Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Irish Rover - Part 7 (almost over!)

....continued from Irish Rover Part 6 - Part of a series of posts recalling my wandering ways (Don't worry this series will be done soon - I just need to get it outta my system).

Living in New York was a bit of a challenge as a new arrival. It was exciting to see all the stuff you'd only seen on TV before like the Empire State building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Park Avenue, but there was a cultural barrier to be overcome. Unlike London, Manhattan isn't that big and getting around is pretty easy via public transport but New Yorkers talk to each on public transport? WTF - I was used to the more conservative London tube approach ala - bury your head in a newspaper and above all never make eye contact. New Yorkers will strike up random conversations with strangers and make no attempt to conceal the fact they are leaning over your shoulder to read your newspaper .

I was only there a few weeks when I went to turn the page of the newspaper I was flicking thru on the subway and a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said "hold on buddy - I'm not done yet ...uh ok ... I'm done now - How 'bout those Yankees last night?"

I thought "Huh? - You talking to me? - I see 200 other people here so PLEASE say you're NOT talking to me?" - He was, and I abruptly informed him, I didn't watch baseball or any other weird US sports which immediately shut him up (no easy feat to quieten a yank let me tell you!) although he continued to mutter to himself what I presumed was abuse about my ignorance of US sport.

After a year in Queens, I moved to Manhattans upper east side. Now, finally, I was a true blue New Yorker! Everything you need is a few blocks away - 24 hour deli, pub, supermarket, laundry, cinema, restaurants, police station, subway, park etc. No wonder they're overweight! I used to have to walk 15 minutes to the supermarket in London with my arms dropping off with weight of the groceries. Everything is picked up and/or delivered in NY for minimal charge or effort including laundry, groceries and food. My favourite was the Mexican restaurant, that besides great food also delivered
GREAT frozen margaritas.

Bars in NY are open until 4am, so gone were the days of binge drinking as 11pm closing time approached and having to pay a club admission to have a few more drinks. Then there are the illegal but plentiful lock-in bars where you knock on an inconspicuous door and enter after 4am. The subway is open 24 hours which comes in handy assuming you can wake up at the correct stop and a max fare at the time of u$d1.50 lets you take subway all night long from A to B and back to A (been there - done that) .

Warning - Work sometimes interferes with and frowns upon these social activities but is also sometimes responsible for said activities and in some cases has been known to sponsor them

All cultural differences aside - Good bunch of peeps the New Yorkers! So much so, I ended up staying ten years, got US citizenship, got married and developed a beer gut. I've managed to hang on to those 3 things.

More (but not much) of this drivel to follow.....
Tags: .Irish Rover - Part 7 (almost over!)..

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TCL December 09, 2008 9:14 pm  

When not stuck in the subway there's the "how you's doin'" and before you can blink and answer they're already half way down the block.

Upper East Side eh? There are always the Cuban-Chinese Latino Chino restaurants around 96th and Broadway across the park from ya. How's that for strange?

Then again, I can't ever figure out how the Chinese got to Belfast.

Megan December 10, 2008 1:10 am  

I wish it wasn't almost over. :(

Thriftcriminal December 10, 2008 10:05 am  

Never been. Must do some time. I've been to Boston, St. Louis, Kansas, New Orleans, LA, Vegas, San Fran, Chicago and Milwalkee though.

Xbox4NappyRash December 10, 2008 1:30 pm  

There is something magic about Manhattan, and all of NY really.

Lucky boy.

Nicole December 10, 2008 2:33 pm  

Oh, 10 years in one spot? WOW :D
Sorry to hear that it's soon over. I love these stories :)
Can't imagine to live in NY. Not the slightest :)

Fida December 10, 2008 9:36 pm  

The Yanks sure know how to pull the snot out of our noses :-D
You will find other stories to tell once this is finished, right?

Anonymous,  December 11, 2008 6:21 am  

I loved it on my two visits this year. I'm amazed you left :-)

C'est La Craic December 11, 2008 8:50 am  

You coud write a show about your time there, call it Pints in the City.
Do they drink pints in New York or is it all pitchers like you (or more precisely me) see in the films?

Broke But Still Drinking December 11, 2008 9:34 am  

You should have said, how about those Pittsburgh Pirates, I think this is their year, and this will usually leave most New Yorkers baffled long enough to make your escape.

Baino December 11, 2008 3:10 pm  

Quickie this is SOOOOO not drivel. I'm loving it. Clare loved New York as well. Then what shopaholic wouldn't. Sounds a bit like Sydney today, everything's open all the time except on Good Friday and Christmas day. Sadly the public transport hasn't improved since you were here! As the actress said to the Bishop - "Don't stop . .don't stop"

Quickroute December 11, 2008 5:10 pm  

@TCL: It's a true melting pot of cultures alright

@Megan : careful - I'll keep going if I get encouragement

@Thrifty : good cross section there and worlds apart culturally e.g. east coast west coast

@Xbox : I feel privileged alright

@Nicole: Lots more BS - I full of it :-)

@Fida: Plenty more - no worries

@Conortje : For me - The grass is always greener somewhere else - can't help it

@Cest le Craic : Where there's an Irish bar there's pints - so yes but many places do pitchers aswell

@Broke : Sounds like a Jonny Depp movie!

@Baino: thanks - 24 hour city for sure

iWalk December 11, 2008 11:37 pm  

Hi Quickroute.

I follow your Irish Rover so long time, I feel sorry to know it will be over soon.

You have lived in New York for 10 years, I think you must have many great stories about this period. :)

Waiting for more....:D

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