So, I'm totally broke. And as usual when I'm totally broke, I daydream about things I want to do the next time I have money.
Although, you know, hey... if you've got piles of cash lying around and you feel like making an absolute stranger really, really happy for Christmas, feel free.
No, I'm talking about cool kind of cheap stuff. Like I want to go visit Orchard Corset down on the Lower East Side and get fitted for really awesome bras by the Hasidic Goddess of Boobulage, whom people on Yelp have refered to as pretty much the platonic ideal of the lingerie fitting ladies of the universe. Here is one exchange:
My friend and I walk in and are greeted by a Large Hasidic Man (henceforth known as LHM) who looks at us and says, "Yes?"
Me: Umm, we're here for bra fittings?
LHM: "Elllllllllsiiiiiiieeeeee!" (I could be getting the name wrong)
We wait a few minutes and admire the Olivander-esque shelves full of small flat boxes until a Tiny Hasidic Woman (THW) emerges from behind a curtain. She points at me and says, "You, come."
Me: Hi! How are you today?
THW: What are you looking for?
Me: Just an everyday type bra.
THW: Take off.
I strip off my top-things. She checks out my goods for a half a second then pokes either side of my back with two fingers. Within 30 seconds she has me strapped into The Perfect Bra.
THW: Your left is bigger. Everyone has a big one.
Me: That's coo....
THW: The good surgeons make one bigger to look more natural.
Me: That's smart...
THW: They grow like tomatoes on the same vine, independently. You want two of these?
Me: Umm sure, one beige one black?
I mean, does that sound awesome or what? Also, they have corsets and waistcinchers thingies and apparently the lady will lace you up and make you look amazing. Which I kind of need because I just got this dress, which I have to wear to a fancy thing in a couple of weeks (this would NOT be the size in which I purchased it, just saying):
It came in the mail today, and looks a lot better than I thought it would, but it would look totes better if I actually had a waist. Ahem.
Also, the pin is horrible. But luckily it comes off.
And, really, I didn't even have a waist when I was a freshman in college (or an iron or a hairbrush... apologies to those who've already seen this on Facebook, my college pal Diana emailed it to me yesterday, and I keep looking at it, wanting to brush my eighteen-year-old self's hair and tell her to cheer the hell up, because she is eighteen and still has cheekbones, for God's sake):
Now I'm looking for earrings and shoes.
I'm kind of digging these:
Except they have Minnie-Mouse toes, which I totally hate. And also they're probably just too busy considering the dress needing a pin and everything.
But I figure really tall is good, since I don't have a waist. And then platforms so my feet don't implode before the cocktail portion of the evening is over.
I could also wear my gold cowboy boots and save some money, I guess. But this is all in my imagination so I am going all out.
Also, I would like to buy this apartment:
Which is actually kind of a bargain, considering that it's a three-bedroom two-bath duplex penthouse with a large terrace and a view of the water, in Manhattan, for $599,000. And it's about four blocks north of me. And it has an elevator, which would be a nice change from the fifth floor walkup, even though all those stairs are doing my ass a world of good.
Here's the floorplan:
I do not actually need three bedrooms, but in my dream life I would like a dining room, so there.
I suppose I should have picked something a little more remunerative than novel-writing, considering.
Here is what I'm going to do after I wear that dress, though, which is much more in my price range:
Go order a "full patacon" from the Patacon Pisao food truck that operates from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night, about six blocks away.
A patacon is a Venezuelan sandwich which is served up not on bread, but on two mashed-flat-and-fried wads of green plantain. Here is what the New York Times has to say about this sandwich:
When the truck window opens for the evening around 7 (it closes around 6 a.m.), a small crowd is often on the sidewalk, maneuvering forward to place orders with the manager. One of the most popular requests is the “full” patacón ($5), a combo of chopped griddled beef, pork and chicken, typically dressed with lettuce, tomato and a piquant pink sauce. Preparing the sandwich might take 15 minutes; many folks tide themselves over with a tequeño ($1), white cheese deep fried in pastry dough.
When the patacón is finally handed down, it’s wrapped in foil, which serves more than one purpose: fried plantain is not very absorbent, and every bite threatens to send sauce squirting out. Peeling back the foil little by little helps keep the patacón hot (and those dancing shoes unsullied). The starchy plantain and savory meats are an especially satisfying pair on a cool evening.
Here is what it looks like:
Also, I would very much like to sample the offerings of a local woman who has come to be known as "Elsa, La Reina del Chicharron." Chicharron is chunks of deep-fried pork. Elsa is apparently the queen of them. Unfortunately for my waist, she is but three blocks from me. Here is a sample:
Also, there is Albert, the king of Mofongo. Well, okay, he runs Albert's Mofongo House, but it sounds like he reigns supreme.
If you have never heard of mofongo, here is an explanation from Joe DiStefano on Serious Eats:
Soon after a friend moved to Inwood in upper Manhattan he told me of a 24-hour restaurant near his place that specializes in the Puerto Rican dish known as mofongo. Not to be confused with the beef tripe soup known as mondongo,mofongo is a hearty ribsticking dish made from mashed plantains. Within a week of his move I found myself taking possibly the longest train ride I’ve ever taken for food, DiFara’s running a close second. As soon I exited the A train at Dyckman Street I spotted the temple of all things mofongo: Albert’s Mofongo House.
The place is literally a shrine to mofongo. A painting of a grandfatherly old man mashing plantains along with garlic and onion adorns one wall. Next to my table sat a huge pilón, or mortar, big enough for Paul Bunyan to mash mofongo. A page on the menu labeled Mofongo Mania lists more than a dozen varieties. Rather than go for chicken, goat, oxtail, or for that matter lobster, I chose the most traditional variety,chiccharon. After all, if I’m going to eat close to pound of mashed starch, I want as much pork as possible to accompany it.
Hint: the mofongo is the stuff up on top of the wooden thing. Yes. I would try eating that. But not until after the party thing.
Can you tell I'm on a salad regimen? Yes. I am not exactly cranky, but fried pork is sounding totes awesome right now.
And since I live in the middle of Planet Fried Dominican Pork now, it seems like a good idea to join the New York Rowing Club, come spring. Which built a really cool boathouse about eight blocks from me in 2004:
Because even with all these stairs, I will need more of a workout come spring if I go in for the local chow.
Or, I could join the Inwood Canoe and Kayak Club, which is at the other end of Dyckman Street.
I totally love it up here. Especially because I'm about six blocks from The Cloisters, a medieval museum that's part of the Met, built by the Rockefellers.
Medieval art is pretty religious and static, but it's still a very cool place to hang out in. I went there last weekend and walked around. It was gorgeous inside:
And they had all these beautiful Books of Hours:
And reliquaries (this one was designed to hold the skull of a female saint):
But the outside was even better:
You get an amazing view of the Hudson from the gardens, and the sunset was pretty damn spectacular:
Not least with a view of the George Washington Bridge through the trees.
So, yeah, I'd like to go back to The Cloisters, when I can afford the entry fee again. Even though the gardens are free.
Also, they have these amazing bushes outside with bright purple berries on them:
Amazing. There wasn't any sign saying what they were, so I Googled them when I got home. Aptly named: Purple Beautyberry. I could put some on my terrace, if I win the Powerball and buy that duplex.
In the meantime, I am going to hang the curtain rods I bought at the Dollar Tower last week, when I still had a little money. I can now do this because my awesome friend Laura Corvinelli Bishop gave me a stepladder from her parents' house in Yonkers, in addition to two air mattresses which look terrific. Because she is awesome.
And maybe, in the end, I will end up wearing something like these to the party, because there are an AWFUL LOT of shoes like this for sale in my new neighb:
Okay, mes chicas, what do you want the next time you have spare cash?