Category Archives: USA

New York (Part 2) – Blog from 2009

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DAY 6

Today was the first day we really explored Williamsberg. A real haven of arty types, hippys and hipsters. This place is cooler than cool, it’s fuckin’ Ice Cold! Seriously though, the shops here are not like anywhere else I’ve seen, everything is made in some super cool ethically perfect warehouse nearby, it’s all done with a great little attitude. There’s secondhand stores, book shops, and the cutest little places, with the cutest little waitresses and the cutest little cakes! It’s all good there, and a fair bit cheaper than manhattan – good times 🙂

NYC - Scott CliffordIn the evening we headed out to the saosin show – couple of local(ish) supports, but including Inner Party System who do impress, but from our lovely comfy seats we can see the sound guy doing additional vocals and effects – which makes you wonder how much of what’s going on is actually the band… Soasin were the only band I cared about though, and from the get go they were on fire. Tune after tune of awesome guitar licks and just perfect vocals, these guys are pro. An amazing encore is a great ending as well, epic repeated climaxes, finishing on ‘They sit…’ A real rock song that just makes you move. And then the second encore, for some reason the drummer doesn’t re-appear so the bassist switches over as they improvise crazy brutal hardcore and metal shiz then shred their asses off, after a few repeats the singer comes back out to growl and scream like some demented slayer fan. It’s all a bit retarded, but fuck me does it make you feel good to be there with them – it was a real special show!

Back to the local and then off to bed 🙂

DAY 7

  StreetsSo from our lovely barman at the Local, we head of to Coney Island to check out the fairground rides but specifically looking for the freakshow – a collection of screwed up people who can do freaky stuff, just like you’d expect really. It sounded pretty sweet so off we went on the epic metro ride south. About three trains later we come to Coney island – the metro trundles along by the sea front giving a great view of the amusements. It looked a little quiet, but we didn’t expect much for a drizzly day in autumn. But when we get out of the station it tells a different story. Big fences, tarpaulin over all the rides, half dismantled go-carts and parts along with the grim weather and total lack of people makes us feel like horror movie victims. Through the centre of the park, between the abandoned roller-coaster, the stationary big wheel and the deserted dodg’ems we wander… finding a few gems. Live human paintball shooting looks awesome and the old rickety pier is worthy of a quick stroll. Still, the place is somewhat lacking in actual content so we grab a quick (vile) coffee and head towards manhattan.

Stopping off to get directions on the way we head to a fabled Bikini bar. Pretty simple concept, it’s a bar, where the barmaids are all females in bikinis. There’s a stage with a pole at the far end, but it’s hardly made the most of. The girls are friendly enough, or greedy for tips, either way the conversation is a bit awkward, but we discover that all the girls there are eastern european. It’s not long before we’re questioning how much of this place is a front for a brothel. Mmmm eastern european sex slaves, how far we’ve come in the last 100 years!

Streets Finally we’re off to check out shimmys, or chavys, or slippys or something like that. It’s Andrew W.K.s club, a door in a wall and a room with a shouty indy(ish) band. It all looks like they spent a lot of time making it look cool but it mostly looked like the standard rock bar in every city in the world. At least it didn’t try to be be Irish! The band were good, but finished not long after we arrived, and the DJ, and ‘contest’ were a bit pants. It was all pretty quiet thanks to thanksgiving so we’ll forgive it that. We met some cool people there, and ended up getting an uber late night Maccies.

A good day, if a little slower paced than normal – skipped the local, and went to bed.

DAY 8

Hello Kitty - Scott CiffordThanksgiving! Wooo! So we went to see the parade, and saw many giant things floating in the sky! There was a pikachu, and Micky mouse, a Dora the Explorer and some more! It was quite interesting while there, not so great to talk about though! So from Times Square we went north to central park, stopping off in the Time Warner centre which is just a mall, but we bummed out in the samsung experience stealing plays on games and decks and sequencers. We even figured out how to work some of them! Back outside and into central park again, it was a good day for a wander, sunny but still bloody chilly! We looked at the ice rink, and nice as it would’ve been to go, (romantic too) it was a bloody rip-off so we bailed and headed to the Zoo.

Snow Leopard - Scott CliffordThe zoo was pretty awesome, we saw sea-lions dancing, polar bears snoozing and snow-leopards falling down hills. There are many cute animals in zoos, so it’s always worth a quick look. Small, but cheap this zoo seems very New York – focusing on the biggest and best stuff out there. Red Pandas are dead cute little things as well! I still need to see a real panda though. Best bit of it though, you get a free ticket to the kids zoo next door, so in we wandered to see turtles and bunnies, goats and pigs. Lols were had hiding in wooden rabbits and trying to squeeze into a turtle shell. If only we were 10 years younger maybe we wouldn’t have looked so weird!

Red Panda - Scott CliffordWe headed back to the hostel to take advantage of some free thanksgiving food, which was in fact awesome. Not much in the way of veg, so pure turkey it was! We met a lot of people around the table that day, including a few guys from a uni upstate somewhere, One a British guy, and two German girls, a Danish guy doing god knows what everywhere he could, another Brit traveling the world giving out hugs (hug it on/hug it through [Hug it Forward] – something like that – pretty cool concept really, raising money via hugging!), a chap from eastern Europe (I forget where) and a simply gorgeous french girl studying down south who was doing something in NY. After dinner and much talking we make a move down to the local where we discuss many things and bump into a rather delightful Australian chap. After quite a few drinks a few of us, head back to take advantage of the hostel hot-tub. It’s really quite fantastic to be chilling in New York, in a hot tub with friendly people. Even better still when the cute french girl jumps in next to you in her undies!

They say the greatest things in life are free. They’re not wrong! Bed!

DAY 9

Brooklyn Bridge - Scott CliffordBlack friday – the day after Thanksgiving is well known for it’s sales. We’d found this out earlier in the week, and to make the most of this, we saved all our shopping money till then. It’s not the most exciting day, but I enjoyed it a lot! Two pairs of shoes, red/black/white Nike highs and Black/White Reeboks Highs, a pair of Levis, chocolate, cuddly toys, another pair of shoes from a secondhand shop White/lime Nike Highs and a brand new snowboard! At 70% off I really couldn’t say no! I knew I’d have to pay an extra $50 on the flight back, but with all the other stuff I bought I would’ve ended up paying that anyway, it’s a good thing my tee-s all fitted in the box with the board as my bag was full of shoes!

When we got back after an interesting metro ride home we dumped the stuff got some food and met up with the Uni guys from the night before. After a quickie in the local we headed back out to Brooklyn again, Barcade and Crocodile bar and Union Pool were all hit, before heading back to jump in the hot tub again. But oh no! The tub was out of action – so back down to the local to finish the last night of our trip in style and in comfort. Having picked up a few of the others from the hostel, and met more in the bar it was a pretty rowdy night of giggles.

Sandwhich and bed.

DAY 10

ClockOur last day in NY, and we were feeling lazy, so we headed out to brooklyn, checked out a skate shop with a half pipe, and a massive (but too chic for us) secondhand store. Then we grabbed milkshakes and cookies and headed to the river shore again. While it was painfully cold and hard-to-stand windy it was good to say goodbye to Manhattan. It’s an amazing place to be – if you’ve never been I seriously recomend it! Meeting up quickly with the girl from Santos we hit one last secondhand store and got another pair of Nike Highs (all white) then headed back to the hostel to chillax before the flight. Chilling and watching Anchorman – what better way to relax.

And then we went home…

I love NY and will be going back at some point, soon I hope!

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New York (part 1) – Blog from 2009

NYC - Scott Clifford

[Written in 2009, forgive the language]

What we did like…

DAY 1

Wake up with a boy in my bed, lounge around and pack shit up – get excited, sit on the tube for ages getting from one side of London to the other. Get on a plane and sit on that for ages getting from one side of the planet to the other. Arrive in New York, get shocked by everything around us! Massive cars, and no signs for anything anywhere meant we felt lost. After a couple of metro transfers through some dodgy looking places we arrive, in a dodgy looking place! It’s dark, there may be grues, there sure is a lot of run down looking brooklyn around us. No lights, not many windows… But we wander the way we’ve been directed, seeing a graffiti’d up car with slashed tires and some massive freaking trucks! Finally we find a door in a wall that says ‘New York Loft’ and wander in. Surprisingly it’s a super nice hostel, not the crack den it looked like! After dumping the gear we wander back down towards the metro looking for a bar that we’re told exists. And sure it does! You just can’t see it, because the sign is tiny, and the door is covered by a curtain.

Streets - Scott CliffordBut hell, in we go – and it’s a really sweet little hipster [before hipsters were dicks] bar. Artwork on the walls and music from who-ever got the iPod on first. It’s small and dark, but warm and friendly and we meet Ben – who should write a book for lame-ass tourists like us, he sure filled enough napkins with places and things to see! After a couple there, and a little chat with some locals we head out to the next closest bar. It’s cool, but not as cool. We end up in the corner shop buying the most awesome sandwhich you can imagine. It’s just freakin’ rammed with food!

Then – sleep 🙂

DAY 2

Today we have no real plans, so he head to Manhattan, hop out at Union Square and grab a starbucks. We get talked to by a man, then wander into bestbuy where Scott breaks a drumkit and I break a bass guitar. Then off we trot – not sure which way, down broadway, towards Houston… maybe. Got Pizza, saw shops, resisted shoes! We grabbed milkshakes too big to fit in the glass so they gave us the mixer as well! Then wandered soho way, found a small park with a big arch and saw probably the best buskers of the week. Double bass, 5 backing singers and a lead singer, awesome harmonies, and a great jazzy feel. A quick stop in a classic rock bar, then up 5th for a bit and we were on the way home.

Back to the local for couple and we’re told Williamsberg is the place to be – so back on the train a couple stops west and we’re in the another bit of Brooklyn – as Scott liked to say “winhamsvillton” where we found the bar with the free pizza (crocodile longue) the bar with the arcade games (barcade – get it!) where we spent many quarters on games we sucked at and finally the bar with the pool (Union pool) except the pool was filled, but it still had a campfire and gig room with elctro and a taco van. Two tacos later and many awkward conversations later we wander our way back home, praising the all night metro!

and Bed! 🙂

DAY 3

Grand CentralThanks to some lady on the plane, today we got up ‘early’ and headed to Grand Central station – after gawping a bit too long and missing the train we got another fatass sandwhich and headed off an hour later to the home of Yale university – a town called New Haven. We were told that ‘the game’ was being played (Yale Vs Harvard) so the town would be full of partying students! We arrived and walked into the town, following the randomly placed and more randomly directional signs to Yale uni campus, where we tried to look smart but failed. Then we found out we’d missed the game, and were still miles from the stadium. Oh well, they’ll all be coming back to party! So we follow some undressed blue people untill they all dissappear into various halls and dorms, asking a few people where the party is, and getting a dissapointing “what party? I’m studying tonight” responce. We soon decided that American uni students are too fucking lame to party, so headed back into town to find anywhere that would be fun. Finally a shitty sports bar appears, and tolerating the stench of bbq sauce we head in for a drink.

YaleAnd it’s here we meet Mike. Now Mike was both the best and worst thing about the night. Providing us with retarded promises of chicks up north, and dumb schemes of how to get there, but also helping keep us amused while underage americans had diner with their parents. From sports bar to pizza bar, to tequila bar (where I buy the boys the gayest cocktails the waitress can make! And I have a virgin Mojito(sp) which looks less gay, but sounds more) we party hard in here, tequila shots for all(ish) then head out again. One last irish bar, for one last drink – we’re getting scared Mike will kidnap us by this point! and we think we left without paying by accident – it was mikes round!

Part way down the road and we find a library that has ciabatta for $1 and after much confusion, Scott discovers that just ciabatta is not pronounced see-a-batty and that he wants a sandwich with ham. After poking some drunk chick in the face, without blinding her (a miracle considering he couldn’t walk straight!) and yelling at an escaping piece of ham (“Fuck you ham! Get back in my sandwich now!”) we start to head home. Mike asks for money to get home, so we run, but not before I notice a really nice looking jazz bar with live music… fuck you Mike!

Manhattan - Scott CliffordWe bump into some girls in that station from the pizza bar, they’re heading to Brooklyn too, but seating means conversation sucks on the train, and they’re all soon asleep, leaving me to work out the riddle on the poster. (5 hats, 3 blue, 2 green, 3 people in a line. The one at the back is asked to say what colour they are wearing and doesn’t know, then the middle one is asked and doesn’t know, and the one at the front shouts out! What colour do they call out?) and we head home (via the local) for bed 🙂

DAY 4

RockefellerOk, so after much confusion we worked out what we did on Sunday! We went into Manhattan again, wandered about a bit trying to find the rather obvious Rockefeller building – the second tallest building in New York. We were told it was cheaper and better than the empire state, and it sure proved to be one hell of a view! It almost hurts when you realise how huge that city is. So many thousands of people everywhere you look. And beyond the island, the sprawling masses of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx just blow your mind. In each tiny chunk of this huge city there’s uncountable stories, possible a person you could spend the rest of your life with – on every block! It’s amazing how much you can see, central park stretching out to the north, and downtown, and the business district to the south.

Empire State - Scott CliffordWe did a lot of walking today, like most days really, but this one was definitely heavy on the feet! After some cool photo taking and a quick wander around Bloomingdales, where I felt less welcome than a brick through the window we headed back home.

We wandered to the local, looking for a good place to go on a sunday night, and got the recommendation to head to Williamsberg again and look for a place called the Black Beauty. We never found it, but luckily we did find another bar, with live comedy. After the first guy made us laugh a lot, and called me a music snob (he was staring at me so much during his whole rant!) the host killed the mode a bit, and introduced number two, who had a few good jokes but few and far between – He was called Jermaine, but wasn’t the Jackson. Then the host bombed a bit again and introduced a fat beardy indian bloke who seemed to think being a fat beardy Indian was enough to be funny. He told lame stories of being a fat beardy Indian and his fat beardy Indian dad, and fat Indian (and probably beardy ) mum. The only laughs he got were when he improvised some shit about a lightbulb or talked about how lame his material was. I’m sure there’s plenty funny fat beardy Indians out there – pity he wasn’t one.

Still, we left in a good mood, and decided to hit the Kellog diner, 24hours of glorious junk food and fat people. Scarily filled with ultra hip scenesters with fake fur and huge glasses, these kids seemed to be rebelling against the revolution and going back to commercial meat eating bastardry! Long live the revolution revolution!

Then we went home for some sleep 🙂

DAY 5

ManhattanToday we put on our tourist hats – wish I’d put my fluffy one on though, it was damn chilly where we went! Into Manhattan again and southwards he headed, to hop out at the bottom of the Brooklyn bridge. We wander back and forth across this a bit, more of a photo bit this, so have a look on Facebook 🙂 Needless to say, it’s damn cool and New York is very picturesque from a distance!

From there, past the big ass law courts, and the city hall, we wandered through the financial district down past Ground Zero, which is now nothing more than a building site, to Wall Street, which is disappointingly secure and won’t let two scrappy brits in for a nose about. But it’s a cool area to check out, with a big ole’ George Washington to chill with. Heading on south some more we got to our destination, the Statton Island Ferry.

Statue of Liberty - Scott CliffordSaying goodbye to manhattan as we drifted past the Statue Of Liberty, the big green lady looking rather dull in the grey light of the day. A reasonable trip over, but we’re hungry, so we take a stroll into the ghetto of Statton Island looking for somewhere safe to eat. After dodging some pleasant looking Italian places we come across the worst looking (and best)Taco Bell I’ve ever seen. And we get some meaty sludge with far too much cream cheese in a squishy yellow packet. All in all, a real American meal!

Back on the ferry, and it’s dark now, which makes the trip so much better. Seeing the reflection of manhattans light in the water ahead of us is just awe inspiring. If there’s one thing I say you have to do while you’re there – do this! It’s a truly beautiful sight! At this point we helped out a couple of portuguese girls with some photos, in return for some photos of us, looking suitably moody of course. After a bit of fun, and some great photos by pro-photographer scott we’re back on land and in search of a warm drink with our new friends. Due to an alarming lack of Starbucks, we resort to beers (and coke) in a bar, where we drink and are merry. From here we walk back up wall street for more photos and hi-jinks, back past ground zero where we said goodbye to the girls.Times Square - Scott CliffordFrom here we head to Times Square. Another pretty amazing site – it’s as bright as day there, with the stupid amounts of lights all around you. The shops are lavish and expensive, with a concentration on being fun, not practical considering the sheer amounts of people that are there! A bite to eat in Maccies (it’s better and cheaper here) and a few laps of the square and we dive into Toys-R-Us, one with a ferris wheel, transformer and dinosaur in! A few gifts later and we’re heading home again, back to the local for beer and sandwiches.

Oh and bed 🙂

 Manhattan - Scott Clifford