New New York
Trip Start Mar 25, 2013
9Trip End May 09, 2013
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So yeah I’ve been in NY for the past 2 weeks. Sorry for the lack of updates, but accessing computers and internets has again been difficult
NY was awesome. Looking at Manhattan from the other side of the East River, or from the observation deck of the Empire State building, you can just sense how thriving and busy it is. Helicopters continually buzz about over the skyline, ferries pass back and forth, cars and taxis honk and hustle their way through the streets. You look at the countless skyscrapers, and imagine all the people working and all the cash and capitalism flowing. The bars are always full, the subway packed and tourists mill about Times Square. One of the things I enjoy about big cities is just walking the streets, gazing up at the impressive buildings and down at the passing people. NY is the perfect city for that. And it’s not just skyscrapers and high rise apartments. There are quieter areas, narrow side-streets with nice old brownstone apartments, and chic neigbourhoods and villagers with little bars, coffee shops, parks and museums.
One of the highlights (or two of the highlights I guess), was getting to be in the studio audience for tapings of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Jon and Stephen (especially Stephen) are two of my heroes, and are a big part of the reason I got into US Politics. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the studios unfortunately, so I’ll just have to set the scene with my amazing descriptive powers. Jon and Stephen were really friendly and interactive with the audience, coming out before the show to chat and answer questions. Colbert even chose me to ask a question. I asked him “which superheroes would you choose as room mates?” He was a bit taken aback by the question, but came up with some funny answers. Both him and Jon were really quick on their feet and witty with their responses to the fans’ questions. And they were really warm and appreciative of their fan base, which, as an unabashed fanboy, was heartening to see. Stephen especially. His sister, a politician, had just lost a tight race for a Congress seat in South Carolina. Stephen said after the show that when he came out, he was in a really bad mood, but that we lifted his spirits and that he loved each and every one of us, especially Michael Raphael who has come here all the way from Australia. And the actually taping of show was interesting to witness. For the most part it was really smooth and professional. Although there were a couple of hiccups with Stephen’s taping
Another one of my favourite things about NY was Central Park. It’s such a big, beautiful place, and it’s amazing to think that there’s this huge chunk of nature and greenery in the middle of THE metropolis. I read that the property value of the land alone is estimated at 500 billion dollars. I went to the park a few times, mainly on weekend when there were heaps of people out enjoying the sunshine. The huge reservoir/lake in the centre of the park is beautiful, and looking at the sudden wall of buildings that rises at the edge of it is an awesome sight. And there’s a medieval style castle on top of an outcrop, with nice views from the top. The park has a huge variety of landscapes and activities, like tennis & basketball courts, softball fields, lawns, playgrounds, other shit. And sah many squirrels! Prospect Park in Brooklyn was also sweet. It’s not as maintained and pretty as Central Park, but it has less of that man-made feel.
Brooklyn itself is really cool
The museums in NY were aight. The Guggenheim was a bit of a let down. But that was mainly cos they were mainly showing the work of these Japanese avant-garde artists. For me abstract/post-modern/whatever art can be a bit hit and miss; this one definitely missed. But the architecture of the Guggenheim itself was interesting. Moma was ok too. Avoided most of the too modern stuff and just focused on the Impressionist and Futurist pieces. The Met was easily the best, and freest, of all the NY museums. The ancient Egypt, and ancient Greek & Roman sections were awesome. You read in textbooks about the achievements of these civilizations, but this was the first time I had experienced it up close. The advances in art these societies made thousands of years ago is really impressive - from the fine detail of pottery, jewelry and sculptures, to the monumental statues and crypts
Other things I liked about NY: the Brooklyn Bridge. The walk over it is amazing. Such sweet views of Manhattan. And the bridge itself is this hundred-and-thirty year-old steel and stone beast. Steve and I also went to a really cool gig. We saw Flying Lotus play at Terminal 5. The venue itself was cool; had like multiple levels of balconies. Reminded me of the video clip from Thunderstruck by AC/DC, with all the prisoners in the cell. The gig itself was amazing; it’s safe to say that FlyLo rocked the house, brought the funk, and blerked the plerp. And the visuals were spectacular. FlyLo was in between two transparent screens with psychedelic visuals (think Windows Media Player visualiser). You could just make out his outline, so it was really trippy. The 9/11 memorial was also good. Didn’t really expect much of it; but it was really touching. The two memorial pools, with water cascading into a bottomless void, are really beautiful.
The food in NY was great. Had my first ever bagels there :O they were delish. Hot bagel, crunchy onion on the outside, soft inside schmeared with olive cream cheese. Mmmm think I’m gonna convert to Jewdaisms