New York Diary: Part V.

New York Diary: Part V.
I Love New York!

Last Day in New York.
The last day in The New Yorker Hotel.

Y’know,
I think if I was to add up all the time I spent in the hotel during the last 5 days it would come to less than 12 hours.
But anyways, there’s no time for all of that.
We gotta get our bags packed and get the hell out of here!

The hotel arranged to keep our bags for us until it was time to go to the airport later.
That gave us most of the day to say our goodbyes to Manhattan.

What to do today?
Maybe I’ll just let some of the photos do the talking.

Y’know,
New York Public Libray is beautiful, it really is but it’s hard to walk around there and not think of yourself as a Ghostbuster.

I didn’t write down much stuff on my last day in New York.
I was too busy trying to make the day last as long as possible.

There are loads of things I haven’t even mentioned in these diary posts but that’s only because they deserve whole posts of their own in the future.

New York is the greatest place on Earth as far as I’m concerned.
There’s always something to do and placs to explore.
You can buy salad at 3am in the morning (That really impressed me) and get drunk at 5am if that’s your thing.
You can walk for 10 minutes and hear 600 different accents,
You can walk down a modern steel city block and suddenly stumble upon an ancient church.
I feel like I fit there and as Sinatra says,
“It’s my kind of town”.

I really miss New York but what the hell,
I’ll get back over there.

…Might even buy a one way ticket next time 🙂

New York Diary: Part III.

New York Diary: Part III.
Impossible In New York.

I didn’t exactly get up with a ping this morning on account of the 5 glasses of Wild Turkey I sank last night but I’m really excited about today.

Today we’re gonna take a cab over to Brooklyn, get some pizza at Grimmaldi’s, have some ice cream and walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Taxi’s in New York.
What can I say about taxi’s in New York?

You pretty much risk your life every time you get into a cab here.
Today was no exception.
This guy didn’t know how to get to Brooklyn and we had to direct him a little bit.
But for a guy who didn’t know where he was going, he drove like a suicide!
With his palm constantly slamming the horn, we got to Brooklyn in lightning time!
Heh heh.

Grimmaldi’s Pizzeria is almost under the bridge.
It has one of those “Best Pizza In New York!” signs outside.
Every pizza joint in New York has a sign like that but with Grimmald’s, It might just be true!

I wish I could eat pizza from Grimmaldi’s for the rest of my life.

I hardly ever eat ice cream.
I like it but I don’t have a sweet tooth.
However…When in New York!

The Brooklyn Bridge is so impressive.

It’s a great experience to walk across it and it had a great effect on me.

I thought of the people who built it and the work they put into it.
Looking across the Manhattan skyline in perfect sunshine is one of the best things anyone can do!
You realise that, although Manhattan Island is only 14 miles long and 2 miles wide, it really is the biggest place on Earth.
Understand?

After crossing the bridge we found ourselves at the site where the Trade Centre buildings came down.
The new structure is looking good and so far as I know, They’re gonna make it even taller this time.
Know why?
Because New York has balls.

I had a lot of time to sit and look at that building because my Sister and Mother disappeared into a store for (Wait for it) 5 HOURS!
Is this a record Ladies?

I didn’t mind because that was 5 hours of wandering time for me which took in St. Paul’s Cathedral, a graveyard, some deli’s and the big rusted iron cross salvaged from The Twin Towers.
Seeing a thing like that really hits you like a sledgehammer in the face.

Night fell and after more walking we went back to the hotel afterwards and took in some ridiculously funny TV.

If we had shows back home with titles like “Police Women Take Down” and “Hoarders: Buried Alive” I don’t think I’d ever leave the house ever again!

I maybe should’ve stayed in the hotel because tonight something scary happened to me.
Later on, as ever, I’m out on the street looking around and taking photos.
I spent some time in a comic book store below The Empire State building and drank some coffee in a couple of deli’s.
I’m walking along when I feel the need to pee.
Bad.

There are bars I could go to but I need to pee RIGHT NOW!
I spy TGI Friday’s on 34th Street.
I run in through the side doors and up the stairwell.
Apart from the stairwell I’m on, this building is deserted and all the doors to the bars are locked.
I look through the glass doors on every level of the building and see upside-down stools on top of dark, closed bar tops.
I run back down the stairs to leave through the doors I came in but they’re locked.
LOCKED!
I think it’s about 11.30pm now.

Typical.
I go to New York and end up locked inside of a building.
My first thought was to pee in the stairwell bin but I didn’t really want to do that.
What to do?
Easy.
I’ll just set the buildings alarms off and wait ‘till the NYPD show up!
I didn’t fancy doing that either.
I ran up the building again feeling hopeless when I saw a figure in the dark bar.
I rattled the locked door between us and said:
“HEY! I’m locked in here man!”
The guy said:
“Buddy we’re closed!”
Me: “Yeah I know that but I’m locked in this stairwell!”
Him: “You ain’t. Only one of the doors you came through is locked. The other one is open”

So I was back out on the street again feeling like an absolute idiot.
Ha Ha!
But there was no time to laugh at my own foolishness – I had to pee!
I raced up to The Tempest Bar and things were okay again.

Outside The Tempest that night, I met Kevin.
Kevin is about 46, homeless and tells stories for money.
He’d rob you blind if you turned your back but that aside, good conversation.

I also met Abbie and Brian that night.
– Pretty good people.

Abbey travels around and writes a great travel blog which you can find right HERE.
Take a look because she knows what she’s talking about.

I’m trying to think of tomorrow because tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and coming from Glasgow where every weekend is like St. Patrick’s Day, I’m trying to avoid it all as best as I can.

Apparently,
That’s impossible in New York.

New York Diary: Part II.

New York Diary: Part II.
When In New York.

I feel pretty good today even although I only had about 4 hours sleep.
We all did a power of walking yesterday and today, like tomorrow, will be the same.

New York street traffic is pretty ruthless.
Everyone knows exactly where they’re going and they are in a hurry.
That suits me fine.
Like I said, this is my 3rd time in this City and I know my way around better than I know my way around back home in Glasgow!
Matter of fact, we’d constantly get asked for directions and we got pretty good at pointing people the right way.

Ever stood at the foot of the Rockefeller building and looked up?
You can’t see the top of it for clouds sometimes!

It’s dizzying and for some reason unknown to me, we all thought that it would be a pretty good idea to pay 80 bucks and go up onto the roof and look at the city.
I don’t usually have much of a problem with great heights but tonight I do.
Hayley does too.

We’re up on the roof of the Rockefeller building.
They call it “Top Of The Rock” and frankly, It’s fucking terrifying!
At the top of The Empire State building, there is a big wall and big iron railings on account of all the folk who used to go up there and jump off it.
These days, you feel pretty safe and secure up on top of the Empire State.
I wish I was up there right now because the Rockefeller is a sheer drop only surrounded by one thin looking layer of clear plexi-glass.

It’s real windy up here tonight and Hayley and I feel the building sway.
Its better that a building this tall sways a lot rather than not at all.
But still.

New York twinkles from up there and it feels good to be young and alive etc…

All the same, I’m glad when we finally get back down to the street.
Fuck doing that again anytime soon.

My folks and Hayley planned their trip out.
They had designs on shopping like mad people possessed and that is what they did.
They shopped like Paris Hilton on cocaine!
I can’t stand shopping.
I hate it.
I don’t care about what’s in or out.
I don’t care whether it’s designer or vintage.
If it’s black and I need it then I’ll buy it but even then, I don’t care.
I only buy clothes and shoes when my existing ones fall apart so I left them to it and off I went again.

I hadn’t even thought about what I was gonna do in this city.
I don’t tend to plan anything out because I like not knowing what will happen every day.

I pounded the streets again tonight and ended up outside of Madison Square Garden.
Elton John’s playing tonight and you can’t move for people trying to sell fake tickets at 20 bucks apiece.

Over I go to Hell’s Kitchen which is maybe my favourite part of the city.
It’s laid back. Not as laid back as the village but just enough.
The village doesn’t really have the edge that Hell’s Kitchen has.
I wrote down a list of locations where notorious mobsters were murdered but I’ve forgotten to bring it.
You can meet a lot of interesting characters walking around Hell’s Kitchen if you’re not careful.
In 2002 I quickly learned that if someone comes up to you and starts telling jokes then walk away because he’s gonna demand money when he’s done.

If someone comes out of the blue at you and says “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?” then walk away because that question won’t be a question.
It’ll be “Gimmie money!
If you get involved in any sort of conversation with anyone in any street then be prepared to be asked for money.
These days, I find myself in-step with most other New Yorkers;
On my way to somewhere in a hurry with no time for anyone who tries to stop me.
Walk fast enough and you probably won’t even be approached but stop for a second to light a cigarette or tie your shoelace and you can forget it because there will be 3 people standing around you wanting a piece of you.

Tonight was the night I got lucky and found The Tempest.
The Tempest is a bar on 8th Avenue.
It’s right beside this big Post Office:

It’s not hard to find nice bars in New York but it can be really difficult to find the kind of dives that I like.
The Tempest doesn’t look like my kind of place from the outside.

You could easily mistake it for some touristy Irish themed bar which inside, it definitely ain’t.
It’s a dark, Rock & Roll dive.

I ended up getting pretty friendly with quite a few people in The Tempest.
The sound of Dr. John singing “Such A Night” led me to this bar.
In here you can hear The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath & Sinatra records and like I say, it’s pitch black inside.

I ended up going to The Tempest when I couldn’t sleep at night because it stayed open to 4am and when it closed I’d get invited to hang around inside which was great.
After hours, Chris the bartender and Bob the bouncer would tell me where to go to find the best live music in the city.
They’d also point out characters on the street and tell me which ones were okay and which ones I should avoid.
In fact,
Chris and Bob pretty much clued me right in about New York and it made my stay a helluva lot more interesting.

For instance,
I got introduced to a guy who managed a recording studio across the street and one night at 4am about 5 of us all got invited over for a couple of drinks.
I sat down and played a black Baby Grand piano!
I’m not a very good piano player at all but who cares.
When in New York!

Too much wild turkey later and I went back to the hotel in the drizzling rain for my 3 to 4 hours sleep.
That particular part of town was deserted on that night and I decided there and then that I was gonna do this again on my last night with the soundtrack to “Taxi Driver” in my ears.
I knew it was a good idea to put it on my mp3 player!

New York Diary: Part I.

This is the first part of the scribbly writings I kept last month in New York.
It’s pretty much:
“Here’s What I Did On My Holidays”.

New York Diary: Part I.
A Voyeur In Manhattan.

It hadn’t quite sunk in.
Here was me up at 4am today, trying to shave – getting ready to go to New York City!

Me and my Family, heading for The Big Apple to celebrate my Mum’s 50th Birthday which was in January and my 30th which arrives this November.
Pretty good!

The last minute case packing,
The staring at the paperwork,
The drive to the airport,
The check-in and still it hadn’t sunk in for me yet.

It’s 8am now and the four of us are half awake in some bar in Glasgow Airport.
My folks buy me a pint of John Smith.
8am and here we all are drinking in a bar.
Now it sinks in.

The flight to London, Heathrow went pretty well.
Only took about an hour.
I listened to Buddy Guy and stared out at the clouds the whole way.

I’m usually pretty bad on planes.
I always think of crashing and landing in the sea in pitch black and if I’m not thinking about that, It’s a fair bet that I’m imagining what it’s like to be engulfed in burning jet fuel as our plane goes into the side of a mountain like a dart.
I wish I could stop thinking about these things but what can you do.
I asked my Sister if she had only 2 choices, burning up or dropping out of the sky into the sea, which would she prefer.
She said “The sea” and I agreed.

After bumming around Heathrow airport for a few hours we’re finally on the plane bound for JFK Airport in New York.
British Airways treat cattle class like us pretty well!
Each seat has an individual TV screen but I decide to read my book for a while.
I decided weeks ago to read Piers Paul Read’s “Alive” on the plane because I knew I’d think about crashing and death and my thinking was that if I read “Alive” then whatever happened couldn’t be as bad as what happened to those people.
It worked.

After a few hours I checked out the in-flight movie choices.
Last time I visited New York, the in-flight movie was “The Day After Tomorrow”.
Probably one of the worst movies to watch on a New York bound plane!
Anyways, the choice of flicks this time around were pretty decent.
“True Grit”, “127 Hours”, “Black Swan”, “The Social Network” etc…
I heard good things about “True Grit” and I really want to see it but I decide to hold off until I can watch it on a big screen.
Besides, at the bottom of the list I clock “The Godfather: Part II”.
Planes always seem to have that film.
It’s one of my favourites and although I’ve probably seen it 199 times, I watch it for the 200th time along with a Jack Daniels & Coke.
I still can’t believe Michael would whack out his own Brother like that!

After the film I turn on the in-flight progress map and notice that we’re flying over the spot of the Atlantic where The Titanic went down.
That calls for another Jack Daniels.
I can’t sleep on planes.
Unlike my Sister…

We make it to JFK and pretty much waltz right through airport security.
This marks the 3rd time I’ve been to New York.

The taxi ride into Manhattan is great and already I never want to go home.
The driver is a fucking maniac and that’s fine by me!
He uses two things only.
The gas pedal and the horn.

We’re staying at The New Yorker Hotel on 34th and 8th.
Cases dumped, we head out into the town.

I stop for a second to light a smoke and right away some guy gets in my face barking “Two Fifty! Two Fifty!
I don’t know what he means and just as I’m about to tell him to get the fuck out of my face I notice he has about 100 boxes of Marlboro lights strapped around his waist.
Ah, New York!

We’re all completely beat and we decide to get some sleep about 11pm.
I can’t sleep when there’s so much out there so I head out again.

I wandered around Midtown Manhattan for 4 hours before I went back to the hotel.
I took pictures and looked at people and buildings and wandered up and down dark alleys in search of the kind of New York you see in Martin Scorsese films.
I checked out a couple of bars and cafes, got talking to a few people and had one of the best nights of my life.

A voyeur in Manhattan.

Homesick For A Place That Ain’t Even Home.

So that’s me back from New York City.
I took several big bites outta The Big Apple and it tastes sweet!

I was over there for only one week and it went past in lightning time.
This was my 3rd time over there and now it’s all over.

I’ve got the ‘came back from New York 2 days ago’ blues.
I’m bluer than Joni Mitchell’s blue face on the cover of her album “Blue“, playing the blues on a blue guitar from Picasso’s blue period with my face painted blue in front row seats watching Blue Man Group whilst punching Anthony Costa‘s face in 😦

One day you’re standing on the corner of 34th and 8th then…WHOOSH!
Next thing you know you’re standing in the middle of Duke Street with a what the hell just happened look on your face.

I’m tired as hell.
I’ve pretty much been up for a whole week and 3 hours after my plane landed back in Glasgow,
I went out on the town to see the terrifying stand up comedy of Jerry Sadowitz.

Needless to say I had the time of my life over in New York.
It feels like home more than home feels like home.
Out all day doing all kinds of interesting things and tearing the town up at night,
I know my way around NYC better than I know my way around here.

I kept a diary in New York which ended up being pretty long.
I wrote it in bars and cafes at night as I wandered around looking for the kind of New York you see in Scorsese films and the good news is that I found it!
I also took around 1500 photographs and met some great people…BUT!
I’m gonna have to tell you all about it later.
I’ll get it typed up and post it all up on here over the next week or so.

So here I am feeling homesick for a place that’s ain’t even my home.
Maybe one day it will be.

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