What better way to bid adieu to a good friend than with chunky Queens air, sunshine and beer? You don't have one to top that combo, do you? Understandable. Really, is there a more fitting spot than Astoria's infamous Bohemian Beer Garden (pictured above) to gather a gaggle of pals on a summer afternoon?
If only our trip to Bohemia Hall wasn't for the purpose of saying goodbye to my bud Kristin, who is misguidedly leaving New York for Minneapolis. She's clearly off-balance. And, yet, she is beloved. So, a group of us showed up in full force to drink and down heavy, greasy Czech fare in her honor on Saturday. The party started at 4pm and between the pitchers of Pilsner Urquell and plates of Potato Pancakes, it didn't wind down until after 11pm.
Needless to say, we stopped counting the number of pitchers we drank after hour two. Same goes for the platters of Potato Pancakes, Kielbasa, French Fries, Pork Schnitzel and Potato Dumplings.
At the evening's end I couldn't bring myself to say farewell. But, my drooping eyelids told another story. I had ingested way too much beer and starch not to fall asleep in a carb stupor.
And so, plans for the morrow were made. I was to meet Kristin for makeup and knock-off pocketbook shopping at noon - if we could wake ourselves up in time.
Surprisingly, I did. Kristin almost faltered, but actually ended up opening her eyes in the nick of time. Meeting late afternoon, we crammed in enough Montague, Canal and Prince Street shopping to satisfy us both. Yet, we couldn't say goodbye without a proper toast.
Alcohol was out of the question. We were still a bit woozy from the night before. And then we turned a corner and found ourselves at the doorstep of Grace Door - an odd Chinatown combination of thrift store, Internet cafe, chess center, social club, restaurant and bar, located on Howard Street between Lafayette and Broadway.
It was just odd and engaging enough to encompass our friendship perfectly - as was the bubble tea that we ended up imbibing at the bar (pictured below).
I'm going to miss Kristin. And, although I'm pretty sure that she'll be able to find Pilsner Urquell in the Twin Cities, can't really say the same for the bubble tea. Don't know if that'll be enough to encourage her to come back to the Big Apple - but I can always hope.