May 2011

So the last few weeks in New York have been fairly quiet. It’s all building up to the arrival of my lady from London next weekend for Memorial weekend. Woo hoo, extra long weekend in New York City with the lady! Good times will surely roll. Having not seen the lady in 6 weeks we have a lot to catch up on. It will be most excellent to just spend time with her, I think 6 weeks has been the longest we’ve been apart in our 6 year courtship. Far too long in my eyes! We do have some plans to go out and enjoy the city…

Plans so far include:
- Brunch at The Smith, over in the East Village – Eggs benedict all the way!
- Bowling at The Gutter in Brooklyn – who doesn’t love a bit of ten pin bowling to wile away the hours
- Going to the movies to watch the new Pirates of the Carribean and also Hangover 2
- A trip to Professor Thoms, of course!
- An afternoon in Williamsburg – I fell in love with t’other weekend, so I hope she will too
- A visit to Sephoria & Origins, for me lady to stock up on her womanly stuff!
- A walk around Central Park, the last time me lady visited the park was covered in wintery goodness, so it will be cool to see it in spring

I’m sure they’ll be some other cool stuff too, but it’s only a flying visit this time around. The big trip will come in July/August time.

So with only five sleeps to go until Gem arrives, I can hardly contain my excitement!

Over & out
G

macho man randy savage
Today is a sad, sad day in the world of wrestling. Randall Poffo, better known to the world as Macho Man Randy Savage of WWF fame, has sadly passed away. He was involved in a car accident after suffering a heart attack behind the wheel of his vehicle. RIP Macho Man

williamsburg
So after a few attempts to find the L train near my apt, I finally found the holy grail. Granted, it is hidden away down a very peculiar industrial estate type area, so I can be excused for not finding it straight away. A few stops down the line, I exited the L train for Williamsburg – which quite frankly is my new favourite place in New York.

Willysburg, as the kids on the street refer to it, is a very cool kind of neighbourhood – much like Shoreditch in London but without all the knobheads that hangout there. The area has been through alot of gentrification in the last few years and is now a hub for indie rock, hipster culture and those in the art community.

I had heard on the ‘vine that Williamsburg was renowned for it’s graffiti, and the ‘vine wasn’t wrong. Most of my day in Williamsburg was spent hunting out the different areas that had the most street art and taking a shed load of photos – and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

Most of my photos can be found here

I had a few beers in the number of cool bars I found along my way. All in all, a great day out & I can’t wait to return with Gemma early next month.

Over & out
G

Wow, what an experience! So as a starter to my tale I should say, for the first few weeks of my American life, I have been purchasing my groceries either on the fly at the little corner shop at the end of my street or by going to the bigger overpriced organic grocery store near by.

Today, however, I decided to venture out and visit one of those Mega Marts I’d seen on American TV as a kid, in the hope that prices wouldn’t be half as bad. I was to be slightly disappointed when I found my nearest ‘super’ market – it wasn’t a Mega Mart, it wasn’t even a Lidl or Netto – it was Food Bazaar off Myrtle Ave!

Upon first impression, it was a slightly run down, cramp, decrepit hole. To be honest, my first impression were not far wrong.

Maneuvering through the aisles with my basket (I had no hope in hell with a trolley) was like playing Mario Kart at 3am after 12 pints and a dirty kebabland work of joy. Often on a Sunday mid-morning visit to Tesco, down Bromley by Bow, you’d have the odd kid running wild – this place was like a creche with all the kids high off some E number. Joy.

Foodwise, to give the place some kinda credit, was fairly decent. A wide selection of produce. Only problem I found is that I didn’t know what would taste like spaz. The pictures on boxes and tins gave no real indication of what was a high brand, or what could possibly be shavings off the local mortuary floor. I could try going for the brands I knew, but you’d be paying double the price – and the prices were quite high as it was. Point to note, cheese & bagels will need reconsidering next time – price far too high for the amount of crappy orange cheese and bagels purchased.

After 20 minutes of living hell, I decided that maybe I have enough food to last me a fair amount of time before having to visit this place again, I ventured towards the checkout. Chaos ensured as I came within view of the checkouts. The cramped constraints I found previously were much worse towards the front of the store. Trolleys piled high with various amounts of crappy food products, trolley after trolley. I finally found myself a queue, which obviously didn’t move for 15 minutes.

I almost gave up on my basket and hightail it outta the place, but I noticed a space open up a few aisles down, quickly stepping in to fill the space and I was now only three baskets from the front of the checkout. I could almost smell the freedom.

To my joy, the queue moved at a steady pace until I was finally face to face with my checkout lady. It was my time to shine, my time to live the american dream, my tim….oh it’s just like the UK…except with out a friendly, cheery waitrose checkout lady smiling back at you. Although, they did double bag my stuff – silver lining and all that. Scanning my bank card I was quickly outta the place and heading home. Unpacking my stuff I realised that just like the UK, never go shopping with a hunger on. Just don’t do it. You get home and see you’ve bought a bunch of schiz that you’ll never eat, they’ll sit in your fridge or cupboard to be forgotten about, however, at the prices I paid today I’ll ensure that some how I’ll eat just about everything & anything.

Next time, I think I’ll stick with my overpriced organic grocery store…. although there are rumours that there’s an altogether different type of super market a few blocks away and with a name like Associated Supermarket how could I go wrong….

To be continued….

NYC Skyline
So, I have been in the good ol’ US of A for 24 days now, in that time, I have managed to have a brush in with the NYPD, travelled to Boston to see the mighty, mighty Red Sox in action, located my favourite drinking establishment and fallen in love with the area of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All of which will be told in future posts.

I have settled in to my new apt over in Brooklyn, it’s a nice place in an ‘ok’ neighbourhood around 40 minutes in to work each day. It’s located 10 minutes from two different train lines, which is great for getting in to Manhattan.

Work is good. I’m starting to feel settled in the office. Working in the Chrysler Building is a privilege. I get to see New York from such a great height – we are based on the 31st floor – although the Sales boys & girls get much better view from side of the office. I have been out on the little balcony but I soon remembered that I don’t like heights. Even now, thinking about it gives me the shivers. This week we have a ‘Welcome to the US, Gary’ party planned – it should be good to go out for a beer with the work krew.

Over & out

G


Everyone knows the iconic New York yellow cabs, they are a staple of the NYC diet. Some may know, it is written in law that a New York cab driver has to take its passenger to any of the five boroughs of NY. As I live in Brooklyn and was out in Manhattan till the wee hours, I decided to hail a cab to get home – little did I realise that I was getting in to a cab driven by a mad man.

After waiting 20-30 minutes trying to hail a cab down I finally managed to wave one down, getting in to the cab and taking my seat I asked to be taken to my apt in Brooklyn, the cab driver told me that he doesn’t know where this address is located. So I explain the best I can, bearing in mind I’ve been in the country two weeks, where the apt is. The driver flat out refuses to drive me home.

At this point, I tell the driver that I am not leaving the cab until he takes me home and by law he has to drive me there. After another 15-20 minutes of sitting by the sidewalk arguing the toss, I decide that to help the driver I will pay 50%, around $20, of the fare up front – this sparks the driver in to action, but he still claims that he doesn’t know the address. He drives over the Brooklyn Bridge and towards my apt. Once my $20 had run out though he stops the cab and orders me out, telling me that he wasn’t going any further. He becomes quite violent at this point and begins to shout & swear. I’m not really sure what is going down at this point and decide the best action would be to call the NYPD, as you do. I get through, explain the issue and they tell me that they’ll dispatch someone to the area.

The driver decide to then drive me to the nearest cop station around the corner, gets out and goes inside. Two cops come out and order me out of the cab and explain the issue. Bear in mind the meter is still running. I drunkenly call one of the cops “dude” which didn’t go down that well. Anyway the cops don’t really do anything and order me to pay the meter which has jumped up another $20 now, if I don’t pay then I would be arrested for fare dodging. Nice. So I begrudgingly pay the $20 and ask how to get home from the station. The cop points in the direction of home and that was that. My brush with the NYPD. I made a complaint with the 311 and have to go to a hearing to testify against the driver in the near future. oh the joy.

Over & out

G

redsox
As my twitter feed will tell you, I am a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox. Baseball wasn’t a great big deal as I was growing up, however, in the year 2008 I was kindly taken to one of America’s greatest ball parks, Fenway Park (home to the Red Sox). Ever since, I’ve been hooked. Often staying up to the wee UK hours, watching them play around the US.

When I moved to New York, I vowed that I would take the train ride up to Boston to see more live Red Sox action. I had even booked tickets to visit Boston in early April, however, due to visa issues I wasn’t able to get to the US in time and had to forfeit my trip. I wasn’t expecting to visit Boston in the near future.

That all changed upon finding my favourite drinking establishment, Professor Thoms, in the East Village of Manhattan. Thoms is a Boston themed bar, showing Red Sox, Boston Celtics & Boston Bruins games on their multiple TVs. I was in Thoms on Saturday night, when they were holding a draw – much like every weekend – for a free pair of tickets to watch the Red Sox in action. For each drink purchased you were given a raffle ticket. At the end of the current Red Sox game being played a ticket was drawn. Simples.

As I had been in Thoms on more that one occasions in the last two weeks, I had got to know the bar staff and on this night the bar staff were passing my extra tickets. Overall, I had maybe 10 tickets ready for the draw.

When the draw came around, the first ticket out wasn’t mine, but within a matter of moments the winner of that ticket hadn’t claimed so the bar staff drew another tickets. This time there was a winner – ME!

The whole place went nuts, all the bar staff were high5in’ me, other customers were coming up to me to congratulate me. Shots were downed. All in all, a very good night. One rule to winning the tickets, the winner had to wear a Professor Thoms tee, provided by the manager, and take a shot of themselves @ Fenway Park.

The game was for the following Monday and it’s already Saturday now – I have to arrange trains and some place to crash. Easily sorted though. I was able to book a return train journey from Amtrak for around $170 and I used a great website, couchsurfing.org

Supports

Collect & Display Toy Terror Bash Projects Jon-Paul Kaiser RunDMB David Stevenson Art Spanky Stokes

Unlimited Movies

Start Date: 17th March 2013 Number of Movies watched: 10

Dryathlon

No Alcohol. For January.
For Cancer Research.
Online: £515.00
Text: £50.00
Offline: £10.00
Total: £575.00
Target: £500.00
GiftAid: £53.75

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