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New York New York!

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 28 October 2011 | Views [473]

Part 1 New York, New York!

After 32 hours of very unpleasant air travel I arrived in New York. I’d been subject to overbooked flights, nearby passengers who got drunk and sick (gross), a side trip to Boston where we sat on the tarmac for 2 hours and a few dozen laps of the runway at JFK. But I had arrived and that was the important thing. After a knuckle-whitening cab trip with an angry Sikh cab driver who swore at every car we passed, I arrived at the Hotel Stanford in midtown and fell relieved into the arms of my partner who had been anxiously awaiting my arrival.

After washing all that plane ick off me we went in search of the nearest NYC pizza joint. I was delighted that only a block away was the Little Italy pizza shop. Damn they make good pizza! But this was only the beginning. My mission was to eat pizza everyday, multiple times a day if possible – that’s a bit odd, you  may say but let me give you some backstory. I love pizza. I think it is the best food in the world. If I was stuck on a desert island and I could only eat 1 food for the rest of my life it would be Margherita pizza. I know I wouldn’t survive that long but damn I’d be happy. At home I am only allowed to eat pizza once a week – New York was the exception to this rule. Not only did I want to make the most of my time there and eat as much of the best pizza in the world as I could, but I also wanted to prove my partner wrong when she said there was no way I could eat it every day.

We spent our time seeing all the sights. For me it was my 2nd visit to the city that never sleeps, but my partner, who is an amazing photographer, was seeing it all for the very first time. Funnily enough, on our first day out and about she asked if we could go to New Jersey.

No that’s not a typo, she wanted to leave the glorious city of New York to go to Hoboken New Jersey to see Buddy at Carlo’s bakery. If that means nothing to you, check out the tv show Cake Boss on foxtel – it’s awesome. So after being disappointed at not being able to see Ground Zero because of all the scaffolding around the freedom tower, we hopped in a cab (again with a crazy driver that looked like a homeless guy) and paid him way too much to take us to Hoboken, NJ.

We arrived at the little bakery thinking we might have a short wait to get in. We were horrified when we saw that the wait time was approximately 2 hours. Now I love cake Boss, but seriously, I was giving up Manhattan time for this. Nevertheless, we took our place at the end of the line where we chatted to the other Americans who marvelled at our accents and couldn’t believe we’d come all the way from Australia to visit a cake shop in New Jersey!

2 very hot and sweaty hours later we got in. We spent about 30 more minutes in the crush waiting to be served and left with a T-shirt, a  photo of Mary (Buddy’s sister), a tiramisu cake and what were allegedly the best cannoli’s ever. We found a spot on the waterfront and gobbled down our treats with a beautiful view of the east side of Manhattan. The Cannoli’s were amazing – so amazing that we suffered a massive belly ache for the rest of the day  from all the cream, but it was totally worth it!

After about 3 days of coming and going from our midtown hotel, we were walking to the trusty local pizza shop for yet another slice of Manhattan’s finest, when I looked up. And what do you know – on the street behind ours there was the Empire State Building. We’d been up it the night before at about 1am (way cooler at night than during the day), we’d walked up and down the street multiple times a day and only just realised it. As a result, every subsequent time we passed it one of us said to the other “holy crap babe, did you know the Empire State Building was there?” To which we would dissolve into a fit of laughter at how dumb we were not to have realised it earlier.

One of my very important missions while in NYC was to find a killer pair of sneakers (shoes are so much cheaper in the US and the dollar was at $1.10 or something).  We decided after being  denied entry to Toys R Us in Times Square by the bomb squad (it’s Times Square, I didn’t think it was too weird at the time) that we’d pop into Foot Locker to see what they had. About 5 minutes later, the bomb squad bursts into Foot Locker telling us all to get out immediately. No one knew what was happening. I asked the security guards and they said there had been a bomb threat on the subway – UH OH! There were cops everywhere trying to empty out Times Square. It was early August. I’d never seen so many people in the one place. It was like every tourist that was in NYC had come to Times Square that night. We were herded down Broadway by mounted police, as 90% of people demanded to be let back into stores or tried to take photos of the cops. Way to go guys! With all these angry tourists clogging the streets, we figured we’d head home for the night. We were staying only 10 blocks away, if Times Square blew up in the night, we’d know about it.

Our 4th day in New York was a pretty important one –we were getting married (for the first time) on the steps of the New York City Public library (where Carrie was supposed to marry Big before he freaked out and stood her up). Why for the first time you ask? When organising our trip we had already booked and paid for a ceremony on the beach in Hawaii. About a week before we arrived in New York, gay marriage was legalised there. We felt that we needed to be a part of something so momentous, and wanted it at least to be legal somewhere! And so at 10am on August 4, we met with the beautiful Reverend Annie Lawrence at one of Manhattans most iconic buildings, dressed in thongs and T-shirts and said “I do”.

We spent the rest of the day listening to the live performances by Broadway stars in Bryant Park, hanging with the dinosaurs in the Museum of Natural history, saw a guy propose to his girlfriend in Central Park, lazed around on the great lawn (I was having 3 men and a baby flashbacks) and ended the evening with cocktails and a Broadway show (Addams Family – fantastic!)

Friday night and we were off to the ball game! The Yankees weren’t playing at home for the whole time we were in NYC, so being a massive baseball nut I bought tickets to see the Mets. (We were originally going to the Wednesday night game, but after arriving and waiting 2 and a half hours in the rain, buying exorbitantly priced rain ponchos, and some really bad vegetarian hotdogs and beer, they cancelled the game. We weren’t sure why they made us wait that long to decide but for anybody who goes in future – baseball players are wimps and don’t play in the rain). Long story short, the Atlanta braves kicked the Mets asses in a serious way.  It was still good fun though. Especially as our section had an awesome beer vender with a Queens accent yelling “Budd, Budd light! Who wants it? Speak up! You gotta speak up!” He would then attempt to make eye contact and stare you down until you bought a beer! And he hated it when the pretzel guy got in his way!

7 days after arriving in the Big Apple I had eaten copious amounts of delicious pizza, visited all of the obligatory New York icons (including getting lost in the bowels of Rockafeller centre where I had a little sense of humour failure), got hugged and subsequently felt up by an Asian Cookie Monster (can’t believe the cheeky bastard went for the boob grab!), survived a bomb scare, stuffed my face with Whole Foods goodness resulting in a permanent craving for Granola and Fizzy Izze’s, rode the Toys R US Ferris Wheel, bought the most amazing pair of Nikes  I’ve ever seen, gotten way too excited when we found the HBO True Blood store, struggled to get the machines to work in a Chinese Laundromat, realised that the Mets suck, eaten more peanut butter M & M’s than would be considered reasonable by any insurance policy and married the love of my life – legally.

Oh and guys, when you’re next in Manhattan make sure you visit The Counter: Custom built burgers in Times Square... mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

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