the very same thing on TV. Yes, we felt a little bit lame watching a broadcast from only a block away, but we were okay with lame.

Around 11pm I noticed that I was completely famished. And I had quite a hankering for some birthday cake. But we couldn't leave before the ball drop! So we waited.

Big countdown. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-Happy New Year!!!! Now let's get something to eat.

We thought maybe the bar downstairs would be open. Nope. Closed at twelve. So we ventured outside and down the street. It looked like a confetti factory exploded out there.

Times Square was total anarchy. There were policeman everywhere, "trying to keep order." Really though, they were doing the opposite. We saw an open-looking Planet Hollywood a block away, and headed that direction, following the rest of the crowd down the sidewalk, when we were stopped by a cop who said we couldn't go that way. I replied, "The people in front of us just did." To which he cryptically replied, "Exit only." How that applied to this, I have no idea. He said we had to go the other direction. So we did.

Only to be stopped by another cop saying, "You can't go this direction." And he pointed to where we just came from. I told him, "That guy just told us we had to go this way." To which he replied, "Exit only."

Okay whatever. So Times Square was out. Those people are crazy, and clearly have a strong desire to assert random unhelpful power.

So we started walking a different direction and noticed that almost every restaurant was closed. At this point, it was past 1am -- but STILL -- this is New York City! It never sleeps! Right? Apparently not true for New Year's Eve, which is the one night of the year they definitely should be open late. There were a couple places that were open, but only for private parties.

We found one cafe that was open and decided to try our luck. Our luck was not good. All the food looked really old and crusty. This was the place where all mediocre food goes to die. The Cafe of Broken Dreams. Oh, and there was no cake to be found.

After barely eating all day, playing an intense gig, and then walking for a couple hours, I was getting lightheaded. So I grabbed some yogurt. I was just reading about the health benefits of yogurt. And they said that plain is better for you. So I opted for plain yogurt.

I know I was hungry, but it tasted like paste from the dumpster. I ate a little, almost gagged, made myself eat some more, almost really gagged, and tossed it into an overflowing garbage can on the street.

We were feeling ragged and frustrated that we couldn't find one place in all of NYC that was open (other than the Cafe of Broken Dreams).

And then we saw it in the distance. Two blocks away. Golden arches.

Ben felt really bad about me eating McDonald's for my birthday dinner, but we really were out of options. I said, "At this point, I don't care. I'm just starving and feel like I'm gonna fall over." So we followed that golden beacon. When we arrived we saw that the entire restaurant was packed...but like, packed in a sardine kind of way that I've never seen in a McDonald's before. While I was okay with eating there for my birthday, I was not okay with waiting in line a half-hour for a stomach ache on my birthday.

So we thought, the only other option is to head back to the hotel and get room service, even though we knew the Mansfield was going to charge an arm, a leg, and two eyeballs for a piece of cheese. But at this point, a few body parts swapped for an hors d'oeuvre sounded like a logical choice.

I hated the idea that we left the cozy hotel room at midnight, wandered around for nearly two hours, withered, died, and returned to the room with nothing. But that's what we did.

When we got back, I was just about to pick up the phone for room service, when it occurred to Ben. "This is New York City! DELIVERY!" So we spent about fifteen minutes looking at places online, found a bunch of tasty restaurants and called them. Every single one was closed for New Year's Eve.

So, around 3am, I ordered room service. I'll miss my arm, my leg and my eyes, but we got some extremely delicious sandwiches, and the one thing I really wanted: Cinnabon Cheesecake.

Maybe this night sounds a little like a drag, but trust me, when you do this with Ben Pedersen, it adds up to one of the best birthdays ever.

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  1. Heyy Mike - I got to see you in action tonight in Atlantic City! I got some pictures for you =)

    You & Miley:

    You & Joseph:

    <3 Jen

  2. Haha "exit only" what the heck? they sound like robots. p.s. that cheese cake looks DELICIOUS, and I hope you had a wonderful birthday!!!

  3. ew, i hate walking around without any food! and thanks for the warning, now i know that NYC actually does get some nights off...on the worst possible night, apparently!

    and mike, i hate to do this, but i can't help it...could you just let us know if joe jonas is ok...heard he had an accident backstage.

    oh wow, i hate myself for asking you. you can just ignore me!

    anyways, hope you enjoyed that cheesecake, i know i would have!

  4. See, even McDonald's doesn't want you to eat there!!!

  5. hey!
    i just spent the last two days reading your blogs non-stop. all the way from the beginning. your life is so worth telling us about. i love your sarcasm and witty choice of words. (notice how i used the word "witty" haha... i know im not funny) i will definately look up your blog every day to find out what else has been happening in your life. don't ever give up faith. it doesnt matter what you beliefe in, as long as you believe in something. how weird is it that i found that on a bathroom stall? haha.
    love, and God bless!!

  6. hey Happy Birthday! (srry im a little late :)

    I love ur blog b/c u update a lot and i love the stories of ur life lol

  7. Mike,

    I loved reading about your time in NYC and all you went through just to get some food. That cheesecake looks yummy and I bet it was worth the wait for it. Looking forward to your next blog entry.


  8. Hi Mike
    I so enjoyed your last entry. Sorry you had to do all that walking just to find something to eat. That cheesecake looks and sounds delicious. Happy Birthday a little late. Keep up your whimsical postings.