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.
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.
It’s less than a fortnight until Spinneyhead takes Manhattan. I’ve taken to looking for bars and other places of interest in Google Local, but it’s no substitute for personal recommendations.
Harry recommended a bar and a bookshop on Sunday, but I didn’t write them down and, having a memory like one of those things with the wire mesh that you use to drain stuff, have now forgotten them. So, if you can leave your New York memories in the comments it would be greatly appreciated. Bars should serve interesting local microbrewery stuff if possible, I’m not flying out there to drink Guinness or the sort of stuff I’d avoid over here. Bookshops should be eccentric and crammed full of old tomes.
Oh, and clothes shops as well. I have an urge to supplement my wardrobe with stuff I couldn’t get over here.
New York plans to introduce a law that would require filmmakers, and photographers, to obtain a permit and hold liability insurance of up to $1million to film on the city’s streets. This is supposed to be aimed at professional film makers, but local civil liberties groups contend that the wording is so loose the Police could use it against sightseers, tourists and amateurs if they wanted.
New rules being considered by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.
The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment.
I’m planning to take my video camera to New York and shoot stuff there, your usual tourist stuff mostly. I don’t want to get arrested for it.
The Big Apple Greeter scheme will pair you up with a local volunteer who will give you a tour of their neighbourhood so you can see something other than the touristy New York.
Google has added another great time stealing feature to its maps. Street View has 360 degree street level photos of the area you’re looking at on the map, caught from a van with a turret of cameras on the roof. It’s a feature that has attracted some controversy and questions about invasion of privacy, but it’s also incredibly cool. The compositing of the photos gives cars and people, particularly when close to the camera, a ghostly, slightly transparent look.
There aren’t many cities mapped with Street Views yet. I took a wander around San Francisco and New York, trying to find views that were familiar from films and skating games. But then I went into satellite view and got distracted by these(if you want an even closer look find the “z=19” value in the URL and change it to “z=20”). Just offshore by Battery Park are two ghostly outlines of boats. Are they really there or are they the product of the way the satellite images have been processed? If you go South along the shoreline you can see another ghostly structure on the seam between one set of photos and another, but the ships don’t look like that.
Any Manhattanites want to tell me whether these boats are real, or go and check the area out for me. I may do it myself in September, if I remember, but I’m curious and impatient and I want an answer now.
BoingBoing have spotted the Mouse’s New York relative. Unlike our rodent-of-leisure, this one has a job- it taunts non-union “scab” workers.
Over a Two Year Period, I walked every street on the island of Manhattan.
Every darn street. Here you’ll find images of the walk and Manhattan ‘off the beaten path’. Also an interactive map of my favorite streets.
I’m looking for stuff like this before heading across the Atlantic. I want to find bits of New York that aren’t the usual tourist traps (though a trip to Ellis Island is probably in order).
The C40Large Cities Climate Summit was held in New York this week, with mayors of major cities from around the world vowing to do their bit to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This is looking increasingly like a problem that’s going to be tackled first at a personal and local level before national governments are going to pay any attention.