Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Round The World Travel: Manhattan, New York City

Where I was

Manhattan.  And honestly what is there to say that hasn't been said by authors far superior to me?  I suspect, despite those myriad differing opinions and accounts, that they are all true, because the only things I can state with certainty about the city is that you have zero idea of what might possibly happen next and that you'd have to be dead not to enjoy it.

Where I stayed

Still in Brooklyn, to bastardise Arcade Fire the land where 'no cabs go', it's but a 20 minute subway ride to Manhattan itself.

What I read

'Breakfast At Tiffany's' - Truman Capote
'Catcher in the Rye' - J.D. Salinger
Classic New York tales that had to be reread.  Gratifying to realise how little everything has changed when you take the mobile phones away.

What I scarfed

Porkslap Ale, solely so Dani could snigger as she ordered it.  Ice cream covered entirely in rainbow sprinkles - why don't we do this more in Britain? So pretty!  Baseball stadium hotdogs, with Crackerjacks for dessert.

What I listened to

The seemingly random musical interludes of baseball, men in bars telling us what 'big deals' they are, a none too professional sounding rap troupe on the subway, jazz on the High Line, honking cabs.

What I did

Took the Staten Island ferry for a free 50 minute round trip past the Statue of Liberty and some great views of Manhattan on the way back.  Ignored everyone who said there was nothing on Staten Island and, true enough, all I found was a guy who performed a two block rapey rap about my backside.

Saw the Mets lose at Citi Field. Ate for the better part of the three hours then used Dani's exceptional tatty bojangles to frighten a teenage boy usher into letting us down to the expensive seats.

Drank pitchers of ale on the top deck of the Frying Pan barge bar while the sun set over New Jersey.

Tried to vist the Cloisters only to find it closed, so comforted myself with the fact I went to university in a real medieval quadrangle thus could live without visiting a replica one.  The gardens it's situated in were very beautiful, however, and a breather from the city.

Hailed a cab. Feigned nonchalance.

Spent so long marvelling at the magnificent displays in the Met museum that I physically could not walk another step.  Tried to leave about four times and kept stumbling upon more amazing displays.  The decor is cleverly matched to each individual exhibition, so it really feels like you're walking through different worlds. Not to be missed.

Got vertigo in the Guggenheim while marvelling at the architecture with it's very low walls and spiralling long drop.  Remembered I struggle with modern art.

Walked the length of the High Line, a disused railway that runs along the river and was rescued from demolition by the 'friends of the high line' to be turned into a beautiful garden with sculptures, musicians and, on the day I chose, a wedding.

Ate bagels in Central Park and spotted a black squirrel. Didn't previously know those existed.

Took the Rooselvelt Island Tram across the river purely because it was in Spiderman 2. Tried to quietly smother the child who screamed gleefullly, "We're going to craaaaaassshhh!!!" as I remembered I'm sometimes spooked by heights.

Got rid of the mean reds with a trip to Tiffanys.  Didn't quite work up the courage to ask to try on my future engagment ring.

Went to Arlene's Grocery for the free Monday night gig (The Last Good Year - tight, American rock in the Kassidy vein, adorably polite). Nick and Norah fans will know just how very excited I was to visit even if I didn't make out with Michael Cera under false pretense.

Wandered the grand and hushed halls of the Public Library. Free and gorgeous.

Spent hours browsing in Pearl Paints, a fantastic art emporium on Canal Street.  The rest of the street is seriously ropey, but it's worth a visit and a quick escape back to Soho.

Bought nougat in Little Italy in some complex, authentically Italian transaction in which the less I asked for the more he gave me, till I gave up lest I be eating it forevermore.

Visited the odd, but very charming Italian American Museum.

Was deeply unsettled by Cosmopolis.  Spent rest of the night waiting to be shot.  Though considering the news over the next few days, it's possible that wasn't Cronenberg's fault.

Got sucked into the vortex of the Broadway Comedy Club and its performers in a brilliant night that started with their supremely amusing show and ended at dawn on a roof garden in Tribeca and a race to get to the station for my train.

Knights of the Met
The Guggenheim main atrium
Lombardi's Pizzeria
Pretty building in Soho
Batman's dermatologist
New York Public Library
Central Park
An awesome idea
NYSX, or the site of the world's downfall
Rockafeller Centre
Modern art, or a doodle? Who knows?
Museum of Natural History

King Henry VIII's fat suit

Curing the mean reds
View from Central Park 

Inside the library
The view from the Roosevelt Island Tram

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