Whenever I commit my social life to the long journey into New York City, I'm always a little nervous. Just the thought of bypassing my cushy couch for the energy it takes to drag my bones south tires me out. That's even when I know I'll be in my element at a networking event that involves talking up my creativity as a journalist and screenwriter. That comfort level was not where I was on this Friday night.
I took flight for an after work party at Highland Park on 34th street. Sponsored by one of NYC's many event planners, I pragmaticallytold myself, “you know the encampment in front of the TV is really where you really belong tonight.”
Nonetheless, I persisted and pushed myself.
I walked the nine blocks from Grand Central and met Jen Santucci at the door of Highland. A female proprietor in a thoroughly male field, she dulled my anxiety and raised my energy level. This would be the third time I've been to one of her parties.
Entry has usually gained me common cause among those on her party list. That said, there's as good an in I need to kick it up into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be going on this Friday night.
I was mostly just in a bar with a lot of random people. I could hear my far off couch having a laugh at my expense.
Nonetheless, Jen introduced me to a few of her associates. Christopher Collins of Top Tier Hospitality told me it was “two for one,” and once things started to cook, there would be some intersting movement in the direction of dancing.
I looked up around the sports bar but didn't see a dance floor. Now, my TV and the tasty leftovers in the fridge were letting out a chuckle of their own. It was time to get a beer.
I headed to the bar with $10 - expecting a ticket or something to go along with my first one. He came back with change and two fists of fermentation. No fuss, no muss, I liked that.
Still, I checked my messages, sent out texts and tried to look like I fit in, as I pretended to care about the Yankee game. Somewhat seamlessly, the rhythmic motion promised earlier beganto simmer. A few very pretty girls took to the bar room floor and began to dance.
Despite the rappish/poppie beat that was also out of my element, I was able to slightly gyrate to appear as though I was keeping up. No matter, nothing was clicking.
Not ready to throw up my hands, a girl slid rather interestingly past me on the way outside to a cigarette. I took note and waited for her to come back.
When she did, something called a Hookah provided my in. If you're wondering exactly what that is, then that's all you need to know about making my approach.
A two foot high water based pipe, it's loaded with a tobacco based product. And whether there's any medicinal or mood based value to it - that's immaterial, because it provided the straight forward conversation starter needed.
Dialogue commenced, the atmosphere swept us up in the motion that had spread across the room. Who’s laughing now?
Maybe my couch because she was soon riding the wave to someone else, but her friend saw no reason to leave herself out and got close to me. This was going good.
A little hookah, conversation and the close proximity switch off went on for awhile until my new friends went for another cigarette. Very good because I needed a breather.
This is where the third friend entered the picture. “They’re ‘together’ you know,” she told me.
“Oh,” I said – feeling a little silly. But I laughed and told her, it makes for a better story. And the sedentary energy tradeoff I made on this night was well worth the effort.
See you soon Jgirl and just think your couches are not nearly as far away as mine.