If there was a bar eight blocks from where you work- with cold drinks and perfectly spiced bay fries, where there’s always a cool breeze even on 90 degree nights- you’d go all the time, right? This bar would become your summer house, your summer boat house I should say, for indeed the bar floats a top the Hudson River. The boat boasts perfect waterfront views of downtown Manhattan and New Jersey. Sit back, sip a margarita, and watch the sun set. Enjoy how beautiful Jersey looks from Manhattan and feel smug you don’t live there. (I speak of the Frying Pan, of course. If you’re unfamiliar, you can read all about it this previous post.)
This is the stuff New York summer dreams are made of. It could have been mine! All mine! But then I blinked and it was the end of August. How the hell does summer go by so fast? I’d failed to visit this fantastical bar ONCE. NOT EVEN ONCE! My shout at this realization reverberated through the walls of my apartment so both my roommates (and probably the entire fifth floor) could hear it, “WE’RE GOING TO THE FRYING PAN TONIGHT!!!” There was no option. This was a mandatory bar visit. Yes, those are a thing in NYC.
We journeyed out west, way out west, to west side of the West Side Highway at 27th, to board our boat. A stationary booze cruise where it doesn’t matter when you show up and peer pressure frowns upon the noticably drunk. We sat with beers in our hands, drinking to the dwindling days of summer, and life was grand. If that t-shirt company Life Is Good made a t-shirt with that moment on it, I would send it to each of you for Christmas(or your birthday, if we wanna be properly PC).
To the north, a view of the Empire State Building and a game of kayak water polo. To the south, a dazzling view of One World Trade. To the east, the highway and former factories turned to trendy office buildings. To the west, Jersey and the soon setting sun. That’s the direction that had my attention.
There’s something about watching the natural beauty of the setting sun in the midst of a gigantic man-made metropolis that makes me acutely appreciate my existence. I love a good sunset, I’ll even go out of my way to watch them.
Which is how we found ourselves running out of the bar at 7:40PM, telling the bouncer at the door we’d be right back. “We want to get a proper view of the sunset! A private party is in the way, so we’re going to the pier right over there! We’ll be right back, don’t forget us!” The security guard looked at us like we were fools. Sunset loving, slightly tipsy, silly, fools. That we were.
Look at this sunset and tell me you wouldn’t go all the way out on a pier to get a perfect view of that. Makes you want to jump in a kayak and sail off into it
Standing at the edge of the pier, snapping photographs, giggling, and trying to find the perfect Instagram filter, that’s when we were mistaken for tourists. I don’t know why we were surprised and we tried our best not to be offended (New Yorkers hate being mistaken for tourists more than they loathe subway delays). A table of fellas at the Frying Pan waved to us across the water. A group of guys who probably wouldn’t have said “hi” while we were all at the same bar though they would’ve swiped right on Tinder. Here they were waving. So we waved back.
The guys waves turned into motions of “come here”! Well, we were going back to the bar anyway.
“We’re not actually going to go talk to them, are we?”
“Yeah, let’s do it! Why not?”
“They look like total douchebags.”
“Is it fair to judge that across a body of water?
“Come on. You’re with me so of course we’re going. It’s life experience and maybe I can blog about it.”
They weren’t total douchebags. One was tall dark and handsome, quiet and serious, well dressed in a collard shirt and slacks. I let my roommate talk to him. I talked to his friend with a gold chain around his neck and a Staten Island accent. Two things you can’t tell from a distance of 100 yards. He talked to me quite seriously about astrology. We were both Cancers, not a good romantic match. There was no number exchange, no buying drinks.
It was nice to remember what it’s like to meet a stranger in real life. Separated by a channel of water instead of through the glass of a screen and all of cyber space. It was nice to remember what it feels like to wave at someone, share a NYC summer moment, and nothing more.
The Frying Pan is still open into October, there’s still plenty of time if you’re in NYC! More info.