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.

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Africa revisited.

31 Aug

When the British explorer David Livingstone died in 1873 in Rhodesia, the British government sent a request to the African tribe he was with when he died for his body, in order to give it a full burial in Westminster Abbey with full honours. After a period of refusal, the tribe ultimately relented after cutting out his heart, and the body went back to Britain with the note:

‘You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa.’

It’s been nearly a year since I left Africa, and I understand the sentiment. A little of a year ago, I was in a hospital bed with a bout of malaria and dysentery, feeding wild monkeys, teaching Ghanaians proper condom use, eating banku and fufu, surfing poorly in the Gulf of Guinea, showering in waterfalls, doing practically everything I ever dreamed of, and since I left I have thought of little else. I’m travelling to other places, New York, Sydney, the Far East, but I doubt that these places, whilst fantastic in their own right, will hold a candle to Africa.

I even plan which African countries I want to go to next: Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Dem. Rep. Congo, Zimbabwe…

I’m not going to try to describe the best continent on earth. My words would be fruitless. Just, make sure you manage to visit this place, but make sure you visit the heart of Africa, the places with the beating red soil south of the Sahara, where you drink palm wine and listen to folklore from wise elders, where electricity is a luxury and bucket showers and pit toilets the norm, and you’ll get my point. I promise.

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.

Lost in Translation

26 Jul

America is an English-speaking country, but anyone who’s spent a reasonable amount of time here should know that Americans don’t speak English. Whether you like it or not – my good (American) friend Nick likened American English as OS X Leopard to British English’s Tiger (I tend to lean more towards American being the Vista to British’s XP – if it ain’t broke…) – but it is there. Some translations are impossible, as my British friend Ellie directed me to the brick wall that is reached when asking about certain food items in menus: we don’t have a clue what arugula is, and on the other side of the pond, they only know rocket as a medium for sending people into orbit, or raining fire down on threats to world peace.

So, foodstuffs are the worst, as they’re often difficult to explain as well. Arugula/rocket is a leafy vegetable. Cabbage? No, more of a salad vegetable. Lettuce? No, it has more of a bitter taste. You get the idea. And there is a long list: cilantro/coriander, eggplant/aubergine, zucchini/courgette, oatmeal/porridge, frosting/icing, meatball/faggot (that was fun to try and describe), graham cracker/digestive biscuit, chips/crisps, fries/chips, bap/bun, clingfilm/saran wrap. The list is by no means exhaustive. Some translations can land you in trouble, for instance asking an American if he can bum you a fag (procure for you one of his cigarettes) may get you nothing but an odd look. In a similar vein, asking for a biscuit won’t get you anything closely resembling a cookie, but a scone.

So here goes. My attempt at an American English/British English dictionary.

Eggplant/Aubergine

Cilantro/Coriander

Zucchini/Courgette

Potato Chips/Crisps

French Fries/Chips

Fag/Poof (not that either should be used in common currency)

Clingfilm/Saran Wrap

Subway/Tube

Couch/Sofa

Commercial/Advert

Dessert/Pudding

Pudding/Mousse

Aerial/Antenna

Aluminium/Aluminum (please note that as per Linnaean classification, -ium is the correct suffix. Britain is correct.)

Anti-clockwise/Counterclockwise

Banger/Sausage

Autumn/Fall

Nappy/Diaper

Frying Pan/Skillet

Sweets/Candy

Tap/Faucet

Bin/Wastebasket

Jumper/Sweater…

You get the idea. Next week, the pertinacious American exemption of the letter ‘U’ (armour, clamour), use of the letter ‘Z’ (apologize, realize), the switched letters ‘E’ and ‘R’ (theatre, center) and the ‘S’ (defense, offense). I jest.

Links

18 Jul

Morals for the Profane

“Morals for the Profane is a collection of humorous and/or informative posts that written to fill the void known as free time. Other reasons include the educational interest I have with the subject matter, the opportunity to publish my unquestionable wit and the coverage of my other such exploits. If you have the time, take a look and hopefully you’ll be sufficiently entertained.” – Cameron Geddes

The Toxic Oil Spill Blues

Some rather good poetry and literature from the mind of Scott Woodall

Hard Times

14 Jul

I sit in Battery Park, with just $21 in my pocket. My shoes are wearing thin, I’m dripping with sweat after another fruitless day of job hunting, and there is a blister on my heel the size of a quarter. Even my indissoluble optimism is taking a hit today. I’ve resigned myself to bumming cigarettes off of bloated tycoons and wandering into everywhere and anywhere with a resume and a weak smile. Coming to America armed with just a British accent and the aforementioned sanguinity, I’ve found the American Dream to be shallow and undefined, and New York City to be harsh and unforgiving. But then again, it plays to your strengths, and responds to your weaknesses. New York is a pulsating, breathing organism, as if I am in the belly of a giant beast, trying to turn it over to my advantage without getting digested, chewed and spat out. But I’m not going home. And I’m not going to be spat out.

I quite quickly came to the conclusion that anything is possible in America, provided you’re willing to put in some time, and a hefty slab of elbow grease. It’s been four days since my Social Security was put through, and the job hunt started. I’ve already exhausted one pile of resumes, pored over several application forms and sent out reams of emails, with not even a whisper of a reply. It’s as if I’m baiting a trap, but the willow loop reeks too much of my human scent for anything to come close. I need to act, or at least seem, like one of them. But I’m happy. Aside from the languid response from the days of trudging for work, New York is vibrant and fascinating, an enigma that needs to be explored and dissected. It is an entire country in one; is a disparity of race, gender, wealth and age. You walk half a mile and everything is a different price, a different quality, a different type or even a different language.

And that’s the beauty of it. It’s a massive, multicultural, ever-changing globule of human history, emotion, culture and life sat on this tiny island, emanating and pulsating it’s own digested versions of everything that is pumped into it, combining and altering to make its own wonderful product. And that is what makes New York, New York.

Starbucks

5 Jul

I’m writing this blog post from a Starbucks, hence the title. I feel a little beatnik, sitting here with my iced coffee.

Happy 4th of July! We spent it on the roof of our building in the Financial District, drinking beer and having ribs on a barbeque, before going to a ‘kegger’ on the roof of another building uptown, the skyline literally sprawled out around us, with the Chrysler and the Empire State lit up the brightest (red, white and blue for Empire). I’ve become acquainted with $1 pizza, 7/11 big gulps and traversing a hell of a lot of stairs. But it’s okay. I still need to get used to American accents, having just completely failed miserably when ordering my coffee by completely failing to understand the word ‘sweetened’ in a New York drawl. What followed was me looking like a twat while the barista said in the most condescending voice: ‘sugar, or no sugar’. Duh.

Also, contrary to what I’ve heard:

a) New York is sunny. The buildings are really tall, but they don’t block out the sun. And it’s quite leafy, pretty much every street is lined with trees, and there are loads of parks. And I’ve only seen one cockroach. New York is actually pretty clean and really nice. Apart from the subway, I don’t like the subway. But then again, the trains are air-conditioned.

b) New Yorkers are actually quite nice. I’ve had quite a smattering of drinks bought for me already, and it’s really easy to strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met and just chat away. Mostly they just want to know about England, from one perspective or another. The guy I was chatting to on Sunday just wanted to know about how English sports clubs worked and how much the players got paid.

c) New York is cheap for me, but expensive for everyone else. Pretty much everything is cheaper than London, but it is apparently the most expensive city in America. But a dollar for a large slice of pizza ain’t too shabby.

I’m going to go to Central Park now, ’cause I can’t apply for jobs until I get a Social Security number. Which takes a few working days apparently, and yesterday was a national holiday and all. Byeeee