Well I got half that done. I made the mistake of going to Models to get RollerBlades. They have a bad selection of cheap skates with dramatically uninformed staff. BUT I have to say it’s not a specialty shop, so they probably deserve a break.
After trying on a few pair I went to http://www.blades.com/ on Broadway, half a block north of Bleecker. These guys kick ass. They know all the stuff, have an amazing selection of nice skates. The prices are lower, but the selection is high-end (about $150 to $400.) The skates I was recommended as a first-time blader were the cheapest pair. Service contract seemed nice (all kinds of maintenance, free replacement, %10 off parts, etc.) so I went for it at $30 for the lifetime.
But, after all this silliness, it was 3:00, so I didn’t have time to go make an ass of myself in c-park. There’s always tomorrow :p