Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brooklyn Flea Market Dogs

Now I love dogs as much as the next person. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I love dogs more than the next person, being something of a dog lover. But spending any substantial amount of time in New York could do some serious damage to my canine affections. And to be fair it's not really the dogs who are to blame, but my God people, get your tiny, rat-faced, harness wearing mutts out of my way. I can't walk 10 metres without stepping in your little pal's puddles of poodle juice and just because you can tug your practically weightless dog around behind you like a kite doesn't mean it should be allowed to wander all over the footpath impersonating a living land mine. Not to mention the fact that I have to step over it in the grocery aisle and make room for its carry-bag on the subway. But please, oh please, if you must have a carry-on sized pet then at least do me the courtesy of having a cute one, and being a little inventive with its mode of transport. Like these guys...

Look at the way they're just hanging out, cool as cucumbers. Couldn't you just eat them?

I take it all back. Have your little dogs, and while you're at it, spread some of their fluffy cuteness my way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Thousand Dollar Night

After a night of traipsing through the LES trying to find a bar that wasn't seedy or with a queue around the block, my fellow Australian Gene and I were treated to a VIP night of pure indulgence.

It turns out that my new housemate not only has a gorgeous apartment and a lovely disposition, but also some pretty important compadres. An influential friend of hers took us out to Home, a club with a guest list which includes such luminaries as Rachel Hunter, Tara Reid, Jeremy Piven, Rosario Dawson, Cynthia Nixon and P Diddy/Puff Daddy/Poop Diddly amongst others. Whilst no celebrities made an appearance during our visit, you could be forgiven for thinking that we were the celebrities. Our high-flying man, having used his pull to help open the club, ensured that we were ushered through the velvet rope ahead of 200 waiting clubbers before being escorted to a VIP table worth $1000 a night. We were then brought $250 bottles of champagne by eager-to-please hostesses. We also got private tours through to the connected club, Guesthouse, as well as VIP entry to most of the other bars on the street.
It was quite a night.

My only quibble would be with the unavoidable spectacle of drunk Americans dancing. Sweet God in heaven, where is the class? It would seem that the general modus operandi for dancefloor courtship involves a girl being dry-humped from behind, whilst being pressed against the front of another gyrating girl with a man similarly attached to her backside. And bonus points to the man who lifts a girl up so that her legs are wrapped around his head and her crotch is mashed against his face. I mean really, this sort of behaviour would guarantee instant removal from (almost) any club in Australia. Does this make us prudish?
Or do we perhaps have more refinement than we give ourselves credit for?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Manhattan Meditations

My early observations, on a Saturday morning after 4 hours' sleep:

1. Shop assistants are unbelievably and inconceivably rude. No smiles, no eye contact, and God forbid you'd like your clothes put in a change room. It's not uncommon to be in the middle of being served by a sales girl and then watch her walk away while you wait, thinking that she's doing something important for you, only to find out 5 patient minutes later (when you ever-so-politely ask what she's doing) that she's "doing something else".

2. Which leads me to Observation #2... Tipping sucks. I mean, fair enough if you like the service. But why do I have to tip a cab driver? For doing his job? I mean, it's not like he reached back and gave me a foot rub on the way to my destination, or that he even spoke to me, or turned down his hideously loud music, or showed much of an interest in keeping me alive. Or how about the sullen bar girl who won't look me in the eye and then slams my drink down on the bar with obvious disdain? Does she think her service warrants her telling me that "you know, in this country, it's customary to tip 20% in a bar". Which it isn't. It's $1 a drink unless the service is exceptional. But you can't say that if you want to be served again later in the night. And I know you're going to tell me that "they don't earn much" and "they live off tips", because it's what I used to say. But being treated like the dog poo that's just caught a ride in on someone's shoe quickly kills off any high philanthropic ideals.

3. But on a more positive note, the weather here is truly sublime. Warm and moistly breezy and like a perfect Spring day in Perth. It makes you happy to be alive and everything looks a little hopeful. Except the people, because...

4. Manhattanites don't actually dress as well as we've been led to believe. Across the bridge in Williamsburg is a different story, but in Manhattan, the vast majority look like they've just rolled out of bed (or an outer suburbs charity shop) to buy some milk across the street. People do dress well, but they are such a tiny minority in this borough of 1.5 million people that you could make it a full time job just trying to spot them (and some do).

5. Walking around Manhattan and Brooklyn for 8 hours in a pair of Oxfords will necessitate the buying of a new pair of ergonomically correct and cushioned slingbacks with laces up the front and an open toe.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New York Welcomes You

Well here I am. New York.
Let's pause with that for a moment...


Yep. New York.

My over-planning and research has already served me. At the airport a very friendly, helpful driver offered to take me to my hostel for $97. When I guffawed and repeated the price to him his smile broke and he pointed me across the road, "$45 cabs over the road." I ain't nobody's fool! Yet.

After an almost clinically clean sleeping experience, I woke up at 5:50 am and am now sitting in my PJs at the downstairs cafeteria, eating my egg and ham bagel and drinking a small (ie. normal) sized styrofoam cup of Lipton's (with skim, not soy unfortunately). When I asked the cafe guy if the eggs were powdered he looked at me with disgust and said "Powdered? No way man." Then he proceeded to pull out a milk carton of egg mix and proudly hold it up for me to see.

I've never eaten less egg-flavoured egss in my life but for $1.85 I'm willing to make a few sacrifices.