The dream end...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  ,
Monday, February 19, 2007

So distracted was I by the variety of fantastically comfortable grips in John Jovini's Gun Shop, I didn't even notice the snow. The gorgeous, pure flakes indecisively wafting in the breeze, finally settling upon one of its companions on the Little Italy sidewalk outside. Spectacular, poetic - an extension of the already much praised romance of new York - but America's oldest gun shop can do that - distract you entirely. Checking out the latest in deer killing technology? What snow? Perusing the finest in novelty gun t-shirts and cop gear? Snow ignorance. Considering whether the rabbit target or turkey target would look better on your wall? No love for precipitation. 110% focus on John Jovini's Gun Shop. Coz it's wicked. If you're one of those left-anti-gun-wah-wahs, a visit to John Jovini's Gun Shop will change that. Yep. In fact, I guarantee that somehwere through your visit, you'll shout out 'Gun it up', jump to the air and put into action a 'Living the Dream' first punch. And then you'll come out with a holster, one of thse over-the-shoulder ammunition holders like Chewbacca has, a few 'I love Guns' badges, and a classic, absolutely quality John Jovini's Gun Shop T-shirt. Or perhaps, just the T-shirt...

Several days in John Jovini's Gun Shop left me completely unprepared for the bitter NY snow. More of a blizzard really - a blizzard that transformed NY into a glowing, mystical, fucking freezing, sloshing reality in the space of a day. Us Australians are not particularly familiar with snow, but it's a strange creature. At its worst - disgusting brown with dirt, sloppy wet like fish - it's revolting. But at its finest - a freshly pressed, unspoint, pristine white - snow dominates - a photgenic Midas - turning everything it touches into an aesthetic marvel. Especially central park. Snow was meant to fall in central park. In fact, I'm sure that I read somewhere that central park was created specifically just so snow could fall in it. The absolute beauty of it - the gentle undulations, frozen over lakes, the portions of trees - all carved out of a scene of otherwise pure white. Squirrels fidget; swans grooms; ducks float beneath the lower central park skyline all to a winter wonderland atmosphere. And above they continue to float down, float down, float down. Fuck it's cold...

How much? $750 bucks? What the fuck. American? Incredible. I think back to Leeming and my near mint, barely used Nike Air Jordan 7s sitting in the bottom of my closet somwhere. That's what I could get for them? I rue the fact that they're not here in Soho at this store exclusively selling classic, retro sneakers. I rue the fact that I couldn't cash them in for US$750 in Perth. But I guess I am in New York. The shopping in NY is silly. Fuck off silly. And, indeed, tragic for my credit card balance. Wandering through downtown manhattan, through the east and west village, Soho, where the 'cool' oozes through the buildings; where beauty seems almost pase yet a prerequisite, I was overcome by an immense 'fuck it' attitude. 'Shop it up'. Do it. I attribute it partly on 'pre-yet-imminent-return depression, partly on the fact that I've never been able to resist adidas gazelles, and partly on the fact that shopping is cheaper here than in perth. Unbelievable but true. No shit. And so I now sit and ponder, mentally labelling all of my belongings as either 'essential' or 'non-essential' - discardable - determining what can be ditched to make way for the silly shopping extravaganze of the devil of the death. now let's see... well travelled underwear?

It's aura? Brilliant. The shopping? Brilliant. And then there's the music. Oh - the music. Fuck me - the music. The music scene is an absolute highlight of NY. And the delights are limited only by your hip pocket and your own taste. But it's all here. The finest sets of Jazz; one of the world's most brilliant orchestras; one of the world's coolest and lively indie rock scenes; the centre, bar none, for musical theatre. Fuck me - the music. Many nights have been wasted here - spent rather - hunting down the coolest jazz clubs in the west cillage; the most happening and hip bars in the east village and lower east side. NY is a musicians - a music lovers - dream, not only in the quality of music going around, but the atmosphere that pervades such a place - a feeling that music - oh fuck it - 'the arts' - are not only existing and viable, but the important expressive lifeblood from which a society seeks influence, an essential pursuit. Everyone I meet seems to be involved in the arts - in dance, music management, painting, film. The talk on the train is of rehearsals, modulations, scherzos. And the confidence, the faith in the arts is inspiring and especially timely for one ending his trip and staring down at the loomig regularity of a telephone and a computer. Note to self: freeze the moments, the feelings, the perspectives in time and store them away - to be retrieved in the future. Remember what's important...

The appropriateness of it. The poetry of the resolution. That NY should conclude the Trip of the Devil of the Death from Hell on Ice. That my world in this preceding year - all of the places that I have visited - seem to coexist in this indescribably remarkable city. That, despite all of the incredible cities of the world fresh in my mind, no other city grabs hold of me and tells me that I have to live there like NY. It demands it. But what is it about New York? What am I - why are so many people - entirely taken and inspired by this city It's not just it's stately aura of grandeur; of majesty. Nor merely the emphatic, endless energy that pulses through every block of every borough. It's so much more - a whole complex combination of things. As you take in NY, you get a feeling of its arrogance - almost conceit - its consideration of its own importance; that it is the centre of the world. A feeling floats in the breeze here, like this place change the world - theat great things happen here; that greatness is on your block . And not back in the day, "can't really relate to it" kind of greatness. Recent greatness. Modern greatness. you wander through neighbourhoods and sense it - the legacies of Billie Holiday, Ella Fiztgerald and James Brown as you walk past the Apollo; of Warhol and Dylan as you stroll past the warehouses of Chelsea; the feeling that the next standup comic you see might be the next sienfeld; that you just walked part Chris Martin in the Met (oh wait. we did. Fuck him - Coldplay is shit anyway). And true to its reputation, it doesn't sleep - it chooses not to - because it knows that there is too much to experience in this life. More than anywhere, it encapsulates a spectrum of living experiences - the magnificent, beautiful, disgusting and horrifying, the gritty and the glamour, the culture , the unapologetic commercialism. It has everything. And I don't thing - I know. It's love. Sorry Hong Kong. Sorry Beunos Aires. It's definitely love. I must go and buy one of those T-shirts. And then, I must say goodbye...

So, to the Top 5. Some cities have 1 or 2 recognisable landmarks. 3 if they're lucky. Images that you immediately associate with a place. But NY is icon city. Icons everywhere you look. Literally. In the buildings, methods of transport, roads, parks, nicknames. Now, icons are cool. But the best thing about icons, in my opinion, is that they give rise to a plethora of tacky souvenirs. Love it. Tacky souvenir it up I say. And New York does. In a silly way. Wander through Times Square or Chinatown and it's tacky souvenir central. I've spent a bit of time perusing, and here, by way of a special visual Top 5 for the final on-the-road entry of this blog, are the top 5 tacky souvenirs, that I have found, of New York City:

(go to the photo section to view)

5. Mini NY vehicles

Taxis. NYPD cars. Fire engines. TackMasterTack. Buy an entire emergency service for your mantelpiece. Awesome...

4. Statue of Liberty

As a symbol - an icon - it's quite impressive. As a statue, I guess it's ok. But as a mini-replica, it's fucking ugly. But people keep buying them, taken them home as tokens of NY - or giving them to people as gifts who, inevitably, open it and sigh a 'thanks' unconvincingly but with as much sincerity as they can muster. Statue of Liberty replica - Decent tackiness...

3. The Empire State Building and King Kong

What's better than the Empire State Building? Ok - yes - the Chrysler Building. But that's not what I was thinking. That's right. The Empire State Building and King Kong. On tacky souvenir. So good. And the bigger the beast the better. Note the proportions of King Kong. Fucking huge. Massive. Nearly as big as the building itself. Brilliant...

2. Snowglobes

A general rule regarding tacky souvenirs - snowgloabes are about as tacky as they get. An almost sure-fire winner. What more could you want? Bright colours; all of the great icons inside a single dome. And - wait for it - when you shake it? Snow. It fucking snows. And I've already talked about how good snow it. Snowglobes? Living the dream...

1. Anything "I Love NY"

The iconic tacky souvenir of New York. It embodies the tacky souvenir itself. So good it has transcended its humble beginnings as Tacky Souvenir and has elevated itself to icon status. It's the MSG of souvenirs - add it to anything and it immediately becomes better. Anything. Imagine this: An "I Love NY" snowglobe. We can always dream...

It is over. Lived the dream. Reality awaits...
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kiemce on

Back to the real world?
So, after living the dream for a year you are once again facing impending 'reality'...

I've still got a couple of months and another World Cup to go, but I'm far from looking forward to facing that thing we call 'work' once again. Good luck!

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