Saturday, May 15, 2010

Anarchy in the USA (Part 2)

For those of you who tuned in last week you may recall that we left our daring adventurers (i.e. Dave, myself and Dave's colleague who has asked to remain nameless) recuperating after being mobbed by crazies in a bar following a Marine insurance dinner reception.

The story picks up the following morning when our intrepid heroes decided to head to midtown in order to do some sightseeing. This being the Financial District on a weekend the subway was of course out of question as the 2 & 3 trains are offline. I'm not quite sure why the people running New York seem to think that the Financial District ceases to exist on weekends but it seems grossly unfair, particularly for the poor whelps in lower Brooklyn who's only option for getting to Manhattan is to brave the roads.

So, being unable to utilise any of the subway stations in the immediate area, we set off for a walk to the nearest working subway station. This turned out to be quite pleasant - walking up Broadway is certainly an amazing experience and if we had not had to take this route we would have been denied the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of viewing the funniest named place I have ever seen: People with AIDS Plaza. Whilst I admire the thought behind this dedication, words cannot profess quite how strange it is to see it written on a road sign. Also, whilst I appreciate that it is fantastic that the city of New York has dedicated a Plaza to every single person who has AIDS, I always assumed that generally speaking these kinds of dedications only really work when named after a specific individual.

The rest of the afternoon proceeded relatively well and we saw a number of amazing sights such. One of these was the New York public library which not only has the dog statues outside familiar to anyone who has watched Ghostbusters but also offers the chance to see the actual Gutenberg Bible. Following this, we found the Rockefeller Centre and decided to go to the Top of the Rock attraction which is possibly the most well hidden attraction in the entirety of New York. I think this is largely why people go to the top of the Empire State building instead: because you can bloody well find the thing.

For anyone who has not visited the Empire State building you can walk around the outside of the building and there are approx infinite entrances, each staffed with a small army of individuals trying to get you to part with your hard earned cash in order for the privilege of queueing across four floors before you actually reached the observation deck. The Rockefeller Centre on the other hand offers much greater views and non-existent queueing time. The reason is because that the entrance to the Top of the Rock attraction is more elusive than the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, I think Sauron had more chance of finding the One Ring than the average person has in finding the entrance to the Top of the Rock unassisted.

Having had a busy day finding and visiting each of these attractions we turned our attentions to potential evening activities. All eyes were on Mr Buckingham and suffice to say he did not disappoint. The Three Amigos set off for a bar with seemingly no name other than the street intersection upon which it sat. If asked to provide a name, my suggestion would be the Elysian Fields because this place seemed fit for Gods.

Essentially, this was the classiest establishment I think I have ever been or even seen on TV. It is the kind of venue that would be featured in programs like 90210 or Gossip Girl where all the rich kids hangout. The primary attraction being that the upper floor was a rooftop garden with ensuite bar. To give some indication of the view, this place is situated slap bang in the middle of the New York skyline, very close to the Empire State building which was, along with the rest of the skyline, fully lit up. The only downside being that we were on the 20th floor and as such the wind was bracing to say the least, however this was covered by the numerous patio heaters installed throughout the floor and the complimentary dressing gowns which made the entire affair look somewhat like a frat party/death cult.

Perhaps more amusing than the venue itself was the clientele which was once again like walking on to the set of the shows mentioned above. The disparity between the men and the women was quite frankly hilarious as the women were all dressed up as if this night was second only to their wedding night. The cocktail dresses were out in force, the hairstyles looked like they had taken longer to craft than the Pyramids took to build and the shoes were sleek and high-heeled making the wearer look like a goddess. Cue the Wedding Ring of Damocles stage left as Dave's companion was doing his level best to maintain his composure.

Contrast this with the appearance of the men, most of whom turned up in average jeans and an average T-shirt and enough gel in their hair to support the Brooklyn Bridge. Yet amusingly it was the men who had the last laugh because the majority of people naturally chose to spend their time on the rooftop deck, clothing was largely irrelevant as it was hidden under at least one layer of dressing gown. And while the trowel approach to hairstyling may have looked slapdash to begin with, the guys hair at least managed to maintain composure against the force nine gale outside.

The following day was Sunday and whilst Dave's companion was still in mourning for having to leave the wonderful venue of the night before, Dave was hungry and that could only mean one thing: we were headed to a bar. One thing you'll notice about New York, there are very few American bars. In fact, there are so many Irish bars that it's a wonder Ireland has any Irish people left in it at all.

Having found ourselves a pleasant little Irish bar we decided to kill some time before our baseball game by getting some food and watching "soccer" on the TV. Dave's colleague was the first to order and decided to go for the Irish breakfast. For those who have never visited the US, ordering food is about as simple as conducting a triple heart bypass by remote control and viewed through a kaleidoscope. For a country that requires you to specify precisely which type of tea you would like, the poor chap had no hope in ordering a simple breakfast. When asked how he would like his eggs done, his baffled English mind could only respond "in a frying pan". On the bright side, it did at least take his mind off the rooftop bar for a minute.

Fully sated, we headed off to watch our first ever baseball game: the New York Mets versus the San Francisco Giants. The first thing we learned about baseball is that the New York Mets absolutely suck. Of the nine innings that make up the standard baseball game, the Mets managed to actually score runs in only two of them. When the team paraded out at the beginning I was a little dubious as none of them particularly looked fit enough to run round the pitch. I soon realised this is because none of them ever get that far.

The second thing we learned about watching baseball is to dress as if you are going to watch Pingu Live at the North Pole because the stadium is in the middle of an open area and therefore subject to winds similar to those encountered at the top of the Rockefeller Centre. In the stadium's defence, the temperature in New York had dropped dramatically overnight but still, being there in the flesh it certainly felt like they should have been measuring the temperature using the Kelvin scale. Come to think of it, for those familiar with the concept of Absolute Zero, this may explain the lack of inertia from the Mets team.

No comments:

Post a Comment