While I was down there, I decided to go on a little food-finding mission. Someone recently made me aware of an influx of the rare Asiatic fruit, the Mangosteen (both legal and otherwise). Whole webpages have been devoted to this fruit; I had no recollection of ever having tasted it, even though I'm fairly certain I had sampled it at some point when I was in Thailand decades ago. It had been illegal to import it due to pest concerns and until very recently no one had managed to cultivate the tree here in the states.
However just this past summer the US legalized importation of irradiated mangosteens, while at the same time someone in Florida managed to breed them, so they've slowly began seeping into the NY market. At some specialty food shops, it was reported they were selling the things for $15 a pound! Good thing we have Chinatown - they usually have these sort of things cheaper, and also, there's a number of illegal shipments that come into town.
As I picked up the various elements of Thanksgivingy goodness, I scanned each store and fruit cart for the elusive fruit. Dorian, lychee, longan all were plentiful and everywhere... but no mangosteen.
But then, out of nowhere, there on Canal Street, nestled on the side of one of the vegetable carts, were indeed the mangosteens of legend, at nearly 1/4 the price listed in the Times - $7 for 2 lbs. Sold!
Later in the evening, my friends and I were on the 1 train headed up to the 2007 Gotham Girls Roller Derby League Championships - the defending, two-time champions the Queens of Pain versus the undefeated Bronx Gridlock. It was magnificent. The happiness began at ticket check-in, where my favorite Manhattan Mayhem player, Tankerbelle, was handling the door. She's so angelic looking, but on the track... so very, very mean!
Coming into the match I had no set team to cheer for, but before the game the announcers asked the crowd to cheer for their favorite team, and the majority of the attendees roared for the current champions, The Queens of Pain. Which meant I automatically had to cheer for the Bronx Gridlock - I hate the bandwagon.
Sitting amongst my friends, most of whom were Queens of Pain fans, wearing small, paper crowns, I was delighted when the Gridlock took the early lead. After the first half, they had nearly doubled the Queens score, something like 54 to 28.
But in the second half, the Gridlock went into clock killing mode and the Queens of Pain began coming back. The Queens star captain, Suzy Hotrod, had two amazing jams, scoring 9-0 and 14-0, to bring the Queens of Pain back within 3 points with 2 minutes left to go. But a final, amazing effort from lanky, speedy and virtually unstoppable league MVP Bonnie Thunders of the Bronx, held off the Queens of Pain, giving them the Gridlock the 2007 Championship! An amazing, down-to-the-wire match!
Afterwards I was supposed to go to a birthday party at a karaoke joint in Times Square called Spotlight. I'd actually been to this place before - it's a huge, sprawling theme restaurant type deal, with a big stage where you sing your songs, with backup singers and dancers. Not a bad idea, but their song list was very limited and the place was half empty when I went earlier this year.
Well, it's empty no more - the line was around the block by the time I got there just before midnight. To make matters worse, my phone was dead, so I couldn't even call the birthday girl that I couldn't get in.
So instead I headed to the Gotham Girls afterparty at a bar called Manitoba in the East Village. Crowded, and not really great for conversation, but fun to see the Derby girls in their civvies. It turns out that other friends of ours were apparently at a karaoke bar called Second and Second, and then moved to another one on St. Marks called Sing Sing. But by the time we caught up with them, they were just at a regular bar.
No karaoke for Shy. Sigh.