Monday, 30 March 2009

New York New York

So good I named this blog twice. New York is, and has been ever since I first stepped foot here some 6 years ago, my favourite city in the world. I love everything about it and when I realised that flying home from Atlanta meant a change in Newark, it seemed rude not to take the opportunity to spend a couple of days here. When I found out that would, bizarrely, save me money too, well I just couldn't believe my luck.

With the tiredness of the past week wreaking havoc with our bodies and minds, we arrived in The Big Apple ready for a fairly laid back, cultural 48 hour stop, so it was probably a poor decision to book into the International Hostel on Amsterdam Avenue where I've enjoyed so many days of youthful, reckless fun in the past. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a bit of wild behaviour every now and again, but sitting, tired and hungover surrounded by hundreds of loud, ugly German college students, you can't help but feel your age.

The thing I love about NYC is the constant sightseeing. Don't bother with the Statue of Liberty, it's just crowded and looks no better close-up than it does from Manhattan or the free ferry. The Empire State Building is nice, if a little windy and pant-dampening, if you're a heights hater like me, but the best things to see here, in my opinion, cost nothing. Walk across The Brooklyn Bridge, through Central Park and up and down the many, many carefully laid out streets. Earlier today we watched cops throw a man up against Starbucks window, search and arrest him. You can't put a price on joy like that.

Yesterday we began our day at Tom's Restaurant (the one from Seinfeld) on 110th Street before walking all the way down to 39th where we met Andrew WK for a drink and a wander around Times Square. We followed his recommendation and had an amazing meal at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in the stunning Grand Central Station main terminal and then walked home via a good old fashioned New York thunderstorm. Just another strange old day on a very weird and wonderful trip. God bless this country.

I'm in the hostel now. The German kids from yesterday have been replaced by English ones and my accent immediately sounds less impressive. Our flight home leaves at 9 and a taxi is booked to collect us from here in 10 minutes. If I never have to go through another airport security check it'll be too soon. Some guy in Atlanta confiscated my bottle of 'Megasoreass' hot sauce from Texas and I get the impression that nobody ever believes a single answer I give at customs. Must be something about my face. I'm considering watching all three Godfather films on the plane home.

See you on the other side


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