When I visited New York City last weekend, I had some particular ideas of what I thought it would be like. With a place so huge, diverse and intense, it would be hard for any of my expectations to be completely correct.
First of all, I compared it too closely with Boston. I felt like it would be a larger scale, younger version of my beloved 'Beantown'. In some ways, it was all of those things, and so much more.
It would be an understatement to say that New York City smells interesting. It opened up my smelling sense in a way I never thought possible. I keep telling myself that it's akin to a non-smoker walking into a smoke filled room for the first time. The room has all types of smoke in it, too, like cigars, pot and maybe a clove cigarette or two. It would be very overwhelming.
New York, to me, smelled like poop. Everywhere, all the time. Poop, and other excrement-like smells. Maybe it's just my smog less New Hampshire nose. I can't describe it any other way. To me, there was so much to see, so much to experience, but it was all laden with... poo. All I repeated all day long was "Oh, ew, I'm downwind... of death! Sweet poopy death!" and "BOSTON does NOT smell like THIS."
It wasn't until I was mildly buzzed with alcohol and the night was thick, the day closing to an end, that my nose finally calmed down. I got home and I was exhausted, after doing bus-chair yoga half-sleep for 5 hours... stripped down and fell into bed... but couldn't sleep because I smelled the ickyness on my skin.
I am not saying that I didn't love that city. That would be a lie. It gave me a case of visual A.D.D. in the course of my day. There were so many people, so many attractions, that I never got bored for even a small moment. It felt like some crazy melting pot of ridiculously huge buildings, diverse population and a sort of 'I've got shit to do and I've got shit to do NOW' attitude. There was somebody trying to sell me something here, there and everywhere. A purse vendor LITERALLY chased me down the street. I was browsing, he began to barter with me, which I politely declined. As I was leaving, he followed me, so I ran - and he ran screaming after me. I cannot say that has ever happened to me in Boston... or anywhere on the planet, for that matter.
My favorite venture was into the futuristic technicolor Times Square, which felt like some neon dream I had years ago. Being so close to the election, we were inundated with political messages and memorabilia. I couldn't help but buy a cheap Obama T-shirt and pin. Almost bought a Mccain/Obama condom that said "EITHER WAY YOU'RE SCREWED!" In retrospect, I wish I had. But I'm trying to be optimistic.
There were bleachers in Times Square, and somebody had been filming, which I assume was some GMA thing that had ended shortly before our arrival. People were still sitting on the bleachers, as if waiting for some kind of urban pep rally, which was abstractly weird. The crowds threatened to separate me and my pals, which was always disconcerting. We had all day and were running out of stuff to actually do, since we were trying to conserve money.. but somehow we all felt like we had to move onto the NEXT THING. The crowd was pushing us to it, whatever it was. So from Times Square, we were pushed to Central Park.
I only saw about 1/100th of that behemoth of a park, but it was an autumn masterpiece. It felt like it wasn't actually a park, but an exhibit of all parks. It had moats, ponds, streams. Giant rocks to climb, fields to lay out on, random paths to follow, statues upon statues, etc, etc. There was some big race going on, which was followed by fireworks. We couldn't find an end to it, and when we eventually got out of it, I half expected Central Park to find a way to suck us back in, like some episode of the Twilight Zone [[YOU'LL NEVER ESCAPE!! YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE JUST VI STING!!]]
Eventually we circled back to Rockefeller Center, where we were to end our journey. We had dinner at the awesomest restaurant/bar that I have EVER been to. It was a haunted house themed eatery where all of the waitstaff dressed in costume and heckled you. When we entered the restaurant, they closed the door behind us and in front of us, locking us in complete darkness. This guy started screaming and saying crazy indecipherable stuff. Then the door opened and we walked into the dark and gloomy atmosphere.
All the waiters had parts in this giant, three tiered play with animated statues which actually talked to you. Some of them were obviously prerecorded, like the Bugaboo Creek talking heads, and some had people talking into them. Heckling the diners. Trying to hook one girl up with some guy.
There were several people they employed to walk around and smile creepy unbreakable smiles. Others would listen to conversation and jump in. For instance, I was talking to Rob about someone biting something, and this waiter walked up to me and yelled "BITE??! DO YOU BITE??!".. so I played along.. and so did he. He bit me. Which I have a picture of. It was crazy, but fun crazy.
The Jeckyl & Hyde bar was, hands down, my favorite experience of New York City. It was sort of like dinner theater, and somewhat affordable for NY standards. I went home a bit overwhelmed, but at least had been laughing on the way back to the bus. I would definitely go back there and bring more of my friends/family.
I think I will have to go back to NYC again, at some point, and feel it out again. Maybe in the summer next year. I know I would LOVE to bar-hop there. It's a gorgeous city at night.
Posted by The Children's Barn Store at 9:59 AM