This is the 1st of a four-part series discussing my recent trip to New York City for a writer’s conference.
New York is a special place. Even now, as I write this a week after getting back, I believe this. I can see why so many people consider it the greatest city in the world.
My trip started at 2:30 when the alarm went off. Jaysus, the only time I ever want to see 2:30 AM on a clock is when I’m still up. Preferably after a couple bottles of wine and some good times with good friends.
We slept for about four hours. Turns out I’m not much of a late evening person
That’s not entirely accurate, though. My hair always looks good. The plane rides themselves went off fairly routinely, despite a patch of turbulence as we flew over the Great Lakes. See, I’m not a great flyer. I believe that if humans were meant to fly, we would have wings. For me, it doesn’t make sense to somehow fly in the air in a fifty-ton metal machine.
So Mikey didn’t get a lot of sleep. But we did start the drinking. It makes sense that you can have a drink when you’ve been up for seven hours already, right? Even though it’s TECHNICALLY only 9:30 AM back home. Turns out wine tastes really, pretty good in the AM. I only got a semi-dirty look from the flight attendant, too!
Watching the vaunted New York skyline from the plane was awe-inspiring. It was like…
First impressions? Everybody looks like they’re late for something. People have annoyed expressions on their face, and there are people EVERYWHERE. I mean, to put it in perspective, I walked to work the other day in Winnipeg and passed about 6 people. In New York, I passed six people in about fifteen seconds.
But the eerie thing is this: nobody ever touches. It’s weird, right? How in the righteous hell do you get 100 people trying to cross the street at the same time without a single person bumping into one another? It seems orchestrated, almost.
Also, that NYC accent is a real thing. We sat down to lunch on the first day and, quite innocently, overheard a conversation between a couple of New Yorkers.
“You know they keep calling it Torontah, when it’s Torannah. I can’t believe they can’t say it right.” All I could think about was that Andy Samberg sketch about Mark Wahlberg.
I wish I were joking. That Queens accent is strong. It’s almost like it’s got an Italian twang to it. It was on full display at the Mets game… but that’s for another post. Guess you’ll have to mash that “subscribe” button, so you don’t miss the next one 😉
What do you do in a foreign city, running on four hours of sleep, what do you do?
We clocked over sixteen kilometers that day. We saw…
- Bryant Park
- The New York Public Library
- The Chrysler Building
- Grand Central Terminal
- Times Square
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
And probably some other stuff too. Like I said, I was running on fumes. We had heard some pretty awesome things about the food in New York and so far… we are 50%. One for two. The lunch spot was pretty average. This was when we were both hungry enough to eat pretty much anything, too.
Also, if you’re the clerk behind the desk in a Manhattan hotel, I kind of expect you to know one or two good restaurants around the area. It’s New York for chrissakes! There is literally good food everywhere. You haven’t even heard of one good restaurant? Come on, Cindy, get your crap together!
Anyway, nothing special about lunch. Dinner, though, was incredible. We stumbled onto this hole in the wall place which served Italian food and oh man was it good. I had a seafood pasta in a tomato sauce that was better than pretty much any other pasta I’ve ever had
It just goes to show that sometimes it’s better to get off the beaten path. Although maybe that metaphor doesn’t work in a city where EVERY path is well-traveled.
What did we learn from day one in NYC?
1) Don’t go to the big city if you don’t like crowds.
2) Don’t buy your wine from a Walgreen’s. It wasn’t wine, it was juice. Forty dollars of juice. It’s not a great time. Also didn’t help that I had to carry it about 4-5 kilometers as we looked for our hotel.
3) Always double-check the address of the hotel so you don’t get lost walking there. It might just add on four kilometers to your step counter. My Pokémon Go! Step counter had a great time in NYC, though. 80kms, or about 50 miles, when all was said and done.
Yeah, I still play.
4) You get free booze on international flights. That includes flying between Toronto and New York when the flight time is 55 minutes gate to gate. It’s international, after all. You’re welcome.
5) The class fish died! This is breaking news at the writing of this post. Sorry, kids. I think. For context, my girlfriend is a teacher. It’s a fish. Can’t really be that traumatic, right? Give it a Viking funeral in the toilet and call it a day.
Stay tuned for the next three parts of the NYC series.