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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

New York

First, I had an absolutely amazing time over 5 night’s visiting my girlfriend Sarah’s new home.

Exploring the #city that never sleeps with my beloved, was albeit thin silver lining to her being practically deported from our self-important little island. I mean, she only has just qualified with a PHD after all. Heaven forbid that we should welcome these undeserving scroungers onto our precious shores. Soon you shall be able to get hamburgers off of nearly every corner and us millennials shall soon be superlatively prefixing just about every other word we use with ‘like’. Oh I forgot…

Anyway, enough of all of that filthy talk. Here, I shall simply focus on the joy sand delights of my enjoyable and educative journey to the #citythatneversleeps. Off to the positive, yet vulgar start that the British Airways sale #plug allowed the purchasing of a return fare (£260) on an airline that would allow me to consume about half of my flights worth in free food and drink. This was taken advantage as was the obligatory G+T at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Despite refusing to pay to reserve my seat on the plane, I still managed to get out of the middle seats that I had been placed in, on our supposedly ‘packed’ fight; my beady eyes saw this not to be the case. If you don’t ask you don’t get and I’m sorry, but if you’re willing to give in and pay for seat selection when you don’t have to, you deserve what’s coming to you in my view.

With Bohemian Rhapsody and a few episodes of SATC to get me in the more in the mood, drawn (from in my opinion the poorest Season 5, but beggars can’t be choosers), I treated myself to the luxury of a #bigyellowtaxi to take me from JFK International Airport to Sarah’s bonnie flat share in Brooklyn’s Willamsburg. Having just crossed the Atlantic, I was hyped and more than ready to sink a few jars of lager and one of her many (great news) locals, served up a fair amount of the reasonably priced Zablozki.

Frustratingly for Sarah, I woke up really early, desperate to do some exploration. The stereotype of the US not being so positive for your health was completely reversed on this trip; in excess 27,000 steps (annoying according to my iPhone app) was our record.

It is all too tempting for me to go chronologically and just list all of the highlights to our trip. I’ll endeavour not to do that. But it’s hard to resist the temptation.

Exploring Brooklyn consumed the first day; Prospect Park, Brooklyn Museum and Alchemy Bar were definite highlights, along with sampling my first NYC vegan pizza at Streamers. Exploring Manhattan was the aim of the next day, which began with a delicious breakfast in our local almost French feeling Fabiane’s and then aboard a ferry – incorporated on the Subway network and for something like $2.40 – across to the financial district.

The mammoth day of walking involved checking theatre (sorry theater) prices and upon not seeing anything that we fancied, we walked through china town all the way through to where East Village almost intersects East Side. This brought back memories of having sampled the all too famous Katz Deli, which reassuringly still seemed to be packed with long queues. Rather than waiting for an eternity, Sarah has already directed me into the adjacent Punjab Deli. At this wondrous place, you can sample delicious and authentic curry for $5, though my gluttony added some vegetable pakoras to our order.

Armoured with a full belly, we made way through Union Square and observed the Flat Iron. Towards this area, we went into one of those awful bars. You know, the type around Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road, with overpriced bland beer that’s normally as stale as the atmosphere. They only refused to serve us, as I had no ID! I mean, I could hardly say that London’s much better these days, but upon his obstinate manner and down-right uncouth behaviour other than making me internally livid for a few seconds, actually soon just left me relieved to have left.

Indeed, a far superior place was soon found a hop on the subway away, called the Caledonia. They were friendly and busy; there, we were just served. With good chat as well. The barman was Irish and too having an Irish passport, we got on famously. I learned here, little gems, such as that Ireland has the world record of expat passports, with over 45,000,000 passports. I’m mist happy to be part of this statistic. For a country with a population of just 4.7 million, almost a ten-fold of this holding passports is no bad feat.

A trio to the Manhattan Library, whereas with the Brooklyn Library, my books got a welcome reception and directions of how to go about getting them to stock them! Still, with sufficient enthusiasm, we went to the Met Art Gallery, which is rightfully acclaimed and the day was rounded off by a lavish meal at the Cheese Boat, where we got to sample our revered Georgian food.

Initially feeling that stereo-typically of our Georgian dining experiences, this actually allowed us to make up our breakfast and lunch the next day of tasty leftovers, in front of the sea as we sampled Coney Island’s Brighton. After, we went to what I’d say is the real China Town in Queen’s Flushing; #cheese tea was a highlight. It certainly felt around as Chinese as Hong Kong, in my crassly name-dropping and generalising eyes. Going back to Brooklyn, through a few more bars, I feel that Pates and Traditions French restaurant also deserves a shout-out.

Anyway, I’m well aware that I am being guilty of doing exactly what I chastised and warned of, in almost listing my experiences. All that I really feel is left for me to include to mention is our epic walk to visit Sarah’s Sister Kimberley and her boyfriend Ted in Crown Heights. They too were also delightful hosts as was the final pizza (only second to be fair… And the first was just a large slice ((2 in my case)) that we sampled) of my gorgeous little excursion. Still, I’ve neglected to mention about as many notable places as I’ve mentioned!

What did I learn? Well, first and perhaps most importantly, that I think that I could comfortably live in the Big Apple. It felt as though it would have far more in common with London than anywhere provincial; certainly more than it feels to have in common with old York anyway! New York too is perhaps too the best and worst of many things. I’ve yet to sample Staten Island or the Bronx, but there really are plenty more reasons to go again. In a nutshell, I think that York, New York and London are 3 of the places that I’d feel most comfortable calling home.

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