We landed in NYC at approx 9pm. I had a smashing headache that wasn't dulled by the shitty ibuprofen I had procured at some bizarre Spanish supermarket in LA. The kids were keen to make an adventure of finding our Air BNB via the subs but I just wasn't having a bar of that idea so I pulled out $50 and said no.
I'll spare you the nuances of driving through god knows what suburb but our rusty uber dropped us in the middle of Bushwick which at the shy hour of 10:30pm was already loud and raucous, rubbish filled and strangely bright. It was like a trick or treat game to locate the keys which were stashed at Myrtle Market, a poor excuse for a convenience store manned by a lovely family that bless their souls didn't speak much English. Finally the key appeared and we were let into this three story dove blue laminex situation. I'm going to assume that 3 BDR places in NY are a rare and expensive breed, but there was as much room in the hall as there is between the waist band of my jeans and my skin but I was damn grateful for a room with a door. I was shocked to find how quickly I adjusted to this space, as it was so vastly different from our place in LA.
Day 1 in NY consisted of us numbly walking around trying to understand our surroundings. I'll skip over the boring details but essentially for a good few days I hated the place. It was dirty, smelly, crumbling, boarded up, mismatched etc. Glimmers of hope came in the form of turkey baguettes and coffee that wasn't from a filter jug.
To be quite frank it wasn't until my second last day that I started to feel comfortable. A friend I had acquired through Instagram took me on a ten hour walking guided tour through Chelsea, Little Italy, China Town and the edges of Nolita to look at a variety of galleries. We went to some 20 spaces, ranging from lavish, tall ceiling, white showrooms to dingy-four stair wells into the depths of a filthy yet discrete building with no signage what so ever. I tried Yum Cha for the first time which makes so much sense to me now, it takes the pain out of decision making coupled with the convenience of not having to leave your seat.
Here's some tips if you're going to visit NYC
1. Hand sanitizer just became more important than your current opinions about Trump. Subway poles are vector point zero for bacterial festivities. Load up on Purrell by the litre and be liberal.
2. Starbucks; mildly tolerated in your home town (Venti- wtf?) but shining beacons of hope in this concrete jungle. Public restrooms are not a thing but thankfully every corner is either a CVS or a Starfucks so your tiny walnut bladder shouldn't have to worry too much. Also, free WIFI. Try a pumpkin spiced latte if you dislike coffee but want to start getting closer to diabetes.
3. Don't lose your damn metro card. Literal keys to the city. Keep it together.
4. Coins. Are fucking useless until someone homeless talks to you, two birds one stone here; you both get something you want- they get pennies you get free space in your bag.
5. Tax and tipping. Prices on the shelf are not the final price. Tax is added after the fact. If you're at a restaurant and you have no fucking clue what you should tip and you're shit at math, here's a fun fact- double the tax = your tip.
6. Walk efficiently and don't block the path. This is just a general rule but locals will push you out of the way where as anywhere else you can just feel a severe case of eye rolling burning into the back of your skull.
7. Urban Outfitters is everything you didn't know you needed.
8. Shake Shack, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chipotle, IHOP. Get on it and book a PT while you're at it.
9. Buy some sunglasses before visiting Time Square because that place is brighter than the sun at high noon in the desert.
10. Deli & Groceries are basically limp carveries with bulk discount vape liquid. If you want a supermarket you require a Bodega or a Whole Foods.
In other news I hope you enjoy Mexican food because it is actually every second shop on the street in between churches and laundromats. Even though for the most part I was a little uncomfortable by the whole situation I'm already thinking about returning. There is so much to see and it changes constantly, it fills every niche you'd ever thought imaginable- it's like the Room of Requirement for the real world.
Here's some 35mm snaps that actually showed up when I remembered to turn on the flash: