New York, New York

So! Today I woke up later than I wanted to due to a sleepness night, and wasted no time getting out of the door and into the city.

Taking the subway to the Lower East Side, I made my way to Katz deli, established in 1888 and still going strong. Famous almost as much for its patrons and role in When Harry Met Sally as for its food (stolen from wiki: each week, Katz’s serves 5,000 pounds of corned beef, 2,000 pounds of salami and 12,000 hot dogs), it was absolutely slammed when I arrived in the middle of the lunch hour.

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You pick a ‘cutter’ from the long bar and do your best to try and queue orderly whilst at the same time fending off would-be spot-stealing interlopers. When you reach the counter, you get to watch the guy behind (it seemed to be an all-male workforce) slice and dice the goods, which nine times out of ten is the famous pastrami on rye. It runs at a pretty eye-watering $15, and isn’t actually the best sandwich I’ve ever tasted (someone I know is going to punch me for saying that), but the atmosphere of the place is intoxicating, and one gets the feeling that that’s more what you pay for. Salamis and photographs alike plaster the walls, and there’s a lively, even abrasive hubbub at all times. It’s a real experience, and worth the surcharge.

Afterwards, I wandered north to Central Park. This contains a lot more activity than that sentence would suggest, for a few reasons.

Firstly, the map I had was not to scale. I did not realise this for quite some time – namely the point at which I thought that I should really be on 25th by now and why does that sign only say 15th. Suffice to say I had a lot more ground to cover than I expected to. Secondly, New York is on a grid system but there is a wild card thrown into the mix in the diagonal shape of Broadway, cutting a foot-stamping line from the southeast to the northwest. This led to me getting a little lost more than a few times, as Park Avenue was suddenly on the left instead of the right and what am I doing on First goddamn it.

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I always enjoy ambling, however, and it was great fun simply wandering the streets haphazardly, gazing up at the skyscrapers or around at the people. Shops and bars are everywhere, something I very much appreciated, from the dingy and inviting drinking holes in the south to the super-posh, super-pricey establishments near Grand Central Station in the north (though still below Central Park, so I suppose more Midtown than anything) that cater for the after-work crowd from Wall Street et al. To my delight I found a Pret A Manger – a high-quality London chain – and subsequently bagged myself a free sandwich, further reminding me why I love the place so much. No, I’m not telling you how.

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I actually passed quite a few NY monuments: Grand Central, The Empire State, The Sex Museum… but what was more interesting was the city, to me. It’s thronged – ensconced, almost – with people, and pulses with human energy. There’s a lot of very interesting things to see, which I shall endeavor to show in pictures rather than use my insufficient words, and it possesses in spades that fast-paced culture that is so dear to me – more than anywhere else I’ve been in the world, in fact. But, much to my surprise, I have not yet found myself drawn towards the idea of living here as in Chicago, though I do like the place. I’m not passing judgment yet, though, as I have my one last day to check it out further.

Sadly, by the time I reached Central Park, it was very low light and raining so I repaired home. Tomorrow I shall start there, and try to investigate the many things I have not yet seen!

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2 Responses to “New York, New York”


  1. 1 Renee 29/09/2009 at 11:11 am

    You shouldn’t prostitute yourself for sandwiches. It’s bad form. ;-P

  2. 2 Renée 29/09/2009 at 6:49 pm

    Also: “I only just realized today that the song is referencing the state, not just repeating the city’s name.”

    Feel my condescending gaze. haha


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