Despite never having lived there, being in New York felt strangely like home. The people were familiar – a big chunk of my family and friends live in New York – and the accents were familiar. The sheer number of American accents threw me off for the first few days while I acclimated to my old surroundings. The food was familiar – oh how I missed it! – and even in multicultural, cosmopolitan New York, there were signs of the true American dream:
The shopping was also familiar – Macy’s, mi amor! – as were the shoes. No longer was I the only person walking around in sneakers. Every other person was wearing them too! And if they weren’t, they were wearing something on their feet – unlike so many of the barefoot Aussies. I felt like I belonged. Oh yeah – and I could buy beer inside a pharmacy! The little things that make life so much easier.
But at the same time, New York – and America – felt strangely foreign to me. Yes, I looked the part, and I sounded the part, but the words coming out of my mouth weren’t quite right. People commented every time I dropped the m-bomb, the h-bomb, or the u-bomb… “mate”, “heaps”, and “uni”. The trash in the streets looked quite opposite to the comparatively pristine streets of Oz, and there were tons of highly visible crazies. Not that Sydney doesn’t have any crazy people roaming the streets, but there just aren’t as many and you just don’t notice them. The very loud man on the subway trying to convince everyone that the NRA was trying to keep the black man down was really hard to miss. And he wasn’t even close to being the only one.
And I had to tip people! WHAT?!?!?! I had completely forgotten about that. And the tax. The price you see is definitely not the price you pay. And I was annoyed.
Here is a quick rundown of some notable New York happenings:
The trip started out with a lovely birthday dinner for Alex, and the next night I had a group dinner for a bunch of my mates:
I decided to ride the Staten Island Ferry as I had never done it before. It was crowded full of tourists, but I’ve checked it off of some list somewhere and now I have no need to do it ever again.
Of course, I headed down to Broadway and Times Square one night to see a show… The Book of Mormon! And all I can say is that it was fanfuckingtastic. And one of the lead guys was pretty cute.
There was the shopping – including H&M and the newly-discovered Uni Qlo which was just fabulous – but the star of my eye was the Macy’s flagship store. It was like heaven inside, and they even had a Starbucks in store!
My gays and I popped into the Chelsea Markets for a wander and a cup of caffeinated goodness.
But the most unique new discovery was the Highline. The Highline is an old stretch of elevated railroad tracks that the city has turned into a nice walk with gardens and art installations. I explored it twice – one day with Lenora & Sheerah – and the next with David & Blake.
Of course, there was plenty of food as well, but I’ll save that for another blog post…
Special thanks to Colleen for coming in from Connecticut, Lenora from DC, Blake from Boston, and David all the way from Alafuckingbama. Thanks too to Alex & Dan for hosting me and to the entire gang for coming out to spend some time with me while I was in town.