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My Favourite Cheap, Good Food and Drink In New York

7 Sep

My favourite places. Message me with any additions/alterations.

Pizza:

2 Bro’s, 32 St Mark’s. $1 for a fresh slice of pizza, $2.75 for two and a can of soda. Best dollar pizza in NYC.

Artichokes, 328 E 14th, or 111 Macdougal St. At $3 a slice, slightly more expensive, but their special recipe is phenomenal.

 

Falafel:

Cheeps, 129 2nd Av. $2 for a falafel pita. Cheap, cheerful and tasty.

Mamoun’s, 22 St Mark’s. Just down the road (with two 2 Bros on the same street) it’s slightly smaller than Cheep’s and an extra 50c, but so much better.

 

Chinese:

Xi’an’s Famous Foods, 81 St Mark’s. Get the Spicy Tofu Soup or the stewed pork burger. Delicious, and only $4.50 for both. And don’t forget a cup of chilled sour hawberry tea for $1.50

 

Wings

1849, 183 Bleecker St. $0.20 a wing from 3-6p or all day on Sunday and Monday? Yes please!

 

Drinks

3 Sheets Saloon, on Macdougal and 6th. It’s so good, the atmosphere is awesome and there is always a cheap deal: especially Wednesday nights, where it’s $1 a pint.

Jeremy’s on Front Street in the Seaport. $2 for 32 oz. of Coors before 10am, or $6 after. The barman is about as New-Yorker as it gets.

The Patriot on Chambers, in between Church and W Broadway. $6 pitchers ALL THE TIME.

Scars

18 Aug

It’s late on a Sunday evening, and Scott and I venture into the Patriot bar for a six-dollar pitcher. We’re tired, but we justify spending the six dollars on the cheap beer, and listen to the stiff American country and blues that is blaring out of the jukebox. At some point, an elderly man complains to us that he put in too much money and can’t choose any more songs, and asks us to pick. We oblige. Chatting to the bartender, we notice she has a tattoo of the outline of New Jersey, her home state. I mention the possibility of getting a tattoo in some of the places I travel, mementoes that won’t weigh me down.

A drunken man stumbles over, and murmurs something about ‘tattoos’ and ‘travelling’. His breath is sickly, acidic and very alcoholic.

‘You know what yer should get?’ he bleats. ‘Yer tattoo.’

‘What?’

‘The Twin Towers.’

It takes me a little while to digest this. Politics aside, it would make an ugly tattoo.

‘Why should I get that?’ I ask him, politely.

‘Because. Because, on the day, on nahn-eleven, ever’body wen’ dahn there. Ever’body helped. Y’all should ‘member this. People came from all over, from Jersey, upstate, Long Island, and came down and helped.’

Now, I would never think about getting a tattoo commemorating 9/11. I wasn’t there, it would be ugly, and it’s a little more difficult for me to understand than a seasoned New Yorker who spent the days afterwards scraping his way through rubble, finding bodies, but no survivors.

But 9/11 does sum up New York, in a way. It is a bloated scar on its history, a terrible event that literally changed the way New Yorkers, Americans and the Western World think. But the thousands of people that died are honoured in such a way. Fire trucks have the names of the firemen they personally lost emblazoned on their doors, and the fire station literally next door to Ground Zero proudly displays their new motto: ‘Still Here.’ They are building reflecting pools (Americans love reflecting pools) where the old towers stood, and a 9/11 memorial and museum, and the new ‘Freedom Tower’ (which will conveniently stand at 1,776 feet high). Each police precinct has pictures of all the policemen who died, and there are murals all over, with captions like ‘Never Forget’, and ‘With Us ‘Til We Die’.

So, I won’t get a tattoo of the World Trade Center. Ever. But it will stick with me, in as permanent a way as a tattoo ever could.

Packing

7 May

The neverending cycle of sorting through the interminable dross into three piles – take, leave and throw. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m probably going to have to leave my musical instruments behind, the worst case scenario is I buy some more when I’m out there. Maybe that’s a good thing – I could leave my English musical instruments behind, and invest in some truly unique and cultured ones as I travel around. I have a banjo already, but who can compete with a truly bluegrass one from the Deep South, or a pipa from China, a sitar from India?

One of the things I try to do when I’m packing is fill up my suitcase (or in this case, duffle bag) and then take out exactly half of the things I have packed. I won’t need that many clothes or things, I’m going to be on my feet a lot and I don’t want to get weighed down. It’s bad enough with all the books I carry around everywhere, they weighed me down like an anchor in Africa.

But until then, it’s just take, leave and throw. Take, leave and throw. Ignore the beehive of complaint about the AV referendum. That is completely irrelevant. If it was going to go through, more people would have voted for it. Just like, if Stephen Harper was THAT bad, he wouldn’t have got re-elected! The trivialities melt away when set against a proper backdrop, like the feasibility of getting lost in a limitless expanse of American sky in just a month’s time.

Originality seems to be lost in Devon.

26 Apr

If you haven’t been to Plymouth recently, a new monstrosity has developed on the Hoe, a fresh eyesore to grace the quasi-beauty of Plymouth seafront. And to add insult to injury, it’s been done before. This ‘Wheel of Plymouth’ is now a scar on the horizon.

To put the record straight, I have nothing against ferris wheels in particular. The Millennium Eye is a fantastic addition to the London skyline, providing us not only with an exciting way of soaking in the city in a way that you couldn’t possibly do on foot, or in a day for that matter, but also as a spectacular platform for the New Year fireworks. It’s just the idea of it. It’s like Plymouth is the slightly less intelligent schoolmate cribbing the answers to a test from London. In fairness, he is the Head Boy.

However, a city can’t rely on another’s ideas and assume they are going to work in the exact same way. While I can justify spending a few quid on the London Eye, on the justification of seeing the Thames sprawling beneath you, St Paul’s downriver, the Houses of Parliament in their Gothic glory over in Westminster, I can’t see how spending £6.75 on the Wheel of Plymouth could benefit my day. What are you going to see that you can’t see on foot, or at the top of Smeaton’s Tower? Which is a genuinely interesting place to go, if you haven’t been to the top.

Perhaps if Plymouth thought of a refreshing new idea for an urban attraction, they might have come across less flak. But this ‘Wheel’, half the size of the London Eye, just doesn’t cut it. Rant over.

Beating the Bounds

18 Apr

Largely owing to a commitment with BUNAC, I went up to Manchester this weekend, marking the first time I’d been north of the Watford Gap in nearly a decade. And to be frank, it shattered all my predispositions. While I visited my family in Knutsford, the Tatton constituency of George Osborne and an apparent Conservative stronghold, it is easy to assume the North is the pro-Labour, industrialised, terraced and city-bound cousin of the perceptively affluent and white-collar Conservative South, especially to an incredibly Southern, grammar educated history student such as myself, whose only real experiences of the North stem from the categorized and stereotypical Jane Austen novels, Coronation Street and thick regional accents.

While I’m sure it works the opposite way, this stereotype was destroyed by my stay in Manchester. It’s actually a very vibrant city, dotted with stunning architecture and a plethora of interesting and easy going pubs and bars, surrounded by some pretty gorgeous countryside. A night out on the town on Saturday happened to be one of the best in a long while, sandwiched in between an electric atmosphere for the football on Saturday and Sunday. Incidentally the last ten minutes of the Arsenal and Liverpool match were some of the most frantic and incredible football I’ve ever seen.

So the hat is off to you, Northern England. Perhaps time will begin to close the North-South divide more fully, as people integrate and break down the stereotypes and social barriers.

One Small Step for Man.

13 Apr

I’ve just taken a telescope into my garden and had a gander at the Moon. It’s pretty awesome, and if you’ve never done it before, it’s beyond recommendable. To see in such minute detail all the little nuances of the lunar surface that make it so fantastically unique with your own eyes is an amazing experience.

I focused on the South Pole, especially the Tycho crater. On the picture it’s about halfway up, on the right of the cluster of impact craters, with the dot in the middle like a hydrogen atom without an electron. Tycho is pretty young for a crater, at about 108 million years old, and named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. In case you didn’t know, he lost his nose in a duel and wore a copper prosthetic one, and supposedly died because he thought it too rude to leave the dinner table to go urinate, and ruptured his bladder. But he still had a large enough impact (sorry for the pun) on the world of astronomy to warrant a crater.

And Tycho is a pretty prominent crater. NASA landed Surveyor 7 there, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken several pictures of it as the number one proposed site of the cancelled Constellation program, but with the Orion spacecraft going ahead, this crater could feature some footsteps yet. When I begin travelling, a lot is going to change. I’ll be immersed in different cultures, languages, foods and drinks. My entire life is going to become this dynamic, malleable constant conveyor belt of change. And yet there are going to be just as many things that won’t change, and a pretty good symbol of this is about 230,000 miles away and staring at me right now.

Back in the gateway to England

2 Apr

I’m back in Kent for a brief respite before heading back to Plymouth to fully wrap things up there. The journey back, as always, was hellish, and a couple of hours in London without any money or phone battery is always an experience.

But I got there. And a foray into Ashford and Bluewater has concreted one thing in my mind, and the reason why I love my country so much – pubs. Bars aren’t the same, and nightclubs serve their purpose, but an afternoon searching for a beer to quench a parched throat is one of the easiest things in the world to a Briton. Just type in pubs on AroundMe and see if I’m wrong.

And I’m really going to miss Kent. Apart from the wedges of tarmac that cut through it on the way from London to Dover, and the inevitable backwater settlements that accompany that, it really is beautiful country, and an irreplaceable part of the UK. The perfect marriage of beauty, heritage and proximity to both London and France make it a pretty damn good place to live.

I’m pretty aware that New York and Sydney are going to be completely polar opposite to this sprawling greenery, and I’m coming to terms with that. But now at least, I can walk the dog in a beautiful forest carpeted with bluebells and feel at home.