Posted by: TomA | 10 June 2007

Days 39 – 41: New York City

Wednesday called for an excursion from the confines of Manhattan Island, to the culturally booming Brooklyn: more specifically, the small distract of Williamsburg, supposed to be the centre of all music, film and arts scene in NYC. Can’t say we saw that much of Brooklyn (mainly because it is absolutely huge), but there was a really nice contrast to the hustle of Manhattan. It wasn’t as pristine, but appeared to have more variety on the quickly changing neighbourhoods we walked through, with idyllic tree lined streets quickly giving way to run down kebab shops an dive bars.

Williamsburg itself was a touch disappointing, truth be told. Having expected a wealth of interesting, independent and alternative shops, there wasn’t a huge amount. A few interesting looking bars and two tiny but well stocked record shops aside, it lacked anything but well dressed trust-fund hipsters arranging their next pretentious gathering. Nothing like the similar areas in San Francisco, Portland, Austin or Vancouver which have distinctly down to earth and friendly feel, Williamsburg came across as unnecessarily cliquey, and, well, up-its-self. We decided not to stick around for The Long Blondes later that evening (though we did spot them wandering around – my Sheffield accent isn’t good enough to say hello and surprise them). We fled back to Manhattan on the subway.

The [free!] ferry to Staten Island provided the ideal opportunity to get off Manhattan once more and get some good views of the island, Brooklyn and some of the infamous NY attractions (that statue, Ellis island, etc).Plus a good sea breeze is always a nice way to cool off from the city sweat. 30 minutes each way, plus a quick stop at Staten Island and we were back, ready to head off into Queens for some baseball.

The New York Mets had lost their last 3 matches; this was their fourth and final game against the Phillies (from, take a guess…. Philidelphia). The first 3 innings each provided absolutely no entertainment whatsoever, until the Phillies started to take a grip of the game with a few home runs. 2-0 Phillies. The Mets came back in style, hitting a home run and then another – albeit controversial, with some serious and lengthy discussion from the congregation of officials. All of which rather annoyed the Phillies coach, who came onto the pitch and spent the next ten minutes arguing and shouting trying to get the decision overturned, all to roars and jeering from the home fans. The Mets completed their innings with another home run, taking the lead 3-2. Exciting. The rest of the match played out, the Mets completed their 8th and final innings still in the lead, just needing to prevent the Phillies scoring in their 9th and final. They didn’t, letting ones slip through and taking the match into further periods. From there, the Mets totally crumbled, in a fashion both Norwich and the Canucks have ably demonstrated time and time again, giving away three runs and having absolutely nothing in reply. Final score: Mets 3, Phillies 6. Anyway, isn’t it always more fun to support the perennial loser?

Our final day in NYC was spent escaping the sweltering heat picnicking in Central Park. We’d lined ourselves up to see Architecture in Helsinki that night at Irving Plaza; upon arrival we found that too had sold out , this time without further tickets available on the door. With little else to do we headed off in search of a good New York meal, settling on Bubby’s. Originally just pies, they now serve a range of traditional American home cooking in a totally wholesome fashion, and rarely for New York, actually have decent beer too.



  1. This non-linear story telling is very confusing for me.

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