GG’s birthday is coming up, and to celebrate he wanted to see a show at the Comedy Cellar in New York, which you may recognize from the opening of most episodes of Louie. The Comedy Cellar has kind of a weird system for taking reservations and posting line-ups, but you put up with it because there’s a chance that a big-name comedian might show up and perform among all the no-names, for the same $20 admission price. Louis CK is there often, obviously, also Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Attell, Darrell Hammond, and tons of others. We couldn’t get a reservation in advance, so we just took the chance, took the day off work on Friday, and headed up.
Timing-wise, everything worked out perfectly all day. We got to the bus into the city exactly on time, and then grabbed a subway to Greenwich Village immediately. We left home a little after 11 AM and had been thinking we’d get to the venue by around 3 PM, but it was more like 2. We went to the Comedy Cellar first thing, to get on the list for the show that night. The weird system is that they take a certain number of reservations over the phone, but those apparently fill up immediately; otherwise, you have to show up in person. Our back-up plan was to go to Dangerfield’s.
Our next stop was kind of a late addition to the schedule. A blog I read on Thursday mentioned this new Chobani SoHo store, and I realized that it was right where we were going to be the next day! And I love Chobani – I eat one almost every day! So GG was cool with it, and we went to check out the store. It is a really neat concept – they serve a selection of yogurt “creations,” basically plain Greek yogurt with sweet or savory toppings. GG and I decided to try the Pistachio + Chocolate and Fig + Walnut options, respectively, as well as split the Plain + Cucumber with pita chips. The store is very small, and with the crowd inside and the heat outside, it was pretty warm. But once some of the people cleared out, it was more tolerable. And the girl who waited on us was very nice, we were chatting with her a bit about the store. They just walk up and take your order on an iPhone, and you pay them right there. Then you can watch through a window as your items are assembled, and when they’re done they call out your name and hand you a bag. There really wasn’t space left in there for us to eat, but they directed us to a park around the corner. It was a nice park with a pool, fountain, playground, etc., so we sat and chowed down. The yogurt is served in nice little glass bowls that you can keep or recycle, or you can bring them back next time for $.25 off your order. We likely will not be back (I actually just recreated the cucumber and pita chips thing tonight at home…), but we washed out the bowls in the restroom at the park and GG carried them in his bag for the rest of the day. I tweeted about our visit and I saw @ChobaniSoHo tweeted me back (they are so good at social networking), so I suggested that they open a location in my area!
GG had originally wanted to go to this chili restaurant for dinner, but we realized after walking past it that it’s not really a place you can sit down and eat in. So while we walked around, we kind of kept an eye out for other restaurants. I think the problem in Greenwich Village is that there are too many options! We spent the afternoon walking around in the heat; yes, it was hot, but I’m glad it didn’t rain while we were there, as was forecast! We stopped in at some various stores and places. We went to a liquor store, which turned out to be the biggest liquor store in NYC. GG of course had to check out the single-malt Scotches. Most of the prices were comparable to, or more than, what he could get at home or in DE. But he found one thing that was way cheaper than he’s seen it anywhere (even with NYC sales tax). He freaked out and had to buy a bottle, so that was his little happy birthday surprise for himself. We also sat in Washington Square Park for a little while. GG was enjoying watching all the scantily-clad sunbathers, while I enjoyed looking at this girl sitting by the fountain knitting something, and this guy who just started dancing crazily (wonder what was on his headphones).
Finally it was time to head back for dinner. We decided to just eat at the Olive Tree Cafe, which is upstairs from the Comedy Cellar. While there, some people we didn’t recognize were sitting at the table reserved for comics. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner, then went out and downstairs for the show. We ended up seated front row, center. Like, inches from the performers. There’s a host and five comics scheduled, in about an hour and a half. I’d looked at the schedule in advance, and the only name I recognized was Sherrod Small, from Best Week Ever. All the comedians were great. They were almost through the show, when the host announced that next up was… Jim Norton! GG freaked out. And that was probably the best birthday surprise :o) After the show, we tried to get out of there quickly so GG could go back up to the restaurant and see Jim and the others sitting at the comedians’ table. That was fun.
We hopped back on the subway, and made it to the bus just in time. We were the last people to board, and as we made our way back to an empty seat, someone said “Hi” as we walked past – it was my friend B! GG was surprised that he would be on the bus, and I said, “Hey, remember who taught me about this bus line!” So when we got back to NJ, we chatted for a little bit – he’d taken a girl to NYC to see Cirque du Soleil. We might meet up at another friend’s birthday party in a couple months. That was a fun coincidence and a great way to top off a great day!