Sunday, March 19, 2006

What happened next...


Continuing the account of the recent NY trip...

The next day was Saturday and we managed to get the most sleep of the entire trip that Friday night after coming in from seeing the performance of Spamalot. We managed to rouse ourselves and met Tina from Cotswold (long time GIJOE mail order icon) and Buddy for brunch at a trendy little restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. I had the tuna burger. We talked at length about the state of GIJOE collecting and also hooked up with John Waterhouse who writes for the Atlanta Journal / Constitution newspaper.

This was to be the last FREE day before our flurry of Toyfair activities ensued, so we wanted to do something specifically New York. Albeit a little more than a tad touristy, we decided we would visit the Statue of Liberty. I had been to NY twice before and yet I had never seen Lady Liberty. As we hailed a cab, we noticed it was beginning to snow - the beginning of the greatest snow fall in Manhattan history! Not really the place for a Georgia-boy!

The cab ride was long and as with all NY city cab rides - fraught with danger.
We arrived at the pavilion at which tickets could be purchased and after a security check, we boarded the ferry that would take us out to the statue. The air was already hovering at freezing temperature, but once the ferry was out into the water, it quickly cooled down almost fifteen degrees. The snow intensified also and was now blowing sideways. Most of the tourists on the ferry retreated to the heated interior except for quick forays onto the deck to snap a quick photo or two.

I often take a 12" GIJOE with me when I travel for photo opportunities, but this jaunt had left me joe-less. Buddy, however, had planned ahead and quickly produced a customized 12" figure. As I stood with the figure so Buddy could get a shot with Liberty in the background, I noticed a few chuckles from a trio of knit capped men who looked to be forty-ish. I immediately assumed they were making fun of our past-time, when suddenly one of them called out, "Eagle-eye!" It took me a minute to realize this was a reference to one of the later versions of GIJOE just before the line was cancelled back in the late 70's. JOE had gained the ability to shift his gaze left and right via a small lever on the back of his head - hence the advertising moniker : "Eagle Eye GIJOE".

Buddy and I walked over to them and found out they were from Glasgow, Scotland and had fond memories of Action Man (the UK version of GIJOE) from when they were kids.
I was immediately struck by the odd connection I suddenly shared with these strangers from half a world away because of a childhood toy and an adult hobby.

We all traded a few memories, some laughs, a business card or two, and then shook hands and said good-bye. We soon arrived at the statue. Buddy and I took photos of each other in the 'John Lennon pose" (see previous post) fighting to keep the lens of our cameras free from snow. It was EXTREMELY cold and since the gift shop was closed and access inside the statue is by reservation only these days, a quick circle round the statue and a few photos later, we were back on the ferry hungry for the warmth it offered.

We quickly evaded the booths of souvenirs, found a cab, averted our gaze from the numerous street performers dressed as the Statue of Liberty (yes...really) and made our way back toward our respective hotels. Time passes quickly when trying to navigate Manhattan and so it wasn't terribly long before our planned dinner at Lamela's, which is a great restaurant in Little Italy. Benson Yee, of Transformers fame met us there and also joining us were John Waterhouse, Tina, and Buddy. What grand hidden conspiracy had placed this unique mix of people at one dinner table remains a mystery. I am sure though, the intent couldn't have been to generate conversation. While there was a great deal of talk, it was hindered by the bachlorette party at the end of the room complete with a few loud, drunken dinner guests. The hi-lite of this display was when the bride-to-be was asked to take a bite of a whip cream-tipped banana - it's base nestled between two scoops of ice cream.

The things you see in New York...

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