Some friends from the alliance I am a member of in the game Eve Online decided to have a weekend meet up in New York City, and having not travelled for quite awhile now I decided I would go. So about 3 weeks prior to the meet I booked some flights and a cheap hotel in Manhattan and flew out a week last Thursday at 9am from Manchester airport.
Getting the first bus to Manchester at 5am
Almost missed this would not of gone well!
My home for like 8 hours or so.
Don’t feed the animals in Amsterdam
Getting an upgrade to business class for the flight from Amsterdam to JFK New York was a massive bonus for the outgoing leg. Having never flown anything but economy in my life, business class came as a very pleasant surprise. With a fully reclining seat, 17″ tv, noise cancelling headphones, full restaurant standard 3 course meal and champagne on entering the plane this was the luxury I was looking for! Unfortunately I was so tired from having to be up at 4:30am to get to my flights on times I slept for most of the trip so could not fully engorge myself on the delights of business class.
Got in to JFK in the late afternoon American time totally refreshed after my nice sleep on the plane, and got my first taxi in New York. Pretty good value to $52 to the hotel with an $8 tip (I’ll never get used to tipping I don’t think!).
First view of the Manhattan skyline!
Dumbed my stuff in the hotel and went exploring around 3rd and 4th avenue eventually found an Irish bar (I know your amazed!)
My first Irish Bar
As most people would not be arriving until Friday/Saturday I really didn’t expect to do anything but find myself a place to drink alone for a few hours but as it turns out Maytagman was still in the city (he lives out Jersey way) and he mentioned coming up towards Times SQ to meet for a few drinks before he went home, so jumping in another cab I sped uptown to meet him, after some debating and swearing on whatsapp we finally met up in an unknown bar (memory is a little hazy now) and downed a few near where he works.
First bar we went in I think?!
Leaving that we went to of all thing’s an Irish bar (astonishing!) were I developed the is the barman a liar game. This basically consists of asking the barman if he is Irish (spoiler: the answer is always yes) and then asking what county is he is from, if they hesitate they are lying as no Irishman has to think about that answer.
Maytag and me on the town
After sinking a few bevvies with Maytag and explaining how it was impossible to get lost in Manhattan because its a grid system we split up, me to my hotel and him to his home. I then preceded to get lost walking in completely the wrong direction as the rain started to come down after going a couple of blocks and realising the streets where going up in number instead of down I turned myself around and started to look for a taxi but miracle of miracles not a single taxi was in this area of town! So after getting completely soaked I eventually got one and ended up back at my hotel apologising for getting the taxi wet all the way!
I had always planned to do some sightseeing on the Friday as I knew the earliest anyone would be in town would be late afternoon so I went to Gramercy on 3rd and 17th for breakfast and damn was I glad I did!
This was lush and well needed.
Ended up eating here everyday of my visit. Suitable fortified I headed down to Battery Park to get the ferry over to Liberty and Ellis Islands (figure your in New York should at least go).
Cue series of photo’s
Looking back to Ellis Island from Liberty Island with Manhattan in the background.
Statue of Liberty Upskirt
Off to get deloused at Ellis Island.
On the Ferry to Liberty Island
MINE! MINE! MINE!
Receiving hall at Ellis Island
What can I say one is a big statue on a rock and the other is a load of buildings you can’t go in, glad I went but would not miss it if I never had tbh.
Any still having time to kill I headed up to the site of the World Trade Center or tourist central as I call it, I really didn’t know what to expect when I got there. But I didn’t not expect to huge holes in the ground!
WTC building memorial pretty cool.
Did think about applying for a job at the WTC to fix this.
Liberty and Freedom
After wandering around downtown for a few hours, and finding another Irish bar where I had the most delicious chicken wings. My friend Beffah was due to arrive in town so I got the subway up to the bus station to meet her, which is where I discovered New Yorkers choose cuny first.
We all choose cuny when we can.
After meeting Beffah in yet another Irish bar the first mishaps of the day happened, as England were playing in a match that afternoon I had googled Manchester United supports bar in New York City which had thrown up the Manchester Bar at 902 2nd avenue which as it turns out is in a barren taxi area quite a ways out of the centre. We got a cab up to it and jumping out as the cab sped off we started to realised that it had no lights on, as we got closer it started to look worse turns out this had been repossessed by the landlord and was not longer open. FUCK!!!
Dragging Beffah with me down 2nd Avenue looking for another cab whilst furiously trying to find a bar which might show the football, after many minutes of cursing and furiously waving my arms at any car in yellow we got a cab down to Smithfield Hall which is a great place to watch football if your in NYC.
Smithfield Hall watched the England game in here.
Watching England play at Smithfields so many TV’s
After explaining the intricacies of football to Beffah and trying to work out who was playing who on each screen England won 4-0 and the world rejoiced! We were then joined by the djentleman Paulson and later Andy Koraka and Jessica Iritan. Many drinks were drunk before we decided we should get Beffah booked in to her hotel which was called Sun Brite Hotel down on Hestor st in Chinatown down past 17th street so we thought we would get her booked in then head up towards 17th for a last few drinks. Jumping on the subway we got off nearby and proceed to get lost even though everyone of us has a smart phone with a map on it, after wandering around for awhile and in desperate need for a rest room we arrived on Hester Street where we thought the hotel should be only to discover the hotel seemed to come in kit form.
Beffah’s hotel comes in kit form.
And for Beffah to receive a text from Experian which said her booking was now cancelled, this turned out to be defunct. As I had room in my hotel we headed back up that way and dropped her stuff before heading to a bar on the corner called Mumbles were I met these 2 duders
Met these guys in Mumbles they had apparently just agreed to buy it.
From what I remember they or their friend has just finalised buying the place and they were out celebrating, the were also football (soccer) fans and really enjoyed hearing stories of my adventures travelling England watching football matches after a few jars with them we headed to the bar I had found on the first night and ended the night there, much beer was had, much food was eaten and much fun was had!
The next day as people would not be hitting Manhattan until early evening me and Beffah decided to go to the Natural History Museum on Central Park by subway. We headed over to get the C from the A C E line and waited and waited and waited a C train never came (we were stood on the platform no trains where running from for like 15mins) for over 30mins so we jumped on the A train, which as it turns out is an express line from 42nd street to 120th street or something so we had to walk back like 40 blocks after getting dumped in the middle of nowhere (looked just like the projects you see on NYPD Blue).
So we have 40 blocks to go and suddenly I need a restroom (as anyone who knows me I have a bladder the size of a pea once I’d had a drink) this far up in Manhattan on the Avenue we were on there is nothing but houses and 7/11’s. Then to top it off my Zippo lighter runs out of fuel and I discover Beffah has no sense of direction as we go into a place for me to attempt to by petrol for my lighter (you guys call it something else) and try to explain to the Asian gentleman behind the counter what I want which he looks completely lost at my request (You know I thought getting fuel for a Zippo in the country that makes them would be easier!) eventually I give up and just buy a lighter from him, as we step out of the shop Beffah is completely lost and heads off in the wrong direction whilst arguing with me about which way to go, I finally manage to persuade her to walk the other way and off we trek and I mean trek.
By the time we have done the 40 blocks to the natural history museum I am ready to burst completely and there is a fucking queue it’s huge! There is no way I can stand still that long without make my pants change colour so I look for the restrooms and am informed by a very nice security guard that I can’t use them unless I have a ticket there is no reasoning with him so leaving Beffah to queue I head off down Central Park looking for a coffee shop, bar, diner anything which might have a restroom. I eventually find something another 20-25 blocks further down at a Mall. But I have to queue for 1 of the 3 toilets as by now I need more than a piss and I swear it is the longest I have ever had to wait anywhere to be able to drop trou absolute agony. By the time I am finished with that Beffah has met up with Andy, Jessica and Dukrat at the natural history museum and I cannot be arsed walking all the way back to I head to starbucks for a coffee and a sausage and egg muffin. The go to find a bar to wait for them in.
I find a nice place with space at the bar on 57th and 9th called D J Reynolds and grab a beer in there.
Well needed first drink of the day on Saturday.
So I am just sitting here having a quiet beer feeling better with every sup when one of the bar’s regulars comes in and sits at the bar next to me. He’s about 80 and his name is Joe well turned out dude and he starts talking to me (this happens a lot in NYC due to my accent) just about this and that introduces me to a couple of other people one of which is Nick the local precinct Detective Lieutenant who I proceed to have an argument about Margaret Thatcher (he’s a big fan) and Richard the Associate Directory of Security at the Lincoln Center also an ex-NYC police detective, after being bought a few drinks it transpires that Joe is something of a minor celebrity, a famous private detective and the owner of J.T.Mullen Company and has been for 60years or so with some quiet famous clients on his books but I’ll let his website tell you about that. After a few hours of hanging with these guys and getting invited back in the summer to grab some beers, everyone in the Natural History Museum is pretty much finished and Hendrick Tallendar turns up so we all group up together once more and head to the Bierhaus to meet Maytag, Oh Taka, and Solock.
Things are little hazy for me at this point but somehow we ended around 42nd street and I still need fuel for my lighter so I ask the people with me if they have any idea’s and Hendrick says there is a place on the corner from were we are might have it, so I tell them to head on and i’d catch them up. The place he sent me to turns out to be a chemist’s and does not sell fuel but the very nice assistant in there points me to 7/11 halfway down the block, they also do not sell fuel but the never nice guy in there points me to the store next door which seems to sell everything from lighter fuel to panty hose and everything in between. They sell me the biggest tin of lighter fuel I have ever seen for $10 but I can use my lighter again!!!
So I head off down 42nd street with a skip in my step and get high fived by Mickey Mouse dressed as Michael Jackson (fuck I love New York) then I cannot find the Bierhaus at all which turns out to have the smallest sign and littlest door after getting whatsapp photo’s and directions from a shop I eventually arrive!
42nd street I think
Totally lost at this point. Turned out the Bierhaus was on the left.
The only way I could find the bierhaus was some sending me a picture of the entrance.
Finally meeting up with the main eve nerds (where I meet Solock for the first time) in the Bierhaus we finally get another beer or 2 and some food. Paying off the $500 dollar tab I persuade everyone to head over the road to another bar.
Andy Koraka and Dukrat
NYC Meet From Left to Right Oh Taka, Hendrick Tallendar, Andy, Dukrat, Maytagman, Solock, Jessica, (some new bro), Beffah
As the camera work will attest the beers were flowing freely and things started to get very hazy for me from this point on, much eve nerdiness was partaken in and my beers where drunk, at some point Maytag and Oh Taka slunk off back to Jersey, then Hendrick drifted off for his last bus or something. What was left headed off to a couple of more bars before Solock and newbro departed, at which point Beffah decided that drinking was a bad idea and but sleeping at the bar was a good idea. So we flagged her a taxi down to get her back to the hotel and as soon as the back door opened her stomach decided it no longer wanted the hard fought for alcohol and forcibly removed it in a projectile fashion! Scratch 1 taxi no way we where getting in that one now. So we waited for things to calm down on the projections front and hailed another this one successfully getting back to the hotel with no mishaps (RESULT!). Once in the hotel lift which was pretty small to start with 2 german ladies one of which I had spoken to a couple of times and was nice got in with us, this proved to be a mistake which was further compounded by nice german lady standing immediately in front of seasick sara (Beffah) the movement of the lift causing yet another outpouring of stomach woes all over said german ladies nice shoes, needless to say she was not best pleased. Finally getting to our floor and apologising profusely to out Teutonic friend we exited stage left. After dumping Beffah in the room I ran back outside for a taxi (luckily I have dealt with white trash drunk before and remained unscathed) back to meet what was left of the PL nerds in the previous bar. Although I forgot which cross street we where on and got a little lost. I eventually ended up back at the bar and things are little bit of a blur from here I think we were on 29th or something but the next thing I an remember from the night is coming out of a bar on 14th street at around 4am then a completely blank until like 10am the next morning and really needing a drink!
So it was Sunday and time to leave my flight had been put back to the early evening so I had a day to kill in NYC, after breakfast and massive amounts of coffee at Gramercy for one last time, I accompanied Beffah the megabus depot then headed back in to the city and aimlessly wandered around until I found a bar on a side street and treated myself to yet another beer.
If in doubt find a bar and grab a beer.
Farewell New York it’s been a blast.
A few hours of drinking then a taxi to the airport managed to blag an upgrade and a change of flight for the final leg from Paris to Manchester and it was farewell New York and hello real life!
I’ve been to some weird random wonderful places over the last few years of travelling but I have to say I’ve never had as warm a welcome everywhere I went as I did in New York City obviously I stayed on the island but still I have loved every minute from landing in JFK until taking off again and cannot wait for the next chance to go. Thanks to all the PL duders that came and made it such a blast I just wish my memory operated well enough after being drowned in beer so I could recall everything that happened.
Some final pictures from the trip.