Monday, May 11, 2009

New York - day 1

New York was legendary, way beyond any expectations.

We flew in quite early on Thursday morning.

Just as we get out of the airport, the bus to Time Square is leaving. Our hotel is half a block from where she drops us.

We check in at the creepy Carter hotel. Our room is actually quite ok. I haven’t seen a single bug the whole time I was there, which is a net improvement over the two previous times.

We start walking towards downtown, all the way from Time Square to the Staten Island ferry terminal at the southern point of the island. We hop on for the free back and forth ride.

The sun is starting to show itself so we start looking for a terrace, to have lunch. We end up in little Italy, where we chose a nice restaurant with a terrace on the sidewalk. The waiter brings us the menu, I stop him in his track and ask my usual:

Me: Don’t feel like reading, what’s the specialty, what can’t we miss.
Him, typical waiter answer: Depends on what you want, we got great fish, chicken is good…
Me, interrupting: no no no. What’s the best, what would you order right now?
Him, seeing that I actually trust him and that I’m not just trying to make him bear the responsibility of me not enjoy my meal or my life in general– many people are like that: Oh, the Osso Bucco.
Me: splendid. I look at Harry, he confirms. Twice. With two beers.
Him: Perroni?
Me: sure!

The osso bucco is superb, beers are good. Man this trip is starting well.

It starts to rain. Really hard. We’re covered by the awning but the wind sometimes blows a cold mist on us. The timing is perfect though, we could still be looking for a restaurant.

Just as we finish our meal, the rain stops. My left foot starts to hurt, in a way that I’m way too familiar with. It happened the last time I came to NY, almost two years ago. The first time, I thought it was because I had started wearing a new pair of shoes a few days before. But now I understand. It’s because I’ve walked for way too long in my flip flops.

Damn. So my beloved blue flip flops actually destroy the muscles in my foot if I wear them too much. Good to know.

At this point, I’m hoping it’s gonna pass. I take off my flip flops and I start walking the wet streets of Manhattan barefoot. People hardly notice. But when they do, they don’t get it. I don’t exactly look hippie.

We go back to the hotel, to take a shower and change. We go down to the Flat Iron Lounge, an old school cocktail bar.

My feet are killing me. I feel bad, cause we just got in for three days in NY which by definition means walking over a 100 miles. It’s Harry’s first time in NY and I don’t want to be a drag.

At the Flat Iron, we manage to find a spot at the bar. We start to chat with the bartender. He doesn’t seem to want to talk to us too much. We insist, we ask questions, we’re being nice and interested. He loosens up. By our third drink, he engages conversation, makes us try tiny sips of alcohol we just can’t get at home. He buys us drinks. We ask for a nice restaurant with a bar we can sit at and some ambiance. He suggests the garage, at the corner of two streets I totally have forgotten about.

We get there, find two seats at the bar. There’s a jazz band playing, they’re pretty good. We order a few appetizers and an entree that we’ll just share.

We tease the barmaid a little, she stays somewhat distant. People around us don’t seem to want to talk. This place is ok, but really not the mood I was expecting. She still offer the shots of whisky we ordered. We had ordered three jacks, but she poured a jameson for herself. I think that’s being overly picky but whatev.

We leave the restaurant quite hammered and go for the tiny little park just next block. When we get there, some big scary black guy with a shaved head, a big beard and eyes that don’t seem perfectly sane come to ask us for money. I steer the discussion away and ask him if he can get us some weed.

He says we’ll have to give him some money. Whatever, we know we’ll be overcharged, were’s tourists, but we really want some weed.

So Harry leaves with him while I stay here in the park, with his friends the flamboyant 50 something homosexual Albert, who insists that I sit on his lap the whole time, and cookie, the tranny hooker with a deep voice. This is funny.

Harry comes back with the crazy black dude and signals me that everything’s ok. Well sorta. We just paid 200$ Us for something that we pay around 20$ at home. Oh well, we didn’t come here on a budget.

We smoke one with the crazy black dude and take a cab back to time square. We’re happy, a little drunk and completely high. This night was perfect, but it’s nothing compared to what’s ahead. But we don’t know that yet, so we’re on this cloud.

We sit on two mailbox right on freakin time square and we watch people walk by. Funnily, that’s probably where we had the most interactions all day. Some guy takes a picture of us. The hottest girl we’ve seen all day, a tall and beautiful asian chick, asks us if we know a good stripjoint around. And she sticks for a little while even when we told her we didn’t know. Had we not been high, we would have definitely went with her, but this is not our trip right now.

After a while, we go back to the hotel to smoke another one and we get to sleep.

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