I’m in a New York state of mind (well I was last week :)

Greetings and salutations all!

So I had my first (hopefully of two) summer trips this year (It’s early July as I write this). As some of you may know I’m a huge fan of concerts and usually once a year (sometimes more) we travel somewhere to see one. This year went to NYC to see Billy Joel and of course while we were there did lots of other stuff. So as I’ve done in the past here is a smattering of pictures (a video if I can get it to work) and my comments on them.

Day 1:

Arrived at LGA around 11:30am and got a shuttle to to the hotel. Our hotel was small and had no restaurant (or room service) but was otherwise conveniently located, had friendly staff and was clean and certainly nice enough. I was pleased to see a healthy take-out style restaurant nearby and we soon set off for a comic book store (it’s what geeks do in any city!) Bought 1 comic and headed back to get ready to go out to an off-Broadway show (after we had supper at an ok pub/restaurant down the street, I’ve really gotten into ciders the past couple of years.)

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So as you can see to the left the show was a little unusual. It was called Skivvies. The club was nice (too full to order food but we had a few drinks) and the show itself was okay (they are talented they just did a lot of songs I didn’t like). The best part of the show for me was when Sophie B. Hawkins came on at the end (she wasn’t in her underwear though) and sang one of her hits (I’ll give you  hint, it wasn’t "Damn I wish I was your lover"). It was a song I actually liked and gave the show more credibility.

Day 2:

Off to the John Lennon memorial, Pommes Frites and the Dakota (where Lennon was shot in 1980) and of course the Statue of Liberty. In case you’re wondering Pommes Frites was in an episode of "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee" (really funny if you love Seinfeld). I’m a huge lover of french fries and I have to say they were excellent (though greasy but I guess the best ones usually are). What makes this place unique is they offer over 50 varieties of dipping sauce, so you have plenty of reasons to go back.

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Now I have to say NYC was VERY hot (I’m Canadian and in the north after all, it very rarely gets to 85F, it was over 100 there for 3 days!). So as such I didn’t get to explore central park as much as I wanted to and our trip to the Statue of Liberty consisted of getting a ferry there, taking some pictures, getting back on said ferry and heading back. We also went to the Museum of Natural History (very cool and interesting place), I’d highly recommend it. They even have an app so you can have a self-guided tour.

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Day 2 was also the Billy Joel concert (you’re not supposed to take pictures or video, so in any case anyone checks I won’t post anything here). He was excellent! Funny, friendly, played lots of his hits. Madison Square Garden is a great building that is well organized and had reasonable prices for beer and snacks (any merchandise is always overpriced wherever you go). My only complaint is I wanted more, Bill played almost 2 hours but I won’t have loved 2.5 or even 3, so really not a complaint at all. I have loved Billy Joel’s music over 20 years and I had tickets to see him in Toronto (the show was canceled due to the SARS outbreak), so it was a great moment for me. Like a lot of things in life when you build it up in your mind it never quite lives up to your expectations but still, a great time, wonderful music and great memories.

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Day 3:

I wanted to get pictures for my third book ("The Gathering Dark" currently in the editing process!), one of the chapters takes place in NYC, so I had to get pictures of a statue by central park. We also went to the Discovery Museum and two exhibits. To be honest I thought the Marvel one sucked. It was mainly video games, half of them didn’t work or didn’t work properly. The only good one had a line so long that moved so slow I gave up, maybe I’m just too old for it but I felt $60 was a rip off. We also went to this one which showed dissected people and a horse (I’ll spare you the pictures, it was gross). That one was certainly educational and interesting, just hard to look at (well kind of like a car crash, you didn’t want to look but had to kind of deal.) We should have went to the Lego one, I did get to take one picture of a bored Lego man.

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We also went to a nice restaurant called Serendipity. They are known for their frozen hot chocolate dessert (which we had and was yummy) and $1000 sundae! (Not kidding, we didn’t get that). Nice food and after a long wait (over an hour) we had very good service including two free drinks.

Day 4:

This was the 4th of July and after I went to another comic book store (Forbidden Planet which was another cool place with friendly staff) We also went on a TMZ bus tour (the guide was funny and nice but too much celebrity crap for my liking, that was my wife’s choice). We also went to the Stardust Diner for some good singing, friendly service but not so good food (I guess that’s what to expect), obviously went the singing it can be quite loud in there as well.

173 You’re all wondering about the fireworks (well some of you) and yes of course we went. Amazing show that lasted almost 30 minutes, police were there and it was well lit (in the park area we went to) so I never felt unsafe. I should say here for a big city NYC is a very safe place (from what I saw). There are lots of homeless people but I guess that’s just a sad reality. We took a taxi down to the fireworks and should have gotten one back…instead we came back on the subway, that was a mistake.

The subway was INSANE coming back. The police had to stop too many people from coming though, it was hot down there (even at 10pm at night) and once we finally got on subway care it was super-crowded. Two men almost got in a fight and being a little claustrophobic I was very uncomfortable for a good 10 minutes. So if you’re in NYC (or any big city with a subway) DO NOT take the subway back, it’s not worth saving the money.

Day 5:

Didn’t get to much today as we were heading back and the shuttle service picked us up super-early. I tried to get a shave but the place was closed (Spiff if you’re curious and I did get a nice e-mail back from them a few days later). In their defense I should have called first since the day before was a holiday but I had a nice walk and a final look around the city.

So final thoughts, NYC is a great place. Everyone was friendly (except this one woman who hated TMZ and yelled at the tour guy, what a bitch!), zero crime that I saw, lots to do, good food, great shows but super-hot and sometimes very crowded (at least while we were there) but maybe those things don’t bother you. I would certainly love to go back sometime, just not in July.

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