New York City
The 9th and 10th Essentially, or '22 Hours out and about in NYC'
After the calm and peaceful days at the westwynd farm, and packing a good half a dozen free cereal bars from the living quarters, it was time to head on to New York City, got up very early and was having breakfast at 645am, spoke to the owner for one last time (whos beard looked like it was dipped in cream according to the ledge), it was a good 2 and half hours into the city that never sleeps, and I cannot remember much of the journey as I was kipping, it all got rather exciting about 20 minutes away from New York as we started seeing tiny little statues and buildings and going “look its just like grand theft auto”, and looking at the tiny statue of liberty in the distance like we had never witnessed a monument before.
Dropped off at the Holland motor lodge, which was a little grimy, but not too bad, there was bullet proof glass at reception, but that did not deter us, we dropped our stuff, and it was time to face the big city, and work out what to do.
After staring at the path train machines for an eternity and realising that you couldn’t just put a 20 dollar note into the machine for a ten dollar ticket, you HAD to buy a 20 dollar ticket, if thats the only note you had, it was off to the big city.
Our original plan was to knock about a bit then come back, change, and go back out for the evening, but New York time seemed to move a lot faster, and before we knew it, it was 8pm, so we decided to stay out for the duration and as ledge said might as well just stay out til its light now. Went for a sneaky KFC in times square, then it was time to get drinking!
Beer prices varied wildly, first place was a little swanky, cost us 12 dollars for 2 beers, bit pricey, found a few nice joints, one place we were sat right under a group of girls, and one managed to knock some of her drink over the balcony and onto us, we got the usual ‘hey guys you ok?’ to which we replied yes, and moved on not much after that.
Another traditional bar this was much better coors light at 3 bucks a pop, we observed what everyone else was doing at the bar, and slipped another dollar onto the bar for the waitress, trying to look like we knew what we were doing.
Had a few of these cheap coors, then we ended up in a place called pieces, this seemed a little different, before we knew it a bloke was explaining ‘the rules’ to the bar, and slapped some stickers onto us, saying that if people liked the look of us then we would get a message written about us and called out on the tannoy, I assume its like the old traffic light parties you had at uni, and don’t think too much more about it, until we get to the bar, we have a couple of bottles of bud, and I start looking round, I spot a couple in the corner, a transvestite down the other side of the bar, his/her badge didn’t have a number on it, it simply read CUNT. Thats a bit harsh I thought, I looked around some more, HANG ON, theres not many women in this bar, I start looking a little harder, yep, theres actually only one couple in here, an awful lot of men in here, and 1 transvestite, I mention this fact to the ledge, he looks around too, we realise we must be in some sort of gay tavern traffic light hell hole party of some sort.
We start drinking a little quicker, we are aware that we are getting lots of looks from the other blokes, I come up with a plan, I say to the ledge, its ok our perfect cover is that we are a couple, that way no one will hit on us, that’s the best plan. Ledge looked a little confused but thought that the best option. It’s not ideal I say, but hey we can drink these up and well just keep chatting to each other. Suddenly the bloke at the booth shouts out NUMBER 129 AND 130 you have a message. Oh shit, that’s us, we stroll over and grab the piece of paper and go back to the bar, we nervously unravel it and it reads ‘WHERE DID SO MUCH HOTTNESS COME FROM ?’. we stare blankly at each other. SHIT, what do we do now! We still have beer left, so I say to ledge maybe I should write a note back and get into character until we leave so as not to cause potential trauma, I stroll over to the booth and write ‘thanks for the compliment, but we are happy together xx’ the guy at the booth suddenly says it was him who wrote the note! And he tells me that he’s happy with his boyfriend too but we are still both hot, he asks where we are from and he says well your automatically hot coming from England, ledge comes over, and we quickly finish our bottles, as we are about to leave I ask the guy if he knows of any good clubs or bars, so I would know which ones to AVOID! He mentions a place that he’s going to and a lot of the guys from the bar, I make a mental note of this bar to not go to. We leave, our plan had worked.
Next bar, looks a lot friendlier, and looking through the window had a lot more women in it, so we thought its got to be safe, get ID’d on the door the woman whispers to me ‘you do realise this is lesbian night don’t you ?’ I say oh does that mean you don’t want us to come in, she says ‘no don’t be silly we LOVE YOU GUYS’, it hadn’t really registered what she had said, I was just happy to see lots of women, so we just grab a beer and chill, a lot of the women were on the dancefloor trying to dry hump one another, but this was a much more chilled environment, me and ledge laugh at the absurdity of the situation and think we must be in some kind of gay village, after our beers we walk out and spot another place soon after, I realise its the place the gay guy from the booth said he was going to, I say to the ledge we best hadn’t go there, ledge ignores this fact and says its early we can grab a quick one before that bloke gets there.
I think we were so pissed by this point we just wanted another quick beer so I didn’t really argue. Soon after getting into this bar we were talking to 2 girls, one was Japanese and she didn’t seem very impressed with our roller coaster tour of the states, in fact she didn’t really seem impressed with anything, ledge was talking to her friend, not long after they just got up and said they were moving on, we suspected they were a lesbian couple. Ledge went to the restroom, and came down smiling he had met the guy upstairs from the booth, he was asking ledge where his boyfriend was! Ledge said he chatted and ended up giving him a hug, but he was keen to leave soon after.
We exited the bar, completely pissed, but still after more beer! The next few parts of the story become a little vague, but the next thing I can remember is a HUGE black dude speaking to us in a crisp white shirt sayin something like ‘alright boys, you lookin for a club man ?’ we must have seemed up for it, cos the dude was like ‘I know a great place boys, its got everything, beers, women, opens til 7am, its everything you need, 60 dollars each to get in, but you get drinks free’ our eyes must have lit up. The next thing I remember is the dude gets out an immaculately rolled and packaged joint, lights it up and starts passing it round, I figure Im not going to offend the dude so take a few good hits of his joint and me and ledge get more and more mashed, as this guy is telling us all about this magical club.
Halfway through walking with the dude I realise I need some cash so the dude shows me a convenience store where there is an ATM I drunkenly get out 60 bucks, and were ready to rock, the dude stops us in the store and says before we go on I need your 60 bucks each guys, before I can show you the place. Hold up, whats all this about, Im detecting a bit of a scam here, for some reason I say what about giving you ten dollars then you can show us, he doesn’t seem too impressed with that, from this point onwards I cant really recall how we got out of the store, I know we didn’t give him 60 bucks thats for sure, but somehow we got out without him pulling a piece on us, and we were walking up towards the same bar that we had just been in (where ledge had hugged the booth guy) I start telling the dude hang on a minute we have been here, this cant be right, he starts trying to say its not that place but one just up ahead and he needs the 60 dollars now before he can show us the secret door, by this point we know its just a piss about so we just go nahhh were not interested mate, and luckily the dude just sort of shrugs us off and goes walking up to the door and chats to a bloke there, we realise we are probably too pissed to do anything now, however I have the ‘genius’ idea of trying to find the original club that I had researched on the internet, the fat black pussycat club, which had 147 good reviews , and sounded like it opened late, so we get out the map and start looking for this holy mecca of beer and entertainment.
I think we managed a lot of pointing at maps and trailing roads with our fingers and staring up at street signs for what seemed to be a few minutes, but in reality was probably hours. All of a sudden a bloke comes wondering past, passing a slight resembelance to a young doctor house, he says whats up guys what you looking for, we have a bit of a chat which I cannot remember a thing about, and before you know it we have sold this guy on the club and he says hes up for more drinks and he will help us find it, he thinks there will be nowhere open now selling alcohol, but in my pissed state I assure him that THIS club is THE club in new York according to the reviews and it simply MUST be open and we have to find it. The guy has a iphone with gps and he starts tapping things into it and trying to work out where we are.
We keep walking round in circles, or squares, and at one point it was just like in a nightmare on elm street film where we keep arriving at the same junction point, I keep seeing this dam Mcdougal street, which doesn’t seem far away from where we need to get, but we just cannot find the damn club, we eventually give up, then this guy, who was called Andy, started getting all excited about finding SOMEWHERE to go for a drink, and that we would make it our quest to find a beer together.
More sketchy time loss from this point on, next thing I can remember is talking to another black dude, but not like the DUDE, this guy was quite slim but was just like a dude who had stepped out of a movie, we tell him what we are after and ask him if he knows anywhere selling a late drink, he thinks he knows of somewhere and Andy asks him to walk with us for some of the way, suddenly we are a 4 man team on a quest for the ultimate holy grail of a late club selling beer, along the way another guy rolls up behind us and asks us if we want to buy some cocaine, we decline politely and the guy continues to shuffle along behind us for a bit but then disappears.
We stop again and were talkin to the black dude who now reveals to us that his name is BIG G, im not sure if we doubted his name a number of times but at some point he actually got his wallet out and showed us his id, i remember it saying Edward G something, but I was having trouble concentrating, he was a very enthusiastic chap, and we quizzed him again about somewhere, he assures us that there is a club on ‘48th and lexington’ andy is unsure and says come with us, the conversation went something like this, but as I was extremely compromised by alcohol I can only register snippets.
ANDY: So does this place exist ?
BIG G: yeh of course would I lie to you, just tell them big g sent you
ANDY: BIG G
BIG G: thats what im telling you man, big g, they will know who I am
ANDY: come with us
BIG G: I already told you man I cant come with you, just tell them big g sent you
ANDY: 48th and lex
BIG G: 48th and Lexington theres the place, tell them big g sent you
At this point andy flags a cab and tries to get big g to come in with us to which he refuses, the cab drives off, and big g starts saying how he needs 12 dollars and we need to ‘help a brother out’ cos he has given us information, ledge says he will give him 2 dollars, and i slip him a buck, Andy I think gives him at least 5 dollars, and big g goes on his way still shouting 48th and Lexington. Andy hails a cab and we are off. The cab is 9 dollars, Andy pays it all, before we get out Andy is asking if the cab driver knows of any late clubs or where we can get a beer, the cab driver is very silent, andy asks can you get on the horn and find out, the cab driver doesn’t know and is refusing to help.
So we get out, and surprise, we cant see any club at all or any secret door in which to discuss our secret verbal code of 'big g', so we find a security guard, he mentions somewhere, by this point I wasnt really paying much attention, but soon after we were walking with a big burly security guard who was walking us in the direction of somewhere else that served late beer!
eventually we sort of gave up with that, and just randomly milling around, Andy is still persisting that we need to get a late drink or get to a club, hes phoning up clubs and bars on his iphone and asking when they open, by this point I realise I need the toilet quite badly, and start doing some strange yoga type leg stretches to ease the pain a bit, a bit later Andy starts doign a little jog as he also needs it. We eventually convince Andy that we should probably just get some breakfast now as its getting on for 630am! we roll into Starbucks.
Andy has not finished in his quest.
A couple of cops roll in one after the other, and he starts asking them where we can get a drink! The cops have no idea, he asks some random stranger as he returns from the toilet, we just sup our coffee and wonder how we are going to get home, Andy is saying how this is the 'worst night of his life' and how it sucked that we couldnt find anywhere.
We say it has been an adventure, but he does not seem appreciative of this comment.
We finish up, Andy decides to tell us that he has to go to work at 9am, so he had better be heading off, its probably about 730am by this point! we are not sure what he does, only that he is self employed, we thank him for his help. He says he will facebook us (I typed our names into his iphone in Starbucks for him) later on and we should do it again properly this time!
Next challenge, how to get home.
by this point myself and Ledge had almost rendered ourselves speechless, it actually became a chore to speak, so we started to just point and stare at the map, we knew where we had to go, and we knew where we were, but other than that, it was pretty shoddy.
Eventually after hours of going round in circles, and getting a recovery sausage mc muffin type affair we rode the metro a few hundred times, coming back to the same stop about 5 times 'hoboken' we started feeling a little sick, we just couldnt process the information required to get home.
Eventually an older gentleman with a limp took pity on us and walked us onto the correct train, stayed with us for 2 stops, then pointed us in the right way, ledge gave him 10 bucks for his trouble, we were actually on the right route finally. Got back to the hotel decided on a '3 hour power nap' and completely crashed out, back up almost 3 hours later, and forced ourselves back into the city, completely wrecked, ready to fix ourselves up with recovery junk food.
We were completely screwed. Had to have a recovery burger king, everyone seemed to be going ape shit in there complaining that there fries hadnt been cooked, one guy even said he was going to put in a complaint, lots of 'godd dam, wheres my fries man' type retorts.
Attempted to go to the toilet even though it said vacant, an angry 'brother' shouted from inside the cubicle 'hey man' so it clearly wasnt. Dragged ledge all over New York to find a DKNY store, because I was going to get some jeans, however they turned out to be over £100 so I scrapped that idea.
We went back for ANOTHER kip, and decided we would head back out a bit later and hit a comedy club. There were a lot of 'comedy pimps' in times square all telling us that there show was the best in town, we had refused some earlier in the day and called '2 white boys in the hood' one bloke even promised us 'beers and bitches' at his comedy store.
After yet more hangover food and drink we decide on the HA! comedy club, it looked very seedy once we were in, it was all black and red inside, the guy promised us that we would 'laugh our asses off', we go into this tiny room, and into our chairs which are not too far away from the stage and I panic, we find out that we have to order 2 drinks each at extortionate prices, Im not sure how they would enforce this mind you.
We are starting to have doubts at this point, that stage looks rather too close, we look rather to conspicuous.
Ricky Gervais was right, the american humour just isnt funny, its amazing that Gervais has made a name for himself, cue lots of random black americans talking about how fat they are and 'doesnt it hurt sometimes when you fart?' me and ledge decide we have done a lot of comedy shows without even realising it. Some of the comedians start asking where everyone is from, we cringe and hope they dont pick us.
One blokes idea of a comedy gag is to ask everyone if they go 'downtown' on a lady, we decide the best policy is to just clap to everything and hope for the best. the compere isnt much better either, we did actually see a comedian completely die though, and he did bear a striking resembelance to jimmy neutron, that was his best gag of the night though.
There was a real annoying geezer in front of us who kept shouting out constantly random crap, which just made us cringe even more, I thought the last guy was coming up with a MEGA gag, by starting to ask people who would be in their top 5 of all time music entertainers, but then I realised that he had run out of things to say and was literally just asking people this for his own interest! He seemed particuarly proud that he had been in real films, but only as a security guard.
We were glad to get out, unscathed, but we did not laugh our asses off, in any way.
Went back to the hotel after, completely knackered.
Woke early ish, back into NYC for the last minute shops, ledge headed off for a magical disney shop adventure, and I potter arond soaking up the last few hours of the big apple, get a dave 'billabong' t shirt because I have to get something which says new york on it. then head for the steps of time square and just sit and chill and let the world pass me by.
Head back for 1pm and had a very busy drive back through Manhattan to the car rental place, saw an actual fender bender taking place which was mildly exciting. Drop the car off and potter around the airport, use the urinals and someone has somehow excreted large amounts of blood into it, but I dont see a corpse anywhere, myself and ledge ponder on exactly what could have gone wrong with someone to eject that amount of sticky blood everywhere.
Get onto the plane and an old fella has forgotten which row he is on so we have to politely move him on, i sit next to another old chap, and we are ready to go, although there are FIFTEEN planes waiting in a huge queue. As soon as we finally take off the old guy next to me says 'hes gonna fire her up'.
Lots of turbulence, when it subsides the old fella remarks 'hes smoothing her out now', I tried watching random films but I gave up, airplane screens just arent terribly easy to watch, snoozed a bit, and landed with no major incidents.
Once landed spot Zoe Ball knocking around with her kids but no sign of mr fat boy slim, I try to remember how to drive, stall a few times but then im sorted, got home in double quick time and thats it, the american trip all done and dusted.