Observations from up and down Amsterdam Avenue

(And beyond. But I liked the title and I’m sticking to it.)

**

Everything in New York City is about food. I hear all these random statistics. Something like, “If you ate at a different restaurant in New York City for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner of every day, it’d still take you 500 years to get through them all.” I believe it.

We have endless trays of tapas at Boqueria, via the menu tasting option. And pitchers of Sangria.

I found my favourite beer at The Pony, after a great deal of taste testing: Wahoo Wheat. It’s become clear to me over my travels that wheat beers are my favourite, like the Albino Rhino at Earls in Calgary. Yes, a chain beer. Still my favourite beer.

Back to NYC.

At Carmine’s Italian restaurant in the Upper West Side, it’s all about the fried calamari in tomato sauce. I don’t think life will ever be the same.

**

The bars.

I met some coworkers for the first time although I’ve been corresponding with them since 2008. Of course we ordered pitchers upon pitchers until finally the workers turned the chairs over the tables and the bouncer told us he’d REALLY like to get home. We were THOSE kind of people.

Everything had its own feel. I never strayed far from Amsterdam, sadly. I didn’t really have to. We went to The Underground, and then to some other Tavern bar that had Christmas lights, leopard-print chairs, a giant aquarium over the bar, and chalkboards in the bathroom. I could have lived there.

People in NYC don’t have issues with space. I met Alisha and her boyfriend for dinner at Carmine’s (see above) and the wait time was over an hour. But we crammed ourselves in and everyone was totally happy to do so, because the promise of good food is certain and it’s New York City so why the fuck not?

**
Nobody in New York City is actually from New York City. It’s kinda like Calgary in that regard (again, tawdry comparison that no travel writer should ever use), except people here aren’t actually making money.

**

Every time I ride the subway, I’m proud. I feel like when I emerge above ground again, I should be greeted by applause and great fanfare. It puts my anxious, worrisome thoughts at ease. Am I a real traveller? What am I so afraid of? I took the train to Brooklyn. And then I took it back again. And it was easy. Someone mistook me for a New Yorker and asked me for directions to Battery Park. I was surprised my furrowed forehead had unclenched long enough to look relaxed and confident.

**

I bowled in Brooklyn at Gutters. The lighting was dim and the floors were sticky and the bathrooms were co-ed and covered in graffiti. It was perfect. It was exactly what I wanted and needed from New York.

I hate bowling. I hate it, so much. We pulled two random girls into the room with us because we needed more players. I couldn’t pronounce one girl’s name, so she told me to just call her “Jon-Jon.” Or something. They kept buying us shots of whiskey. I lost my purse, and my passport, and then found them both.

I lost my laptop charger at the hostel too, twice.

**

When I’m outside the city, it feels like the epicenter of the universe. The most famous city on earth. And then when you’re IN it, in the thick of it, it feels normal. Like possibly, maybe, potentially, even I could fit in. So how can it be so prolific? Outside, it’s hard to imagine what people do and see and think.

12 hour work days with the Matador crew. Literally only took about three photos in NYC.

I love all the neighborhoods and titles of New York City. These classifications of areas. When you repeat them or use them to direct someone somewhere, it’s like you really know the place. Upper West Side, Lower East Side, Flatiron, Brooklyn, Bronx, Harlem, Meatpacking District. Each and every title is an invitation to get to know that specific area inside and out. So you can slide place names into conversations to get them to fit just right. Places within places, like Russian nesting dolls.

  • camorose

    Bummed we didn’t get a chance to meet up but SO glad that you had a nice time in NYC! Love that last description: my friend and I here spend so much time dropping in names of neighborhoods and train lines and it really makes us feel like we’re HERE–and like we belong here. Come back soon!

  • camorose

    Bummed we didn’t get a chance to meet up but SO glad that you had a nice time in NYC! Love that last description: my friend and I here spend so much time dropping in names of neighborhoods and train lines and it really makes us feel like we’re HERE–and like we belong here. Come back soon!

  • camorose

    Bummed we didn’t get a chance to meet up but SO glad that you had a nice time in NYC! Love that last description: my friend and I here spend so much time dropping in names of neighborhoods and train lines and it really makes us feel like we’re HERE–and like we belong here. Come back soon!

  • camorose

    Bummed we didn’t get a chance to meet up but SO glad that you had a nice time in NYC! Love that last description: my friend and I here spend so much time dropping in names of neighborhoods and train lines and it really makes us feel like we’re HERE–and like we belong here. Come back soon!

  • Carol

    NYC is da bomb, there’s no doubt. When you describe it as the center of the universe, any universe, that seems right to me. It’s got an energy that pulls you in by the throat and doesn’t let go.
    A warning though – once you’ve been to NYC and eaten the food and soaked up the energy, you’ll want to come back. You’ll yearn to come back. You’ll dream about thin crust pizza and bagels and all the yummy things you can’t get anywhere else but here at the level of quality you’ll get them here.
    Yeah… glad you came, but the real question is when are you coming back? :-)

  • http://twitter.com/acooknotmad Tim & Nat ✈

    NYC is a place that’s hard to describe. On the surface it’s gritty and people are cranky but once you’ve been there for a while you realize the people are actually friendly, or maybe you just become cranky yourself, it never was clear to me :)

  • http://twitter.com/BritSeeingStars Britany Robinson

    Ugh, I used to live on Amsterdam. I know every inch of that street from being unemployed and just WALKING a LOT. I miss it so much! And I think that bar you were at with the Christmas lights is one of my favorites… one of those places that doesn’t really have a name. Just a vertical neon sign that says “BAR” or maybe “TAVERN”.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    HA! You have great taste. Man, that was a fabulous place.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    They’re totally friendly! It’s amazing. NYC has that contagious feeling of “life.”

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    Hahaha, you’re right. It’s hard to resist. And it seems like most travellers are drawn to it over and over again…I’ll be back soon. ;)

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com/ Candice Walsh

    Agreed! We’ll hang out soon, I’m sure of it.

  • http://www.nycparamount.com/events NYC Events

    One of the things that keeps me in love with NYC, The food that is just out of this world.

    NYC Events