Saturday, June 03, 2006

A British kind of day

We put in our name this afternoon at Alice's Tea Cup, Chapter II, on East 64th, and they told us it would be half an hour to 45 minutes. We turned around and a woman at the entranceway said something to the effect of "This place has gotten so popular, you need to call two weeks in advance to get a reservation." And it didn't seem like she was joking, even though you could totally read that last sentence and think otherwise. There is a way that some people say such things about restaurants here that makes them proud of the inconvenience. This is one part of New York I can't quite buy into. Maybe if I had more disposable income, I'd be into playing this game. But there are so many choices here in the city—if I ever were to happen upon a restaurant that has a two-week waiting list, I'd probably just ditch it and find somewhere else.

As it turned out, there were two tables outside, under the awning, in from the rain, so we whiled away the time until our number was called, and they escorted us upstairs to a nice table in front of a bank of windows that filled the room with a lot of light despite the drizzly day. The tea was delicious, even without milk or sugar. Ditto for the chocolate peanut butter scone and the somewhat spicy (crustless) tuna salad sandwich. I'm always amused by the variety of people you see in Alice's—from a party of little girls and their moms to a table full of UES ladies and everyone in between. Both U2 and Rufus playing on the sound system.

Another highlight of the afternoon was the AngloMania exhibit at the Met, a crazy mix of haute couture and punk-rock style on mannequins positioned in irreverent poses around the English period rooms. I've never been to a runway show, but this gave a nice flavor of the experience. All manner of materials for mohawk headpieces: broken vinyl records, plastic dolls' legs, and yes, even tampons. Plus, there's an audio recording by punk icon Johnny Rotten up on the museum's website: "The Sex Pistols have had an enormous influence ... Everybody's copied from us and nobody's really acknowledged where those ideas came from." He then goes on to tick off the problems that hampered Britain during the '70s and helped lead to the rise of punk. Nothing groundbreaking, but still fun to hear the guy doing an art guide recording.

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