Not my birthday, but rather a celebration for one of our good friends and neighbors, Zeke, who lives upstairs (that's him on the right with a boot full of good, German beer). His wife, the lovely, irish Ali, organized a night out in the city for his birthday. Little did we know that the party was also on the night of Santa-Con, a day when getting dressed up like Santa is enough of an excuse to start drinking at 10 am, so that by the late afternoon you are not so much Santa as alcohol in a red suit ... over beers later in the day we decided that next year we should dress up in blue and white Santa suits and go as Hanukkah Harry.
But the day was not about Santa, it was about Zeke ... and, as it turns out, spending the day in the city with my wife. And we had a really nice day together, coming in around noon and heading over to Chipotle to have burritos for lunch (props to Karla), before meeting up with Ilana (who we absolutely adore) and trolling around Soho for a bit, stopping for hot chocolate at Aroma, exploring the Donna Karan sample sale and ending up at the Sheraton on Canal where we were spending the night.
Spending the night at the Sheraton was a real treat, as it was a really nice hotel and we were comped the room because our friends A.J. and Alana decided to use their hotel points to get us a room. Props guys, that was awesome. Because we had some extra time before meeting up with everyone else, I decided to take Aviva out for a drink at my favorite bar in the city, the Brandy Library. This place is all class, a quiet, gorgeous library like atmosphere tucked away on N. Moore street in the center of TriBeCa, where drinking is really about flavor and knowledge, rather than just getting drunk ... plus it has something like 400 whiskey's on the menu ... its simply fantastic. I have taken my father-in-law, and my uncle and cousin there recently, and it was great to be able to take my wife out for a drink there. We we lucky to get my favorite librarian, Jorge, and he advised us, as always toward some excellent beverages. We savored our drinks, she had wonderful French '75 and I tried a new scotch for me, Isle of Arran, which I liked very much - not peaty or salty like a lot of island scotches.
After the library, we met up with the neighbors at the hotel, then walked up 7th to Wilfie & Nells. While walking, we saw an incredible number of trashed santas, including a very drunk, very scantily clad young female Santa and her mother wandering up the the center of 7th avenue trying to hail a cab. The bouncer was also complaining about the crazy, drunk Claus's as we entered the bar, and sure enough, it was chock-full of Christmas. But we quickly found the neighbors, and settled down for a couple of beers before heading over to Lederhosen, a nearby German bierhaus, to surprise Zeke with all of his other friends (he said he had an inkling, but I personally think we was surprised).
We quickly took over a table in the back and the hijinks and hilarity ensued. We all acquire 1/2 liter beer glasses and a series of large pitchers of beer, which kept reappearing, full, throughout the course of the night ... along with the beer, large plates of sausages and mustard also magically appeared, and at some point we all ordered large heavy platters full of meat and cabbage. At this point I was quite drunk, having polished off about 1.5 liters of beer rather quickly, and as many of you know, rapid consumption of beer is kind of my weakness. As Alie would tell me later, I was quite the social butterfly, rambling around the table and talking to just about everyone, and spending a bit of time convincing Zeke to drink more ... not that he really needed my help. Zeke started with a 1-liter stein, but soon graduated to full on drunken-ness and a 2-liter boot. He occasionally got into drinking competitions with the table full of recently graduated NYU business undergraduates at the table next to ours, and at one point got up to give a rambling, incoherent speech in which no one seems to remember what he said. Zeke mentioned later he had no idea what he said as he was saying it.
At some point AJ and Alana needed to step out to another party, but before they left they helped us set up a game of beer pong, which Ali somehow convinced the waitresses would be calm and not messy. Surprisingly, pong was relatively calm, despite Zekes effort to liven things up by making terrifying passes at his friends wife and showing us his nipples, underwear and several other regions none of us wanted to see. Despite his efforts, we won and after drinking the remainder of the beer, we left the bierhaus and headed over to Fat Cat, a games bar a few blocks away. By the time we got downstairs and sorted out the gaming situation, Aviva and I were exhausted and soon we said goodnight and walked back to the Sheraton to crash. Apparently most people left soon after us, but Alana and AJ stuck it out with Zeke and Ali and they ended up at 5 guys around 2 am, where Zeke had a double cheeseburger .. which we are pretty sure he regretted as soon as he ate, and definitely regretted the next morning :)
The morning was considerably calmer, as we got up and fortuitously met Alana and AJ next door at the bagel place, headed over to grand central and caught the train home ... where we met Zeke and Ali who just made the train. We rehashed the night over bagels on the train, and when we got back to Hartsdale we hustled home in the rain ... I know that I was still smiling.