Monday, February 20, 2012

Catching up where I left off.....

SO! Again I've been impressively slack at keeping this little blog project up to date, but after returning from Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I thought so much has happened in the last few months that I haven't shared and need to get up online because it's truly been amazing, so I'll just try and get as much on here as possible, we'll see how it goes. I'll start where I left off, in Boston, the day after the next post, we popped down to a little place known as New York City.

We arrived some time that evening, and found our tiny little room, in Harlem. Not the flashest part of town but somewhat affordable. The four of us boys were crammed in together in this tiny room with a double bed and a set of bunks, for the next 5 days this was where we slept, but not really much more than that. We got ourselves ready and headed straight to the Rockefeller centre where we met up with the girls and watched the people ice skating, and took some photos in front of the giant tree. We kind of had to get all the touristy stuff out of the way at the beginning. From there we wandered down 5th avenue and eventually hit time square. Man the first time going there is unreal! you literally walk with your head back and mouth open haha (looking back now though, time square became tiresome. When we would get around NY, we'd often find ourselves passing through there, and it was always such a pain!!) We ended up getting on a train and heading down to Soho to find a place to eat. We hit this Polish restaurant and had some good eats and tasty eastern european brews. Then with a big week ahead we called it a night.

heres a few snaps from NY day one:

The crew outside the tree at Rockefeller. Think Home Alone 2.

Bit of ice skating there.. Thought about trying, but didn't want to look like an egg in front of all those people, turns out it was waaaaay pricey anyways.

you can't really tell, but thats us in time square.

Not too many impressive photos from day one. Still a great time though.

Day 2:

We planned to meet the girls in central park, they were going to bring the breakfast and we just had to bring the coffee. We met at this bridge thats from all these girl movies so we had to do something romantic as well to get our food haha so i think we picked some flowers or something, i don't remember. Anyways, we ended up walking nearly the entire central park!! took so long.. showed up half an hour late, but still got our brekkie.

Central Park

hoowwee! great people.

and bloody great brekkie!

Was trying to do home alone 2, but turns out we got the wrong hotel hahaha

Carried on through central park til we hit the john lennon memorial, pretty cool. Strawberry fields.

More of the memorial

Finally learnt to ice skate! this time in central park, I was a pro!

Me showing Philipa how to ice skate haha

Quite happy! So psyched on the people in the background too hahahaha

Moved on to Grand central station.

Spent the next hour or so taking a break and writing post cards. Then we moved on to the museum. I thought this was kind of cool, it's jack kerouacs diary, and his harmonica, pipe, glasses etc.


Passed back through time square, shoot. Every time! It just gets less fun haha. But it was here that we met a man selling tickets for a comedy show! With nothing on the agenda we thought we'd go. We actually met about 4 or 5 people selling tickets for comedy shows, but figured out the best deals.. the tickets ended up being 6 dollars to get in. The thing was though there was a two drink minimum, and then the beers were 12 dollars a piece! So initially we felt scammed, but after about 7 or 8 comedians doing there bit we were convinced. It was so funny, what a cool night.

The room was dark so we didn't get too many pictures, but this was the MC who was actually probably the funniest of all the comedians. Anyways with that, we headed back to Harlem for sleeeeeeep.

Day 3:

Started day 3 with a quick trip up the empire state. This was pretty incredible because you get to see the magnitude of New York City, but the other cool thing and what I really love about the city is that you can see the outline of Manhattan Island, it's almost as if it's endless but at the same time contained, and contained by a kind of moat!! haha it's just so cool! I think it's that weird combination of like endless possibilities but still after spending 5 days there you get this feel for how it works and where everything is etc..

As you can see, we have a thing for group pictures.
Empire state lobby

Unreal! That's looking downtown toward wall st, and the statue of liberty.

That's looking back uptown. You can kind of see central park, it looks like Gods just popped down with a knife and just cut it out of the city, so cool!

Me and Phil enjoying the view

After nearly falling off the building, The boys went off to check out wall street. I would have liked to have gone but with time restrictions there was only so much to see. So I skipped capitalism and went for rock and roll instead, going to Greenwich Village for my afternoon. We didn't end up leaving the village until returning back to Harlem to get sleep.

This is kind of a cool photo, this was on hudson and 11th. I suppose the first thing you'll notice is a film crew and a taxi on a trailer being dragged around. They actually drove around the block a few times but we couldn't see who was in the car. But if you look behind all that, theres the white horse tavern. It was pretty cool to see that place, it's got a huge amount of history and one of the only prominent places in the Village from the 50s and 60s that's still open. It was a drinking spot for Dylan Thomas back in the day and then later on Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, jack kerouac etc.. The only problem for me was that instead of being 21 to get in, you have to be 25?!?! so I couldn't pop in for a brew which was a shame, but still very cool to see and yet another excuse to get back to NY someday!

Picked up a dylan 45 at one of the record stores on bleeker, then hit this little spot here!! this was really cool. If you've ever seen the cover of The Freewheelin Bob Dylan, then you might notice this was the street that him and suze rotolo were walking down, it's on a little street called Jones st, walking up to west 4th from bleeker.

Nice little shop! Fiiiiiinally found a sonics record!! so stoked.

Cafe Wha? pretty cool list of people who would frequent or play at this place back in the 60s, dylan, hendrix, springsteen, peter paul and mary, and even comedians like bill cosby. It's cool, on the door they have these plaques with information, and they list of all these incredible names of people who came up playing at these places.

More crazy venues you read about.

Now this is quite cool, it's a mural of some of the artists and musicians and writers who came up in the village, so heres me having a yarn with the musicians haha, you've got the 3 jazz cats at the front, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and thelonius Monk. Then Billy holiday next to patti smith up in the back, then Joan Baez next to Dylan whos looking over at woody guthrie! pretty awesome.

Here's the artists, I only really knew of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgewick up in the back, but still pretty cool

And then the writers, Jack Kerouac in the front with the page, Allen Ginsberg in the top right with the glasses ....

Heres the names of the faces/names that I don't recognize.

Me pointing out where we were staying on a giant map of nyc

Between these last two photos, we took a little recovery break and stopped by a cafe. I'd bought Suze Rotolo's memoires of the village in the 60s so I had a pretty cool time reading that in the village and wishing I'd been there haha But then we hit this club called Arthurs Tavern. This was here parker, davis and monk would have all played back in the day. This time there was no door charge, but for each set of the band you watched, there was a 2 drink minimum. So we watched an INCREDIBLE 45 minute set from this funk band. Absolutely unreal. I couldn't believe such an incredible band was playing in a tiny little club for tips! they don't get paid, but in keeping with the tradition from back in the day, one of the members walks around with a hat for tips. The act was called 'Sweet Georgia Brown' (I never figured out if the singer was named after the song, or the other way around..) It started with the four piece band, the 6 string bass player, the suuuuper tight funky drummer, the shredding guitar player and the highlight which was the singer/keyboard player. They kicked off the set with Lovely Day (which completely summed up this whole day!) He knew so well how to work the audience. The tiny club (which was about the size of major toms) was going completely mental by about the 3rd song. The GRSPs and I got the dance floor started when they started playing 'superstition'. I remember so clearly him saying how he had to explain something.. the music stopped, and he says.. 'Funk... is really Jazz' and then the band came back in sooo tight and strong, it was mind blowing! then he just started grooving to the music  hahaha, there was something about what he said that in that moment (maybe it was the beers, I'm not too sure) that just sounded so profound! haha so we all grooved the song out, then they welcomed Sweet Georgia Brown to the stage, and we all enjoyed a full set of incredible music. Hound Dog, Lovely Day, My Girl, Papa was a Rolling Stone, Everyday I have the Blues, and an interesting song that went something like ..  you can't touch my legs, can't touch my thighs, cus then you might touch my cherry pie HAHAHA!! I'm so gutted we didn't get more photos! Hopefully one of the others might have some. But anyway, probably my favorite day of the whole trip, just absolutely unbelievable to see some things that for me were quite significant.

Wrap up:

I got a little slack on photos at the end of trip, but i know some of the others will have them, I'll need to track down more photos from the others than what I have. The last few days we were there was basically more sight seeing etc, I went off and checked out the Chelsea hotel which was awesome, then walked about a million blocks up 5th avenue to get to MOMA, we checked out some Andy Warhols, and I got to see the Starry Night by Van Gogh 

That was pretty awesome. By this point in the trip though, we were all SO tired. We found ourselves back in time square much to everyone's disdain. So we snuck into a little upstairs cafe where it was quiet and we could rest a little and figure out our next move. We needed to get dinner so I suggested we hit china town, having not been there yet. This ended up being one of the single greatest decisions we made on our trip! We got to china town and looked around at a few different places to eat at, but didn't really find anything to enticing. We stopped outside one restaurant looking at the menu, and they hurried us inside not really giving us a chance to decide for ourselves. In the restaurant there was two completely full tables at the front of the room with only chinese people sitting at them, so they put us at the back on the opposite side. We quickly realised that these were all the workers and they were getting ready to go home, and it being a friday night were having some afterwork drinks. The tables were covered with heineken bottles. We ordered and became good friends with Andy, our server, who was a little red in the face when we saw him. And before long Andy was on the small stage at the front of the restaurant singing Chinese Karaoke! At the end of each song our table would erupt with applause and so the two tables at the front and the cooks and servers all loved having us. Not long after that we were all joining and singing karoke with them, and by about 11pm well after dinner and a few bottles of beer, Andy said he had to close but asked us if we would stay and keep singing with him!! ahahaha so he opened the fridge, locked the door and we all sang karaoke til around 3 in the morning. It was ridiculous!! but so much fun  nonetheless. 

Here's philip having a sing at the restaurant

Some steaming plate coming out, really good food here

Having a dance with Andy, he's the one just behind me. This was so funny.

Beyond that, we went back to harlem, spent some time in the morning having a look around, then got back on our merry little way. Next stop, Philadelphia!