Saturday, September 12, 2015

New York

I knew it was going to suck going from Hawaii to NY before I even left Australia. It involved an overnight flight to LA and then a day flight to NY. But there were two good things:

1) I had two hot guys in their 20s sitting beside me from from LA to NY. One of them had even studied in Brisbane for a semester in his uni days.

2) I knew about this ALL VEGAN place in the American Airlines terminal at LAX and was very excited to try it out.

It was about eight in the morning or something when we got to LAX so I got to have breakfast here and then buy some lunch for the plane since I knew I wouldn't be buying anything on board. As you'd expect it was not cheap. But it's an airport and this is the best vegan food you will find in any airport. Ever. So you need to suck it up and enjoy not having to eat five Clif Bars for lunch, which is your alternative basically.

My sister and her friend were flying in from Vegas so this was the first trip I've done in probably 10 years that has not been on my own and/or with strangers I've met along the way.

I have to say, it's really weird going on holidays with people you know. I'm not sure I would make a habit of it. Not cos I have anything against Patti or Nat but I really like travelling alone. It's just so good. Everyone should try it.

This was my third time in NY. The first time was in 1999 in winter (shit). The second time was in 2004 in early spring (still shit). But this time it was mid August and the weather was perfect--about 30C every day and no humidity. If you're thinking of going, wait til it's summer.

We did the usual touristy things starting with the Staten Island ferry.

The World Trade Centre area was new again for me. The first time I was here I went up the World Trade Centre. The second time it was a mess still and there was a lot of visible 9/11 damage.

Here is a photo I took in 2004 of a building next to one of the Twin Tower sites. It was pretty sad then.

It's still pretty sad now.

There's a couple of memorial museums (including the main one) where you can go and see things from the explosions and thousands of photos of people who died. It's emotionally overwhelming and not the most fun thing you will do in NY.

The new One World Trade Centre is cool though.

And the observation deck is really good. They have these ipads which have some cityscape thing that moves as you do. You can zoom in on buildings or whatever you're looking at out the window and it will tell you what they are. It's about $15 to rent them which is above my maximum willingness to pay. But I like the idea. It's really cool.

It is also well organised. You buy your tickets for a certain time to minimise lining up. This was in contrast to 2004 when my friend Heather and I went up the Empire State Building and it took fucking hours of lining up and not knowing how much longer we had to wait.

Here's me in 2004.

Eating vegan in NY is easy. There's vegan options everywhere so I didn't really take notice of specific places. I even got vegan cream cheese bagels without even trying. They were just there. And you can always go to Wholefoods. NY is good!

One place I did seek out was the V spot near Washington Square Park. It has a latino theme, which was exactly what I wanted at the time. It was really good. Then across the road was a new place that opened that day which basically sold coffee, some vegan desserts and Brooklyn organic chocolate made with hemp seeds. I was talking to a guy in there that had come over from Brooklyn just to buy this chocolate. He invited me to an anti Starbucks rally (to protest against all the dairy they use) the next day but I was flying out. It was quite a big event though cos one of the vegan YouTube channels I watch covered the protest in Toronto. See that's what social media does. Coordinates people.

Anyway, the Hemp Bar was doing free samples so I sampled. This was the best one, which I bought cos I felt guilty about having eaten so much free chocolate.

You'd never get hemp chocolate in Australia cos of our stupid regulations banning hemp seeds as a food product. That said, I eat hemp seeds all the time cos you can buy them in any health food store. They are just not allowed to be used as an ingredient in anything or sold as a food. Although, I think there are some vegan places in Melbourne that make and sell hemp foods. I'm sure I've read that on the internet. Good on them for ignoring clueless bureaucrats. We should all do that.

Anyway to get around the regs we have bullshit labels like this stuck on every packet telling you to make face cream out of it or feed them to your dog. It's so stupid (well not for your dog) considering they are one of the most nutritious foods ever. Google it if you don't know this and then get some in your belly!


Times Square.


One of the places you can go for a drink in Times Square is the View revolving bar and restaurant. It takes an hour to do one full rotation. It's not cheap but the view is good and if you go early enough you don't have to pay a cover charge.

I also had dinner at this place. Oh. My. God. Vegan fast food at it's best. I had the seitan philly cheese steak and it tasted amazing. It was so delicious. Since I try to stick to an 80/10/10 style diet (but not fully raw) these days, eating this was a massive fail.

The Empire State building.

One of the things we did which I'd not done before is the High Line walk. I don't know if this was open the other times I was here, but it's really nice. Although probably a bit shit in winter.

Some lego building thing you could participate in was going on.

Another thing I hadn't done before was the Sex and the City tour. The other two really wanted to do this so we did. It was good. It was basically a guide talking about the show and then pointing out something from the bus window then showing you a clip from the show/movie showing you what we just passed. We did get out at a few places.

Like Carrie's apartment which appears to be undergoing some renos.

Steve and Aidan's bar, where we had a cosmopolitan (not included in the tour price).

The place where Big and Carrie had the wedding reception or something (I can't remember).

The New York City library with a leather--not vegan friendly--door. Seriously, who makes a leather door? Pointless. 

I think Carrie got married here. Or dumped here. I love the show but it's been a few years since I watched it.

In the spirit of Carrie Bradshaw, I actually did a reasonable amount of shopping in NY as well. Normally I don't buy stuff when I'm travelling cos then I'll have to carry it around, which I don't like. This is why I pretty much wear the same clothes in all my blog posts. I know what works for minimisation purposes and I leave everything else at home. However, this was the end of my trip which also changes things. I picked up some new work clothes from Zara which I was happy about. Sigh, I wish we had Zara in Brisbane. Apparently it's coming but I've been hearing that for years. In the meantime, it's an excuse to go to Sydney for the weekend I guess. I also went to Nike and bought some exercise pants (like bike pants but without the stupid padded bit that looks like a nappy). I was excited about this since I've been looking for some for SO LONG and there aren't any at the length I want that I've seen in Australia. I love Nike even though they've had some questionable labour practices in the past. Their stuff is just so good and it lasts forever. I am still wearing Nike clothes I bought from when I lived in London! Nothing else even comes close so I bought two pairs of the pants I wanted. Since I have two pairs, theoretically I should be good for another 20 years assuming I don't grow a massive arse.

Speaking of shopping, these statues are in the shopping centre where Wholefoods is at Columbus Circle.

I love Botero. He is that artist from my favourite city in Colombia--Medellin! Ah South America. I wish I was I still backpacking. Work is so much less fun. Then again, most jobs are fleeting these days so I'm sure my next round of unemployment isn't too far away. I should probably start saving for it.

I'll end on that. NY is such a good city and I love going there. However, it's a long way from Australia. To get home we left early Sunday evening NY time and got back Tuesday morning Oz time. We actually spoke to a guy who said he'd like to visit Australia but he just couldn't be bothered travelling that far. It's a fair point since we skipped an entire day. On the plus side, the rest of the week back at work went super quick.

Until next time.