NYC Day 4: Hannibal Burress in BK, The Realistic Joneses & ‘Good’ Food

15 Jun


playSunday was our most successful day in a lot of ways*. We’d bought tickets to “The Realistic Joneses'” on Broadway for 3 p.m. and a Hannibal Burress-hosted comedy showcase in Brooklyn for 9 p.m. before we even left Austin. All we had to figure out was where to eat and what to do in the afternoon. We chose an incredible brunch spot, found the gem that is The Highline and made a return to the best dessert spot in the city.

*I’d say in terms of planning things beforehand, this is true; I’d argue that Thursday is the day where we utilized our time best (aka packed in the most). Really, though, as we have shared — every day was kinda perfect in its own way.

highlineA wise man once said the first stop of any Sunday should be brunch. We obliged, heading to Good when we got out of bed Sunday morning. Caitlin’s fancy french toast and my hearty eggs over sourdough were an ideal base for a walk on “The Highline.” The Internet will tell you that “The High Line is a 1-mile New York City linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the elevated former New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan.” It’s such a cool concept and quite enjoyable to walk along. There are several viewing areas with seating along interesting stretches of roads, lots of cool plant life and it’s an impeccably well maintained park overlooking the city. Highly recommend. Every single New Yorker had raved about the High Line to me since it was created in the summer that I lived there, but I’d never had the time to meander along the old train tracks. It’s seriously beautiful, and there are these awesome little viewing areas where you feel like you’re suspended over NYC traffic and the hustle and bustle below.

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Here’s our view from the first row of the balcony at “The Realistic Joneses.'” Now this is a play I can get behind! We were already big fans of three of the four actors, so we knew we’d be in good hands with Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei as one couple and Toni Colette and Tracy Letts as their neighbors. It’s a funny, poignant hour and a half look at two couples who come together in unexpected ways as they share a unique experience. Sorry, trying to not give spoilers for once. It’s sharply written, brilliantly acted and they find such a unique tone. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. I insisted Andy see it when he was in NYC this weekend and suggest you do the same if you can. Seriously, seeing both Toni Collette AND Michael C. Hall in the flesh and blood in a play like this was just magic. I was entranced the whole way through. It’s not a happy play, per se, but it still manages to be delightful in its own dark humor.

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After a quick stop at a forgettable chocolate store (sorry, Jacques Torres!!), we had an OK, not great dinner at The Meatball Shop. I enjoyed my meatballs, but Caitlin wasn’t feeling her veggie ones over pasta*. Then it was time for the thing I’d looked forward to the most. We loved seeing Hannibal at Moontower in Austin in April and he’s quickly becoming my favorite stand-up comedian.

*It just tasted bland. The pasta was kind of weirdly al dente, and the sauce tasted like Ragu or something. Not my cuppa.

The show wasn’t free, as this old poster suggests, but was worth every penny of the $20 a ticket. We weren’t familiar with most of the guests, aside from the woman who does the “Ask Me Another” NPR show, but she and almost all of the other comedians were hilarious*. Even one guy we wouldn’t think we’d like surprised us, pointing out that he’s not just “Brotatsic” as someone complained to Hannibal on Twitter**. But of course, we were there for Hannibal and he was brilliant as ever. He has such a natural ease on stage, whether talking about his ridiculous landlady who spied on him while he rented a house from her in LA for a month or doing some crowd work with a girl who slept till noon and got a Philly Cheesesteak from a bodega, much to the chagrin of her fellow crowd member***. Even though our legs were in pain from standing for the over three hour show after another long day on our feet, we stayed for five supporting acts and Hannibal, who opened and hosted the show. If you’re ever in Brooklyn on a Sunday, go see this weekly gig. We ended the night at Milk for more “Crack Pie” and ice cream and wished we could end every night there.

*I had my concerns about the “Ask Me Another” comedienne, because I’m never that impressed by her “I’ll be funny by being loud” bit on NPR, but she had biting, understated wit at the Knitting Factory.

**It wasn’t me, but might as well have been — I totally went into this guy’s set thinking it’d be over-the-top sexist douchebaggery. I’m not saying there was NONE of that, but I was pleasantly surprised at how light the guy went on that kind of humor.

***He did a “bit” about Bill Crosby that was more of a frustrated rant, and while it didn’t land that well with the audience, I was happy that Hannibal felt it was important to stand against alleged rapists, no matter how charming their Jell-O commercials might have once been.

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