Thursday, May 22, 2008

New York. Part 2

Last year, when I went on my trip, one of my quests was to hit up a Gen-You-Wine New York deli. I ended up eating at Lenny’s a whole bunch. Now, don’t get me wrong, Lenny’s is great. But it’s not super authentic. I was doubly bummed out when Matt went a month or two later and Peter took him to Katz’s. I was jealous. It was a must on this trip.

Sunday was rain. Lots of rain. So our plans for Brooklyn were scrapped and we went to Katz’s. This place is crazy.

First up, when you order, they give you a tiny little helping of meat to get the motor primed for some serious eating. The sandwich was 13 dollars or something like that, which seems a bit crazy, but you definitely have 13 dollars worth of meat on that sandwich. Throw fries into the mix…

I left my rain jacket on as a crude form of bib. And the root beer isn't mine. Peter's looks better than mine.

The look in our eyes is fear.

It took a while for us to hammer through the meal. We all felt pretty crappy afterwards. Nobody really wanted to do anything but I made them take me to Grand Central station. Then, I let Ruth and Peter go on their way and I wandered around the base of the Chrysler building. Grand Central is pretty crazy.

Originally we had planned on meeting up with Ruth’s friend Annie in Brooklyn, but the rain killed it. I was wandering around downtown and Annie texted me, so I decided to head out there for a bit. We ended up getting a bit gassed on Margaritas in Park Slope with a few of her friends, and then hit the rooftop deck at her friends place for Champagne and a bit of a Sunset. It was definitely worth the trip. View the expanded version of this photo and you can just make out the Statue of Liberty in the left-most portion of the skyline.

With a somewhat slow Sunday, I had some serious plans for Monday. There were a lot of things I hadn’t seen and wanted to see, and a few things I needed to see again.

First up,
Central Park. I don’t know how to describe to you how peaceful and calming that park can be. Last year, some of my favourite times were just walking around and having a nap. Unfortunately the weather was a bit of a mixed bag. I sat in my nap spot and ate my Lenny’s and it was time to move on.

I walked through a part of Central Park I’d never seen. This big fountain was pretty interesting and European. All those people you see though? Extras. They were filming some crappy RomCom with Will Arnet, and wouldn’t let me walk around. If I had realized it was the girl from Veronica Mars that was in it, I probably would have hung out a bit longer. I thought about yelling out “I love you Gob!”, but I didn’t.

I decided that I needed to see a bit more Brooklyn than I had up to this point. On my way there, I encountered an interesting phenomenon. As I walked towards the subway with my map in hand, a man with his kid stopped me and asked if everything was okay or if I needed directions. I knew where I was going, I just needed cross streets, so I thanked him and went on my way.

I got to the Subway and none of my maps really detailed
Brooklyn so I wasn’t sure which stop to go to. There were a couple of ladies, dressed nicely with a few kids. They seemed like a safe bet to ask for directions. Holy shit. They wouldn’t even talk to me. They just kept blabbering “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and walked away. Some guy saw this and came over and offered up help. He didn’t really know where I was going either, but it was nice that he asked.

So, on to Dumbo, which everybody seems to be talking about. I think I was in the right place, but it seemed kind of empty. I took a few pictures of
Manhattan and the Brooklyn bridge and then moved on to Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn Heights had a very Cosby Show feel to it (which makes sense, as that’s where it was set). It made me want to sit on some stoops and hang out. The promenade gives some nice views of the city and the main street through the middle has some small town feeling shops in it. I also saw a young guy arguing with a squirrel. Like, really getting into it. He challenged it to a fight and threatened to rip its head off.

I decided that I couldn’t come this close to it and not visit hipster central, Williamsburg. Once again, it was off my maps and I had a hard time figuring out where I needed to go. I took a guess that where the “L” Train intersected “G” would be a good bet. I think I nailed it, but I did manage to wander into Green Point a bit. This is the corner of 7th and Bedford, hipster central, just in case the bicycles didn't give it away.

I have to admit that, for a while, I felt a little bit out of my comfort zone. Not that it was scary or anything…it was just so empty. A little bit run down. Not very touristy. And I got a bit lost. I finally wandered out to 7th and Bedford (heart of Williamsburg) and I saw the appeal of the place. It reminds me a bit of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. A few more dive bars, a few less boutiques. I wandered the street and then had to pop in to a dive bar to take a pee. I somehow managed to hit the place L Magazine awarded as Best Dive Bar on the Edge of Hipsterization. Didn’t even mean to.

I stopped at a Whole Foods in
Columbus Circle on the way home so that I could buy some beer. What a gong show. The line-up to pay was wrapped halfway around the store. It moved pretty quickly though. Oh, I saw John Heder shopping for groceries with his wife and kid. He doesn’t look nearly as stupid in real life. I guess he’s filming for the RomCom as well.

I finally made it home and got my pre-drink on for the Titus Andronicus/Los Campesinos! show. It took a few subways to get there. Never ride the J train. What a piece of shit. Especially from
Fulton Street. This other guy was looking for the same train as me. We were both running around like idiots. He’d go up a staircase, I’d go down one. We’d run by each other and compare notes. We finally found it and had to wait 20 minutes for a train.

I rolled into the Bowery Ballroom just as Titus Andronicus was starting up. There’s just kids! The album is super good, but I feel like their live show needs to be left to ripen a bit more. It was enjoyable, but I don’t think I would have hunted out the band on the strength of their live show.

I was pleasantly surprised by Los Campesinos! There album has a pretty strong annoyance factor to it. The female vocals are a bit too sugary. However…live…very good. Super high energy. The vocals are all pushed to the back a bit. And the girls in the band are kind of hot. I will see them when they come to Vancouver. Seeing them twice in a two month span is a far cry from not really wanting to see them at all.

The ride home was no better than the ride there. Maintenance too the "J" train down and we sat there forever waiting for the train. I finally bailed out and bumped into some German dude that was doing the same. I promised him I knew where I was going and was reasonably happy to find a subway station more-or-less where I thought it would be. We had a good chat and was a bit bummed with myself when he displayed the multiple business cards he had scored from girls at the show. He'd even lined up some drinks for the next day. I wasn't that motivated, I guess.

No comments: