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understudy blues and the day we finally get into shake shack

Day 82-83 Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, back to Broadway, Studio 54


We lose both our umbrellas in the torrents of rain and wind crashing down on everyone. They committed suicide as we rushed across the intersection to get to Shake Shack on Fulton Street. We're back in Brooklyn, drenched and dodging infuriated, gridlocked drivers. 


It's on this Fulton Street corner that I learn why you don't stand near the gutter while waiting to cross in the pouring rain. A rushing car spatters water all over me and suddenly, I'm that person shouting, "ASSHOLE!" on a Brooklyn intersection. Classic.


Inside, we've beaten the lunch crowd and gotten a great table with a view of the people getting lashed with water and wind. Shake Shack is our chosen shelter. I am overjoyed that I've finally gotten here and skite about it for the rest of the day. I Beautiful Mind the menu and place my order stat. 

The burgers are greasy, salty, and a dream. They look picture perfect. The cheese fries are a veritable heart attack, slippery yellow cheese getting everywhere. I get a malted shake of course.    


I'm sure Cobble Hill is a great place to wander round when it's not pouring down. Book Court is our next get-out-of-the-rain stop, followed by a rifle through Beacon's Closet where I find, but don't buy, a Rachel Antonoff Forever Crush sweatshirt for $20, chambray Vans for $18, and a pretty yellow cotton top made in Paris for $5.


After a few hours at Barnes & Noble wandering the stacks and taking up a corner table in a cafe for the price of one coffee, the downpour stops. 


For $2.50 each, we get two cream cheese and jelly on cinnamon bagels from La Bagel Delight on Court Street. The cream cheese is a brick inside. It's the best. So far, this leg of the trip has been characterised by ungainly walks in big jackets, restless wanderings in bookstores, and food. Lots of food.


I think I'm still recovering from the bad weather and the bagel the next day. I can barely get myself out of bed but we have to head towards Studio 54 to watch Emma Stone and Alan Cummings in Cabaret.


Just before we go in, we eat pizza at Ray's Pizza. It's the first white pizza I've ever eaten and it's kind of underwhelming. We check the Four Square ratings and comments and one tip describes it as the most depressing seating area in Manhattan. I look around. It's sort of true but I kinda appreciate the dirty Vietnamese bathroom interior look they've gone for. In front of us, two burly, red-cheeked men eat three pizza slices each with gusto. I think one of them even has a beeper.


I won't lie. We bought our Cabaret tickets, not because of a deep and abiding love of a Broadway classic set in Nazi-era Berlin, but because we wanted to begoggle Emma Stone. I've loved her since Easy A. I think Rob just wants to see cute ladies in lingerie. Which explains his reticence when I suggest we buy heavily discounted Once tickets or see Ewan McGregor in The Real Thing instead.

Imagine our horror when we stride into the Studio 54 lobby and the guy taking tickets is shouting on repeat, "MIZZ EMMA STONE WILL NOT BE PLAYING TONIGHT." Behind us, a girl says, "I bet this theatre is full of super bummed people right now." And the winner for Miss Perception 2014 is....




We're seated in the nosebleed section but at least the theatre isn't a barn. We can see the entire stage nice and easy, even if our knees are pressed almost to our noses. I pity any person taller than me on these seats. And that's basically eighty percent of everyone on that mezzanine. 


Andrea Goss understudies despite the audience barely bothering to rub two fingers together when Sally Bowles is first announced by Alan Cummings. Poor understudy. She gets us back by ramming through Maybe This Time and Cabaret like she's determined to lift the roof off the building. Alan Cummings is nearly 50 but still has a six pack. I know this because he's lolling about on stage in suspenders with nothing on underneath.


It's only after we're leaving Studio 54 that I start to appreciate how beautiful it is. There's a Versailles-like Hall of Mirrors with chandeliers and soaring ceilings. Later, my Manhattan born-and-bred Tita tell us about the time she went to Studio 54 in the 70s, wearing a red silk dress. "There were drugs everywhere," she exclaimed. A few days later when Rob and I stumble across Tod Papageorge's recently released book, Studio 54, we suspect some heavy editing in her narration.


Outside, flurries of light snow drift to the ground. Rob's overjoyed. It's been decades since he's seen fallen snow. Again, in a repeat of my Rockefeller Centre and polka dot raincoat debacle, I'm wearing a borrowed black jacket that's leagues thinner than my usual quilted anorak. I'm rushing through the streets to get to the subway and Rob is slowing down to a crawl to snap photos.


The lights of Time Square glow down the street like a nuclear reactor. Somehow we make it underground and back home.


Because we obviously haven't had enough pizza for today, when we find out that the famed Joe's Pizza is around the corner from the apartment, we can't not get a whole pie to bring home for everyone.


I shake a downpour of what I think is parmesan on top of our pepperoni pizza then send Rob off to rush the pizza home before it gets cold in the snow storm. I divert into Trader Joe's Wines and get ID'ed. Must be the beanie with the bow on my forehead.

Later, I find out it was garlic seasoning I dumped on top of the pizza. Slight heartburn and vampire-hindering breath doesn't stop me though because Joe's Pizza is the kind of greasy pick-me-up food you crave.


star spotting and two pools in the ground

off the island