It's Monday night and raining in New York. The temperature is mild and comfortable. I worked today, and after work I went to two karate classes, a general class and a kumite (free fighting) class. Both were excellent. Now I'm home.
Blogger seems to have fixed the bugs in the photo program, so finally, at 11:10 p.m., I can tell you the tale of our crazy trip to Atlantic City this past weekend. Deep breath, here goes . . .
Victor and Jenn's Atlantic City Weekend
Our friends Marty and Carolynne, who live in Long Island, New York, were in the resort town of Atlantic City, New Jersey to run a booth at a knitting industry trade show called Stitches 2005. Carolynne owns a yarn store in Long Island and also sells patterns for knitted children's sweaters and related items, and Marty was helping her run the booth and generally being a good sport about everything.
Due to a number of events in Atlantic City that weekend (including a Vladimir Klitschko - Samuel Peter boxing match, which Klitschko won), hotel rooms were scarce, and Marty and Carolynne ended up having to rent a "penthouse suite" in a Marriott Residence Inn in a nearby town called Somers Point.
Since their hotel suite was paid for and had two beds on two floors, they invited us to come down for a weekend on the seaside. Jenn and I happily agreed.
They had arrived by car on Wednesday evening. Since Jenn and I had to work, we took the bus down on Friday night. I felt like a dodo because despite all the research I did on the four different bus lines that go from New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal to Atlantic City, I ended up making the dumbest choice of all of them. To make a long story short, although we arrived fifteen minutes early for our New Jersey Transit bus from Gate 319, it filled to capacity (including standing room) right in front of us. As in, the doors closed in our faces. And the next bus wasn't for more than two hours.
I felt like a dope. Jenn was very good humored about it. There were pigeons inside the bus terminal. I walked to NJ Transit and tried to refund our tickets to take a different bus line (Academy Bus runs buses every half hour) but no dice.
Finally, at 8:45 p.m., we got our bus to Atlantic City. The bus was so overly air-conditioned that Jenn had to use a pair of my shorts as a blanket. All of our other clothing was in our big bags in the belly of the bus. She stuck her arms in the shorts to stay warm. She might be embarassed but what the heck, here's a picture. I think she looks cute using my shorts as a poncho.
After Tom's River (the stop before Atlantic City) the bus driver made it a little warmer and we had a pretty comfortable ride to the Atlantic City Bus Terminal. Once we got there and unloaded our bags we had to wait a few minutes for Marty and Carolynne to arrive to pick us up. It was windy and Jenn was cold. The bus station was filled with scumbags, people muttering to themselves, shouting threats to nobody in particular. Finally Marty and Carolynne picked us up and we drove directly to Somers Point to relax at the Residence Inn. It was around midnight when we got there.
The suite was very generic but nice. It had the typical hotel room art hanging on the walls: blurry pictures of flowers, or a blurry picture of the seashore. Sort of Impressionist, but not quite.
That evening we all just chatted a bit and then went to sleep. The next morning (Saturday morning) Marty took Carolynne to the knitting convention in Atlantic City and then came back to pick us up. We slept late.
First we made use of the hotel's fitness room, which was very small.
We then got cleaned up and piled into the Infiniti and headed first to Margate, and then to Atlantic City. On the way, I took some photos of the Jersey Shore on the second full day of Autumn, 2005. There was a bike race going on for some reason.
Here's Marty and me. I'm on the left. Jenn's in the back seat.
Here are some more bike racers.
This is a picture of Jenn.
This was our first glimpse of the ocean. The weather was overcast in the morning, but then it cleared up and was beautiful.
As I mentioned in my previous posting, my one goal on this trip to Atlantic City was to visit Lucy the Margate Elephant. I was relentless in my insistence that we go visit Lucy, so Marty drove us to the town of Margate, and there she was, in all her glory.
We bought tickets for Lucy, but the next tour wasn't for another twenty minutes, and Marty needed to hurry up and get to the yarn convention. The elephant people told us that we could use the tickets for a tour the following day (Sunday), so we jetted to the convention center. At least I had gazed upon the great elephant, and would return the next day.
We went to the convention center and donned our guest passes to the knitting convention. Mine looked like this and I felt like a badass wearing it.
We dropped by Carolynne's booth and checked out her merchandise. She has beautiful yarns and patterns for the coolest little kids clothes. If you are into knitting sweaters and related items for children you should check out her designs. I can put you in touch.
Jenn and I were anxious to go see Atlantic City, so we bid Marty and Carolynne good day and split for the strip. I have been to Atlantic City a few times before, and Jenn has been once. We both think it's a pretty corny place, but worthy of the occasional ironic weekend. So it was with a large grain of salt that we sallied forth to do the Atlantic City thing.
Our first stop was a Subway sub shop to get some sustenance for the journey. Then we hit the outlet stores. H&M, Coach, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, and Polo Ralph Lauren, among others. Jenn wanted to shop, and I wanted to be a nice husband who comes along and carries bags. We did exactly that. And I got three pairs of CK boxers for thirty bucks. The weather was sunny and warm and we felt good, like we were on vacation, which we sort of were.
All the outlet shops were on Michigan Avenue, and we walked down Michigan straight to the casino area on the strip. The first casino we saw was Bally's, but in an effort to stave off the soul-sucking force that is a casino floor, we bypassed Bally's and went to the boardwalk, where we gazed at the ocean and watched the people pushing those rickshaw-type carts. There was a zig-zaggy wooden path to the beach, and we stopped at a scenic corner and hung out. Jenn talked to her mom on the phone for a few minutes and I snapped some photos. We were feeling irie.
Check out Neil Diamond in this shot.
Here's Bally's, Caesar's, and Trump.
Here's the ocean. I can't help but hear the Led Zeppelin riff in my head when I write ocean.
Here's an artsy shot of nature in harmony with man. Or something.
We walked along the boardwalk for a while and then went into Caesar's. I wanted to take pictures of the casino floor, but the security guard said no. This was to be a harbinger of the security troubles we would later have at the knitting convention. Here is a picture of Caesar Augustus in the hotel lobby.
Jenn took this one. Hail Caesar!
Here are two goddesses.
I lost 75 cents on a slot machine in one throw. That's the gambler's life, I guess. Jenn spent one quarter and received two in return, doubling her money. Yet, she couldn't quit while she was ahead. She lost those two quarters, and then one more. Bet with your head, not over it, people.
On Saturday night, Marty, Carolynne, Jenn, and I went to dinner at a restaurant in Somers Point called the Crab Shack. We had a lovely dinner, but we were all so tired when we got back to the hotel suite that we faded out very quickly. We didn't even stay up past midnight on our big party weekend at the shore. That's okay, we were bushed and were very glad to get the sleep.
The next day (Sunday) Marty again took Carolynne to the convention center and then came to get us. We packed our stuff, checked out of the hotel, and went straight to Lucy.
Here is Lucy's head.
And here is Lucy's ass. Like I'm the first person to take this photo.
Here are the stairs that go up Lucy's back rear leg.
You climb them . . .
Until you get to the main room inside Lucy.
Lucy the Elephant is an example of Zoomorphic architecture. I can't get into exactly what that is, but if you are interested click this link and this link.
The inside of Lucy's belly is painted a color called Gastric Pink, to resemble the actual insides of an elephant. Here's a view out of Lucy's right eye.
And another sweet view of the inside of Lucy's belly.
Then we climbed the stairs to the top of Lucy, five stories above Margate.
Lucy was built in 1881. (The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883.) When sailors nearing the coast saw Lucy on the shore they swore off their rum rations for a week, so they say. Here we are.
This is a picture of Atlantic City, as zoomed in on from the top of a big wooden elephant.
From Lucy, Marty, Jenn and I again went to the convention center. I took this picture of Carolynne in her booth.
And here's a shot of some of the yarn she sells. Yes, of course I think yarn is kind of funny. The word "yarn" is kind of giggle inducing. But you have to admit, this is beautiful yarn.
After that, once again Jenn and I hit the strip while Marty and Carolynne worked the booth. We walked on the street (Pacific Avenue) instead of the boardwalk and saw many derelict buildings among the casinos. Here's one example.
We walked to the Tropicana, because I wanted to see what The Quarter looked like. The Quarter is The Tropicana's homage to its original casino in Havana.
Here's the quarter.
And another view.
We were wandering around, looking for a decent place to eat a late lunch.
We ended up going to a sandwich shop. Amazingly, on the way to the sandwich shop, I bumped into a coworker of mine from Esquire, Dragos Lemnei, who works in the art department. He was at the casino playing poker, and winning. It sure is a small world sometimes.
We had to get back to the convention center. We walked along the boardwalk to get back to Michigan Avenue. Here's Jenn with the old Ritz behind her.
Bad Boys (and Girls) of Yarn
When we got back to the convention center and found Carolynne's booth, we started helping her take a few things to the car. It was 3:30 p.m. and the convention ran until 4:00 p.m. but we were just taking a few extra items. Carolynne still had all her inventory to sell.
Nonetheless, it was against the rules. And we were busted.
As Marty, Jenn, and I carried things through the aisles to the exit, Yarn Security, in the form of a curly-haired young man, informed us that we "can't break down yet" and we were in violation of the rules. Marty explained to the guy that we were still in business, just schlepping a few things. The curly haired guy followed us to the main entrance, where we were accosted again. We proceeded to the car.
Then Marty's cell phone rang. It was Carolynne. She'd just been read the riot act by the yarn bulls. They said "get the rest of your stuff and get out." They said "security will be here in five minutes." Jenn watched the car as Marty and I rushed back to the convention center.
Sure enough, we'd crossed the line like Jim Morrison. We had gone too far. They yarn people like to have a full roster of vendors right to the last minute, even though many other vendors had already packed up. Carolynne postulated that they want to make extra money from their shipping center because the UPS station had closed at 3:00 p.m. In any case, we are not welcome back at the Knitting Expo.
We had a pleasant drive back to the city.
Today I went to work, and, as I mentioned in the beginning, I went to karate after work. On the way into the subway I was stopped for my very first NYPD bag search. The cop was impressed when he saw my boxing gloves.
"Golden Gloves," he asked?
"No, karate," I replied.
"I train with some of your colleagues," I added, which is true.
I fought well in kumite class.
Bring it on, yarn thugs.