24-Hour Party People

Filed under bigtime celebrity, boobies, living in new york is neat, narcissism, par-tay, restaurant ramblings, why i'm better than everyone else

The morning of the start of my 24-hour culture marathon, Kamran asked me the names of the other two winners of the Time Out New York contest and the reporter who would accompany us on our outing and then kept singing “white people having a good time” to describe the events involving a group of people called Katie, Colin, Brian, and Meghan. My friends had encouraged me to “wear something cute that’s comfortable but also formal enough to fit in at a club, just in case” but I had rejected all of their advice and gone for Chucks, dark jeans, a very apropos baby blue t-shirt of Kamran’s with a drawing of a writer at a desk with his head in his hands, a black cardigan, and my dogbed-looking cape. I wanted to make sure that at all costs, it didn’t look like I was trying.

I rode the bus down to 7th St. in the East Village to Abraço, which is literally a coffee bar: there’s a counter for ordering on one side, and another counter for standing and drinking along the window that makes up the storefront. Wanting to keep my public restroom use to a minimum, I opted out of a drink and just stood at the window, replying to excited well-wishing texts my friends had left me the night before. A steady stream of people stopped in with their dogs and made familiar conversation with the owner, who had the greatest curly gray hair that flopped in his eyes as he brewed each cup individually from fresh ground beans. Had I been a coffee drinker, I would’ve been in heaven.

A little after 8:30, a tall blond guy with the sort of look that immediately strikes you as that of someone who’d never tell you a lie came in and boomed, “Are any of you here with Time Out?” The girl standing against the wall behind me and I both turned and introduced ourselves to him. He was Colin, the reporter, and she was Meghan, the other female winner. I had kind of expected her to be like me–a little less mainstream, a little more geeky–but she was a normal girl. Like, with regular girl straight long hair and regular girl make-up and regular girl boots and a pretty navy blue coat that any regular girl would own. I usually find these girls uninteresting, and they usually find me weird, but I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, since we were about to spend 24 hours together. But then the first words out of her mouth were, “We’d better not be going to the Panty Party, ’cause I’m not wearing any panties!” And you can imagine how hard my eyes rolled.

Luckily, the guys were great. Colin had the best room-filling laugh and was one of those people who makes friends with everyone he meets, and Brian–who turned out to be Asian, completely wrecking the “white people having a good time” theme–was wearing a homemade shirt to advertise his blog (which I will also advertise here–peasandnuts.com–despite the fact that he refers to me as “another girl” in the sidebar) and planned to Twitter all of our activities for his friends. Our photographer, Jeff, had gone to school at the University of Michigan, which has the biggest and best rivalry in college football history with my school, THE Ohio State University, and had typical twentysomething good looks but was super-nerdy about how much he loved taking pictures and was therefore likeable.

Colin informed us that our outing was actually a contest to see who could go all 24 hours and that there were plenty of activities planned that were intended to tire us out and get us eliminated, so I got all nervous that we were going to swim the Hudson or participate in a 5k run. But it turned out that our first activity was very much the opposite of that–a sit in the sauna at the Russian & Turkish Baths in the East Village, where hairy old European men in tiny swimsuits barked at us to stop taking pictures and close the door so the heat wouldn’t escape.

I wasn’t totally down with being beaten with oak leaf brushes and starting the day all sweaty, so I kept my sweater on and stayed in the sauna for just a moment, which I’m sure resulted in odd photos, but a girl has to have her priorities, you know, and mine was assuring that my hair didn’t get frizzy. Plus, the place was a little shady-looking

and there was a sign that read, “YOU MUST SHOWER BEFORE ENTERING POOL! Persons with sore of inflamed eyes, a cold, nasal drip, discharges, cuts, boils, or any other evident skin or bodily infections may not enter! No urination, discharge of fecal matter, or blowing nose in the pool!” I didn’t want to take my chances on the discharge of fecal matter part. Colin couldn’t handle the heat, and Jeff didn’t want to wreck his camera equipment, so we sat around the café area talking about music and reading articles hanging on the wall about how upset the men were when women started being allowed into the baths a few years ago and they could no longer walk around naked.

Next we went for dim sum at Jing Fong, which was one of my picks. It’s a huge banquet hall with outrageously flamboyant decor that you can only get to after what seems like a two-mile escalator ride upstairs, and there are stages along every wall filled with high-backed chairs that look like they’re meant to be used when the king is visiting. I’m used to pointing and grabbing when the food carts roll around, but as luck would have it, Brian spoke Cantonese to the waitresses and got us all sorts of weird treats like shark fin dumplings, chicken wings in rice rolls, and almond “pudding” that had the consistency of Jell-o but was strangely delicious.

Colin, Meghan, and Brian, for your reference

We tried our hand at ping-pong next at the New York Table Tennis Foundation, which was in the basement of an ordinary office building and was impossible to find if you weren’t looking for it. Three-quarters of the room was filled with kids getting lessons from really intense teachers, so we stuck to our one table and batted the ball back and forth for an hour,

the guys keeping their skillz in check so we girls could keep up. Because while I was ping-pong champion of my 4th grade 4-H camp, I haven’t really kept up my game since then. And Brian made sure I remembered that with this super-intimidating look:

Meghan was wearing this ultra low-cut shirt that wholly exposed her cleavage, and although she kept it covered with a long scarf for most of the day, she took it off for ping-pong and showed everyone that her bra just couldn’t keep those things wrangled. They were hanging down and falling out, and every time she lunged for the ball, all you could hear was the click-click-click of the photographer’s camera down her shirt. I felt a little embarrassed for her, but she seemed to be fully aware of what was going on, so I assumed that she’s one of those “all press is good press” types and applauded her lack of shame.

Next we went uptown to the Morgan Library, where Colin used all of his journalistic savvy to get us access to a closed event with Ian McEwan, who wasn’t talking about how Atonement the book is way better than Atonement the movie but was having a conversation about conversation with a Harvard professor in which they argued that so much of what we say in the English language is insinuated rather than explicitly spoken. Everyone thought it was cool except Meghan, who also accused me of falling asleep during it.

We took the subway fourteen million stops to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the Sakura Matsuri, or Cherry Blossom Festival, which was also one of my picks and was more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Trees were literally falling onto the pathway with blooms, and petals floated down from every direction, especially when helped along by children with environment-hating parents.

Lots of Japanese girls were dressed in slutty Harajuku costumes, but my favourite girl was dressed as what reminded me of Little Bo Peep.

And now, to complain more about Meghan–she and I had walked together to the ping-pong place, and I learned that she’s from Laguna Beach, where Kamran’s from. I was telling her that he’s Persian and says that Orange County is full of these really slick, greasy Persians who are very much not like him, and she said that she’s also dating a Persian guy from the area. Even though I assumed that he was one of the greasy ones because she struck me as sort of a greaseball herself, I let it go without a word. She and Colin and I had talked about the dynamics of our respective relationships on the subway to the Garden, and I felt like we had a little more in common than I’d originally imagined, but by the time we were leaving the festival, I was done with her. I’m one of those people who generally thinks it’s polite to make conversation when you’re alone with an acquaintance, but she evidently viewed any time when the guys weren’t around as an opportunity to look at her BlackBerry. And while I’m one of those people who at least offers a smile–maybe even a gurgle of a response–when someone says something to me, she’s one of those people who’ll pretend as if you don’t exist. She paid plenty of attention to the reporter and photographer, though, so I expected the article to be entirely about her. But then it wasn’t. Which makes me think that Colin saw right through her.

We needed to catch a cab to Williamsburg, but there were too many people at the Garden and too few taxis on duty at 4 p.m. on a Saturday, so Colin made fun of Brooklyn and everyone else backed him up, since they all lived in Manhattan. It was so weird being with four people who weren’t at all impressed that I live in Williamsburg, which is a source of awe to pretty much everyone else I know. My location defines my personality, apparently.

Once we got to the bar where we were going to watch the Kentucky Derby–Pete’s Candy Store, where we play trivia on Wednesday nights–we found the place was overpacked with hipsters in wide-brimmed hats and southern-belle-type dresses, so we went instead to Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern, which only had a handful of old men inside. I put my fake money on Big Brown just because of his ridiculous name, but one of the guys had actually bet what was apparently a large sum of real money and was practically crying when his horse fell behind. Good times.

We headed back into the city to the Upright Citizens Brigade for an improv show, where we had some comfy velvet seats courtesy of Colin’s string-pulling, and where Colin laughed in my ear SO HARD.

I talked to Colin’s girlfriend all about being from the Midwest–she was from Michigan–and living in New York and how each of us reacts to going home for a week while we wasted time at a bar next door until a spot opened up at El Maguey y La Tuna, where I had what was either the best mole of my life or what tasted like it after a few margaritas, though it looks like chunky death in this photo:

Colin got into the Cinco de Mayo festivities with a sombrero,

but there was only a little cowgirl hat left by the time the waitress got to Brian, and he refused. The staff at the place kept emphasizing to Colin that they were the best Mexican in the Lower East Side, and I sort of believe it, because I also had this crazy jalapeño popper that was the most delicious thing I could imagine (until I got to the shrimp hiding in one end of it, I mean). Kamran doesn’t know that we’re eating every single meal there from now on.

The first of the sleep-inducing activities was a midnight showing of Alien at the Sunshine, but I loaded up on Mountain Dew and two different types of chocolate, so coupled with the fact that I’d never seen the movie before, I had no problem staying awake. Meghan knocked herself out of the competition by leaving for a while for a friend’s birthday party, and Brian kept putting his head in his hands but shielding his eyes so none of us could see them, so I tell myself that he totally fell asleep and that I won the contest.

Next we went to Cake Shop for their 3rd anniversary party, and it was PACKED. I was pumped to listen to cool music, eat some cupcakes, and relax among all the pretty people, but it was so crowded upstairs and down that we ended up losing each other, and I couldn’t see the band, and no one was dancing, and it just felt lame. So I texted Colin with, “I’m not having fun,” and went outside to call Kamran in hopes that he’d tell me to leave early. But he encouraged me to stick it out, and I’m glad I did, because next was


at Sing Sing, which was also my pick. Colin had a bunch of the guys at the bar mancrushing on him for his boyband ballads and his 90s raps, and I got a round of applause for one of my renditions. Even Meghan-who-hated-me returned to the group from her party and stood beside me so she could put her ear to my vocal cords. Which made me like her just a little, but purely in a superior way. A bunch of my friends were at a club down the street and joined us for the last hour or so, which was so awesome, and I tried to convince them to join us for the rest of the marathon, but they had been awake since noon and thought that was a big deal.

I did manage to get my friend/former co-worker Beth to come to Veselka for blintzes and macaroni and cheese, but only because she was visiting from California for the weekend and didn’t want to waste any time sleeping. Just as we ordered, though, our friend who she was staying with called and said that she had locked her keys in her apartment and that Beth had the only extra set. With her gone and with Meghan having left even before breakfast, we decided to skip the morning church service and Staten Island Ferry ride that were supposed to have been enough to put even Brian with his “I stay awake for 24 hours every Saturday” touts to sleep and call it a day.

I took the bus back to Kamran’s and arrived just as the sun was starting to crawl up over Brooklyn and the East River

and then I enjoyed a much-deserved hour of sleep before heading off to brunch. Because I am invincible.And also famous.

Comment Here


  1. Tina (mrsvina) says:

    My thoughts as I read this epic post:
    1. Ew, you really had to spend almost 24 hours with a Michigan grad?
    2. That cape is majestic.
    3. Your narrative is better than that in the magazine.
    4. Those Cherry Blossoms are redic. I was in DC for the blooming once when I was very young and it is one of the most vivid memories of my life.
    5. I love how you scope out and judge people (Meghan and the Blackberry)… I do the same thing all the time, which leads me to wonder if I’m pretentious or a bitch, to which I reassure myself that it’s their own fault I’m judging because they are oblivious to other people, which is DEFINITELY worse.
    I’m taking yoga this quarter and that class is basically people watching… from the three girls that look like they are 12 who gossip the entire time, to some amazingly/freakishly flexible girl that I want to kill, to the straight boys that are obviously in it to peek up shorts during “downward *ahem* dog”.

    • plumpdumpling says:

      1. AND a Wisconsin grad. If I cared about the Big 10 at all, it would have been ON.
      2. Thank you. I appreciate that it makes me look like a lumpy glob of an old lady.
      3. Thank you! If magazine writing only involved articles about partying all night, I’d sell my first child to get into it.
      4. I’ll bet the DC ones are even better. I wonder if we’d like the things half as much if the blossoms stuck around for more than a week.
      5. Are you calling me pretentious and/or bitchy? If some stranger has something going on that’s so outrageous I can judge them without even talking to them, they probably deserve it. And if it’s not a stranger and you’ve given them the benefit of the doubt, they deserve it doubly. Think how boring life would be without preconceived notions and stereotypes. You’re taking yoga just to peek up the shorts, too, admit it.

      • Tina (mrsvina) says:

        I choose to surround myself with people who are a little prentious… they are the spice of life!

        I’m not going to lie, I have been known to check out some bulge when the guys do backbends.

  2. Tessa says:

    You may be famous, but I’ve always suspected I’m secretly just as awesome as you are.

    That’s cool, ’cause it just means that when you’re the female, sexy version of Dave Barry in 10 years, and I’m the non-anti-semitic reincarnation of Roald Dahl, and we’re both on book tours, we’ll be able to say of each other:

    “I read her before YOU did.”

    • plumpdumpling says:

      It ain’t no secret, baby. You know I have you on a pedestal.

      Was that Dave Barry thing a backhanded compliment? I used to read him as a teenager and thought he was hilarious, but I only seem to hear people making fun of him nowadays, if I even hear his name at all. Poor Dave.

      Roald Dahl, eh? Tell me more.

  3. ael88 says:

    My thoughts as I read this, your longest post of all time:

    1. Colin is the least reportery-looking reporter ever. I imagine he watches football and wears beer hats.
    2. Those brats’ parents probably abandoned them at the park that day. Have pity.
    3. Your recount of the day’s events really is better than Colin’s.
    4. I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU GOT TO SEE STEVEN PINKER: LIVE! He’s on my list of Favourite Academics.
    5. Will you let me try on that cape when I come to NYC? And will you let me wear it in public? And will you take pictures and put them on LiveJournal Unapologeticallymundane?
    6. Don’t lie. You couldn’t wait to get naked with Meghan in that sauna.

    • plumpdumpling says:

      1. Agreed, and that’s probably why they chose him for the dirty deed of hanging out with us. To confirm your beer hat theory, he was also chosen to document a bar crawl a while ago, and he said that the three of us were “far more socially apt” than the readers who showed up to that. Which is hilarious, considering.
      2. NO.
      3. Hey, thanks. He’s a music writer, so this wasn’t really his thing, but don’t tell anyone I said that.
      4. You are sooooooooo much nerdier than I had even imagined. Hott!
      5. Yes. Even though it will still be 90 degrees in November.
      6. Stop transferring your feelings onto me.

  4. Tracey says:

    WTF? You didn’t save my comment from the first time this was up? I can’t recreate it, you know. (Mostly because I totally forget what I said.) There was something about wanting video of you singing Pat Benatar, though.

    • plumpdumpling says:

      That’s the problem with always being the one with the camera–no one thinks to grab it and turn it on you, even when you’re wildly more talented than everyone else.

      It’s also the reason I have approximately 2.2 million pictures of Kam and 2 of myself.

  5. kylie says:

    why aren’t you a journalist for time out new york? clearly you are better at it than colin.

  6. a says:

    Pshh, you should have not given in.

    • plumpdumpling says:

      I mostly did it because Colin had to write the article that day, and I wanted to make sure he was able to get enough sleep that he could remember what a great gal I was.