I just spent the better part of a week in New York with some friends of Charity’s (AUG 2003). I was fascinated by the city and felt compelled to write this travel log.
I was there for Blackout 2003. You can jump to that or keep reading. I was inspired by an article written by Dave Barry about New York. I strongly recommend reading mine first. (If you read his first, you won’t find mine even remotely funny.) Davebarry.com
This is a shortened version. I also have a long and boring version.
Check out these cool postcards.
Checkout this music vedio by Tyler Lyme. Directed by Patrick McCabe. Its about hating New York and hating other things too.
By Kekoa Stanton. AUG 2003.
After a short time in The Big Apple, I concluded that there are way too many people here and that it is very hot.
The best mode of transportation is the subway system which is basically (if you can believe it) a dirtier and hotter version of the surface. In fact, conditions are so bad that some of the sewer rats (often mistaken for Great Danes) find the subways inhospitable and are forced to actually live in the sewers. Which, incidentally, do not smell as bad as the subways as the urine is fresher.
Speaking of smells, one of the curious things about New York is that every block has its own distinct smell. As soon as you cross the street and arrive on a new block, you are greeted with that block’s smell. I suspect a blind person could navigate around New York City just fine going by sense of smell. A taxi cab could drop him off at the wrong location and he could take a whiff and say “Pardon me, sir, I believe this it 5th and Broadway.” To which the driver would kindly reply “Go’da HELL!” and speed off.
I’m sure you have heard that the traffic is pretty bad in New York City. This is due to the fact that they take a street that is just wide enough for two cars and turn it into a five lane street, and also allow for parking on either side. So no lane is actually wide enough to fit a car. Drivers compensate for this fact by making sure the gas pedal is firmly pressed down to the floor mat at all times, and change lanes at sporadic intervals.
I believe it is also acceptable to use your horn in lieu of a turn signal. Hitting pedestrians (either in crosswalks or on the sidewalk) is also acceptable so long as a proper “honking” warning is given.
The Empire State Building
I woke up during the night a few times in a pool of my own sweat due to the extreme heat, not to mention the noise. No wonder they call it the city that never sleeps.
Today we get to do more walking. I still haven’t been mugged yet, and there seems to be twice as many people in the city as there was yesterday.
I will confess though. They are not all bad. Some people were somewhat helpful in giving us the wrong directions to various locations.
We went to Time Square today. Time square is basically an oversized intersection that attempts to give you a full sensory stimulation overload. There are lights and animated TV type billboards everywhere you look. Some are blinking and flashing or making strange sounds, and people trying to sell you stuff. It’s kind of like a really bad webpage.
I was a little disappointed though; in a few places I could still see patches of actual building between the signs.
So, back to the subways. The subways are kept at a comfortable 137 degrees fahrenheit. This is done through a system of geothermic heat, body odor, and poor ventilation.
We went to Ground Zero. It was interesting. Basically we just wanted to find a place that sold cold beverages for less than $6 and move on, so we didn’t spend too much time there.
One of the major things I noticed about New York was when I was trying to buy postcards or other sorts of memorabilia. You won’t believe how hard it is to find something that DOESN’T have a twin tower theme. I wasted hours on fruitless searching. Damn, you Bin Laden!
More heat, more people more walking. New York is starting to lose its charm. I wish I’d get mugged or something to liven things up.
If you have ever walked around New York you will notice enormous mounds of garbage on the sidewalks. I think they are put there by local residents to keep the taxies off the sidewalks.
Today we decided to experience a little New York culture. We took the subway through Hades then back around to Chinatown.
Chinatown is basically a rancid, dirty version of a cesspool, but with
dead rotting fish for sale in every shop. Ok, so some of fish aren’t
quite dead yet. But if you’re lucky the rotting fish smell will
hide the raw sewage stagnating in the street smell. (This isn’t
much of an exaggeration.). Man, I wish there were more mounds of moldy
garbage around to neutralize the rank. I basically held my breath for
a few blocks until we were out of there. I couldn’t wait to get
back to the sweet smell of the subways.
The rest of the day was about to take a turn for the worse. Impending
horror like I have never known before would soon consume me. There was
little I could do to prepare myself:
Fortunately there was an enormous power outage that took out the entire north-eastern region of the United States and some of Canada. Whew, talk about your close calls!
At first we weren’t sure what to make of it. It took a while before rumor (via radio) informed us of the magnitude of the blackout. Of course your first paranoid instinct is that it’s some sort of terrorist attack (Damn you Bin Laden!). But then the radio assured us it was just the Canadians. (Damn you Quebec!).
Later, (days later) after all the buck passing and finger pointing they have concluded that Ohio was to blame (Charity and all her friends are from Ohio). I say we invade at once! Probably some fundamental Amish extremists! Nuke’em all, I say!
You might consider the great economic loss to the city with such an outage, but just think of all they’re saving on their electric bill!
Even though all the stores had closed, most things went on as though nothing had changed. All the traffic lights were out. This of course had no adverse effect on the way people were driving. Soon enough traffic was totally gridlocked, cars honking, and the streets were filled with hordes of angry pedestrians cursing at each other as they make their way home. So it was pretty much just like any other day here.
Ah, to sleep again with no air-conditioning. Fortunately I am too dehydrated to sweat.
Power is still out despite being encouraged by the radio that it should have been on last night. Damn, that Bin Laden! Er, umm.. I mean Ohioans!
We all stink to high Hades and is going to be another hot day. Rumor has it that some places have power, so we decide to go and see if we can go buy water. (Water wasn’t working either). Nobody is keen on the idea of walking so we attempt to catch a bus (subways are still out of commission). It was like mass chaos and anarchy to get on a bus. Those things were packed beyond full. I simply wasn’t aggressive enough to get on the first four that came. Little old ladies were shoving me out of the way to get on (no joke). I wondered how it was on normal days.
I’m standing packed in a city bus and my BO is so bad that I can’t even bear to be beside myself (we had no water to shower with in our building). I hate everyone here as much as they hate me. I reach my arms up to grab the hand bars and allow full ventilation of my armpits so the rest of the bus can get the full effect of my stench. I notice sitting right below my armpit was someone who had shoved me while trying to get on an earlier bus. Ah, the sweet smell of revenge.
So this is New York. If you make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.
It’s hot, I feel like mugging someone.
I hate New York.
Sunset During Blackout, with Charity.
Traffic Jam During Blackout. (Detail)
Old-schooled Building Juxtaposed With New-school
Graffiti wall in Little Italy
Charity and me. Top of Empire State Building
The Gang at Time Square
The Gang on Queensboro Bridge During Blackout
Crowded Street During Blackout
Queensboro Bridge From Far
We were staying on Roosevelt Island which is spanned by the bridge, but you can't get to it from the bridge without a parachute. So we had to walk over the bridge then around Queens a few miles until we got to another bridge that would take us to the island.
Long and boring version