Stag Party – Round 2: NYC

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, USA - New York - NYC | Posted on 12-07-2011


A few weeks prior, my old friend P had given me a bit of a heads up only to the extent that I needed to have my passport on hand and to keep the weekend free. So after a week of letting my liver relax and recover back in Vancouver, I did as I was told and on Thursday night I found myself alone and boarding a plane bound for New York City.

I arrived in Newark, and texted for my next instruction which got me on the train to Penn Station. I exited the station about 11pm and was greeted by a mischievous smirk from my buddy A who’d been at my stag in Vancouver the weekend before and I had no idea he had any involvement with this weekend’s plans. He took me up the escalator, outside into the hustle and bustle of NYC at night, when I was surrounded by hugs from all side. TA was there from the interior of BC, MW was there from Kitchner, PR and CG had strategized this ordeal from Vancouver, and most surprisingly, my buddy DC had flown in from Austin, Texas for a weekend break from biking around the world. For those who don’t know them, these are some of the best bad influences a guy could ever have (Also of amusing note is that I was the only fag/fudgepacker/homo/cocksmoker/etc in the group).

Within 2 seconds, I was being force fed 4Loco energydrink/12% malt liquor/candy hell in a can.

Within 3 minutes of arriving in NYC we were having our ID taken away by the NYPD.

They checked us for warrants, gave us our ID back, told us not to drink in the streets anymore and laughed as they told us to have a good weekend.

A quick cab to the hotel, a change into something more NYC appropriate, and we were rolling out into the night which became a wickedly hazy blur of rounds in dive bars, shots, sex shop VCR cleaning, afghani delis with salad crotches and stupidhotpeppers, gracious burner hippies from Maui, and sleazy gay bars in the village before we ended up back at the hotel crashing out around 6am.

Around noon on Friday morning we all met up and wandered off for some touristy wanderings and Central Park chillout before afternoon snacks of empanadas and sangria. Rainclouds had unleashed a full on thunderstorm, so we cabbed back to the hotel for a siesta. Around 10 we suited up in full force, had a few rounds and rolled out for our reservations at Buddakan for an over the top fantastic tasting menu in a gorgeous room. Around 2 when we finished up, we wandered around looking for some action (“7 dudes can’t get into a club in NYC on a Friday night without paying for table service? who’d have thought!”) before hitting the fallback dive bars, and being somewhat let down that “the city that never sleeps” does actually seem to shut down about 4am [Really NYC? C’mon now]. Unpublishable street antics led us back to the hotel where we had a few rounds before heading to bed about 6.

Saturday afternoon there were some varied plans, so we split into easier to travel groups and me and some boys rolled down to ground zero and soho for a bit. I ended up getting a text from my buddy M who’d been in Vancouver a few months back – ends up him and his bf M were in NYC for the weekend as well, so I left my buddies to shop for their wives in soho and met up with M&M for a few drinks at a kickass whisky bar (Appetizer of the Decade: Bowl of Bacon w/ side of maple syrup and ranch dressing). I’d never had the chance to meet M, but we caught up real fast, and it was a great hangout before they headed off to catch some theatrics.

I caught up with some of the guys back at the hotel, and we headed towards Central Park where a dj we liked was scheduled to play a free festival/show. The police were in the process of shutting it down as we walked up [Really NYC? C’mon now], so we talked our way into some wristbands for the after-party later that night and wandered off to a dive bar for rounds of PBR, popper pool and fat-retarded-hipster-hunting(™). The rest of the guys met up with us as it was getting dark, so we had some greasy deli grub and headed back to the hotel for a quick change and a few bottles, and as a full crew we rolled out…

Rather than heading for an uppity club with a moody lineup and stupid table service fees, we went straight to the heart of the matter and ended up on the rooftop of the seedy homo-haunt staple The Eagle just as it was starting to fill up. M&M came down to meet us, and while some of the guys sat with their backsides safely up against the wall, the locals were friendly, chatty and good-naturedly grabby. My guys had worked out that since I’d already thrown so much non-refundable cash into the wedding that if my fiance were to suddenly die, I’d still have to have the wedding, and they were incredibly helpful in their efforts to find an understudy. Unfortunately though, no one quite compared, and the search proved in vain.

After a head on encounter with a light post, dumpster Alize, convenience store barrages, crackhead punch-ups and some demonstrations of lack of street smarts, we ended up at the after-hours for the afternoon party and rocked out some decent house music in a little loft space. Lost most of the guys along the way, but had a great post-bar walk and talk with C thru Union Square till we found a diner and loaded up on waffles and vitamin B(acon). Crawled into bed around 6, woke up at 9:30 (thanks redbull!) and went out by myself and just grabbed some breakfast and hung out in Times Square for a few hours before it was time to bid some very very fond farewells, and head for the airport for the flights home.

Looking forward to returning to NYC for a more civilized and under the hood visit one day, but as far as good ole’ piss-ups with the boys go, that was one of the finer weekends I may ever experience.

My friends are grown up and scattered across the globe. Our lives don’t overlap very often. I’m on the road 70% of the year, and friendships are no longer maintained by accident or for the sake of convenience. But there’s friendships that don’t turn off, no matter where the bodies go. I’ll say again the lesson gleaned these past couple weekends about how much I feel blessed to have such seriously good friends in my life, and how much it means to have them put in the effort to celebrate past and futures together. Well, that, and the lesson that I owe my liver some downtime 😉

[Addendum in retrospect: Neither of these stags ever entered the usual realm of “the sendoff” – you know that one big final hurrah before the deathveil of marriage lands upon the groom… Instead they were both presented as a celebration of the past, and what’s to come. I think they all clued into what I’ve been feeling in my heart which isn’t really nervousness at all – just a excited and contented sense that things are as they should be.]