Archive for the 'New York' Category

by Pat
on Nov 14th, 2006

New York

Well, that was a very good 6 days!

As Squage as bored you to tears with, we got up to lots of things. A quick (actually, this time) summary of the things I’ve observed about New York is below:

Whilst a bit brash, New Yorkers seemed to be a generally friendly bunch.
They seem an honest and generous group of folks – irrelevant of their particular background (there’s a LOT of cultural diversity in NYC)
Waiters/waitresses were much keener to help than I’m used to in England, but I think that’s down to the culture here surrounding tipping etc.

Whilst not as ridiculous in size as I was expecting, New York food portitions were certainly sizeable, such that after a couple of meals I learned it really wasn’t worth having starters as you’d generally be full after them.
There was a wide choice, I think helped by the cultural diversity, but of course the good ol’ chain restuarant favourites were very much apparently whereever I went.
New York Pizza places rock.

Everywhere in New York wants your money. It’s bloody expensive.
Tipping is pretty much mandatory everywhere, and generally ranges from 15-20%
ATMs charge you for withdrawals
It’s bloody expensive.

The subway network is really pretty good. It covers most of Manhattan and there are frequent trains on all of the lines.
One of the few “great value” things in New York, I’d say. For instance, you can get a 7 day subway(+bus) pass for $24 – which allows you to get anywhere in New York – not just Manhattan – so, for example, you could go from the Bronx, through Manhattan, through Brooklyn and pretty much to JFK airport every day for a week with that pass… Oh and also they seem to have tie-ins with various stops/attractions/restaurants, so that with a subway pass you get various discounts. Now why can’t Transport for LondON do something similar?

Programme wise it’s not awful and there’re plenty of movie channels around.
Adverts, however, are TERRIBLE. What’s particuarly annoying is that lots of them seem to take the approach of showing the ad, then repeating the whole damned thing again. Nnngh.

It’s almost like English but different. I still don’t understand why somewhere you go to take a crap is called a Rest Room.

Anyway, my eyes and fingers are hurting (despite Squage doing all the typing previously, how odd… so I’m outa here)



by Squage
on Nov 14th, 2006

What Else We Did In New York

Howdy Blog Fans!

Sorry about the lack of updates over the last few days. The more astute and/or impatient of you may have noticed that Pat uploaded even more photos on Saturday, but aside from that we’ve been avoiding PCs for a bit, which is nice.

Anyway, we’re now in New Zealand but I’ll come onto that in another blog entry. This one’s a quick (ahem) review of What Else We Did In New York:

Went on a Bus Tour
We decided to give up on the “pretending to not be tourists” thing and go for the Gray Line open-top bus tour of Manhattan.

It was pretty interesting, plus got a couple of seats to ourselves and the tour guide himself – a jewish guy who’d been in Manhattan for about 40 years and was as stereotypical a New Yoiker as I could imagine – was quite funny.

Dunno if he’d’ve understood irony, but there didn’t seem time to investigate.

Here I am soaking up the infotainment (shudder):

Squage On A (Muthaf***in) Bus

Went to the Empire State Building…
…and were talked into taking the “New York Sky Ride + Empire State Viewing Platform” package, as by the time we’d to there (about 6pm) the queues were over an hour long – but if you went to the sky ride you skipped the queues for only blah blah blah more plus you get blah blah etc, etc.

Anyway, first stop was the Sky Ri-actually, no, first stop was getting through an airport-style X-Ray machine (over the top security? In America?? What???), then onto the Sky Ride, which itself was quite cool.

It was basically a simulator ride (one of those pneumatic “throws you about in your seat” jobbies), voiced by Kevin Bacon (for some reason) of a helicopter-type ride around New York, starting from and ending at the Empire State and occasionally going into crazy “out of control, passing through crowds of people comedically falling out of the way” mode… quite funny.

Sadly this was marred a little by the New York City promotional video, which preceded it. I can’t quite put into words how cringeworthy it was for a cynical English person-er, I mean Squagé-to watch a video soundtracked by enthusiastic (and no doubt holding headphones passionately whilst in the studio) Americans, crooning “Iiiii Aaamm New York… Ooooh Yeah… Neeeww York… I Aaaam New Yorrrk…”

I honestly thought it was a spoof at first. Hey ho, nothing wrong with being proud of where you come from I suppose (an Essex upbringing didn’t provide Pat or I a great deal of experience of this, sadly)…

Anyway, after all that we skipped the long queues and made our way to the top of the Empire State.

It’s an odd feeling being in the Empire State lifts. You get in, it all seems normal. It starts to move up, you feel it accellerate quite fast. You watch the floors count up… 1… 2… 3..4..5,6,7,8,9,10….. then after two seconds: 20… then 30… 40… etc. My ears actually popped twice on the way up!

Once at the top, Pat had to put on his bravest “I’m not crapping myself, really” face to pose for this photo:

Pat and Squage at the top of the Empire State Building

It almost worked.

The views from the top were amazing… you could see for miles and miles and New York City lit up at night is a wonderous sight to behold. Amoungst lots of “Scared and Shaking” blurry photos, Pat managed to take one particularly nice one:

NYC from the Empire State

Oh and hello to the two guys from Bristol (hope you recovered from The Phear) and the mum and two daughters from the midlands who I met and got chatting to. Was nice to have a chin-wag with some peeps from home!

Ate Food
After that we wandered into TGI Fridays, which has even less Veggie stuff than TGIs in the UK, but still managed to make Pat so full he could hardly walk.

He’s going to be SO fit for the Kiwi Experience activities in New Zealand.


Washed Clothes
YES! Live the dream! Mainly this is being mentioned due to the lovely Thai lady in the laundret-sorry, Laundromat close to our hostel, because on getting chatting with Pat and finding out he was going to Bangkok on the way back she gave him a big book all about Bangkok city! It really made Pat feel chuffed about the kindness of people, that did.

Saw the Statue of Liberty
Went on a boat tour thing, which was good – Pat got lots of photos during it of the Statue herself:

Statue of Liberty

Manhattan Island:

Manhattan Island

Brooklyn Bridge:

Brooklyn Bridge

And we convinced someone to take a photo of us:

Pat, Squage and the Statue of Liberty

Met a couple of cool ladies from Dublin, who were over on business. Again it was nice to have a chat with people from closer to home…

Saw Another Film
This time it was The Departed. Some great acting, a good plot and overall a big Thumbs Up.

Went to a Broadway Show
Well it was technically an off-broadway show, but it’ll do. Pat heard you could get half-price tickets to various shows via some people at Times Square, so he went up to one of them and bought some tickets for the show the particular person was promoting. It was called Altar Boyz. It’s a musical comedy about a religious boy band group.

I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry! On arrival Pat was relieved that this was clearly a very manly thing to be watching, as he was surrounded in the seats by:

  • Couples
  • Women
  • Gay guys

Still, twas a very very funny musical and Pat’s presence as a single straight bloke gave for some amusing banter between Pat and Colin/Mark, a gay couple sitting next to us.

Anyway, after that we went back to the hostel and got to sleep.


Uploaded lots of them.

Went there, sat around a bit, got on the plane, got to L.A.

I would go into further detail but I’ve rambled on for about 5 times too long already :-)

Right, now over to Pat to write a bit of a summary of what he dun learned from his past week…



by Squage
on Nov 9th, 2006

Pat’s Uploaded Some Photos!

Check them out here!

That’s all for this update, other than to say that a) New York sucks in the rain (didn’t really do anything last night other than go to a restaurant called Josies, which served very tasty organic food), b) New York is great in the sunshine, c) Central Park is LOVELY, d) the CNN tour is being stopped in December because it’s a bit shit and content free, e) the “Tuck Shop” cyber cafe is great (we’re here now).

Anyway, yes, check the photos out!

Y’all have a good one, now,


by Squage
on Nov 8th, 2006

Rain Sucks

Not as much as getting up at 4am, but it sucks anyway.

Yep, today the heavens opened at about 7am and it’s not stopped chucking it down in the Big Apple since.

Still, that’s not stopped Pat and I having a good wander and finding indoory things to do. I’ll come onto that in a sec… first to fill you in on the last day or so:

Note: Pat’s managed to find the one net cafe in NYC that doesn’t have computers with USB ports so for the purposes of this blog entry, please just imagine that the pictures I’m describing are there. Ta

Yesterday afternoon Pat and I wandered to Grand Central station, which was really quite amazing in its size:

[Here I am in Grand Central station – the main concorse. Yet again you *might* not be able to guess the country we’re in… ;-)]

Breathtaking, huh? (Work with me on this)

After wandering around the main bit we wandered downstairs to the food court, which is as far a cry from, say, Liverpool Street station’s 2 pasty shops and a Maccy Dees. This was a biiiig room with loads of chairs +tables in the centre, with catering outlets taking up every bit of wall space – and wow, what a selection. Just about every type of food you could imagine.

On Stu B’s advice, Pat grabbed a massive slice of a Junior’s cheese cake. I’m told it was, to coin a phrase of Graham “Croc” McGibbon – Gooooooooood.

Anyway after that we went on a wander around the streets, Pat having to stop occasionally to lean against something as the Vobble Radio show he’d been made by Bobince was too funny to walk to (I’m not even going to go into the features/fake ads etc, but let’s just say they were a) bad taste, b) sweary and c) utterly awesomely hilarious).

Bobince, Pat tells me you’re an insane man.

to cope we went to the New York Public Library and after some possibly slightly unnecessary storing of Pat’s bag (complete with me in it, damn it) in a cloak room “for security”, Pat read about some Japanese art or somat in an exhibition, some of which were apparently very early Manga art.

He’s probably now planning coming up with some stupid cartoon creation on the back of that. For shame!

By this point it was dark and as we left the library we noticed an open air, free to use ice rink, decorated with lots of christmas trees and accompanied by some funky New York jazz music… twas really lovely sitting watching people skating around, listening to the music – felt like something from a cheesy 80s christmas movie.

After chilling out (eh? eh?) there for a bit, we wandered to the amazing Times Square:

[The amazing sights of Times Square – check out that massive LCD screen!]

I wonder how much electricity the bit on the right must use… Still with me? Good

Went into the Hard Rock Cafe and Pat had a massive veggie burger and a few wheat beers (all of which were Gooooooood), and the lovely waitress (who was possibly the most helpful I’ve ever met… I thought New York waiters/waitresses were supposed to be grumpy!) took a photo of Pat and me:

[Pat and myself at the Hard Rock Cafe]

Blah blah blah something about an item in the non-existent photo.

After that, we subwayed back uptown to the hostel and had a very good kip.

Today we woke up to the sound of rain and angry drivers honking horns, and made our way downtown (via the subway this time, none of that crazy walking for 3 hours) and so far today we’ve a) grabbed a nice chinese lunch, b) seen a film at the MASSIVE AMC cinema at Times Square (for you Essex folk, imagine a multi-floored cinema complex with each screen as big as Screen 12 in bas vegas) – “Bable” – twas v. good actually, quite odd, with a bit of shifting around between stories, but I recommend seeing it.

Not really done much else. Went to Macy’s, which was as horrible as Lakeside, just in New York… and browsed some cool T Shirt shops (no purchases as yet though).

Anyway, must dash. Some idiot in this place things that a lift music version of My Heart Will Go On is unfair for even deaf people to be in the company of.

Have a nice day…


by Squage
on Nov 7th, 2006

Great NYC Shop Names

Home from home:


(we didn’t go in)

Oh My God @ this one:

OMG JEANS!!!11one

And the classic:


Heh heh.

Have a nice da-ay,


by Pat
on Nov 7th, 2006

Start Spreading The News…

…I’m blogging today…
…I’m gonna tell you all about…
…New York… New York…


Hello! Yes! I’m blogging! (So stop moaning in the comments! :-) )

Well, what a couple of days. It’s been very surreal!

Starting at 4am yesterday did indeed suck, but after a nice Wetherspoons breakfast in Heathrow Airport with my family I was feeling a bit more alive (of course, the drink I had to wake me up (a caffine free Sprite) didn’t *quite* do what I was hoping it to…).

Following a rather emotional farewell with the folks (it rather sunk in on saying goodbye to them that I was really going away for a year) I made it through security with surprising speed and easiness and managed to get a pint in before heading off onto the plane.

The plane journey was good actually, with nice comfy seats (I was on an isle seat with two free seats to my left, which was goodness), a bump-free ride and Talledega Nights, Pirates 2 and 3 rather awesome (and in some cases piss-myself-laughing funny) Radio Vobble shows to keep me company.

Once at the hostel (via a 50 minute taxi ride (which was a lot less insane/scary as I was expecting – I guess my trip to Rome a few years ago means no driving is scary anymore…)) I unpacked and then trundled for a walk to Central Park – wandering around the reservoir (yep, Central Park has a reservoir) I watched the sunset over the New York horizon, which was truly lovely (beats Pitsea Oil Refinery by sunset – who’d’ve thought it?):

Central Park at sunset

Squage at Central Park

After a nice walk around there I trundled back to the hostel (via Subway, ho yes (old habits die hard)) and crashed out in front of the telly.

I was fast asleep by 7:30pm (12:30am UK time).

Today, after a 13 hour sleep I grabbed some food from the hostel kitchen (free food for the win) and started my epic trek to the south of the island.

94th street to south of Wall Street in 3 hours, via a Virgin Megastore and Tower Records (both stores I went in and browsed before realising I have no CD player or DVD player for the next year) and, ahem, Maccie Dees.

Amazingly, McD’s portions were about normal… although they were about two-thirds of the price in the UK.


I didn’t eat anything there so I wouldn’t know.


*looks left and right and scarpers*

Anyway, with tired legs I wandered into this lovely Burger King (no food, just using the net cafe)… ready to go up to Grand Central Station, have some Junior’s Cheese Cake on recommendation of Stu B and go up the Empire State building for sunset.

I think I’ll use the subway on the way back :-)

Right, enough typing.