This upcoming weekend will be the inaugural BrittCon Event, 2008 in none other than New York City. Since BrittCon is in my hometown… I figured I would help prepare BrittCon attendees by giving them a little information about touristy stuff from a local perspective. All of this is information will be broken down by
borougharea they want to see.
Downtown Manhattan is a pretty busy area. Sadly, today most of it revolves around Ground Zero, but there are still plenty of other things to see… including public art displays and the glory of the Apple Store Soho @ 103 Prince Street.
•Charging Bull @ Bowling Green Park (Broadway/State Street/Whitehall Street) - The Charging Bull is the symbol of the NYSE
•The South Street Seaport @ Fulton Street and South Street - One word. Mall. Tons of shops, great views, and they have a few schooners for tourists to check out. iPod walking tours are available for a price.
• Battery Park @ the southern tip of Manhattan - Home to a number of memorials and a great view of the harbor. There is also a free iPod tour available about Monuments and Memories.
•Ground Zero Museum Workshop @ 420 W 14th Street - Advance ticketing is required for this, which is currently the largest local collection of 9/11 photos and information available.
•St. Paul’s Chapel @ Church Street bet. Fulton/Vesey - George Washington prayed here. They also have an ongoing 9/11 Ministry with a number of artifacts
- •Wo Hop @ 17 Mott Street - This IS NYC Chinese food. Not just an institution of fine greasy chopstick fare, but also one of the safest due to an extremely high patronage by on and off duty police.
•Ninja New York @ 25 Hudson Street - A themed Japanese cuisine restaurant, they look forward to feeding you soon!
•Pellegrino’s @ 138 Mulberry Street - In the heart of the “Little Italy District” (that has now been relegated to a street and a half), if you wanna da pasta, ya go to Pellegrino’s for the linguine. Everything else, fugehdaboutit.
• Ear Inn @ 326 Spring Street - Notoriously nostalgic pub with drinks and fare that you can recognize and eat with your paws. Some consider it the oldest pub in New York City… and the plumbing may very well back that claim up
• The South Street Seaport @ Fulton Street and South Street - Two words. Food court. Killer chain restaurants peppered with local cuisine dot the food court of this mall. It’s a good option for those who are wary of New York fare.
Downtown travel is easiest done by subway, but keep in mind the subways run north to south… so however far you walk from the hole in the ground is how far you’ll have to walk back. The further north you go, the wider the island is.
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categories: Blogging Blogger Meet-Ups The City
This upcoming weekend will be the inaugural BrittCon Event, 2008 in none other than New York City. Since BrittCon is in my hometown… I figured I would help prepare BrittCon attendees by giving them a little information about touristy stuff from a local perspective. All of this is information will be broken down by borough.
The borough of Brooklyn lays to the south of the island of Manhattan. It is connected to Manhattan by the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, The Williamsburg Bridge, The Manhattan Bridge, and the world reknowned Brookly Bridge. It is also the only borough connected via the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the borough of Staten Island.
While there are a number of interesting things in Brooklyn to see, the one outstanding landmark that stands out in my mind is the area known as Coney Island. The reason is that because of purchases and land development by Thor Equities, this will be the last year that Coney Island will be open in its natural unsanitized and ungentrified state. This will be the last year that you will be able to see such attractions as Shoot The Freak, The Circus Sideshow/Freakshow, AstroLand Park, and the dozens of other store front attractions that are lined up along Surf Avenue and the boardwalk. Some attractions such as The Cyclone and the Original Nathan’s will undoubtedly be reincorporated into Thor Equities new vision of the boardwalk, but half the charm is in what surrounds them… not necessarily what they actually have to offer.
Outstanding Coney Island Attractions
- •The Cyclone - Scream your head off not from the ride… but the SOUND the ride makes… like the ride is collapsing!
•Shoot The Freak - Let your aggressions out on someone willing to take it for a change
•The Original Nathan’s Famous - July 4th the annual hot dog eating contest will be held there again. No purer piece of Americana can be found than the Mustard Belt
•AstroLand Park - Great for the cheap thrill at the expensive price.
•The Coney Island Sideshow - They feature women with more facial hair than I have. Needless to say, I don’t go.
•The New York Aquarium - An aquarium… by the ocean. How novel!
•Deno’s Wonder Wheel - This is a must for teenage make-out sessions and for easter-egg meteors hitting the ocean in overhyped monster movies… and not expected to survive after this year.
Coney Island Food Features
- •The Original Nathan’s Famous - Cheese dogs + cheese fries… with bacon. ‘Nuff said.
•Totonno’s Pizza - Over on Neptune Avenue and West 15th Street, but this IS New York pizza.
•Taco Bell - Yo no quiero Taco Bell? Right across the street from Nathan’s
•The Grill Works - a few paces from Nathan’s but on the actual boardwalk, it’s usually freshly made and good fare along the lines of a Mexican Grill
•The Candy Shoppe - On the opposite end of the Nathan’s block (doesn’t it seem like all food revolves around there?), this is a must stop for freshly made confections and retro candies not readily available elsewhere
Car: The easiest way by car is to take the Belt Parkway to the Ocean Parkway South exit. Sticking to the main road, Ocean Parkway will loop you onto Surf Avenue at the end.
Train: The notorious F Line stops at the Stillwell Avenue Station which is diagonally across Surf Avenue from the Original Nathan’s Famous restaurant. The F Line’s notoriety comes from the fact that it originates in Jamaica, Queens, goes through Manhattan, and ends in Brooklyn… making it notorious as a tourist line.
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Other Brooklyn Destinations
- •Brooklyn Botantical Gardens - Located in Flatbush, it’s great if you like flowers. It sucks if you have allergies.
•Brooklyn Museum of Art - Located near Grand Army Plaza, their exhibits are fascinating… but their air conditioning is unreliable.
•Prospect Park/Prospect Park Zoo - It’s a park with a zoo. It’s in Brooklyn.
So that pretty much wraps up Brooklyn. Tomorrow we’ll discuss my favorite borough in the whole world… Queens.
categories: Blogging Blogger Meet-Ups The City
So it turns out that Phil is in a bit of a bind. He is looking for places to do his Post Doctorate work before needing to get a real job. One of the options he has laid out is none other than New York City… which just so happens to be my hometown. So now I need to make a case for my city for someone who wants to slowly insinuate himself into the world with that brand new PHD at the end of his name.
Clocks. Sure everyone always talks about the world’s most famous clock being Big Ben… and granted he’s a big one. Still, we have clocks too. Clocks of all kinds… digital, analog, non-traditional numeric set-up, and of course we have big face clocks like this one that is in SoHo. The thing about clocks in New York is that they have a special setting known as “New York Minute”. Yes… we have an increment of time named after us. Whereas in a normal day there are 1,440 minutes in a day… here in New York we have 2,880 minutes. We are a city so big and moving so fast that the Laws of Time and Space do not exist here. What exists is the Laws of Crack Smoking and Caffeine which speeds everything up. Therefore we are able to cram much more into a day as a normal human being… which includes both more time for drinking, womanizing, and of course studying. If by some chance you actually think you’d end up spending your newfound time studying or grading papers… well right there is the Law of Crack Smoking in action. Before you get a job in the “real world”… you need to live a “real life”… and we give you the time to do it… and plenty of undergrads who will do your work for you at the right price (usually a six pack of beer or two… the cheap stuff).
We are a diverse city. We have representation from pretty much every nation on the planet INCLUDING Antarctica ( I have been assured that the penguins in the Central Park Zoo count towards that nation number) which very few cities can compete with. In fact, we are so diverse, we also have people from other galaxies living within our fine borders ( I have been assured that the movie Men In Black is actually a bio-pic under a fictional guise to fund the Alien Defense Fund ) who contribute to our sense of inter-stellarality. Of course, having so many people from so many different origins, we need to be able to deliver the news from around the universe. We do it quite well out of this little shop. Now granted, a PHD like yourself would probably want home delivery… but there’s something nice about going out and being able to pick-up the latest editions of People, Time, Mathematicians Monthly, TV Guide, and a Fleshlight all at the same time in a one stop shop experience. The shady looking guy walking in? That’s Eduardo. He’s just there for the sex toys in the back because he is illiterate. Don’t pay attention to him… and whatever you do… DO NOT make eye contact. I can’t be held responsible if you do. Like I said… he’s illiterate… and PHD doesn’t mean anything to him.
But hey… let’s face it… news is depressing shit. Who wants to read it? Although it is masochistic behaviour to do so… well there is a remedy once you are done. That remedy is of course to go drinking. Now unless I am wrong… both of the competing cities are in country’s that are led by a Queen, right? Have you ever wondered why? Well the answer is right here… because we, dear Phil, have the King’s Head. Yep. We got crown… and as foamy as it may be now… we won’t be giving it up. If you though time was flying already… well you obviously haven’t seen anything yet… because once your into one of our watering holes then time suddenly vanishes. *POOF*. Isn’t that a nifty trick! One minute its Friday night… the next minute its Monday morning. That’s a sure fire way to kill some time and make things move a little faster… although it can also make it a bit blurrier. Best part of it all? These types of places are all over the city. Literally.
Of course the one thing no one counts on when coming out of one of our finer drinking establishments is the hunger factor. Other cities will off you “New York Style Pizza” or “New York Bagels” but I hate to tell you… they aren’t from New York. When you finally get rolled out of the bar and into the gutter there’s only one place to go for both quick sobriety and to quell the hunger pains from your belly that have been going on for the last week, which was when you started your liquid diet at the tavern, and that place is the local bagelry. Now I have to be honest… I am partial to Murray’s Bagels because he is right next door to a Jamba Juice that regularly gives out free samples… but there are plenty of bagelry stores to get from. Nothing says, “I got more than a buzz and I have a final in 2 hours,” than a nice onion bagel that has come fresh from the oven and smothered with lox… I assure you.
However there is one thing that you will need for your post Doctorate work more than anything else. No, I’m not talking about a stethoscope. No, I’m not talking about that new scientific calculator that you can use with your mind. I am talking about this little molecular gem right here… caffeine. Yes Phil, we here in the city that never sleeps will be able to provide you copious amounts of this little wonder. With enough of it your New York Minutes will turn into New York Weeks. You’ll discover the joys of the sunrise over a crisp and relatively empty city street… and it will get you through the traumatic stampede of the herd of humans at sunset. Caffeine will be your friend through thick and thin. It is a huge part of the city. It plays a bigger part in academic achievement here… and the school you are looking at knows this.
Which is why they were wise enough to put a Dunkin’ Donuts into the school’s food gallery. Yes… that’s right Phil… your school has its own in house Dunkin’ Donuts. If it hasn’t been obvious how the Laws of Crack Smoking and Caffeine dominate the region, nay, the very culture of the city… then it should be obvious now. The truth is that they say, “If you can make it there… you can make it anywhere.” What they really mean to say is, “If you can drink enough caffeine there without your heart bursting out of your chest, then you can drink caffeine anywhere and dominate.” Coffee is of course not your only recourse. You can get a Coolatta on the hot days… a Milky Way hot chocolate on the cold days… and caffeinated tea of your choice every single day of the week! How much cooler does it get then that? It doesn’t. In fact… if anything… it’s only about to get hotter here.
Now dear Phil… if those aren’t good enough reasons… I have one final attempt to convince you to come here with the shiny PHD behind your name. I know your all about spooning with cats… but I have to be honest… in the city things get hot… and when they get hot they burn… and I assure you we have the best firefighters than any other city in the world…
They just LOVE a man with PHD after their name. Now if THAT is not a good enough argument for the city… then I would love to see a better one!Close it Up
categories: Blogging Personal The Steff The City
You would think that living in the city, surrounded by different cuisines, countless restaurants, and an endless variety of foods that I would be able to eat food that will not adversely affect me.
So yesterday I had Chinese takeout. I got the House Special Lo Mein. That’s Lo Mein noodles with beef, chicken, and shrimp in it. Needless to say, it polluted my body with toxins something fierce. In fact, it curled me into a ball on the couch from 8:00pm last night until 2:00am this morning.
At 2:01am my stomach was roaring in pain and anger… almost as if the shrimp were saying, “Rawr! We are Cloverfield! Rawr!” At 2:05am my body expunged these alien beings into the open mouth of the Porcelain God. With that simple 30 second action… life had returned to normal. At 2:08am I was asleep in my actual bed… as if the last six hours and eight minutes hadn’t happened at all.
This leaves me wondering this morning, as I look longingly at the green awning that says Yummy Taco from where the Lo Mein was obtained, why is it only the Chinese food that leaves me wrecky? I’ve never had a Tex-Mex incident, Italian incident, Greek incident, Dirty H2O Dog incident, Guyanese incident, or American cuisine incident. Is it part of China’s world domination plan to fill our children with lead and pollute their parents with bad food?
An even better question… why do I still eat it?
P.S. This picture really has nothing to do with this post… but its a cool photo… so I wanted to use it.
categories: It's All About Me Ambient Stupidity The City
Today is February 29, 2008, more commonly referred to as Leap Day. This is a somewhat historical day because it is technically a make-up day for the last 3 New Years where we apparently celebrated stuff 6 hours earlier each year. We’re such a bunch of impatient people, aren’t we?
One of the things that I think separates New York City from the rest of the world is our copious amounts of one way directional streets. One way movement is not new to me in the slightest. In fact when I was in summer camp we used to sing a song when the waiters from our tables would go for the food. It went something like this to the beat of a military chant:
The one way system,
The mighty one way system,
If you can’t follow it,
Then you’ll sit ‘til the end,
The one way system,
The mighty one way system!
Yeah… I know… summer camp songs will never be on the Billboard Charts for a reason. The thing about it though is that ever since a young age, it was drilled into us that there would be one way to do things. Everything from which way to walk in the dining hall to how we drive down the street has one way. The same thing at restaurants and fast food places where there are signs indicating Enter Here and Pick-Up Here in a method. Of course, this provides order and lawfulness to where we work, play, and more importantly eat.
Life however is not a fast food place, a dining hall, or a street that is going in one direction. Life moves in all directions and you have to move with it or be crushed. Sure there are decisions as to which way to go is the right way when there is no clear sign and no clear indications of which direction the traffic should flow. It’s about decisions and common sense.
Recently, we’ve been inundated with the news about a mother who allegedly (and I use that word very lightly) murdered her own (3) children before trying to commit suicide herself by jumping out the window of the apartment she lived in this past Sunday. It seems everywhere I turn, this story is on the news. It does nothing but piss me off… and is another prime reason why I don’t watch the news on a regular basis. Sure there are accusations about incompetent social workers and court interference that unjustly favored the mother, but none of it changes the outcome and the loss of life.
Yesterday there was a story about an abandoned baby in a livery cab. The baby girl was left by a man in the back of the cab, and the cab then took the baby to a fire house, and they in turn of course called EMS who brought the child to the hospital. This story actually made me smile. I know… abandoned babies are no smiling matter… but at least the baby is alive! The baby was well cared for and for whatever reason, left behind. We may never know the facts behind the story, but considering the economy its entirely possible the parents were unable to care for her. They knew it, but found a better solution than the one the woman had on Sunday. They realized, as heartbreaking as I have to believe it was, that there was a better way.
My point besides the fact that the news is depressing as hell and I totally prefer listening to my iPod instead of it is really pretty simple. Life is not a one way street… but there are certain roads that should not be traveled down and those are clearly labeled with DO NOT ENTER signs. If you do nothing else… at least pay attention to those.
I really hate the news.