On Wednesday I managed to accidentally have lunch in a New York landmark. I’d read about the predominantly New York phenomenon of hot dog and fruit juice stands somewhere online, so when I spotted Papaya King across the street I decided to give it a go.
The original store was opened by a Greek deli owner to serve exotic fruit juices. Being in a predominantly German neighbourhood there was a demand for frankfurters to go with the drinks. Oddly enough, the combination worked and became quite popular. (Courtesy of wikipedia)
Obviously I didn’t know any of this when I went in, but read about it in an article pinned to the window. I had the Chilli Double, two chilli dogs and a juice drink. The chilli wasn’t so strong, but the hotdogs were better than the one I had under Grand Central, and the papaya juice was thick and sweet.
Later, I found myself giving directions to an employee of Tavern on the Green for another Central Park landmark. But that’s another story.
We still look like tourists, but what the hell.
Started the day with a visit to the Museum of Sex, which isn’t far from our hotel. Gallery 1 has an exhibition all about kinks, Gallery 2 was a presentation, with video displays and darkened corners, of sex and the moving image and Gallery 3 had lots of reference material for the Perfect Sex Toy project.
We went looking for the Intrepid Air and Navy Museum, but the aircraft carrier it’s in has been taking to New Jersey to be renovated. However, we did find the Chelsea Brewing Company and tasted six of their beers (in small glasses, probably a pint and a bit in total). I highly recommend all their brews, especially the stout and the Sunset Red.
I dropped into the Strand bookshop, where I could easily have spent the rest of the week and taken my luggage over the baggage allowance. Self control saw me only buying Crooked Little Vein, a present for my sister and Sex Machines, so I could find out even more about these bizarre contraptions.
Tonight we’re going to be sad and uber-touristy and go up the Empire State building. I forgot to get myself an “I [Kong] NY” T-shirt though, so it just won’t be the same.
“Chocolate by the bald man” it says. It’s a restaurant with a distinct Wonka bent. The dessert menu is five or six times larger than the savoury one and pipes hanging from the ceiling that claim to pump pure chocolate.
Penny must never know of its existence, nor that there are two branches- one on Broadway and one on 2nd Avenue.
We are so obviously tourists, the four of us walking around in a little awe struck group with our cameras. Luckily the street layout is so straightforward that we don’t have to constantly stop and check maps, which would be even worse.
Yesterday we got a tour from a Big Apple Greeter, a lovely lady called Peggy who took us up to 42nd Street and showed us the cathedral, Rockefeller Centre, Grand Central and Library. It’s because she was there to tell us that I know I put a Joe on the uptown lion. Then we had dinner in the Heartland Brewery under the Empire State building. Red Rooster Ale is highly recommended, Skippy liked the wheat beer and the cider and Manda sipped her way through a couple of cocktails. The stout didn’t have enough body, sadly, and the pumpkin beer was as bad an idea as it sounds. We rounded off the evening, as mentioned, in the pub across the road, drinking bad IPA and suffering karaoke.
Today we went South, checked out Wall Street, shopped at Century 21 and hopped on the Staten Island ferry. We only hung around long enough to check out the WTC victims’ monument, a graceful pair of sweeping walls inspired by postcards, before coming back. Whilst we were on the ferry someone important landed at the southern heliport, we saw two helicopters in colour schemes similar to Marine One being escorted by three Chinooks. Tonight we’re off to a jazz club to meet up with Roo and Cardiff John, another two over here for Saturday’s wedding.
Update The helicopters may have been carrying Bush himself, as he did fly into the Wall Street heliport on Monday. The Coastguards were offshore guarding the river side.
With several members of Team Spinneyhead either currently in the States or about to fly over there, it seems only fair to warn them that its currently tornado season. Sadly it’s only on this side of the pond though.
I haven't yet learned the tipping thing. It'll come to me, after a few more evil looks.
Even New York is a little drowsy at 7.30 on a Sunday.