A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Improbable New City

New York City

There's nothing quite like New York City. It challenges your very imagination to grasp its sheer magnitude. The towering structures, the ocean of people, the bombardment of its economic power. Queens alone has 2 million people. Take the Purple line if you want evidence. Huge, I tell you.

A bloke has to find a way around however, and if you want to ride subways all day, go ahead, but it gets expensive. Besides, most people don't realize that Manhattan is walkable, but be prepared for soreness the next day. I think if the calculations were correct, I walked over 100 city blocks the first day. More, the second. But the sights just pull you along with the rest of the ever-moving city. From Rockefeller Center in the shadow of the Chrysler Building to Times Square's bright lights and colossal screens that dare you to turn away, the Statue of Liberty to the Stock Exchange. The Empire State Building stands dominate while Freedom Tower gets ready to shoot into the sky.

Of course, one cannot forget the streets, so famous and so grand, Wall Street, with its executives and peons battling at the center of the financial world, decadent 5th Avenue where the most famous shops in the world reside, Broadway with theatres sporting the best the world has to offer, not to mention the others, Madison Ave, 34th St, Avenue of the Americas, Park Avenue.

But the sights don't stop there. There's Greenwich Village and the oddities that reside there, Soho with its cast iron apartment buildings, Hell's Kitchen, Alphabet City, Little Italy, Chinatown, and of course Harlem.

And even though you can go absolutely nutty trying to see it all, you will find at some point that you can't. You will break down crying on the street as you hold your guidebook to your heart.

So here's 10 realistic things to remember about Manhatten:

1- It's not as expensive to eat here as you think. And the food here is amazing, especially if you're after food you can't find anywhere but the country it came from. If you want Sudanese Goat or Giuso from Uruguay, its here.

2- Like said, it is walkable, so don't worry about grabbing cabs everywhere. Just get a map and figure out what you want to see ahead of time and go for it.

3- It's expensive to go up the Empire State Building, something like 20 bucks. Your call.

4- Central Park is Big. Really big. At 60 city blocks long and several wide, you better bring your walking shoes, because it is daunting. But on the flip side, it is a charming well tended park.

5- You can get a giant Hot Pretzel with spicy mustard for $1.50 on 5th Avenue. I did it.

6- You can see the plans for Freedom Tower and the WTC memorial(both free), and its pretty well thought out. It's a sort of gigantic crystal shard. Or, if your a Superman fan, it looks suspiciously like Clark's crystal home away from home. They might call it Jarrell's Staff or some such thing. And if I'm the first one to notice this, I should somehow get credit...

7- Hello Deli, made famous by The Letterman Show, is closed on Sunday. Side note: trash gets put out on Sunday. Very fragrant on Sunday nights in the summer.

8- In Central Park, there's a guy whose life work is keeping the memorial alive at Strawberry Fields. He's there. And just about as scruffy as you'd imagine him to be.

9- There's a massive Bronze Bull on Wall Street, but don't bother trying to get a picture, there are always tourists climbing the thing.

10- If you get the 10$ Metro Pass, they throw one ride in extra. Nice of them.

Alright, I'm exhausted just writing about the place. See it for yourself.

- a C-note

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Spirit of the Old and New World

Boston, Massachusetts

It sits on the bay and basks in its history. And rightly so. So much of the early days of America revolved around the city, from the founding fathers, to old Paul Revere galloping around shouting of lamps, to massacres and massive bloody battles. To walk the streets is to catch a glimpse of history.

Modern Boston isn't the hub it used to be for how America spins, but it still stands proud for its history and the culture it has created over the years. It is indeed one of America's most culturally rich cities. Famous for its old brick homes that line the narrow streets as ivy threatens to overtake them, their breweries that have been made famous by one Sam Adams company, the university legacy of Boston College and Harvard, the Celtics that made basketball a household name, the RedSox that began so many years ago, delicious seafood on the waterfront, lively pubs with great music pulling at the city's large population of Irish Americans. Boston has become a tourist haven, a sportman's city, an intellectual's mecca, a food critic's dream, and a young person's favorite night scene.

When I visited the city, I also got to experience one of the other famous elements of New England. The rain. But even that couldn't keep the day down. Taking shelter in Quincy Market or in one of the many fantastic restaurants that line the streets, the rain is not bothersome enough to keep the spirit of Boston away.

And at its heart, that is what Boston is, a kind of spirit. A spirit everyone should experience at least once.

- a C-note