I may not have a lot of friends, but those I do manage to keep around are pretty awesome. And not just because they manage to procure cool stuff that I get to participate in, though that's definitely a plus.

Case in point.

This is the first of the two hotel rooms we stayed in when we went to New York for the Fringe Festival last weekend. This was was the one on 5th Avenue, near Bryant Park.

The shower was so complicated I couldn't even figure out how to use it. Maybe part of the problem was that I it was so big I had to walk back and forth between the walls to turn on different fixtures and if you walked into the shower and stood on the side without the fixtures, you could remain completely clothed because you wouldn't get wet.

This was our free "amenity" from our concierge, Jefoneeff. No seriously, his name was Jef. But I'm pretty confident that that was just a shortened nickname-version of his name. We chose to refer to him by his full given name, Jefoneeff. He gave us his card, his mobile phone, his phone, and his text number, should we need anything, anytime of the day or night. I had to open my own door a couple of times going into the hotel, but I'm gonna let that slide, I guess because Jefoneeff was adorably cute.

I realize it's a pretty sucky "amenity," but consider this, there were two more plums and a tiny, ping pong-sized apple in there before I thought to take a picture. That's pretty awesome, right? OK, maybe not, but the free Diet Cokes, spring water in Vodka-bottle-shaped-plastic-bottles and candy bars in the minibar made up for it partly.

The awesome bed covered the other part. You can see Monica enjoying it here.

That was the first hotel we stayed in. Pretty nice. But nothing compared to the hotel we stayed in in lower Manhattan over the second night. Please let me take you on a tour through the home I wish I had.

The great room.

Other side of the great room, complete with big screen TV #1 equipped with visual ambiance choices. This was the Hubble telescope program.

The bathroom:

This glass wash basin would probably be a huge pain to keep looking clean, but it was my favorite part of the bathroom.

The gigantic shower/tub area with no shower curtain or bathroom door to shield your nakedness from others in the room at the time. I guess people who would normally stay in this room would be beautiful enough to not care a whit if others saw them bending over shaving their legs.

The giant square bathtub made up for the doorless bathroom because you could almost kneel in the full tub and still be up to your chest in water.

The Dressing Area.

TV #2. The back of TV #2 is a mirror and makeup vanity/desk. The box in the center of the room where the robe (complimentary robes and slippers provided) is hanging is the closet/complimentary mini bar.

The Sitting Area.

The Bedroom.

Another Awesome bed. I don't know what they make these beds out of but I'm pretty sure it involves magical elves and cocaine dust. They were so comfortable.

My second favorite thing: coolest way to display a room number I've ever seen.

Oh and let's not forget The Views.

Yes, I said "viewS."

Both cityscape,

and waterfront.

OK, those of you from the wide open spaces may not be all that impressed with the views, but I've stayed in a few hotels in New York and let me just assure you that if you have any window looking out over anything other than a view of another building with some naked guy's butt occasionally strolling by one of the windows or a view of the garbage in the alley with rats and coke whores milling around, THAT'S a pretty awesome view.

Of course that's not to say the view of people sleeping on the streets wasn't an option here too. If you like that sort of thing.

Plus, on the third side view of our room (THIRD SIDE!!) was this:

Who doesn't love a view of the person's apartment across the street who's using his/her window sills for bookshelves and decorates with mannequin arms? No one, that's who!

Total cost for this weekend of luxury accommodations thanks to Monica's superior planning, manipulation and scamming powers: $0.


Zero dollars and zero cents.

Food and entertainment was another story, but we weren't planning on cheaping out for this trip. (Other trips to New York have cost us less than $20 a person including transportation, food, lodging and entertainment, I kid you not, so we felt justified in splurging on this one and spent much of our time in plays and famous chef's restaurants.) I personally could have stay in the hotel rooms the entire three days and still have been as entertained.