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NYC observations, continued
(you should start here first)
Famous and/or rich people ride in black limousines. If you see a white limo, its for tourists and high school proms.
Weekend excitement 4/25/04: Watched both the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 depart from the cruise ship piers (4 blocks from our apartment). I though the QE2 was big until I saw the QM2. This was the first time since 1940 that two Cunard queens were docked in NYC. It will also be the last for a long while as the QM2 is taking over the transatlantic route from the QE2.
Skeeve: I had never heard this word until a couple months ago when a guy I work with used it. Even half the New York natives in my company didn't know it, so apparently its more of a Long Island thing. Then suddenly I've heard it used twice on Sopranos this season and I've heard it on a couple of other TV shows. Here's how to use it: 1) Dead rats really skeeve me. 2) I skeeve cleaning the hair out of the bathtub. Got it? My analysis: Skeeve is the East Coast Hella, except the opposite. Or something.
Observed at the TGI Friday's on 52nd and 5th: a guy wearing a leather biker vest. Instead of Hell's Angels or the usual, he was a member of the Seeds of Abraham m/c, M.E. C.T. Also he had a hebrew patch on his right shoulder. I've never seen a jewish motorcycle gang, although certainly there's no reason one shouldn't exist.
Manhattan is pronounced ''Man aat inn'
Note to self: need to write up a skateboarding tutorial. Item #1: Beware of basement doors.
A sure sign I need to stop watching Entertainment Weekly: more celebrity sightings.
- Sean Penn and unknown 8-year-old boy, seen on Restaurant Row at 12:30am. I assume the kid was his son. Also, I knew it was Sean because he gave me a real, "I'm going to punch you if you say anything to acknowledge who I am" look.
- The guy who played the dad on Wonder Years, a few blocks from my apartment. Word is he either lives in or comes to the neighborhood a lot.
- The girl who plays Claire on Six Feet Under, sitting across from us on the B train up in the Bronx. She's very attractive in person.
Things written on a barbershop sign in the South Bronx (observed):
Shape Ups $8
Someone please tell me what a Shape Up is.
The Bronx Zoo should not be missed! Like everything else in New York, it's expensive ($11 for adults plus additional charges for some exhibits). On the plus side, you can take the subway and not pay for parking. Be sure to check out the Congo exhibit (costs an additional $3) for some amazing gorillas. The world of Darkness (no addl. charge) is incredible too, with such delights as naked mole rats. The park is very clean and well-organized. An excellent way to spend a sunny early summer day. PS to non-new-yorkers: expect to do a lot of walking.
There's another Little Italy in the Bronx, in a neighborhood next to the Zoo. I believe it was Arthur Street.
My Puerto Rican Day Parade observation: Puerto Ricans really love their flag.
Q: Say you are walking the streets of New York and see feces on the ground. How do you tell if it's dog or human?
A: Dogs don't shit in corners.
Fun trick: if a cab driver is a jerk, you can take a small amount of revenge by simply leaving the door open when you exit the cab. Then, he has to get out and close it himself.
Overheard on the street: "That guy has totally lost his marbs"
Seen on a fortune teller's sign: shockers read. I think they meant shakras.
An article in the Daily News referred to a vagrant that tried to light a subway ticket booth on fire as a skell. I'd never seen that word in my life. I seem to continually come across New York-specific words like that. Here's a reference page on skell.
Another odd word, this time in the New York Post: busker. As in "subway busker". Looked it up and it means "street performer".
Grand Central Terminal is a terminal, because it's the end of the line for all trains that stop there. Penn Station is a station because trains continue on after stopping there. Grand Central is the southern end for all commuter trains heading to the north. Amtrak trains going south, north, and west all stop at Penn Station.
Both the Bronx and Butte, MT are All-American Cities, at least if you believe the signs at the edge of town.
I arrived in NYC on July 26 2003, with nothing more than a duffel bag, a cheap suit, and a pocket full of dreams. Ok, maybe I made up two of things. How would I describe the last year? Amazingly educational and incredibly frustrating. Living in New York is dating a beautiful woman: there's no place you'd rather be, but you're always broke paying for it.
Still, I'm sticking by my plan of staying here for five years. I also recommend that everyone live at least one year in this city for the experience.
There's a commercial running on TV these days where a guy is running through a neighborhood trying to get someone to pour water on his thumbs. The joke is he's been sending so many text messages that they are burning up.
I happened to have the TV on and while the commercial ran, I caught a glimpse of one of the storefronts he was running by. The sign said Ksiegarnia.
Holy Cow! That's Polish for bookstore. There's only one place I know of with Polish bookstores like that: the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. We lived there for a month in 2003, and that's one of the Polish words that stuck in my head (along with Mowimy Po Polsku, which of course everyone knows is Polish Spoke Here).
Sure enough, in the next scene the guy runs into a restaurant named ''Shanghai Lee". A little googling showed that is right on the corner of Manhattan and Nassau in Greenpoint. It also showed that several people have gotten sick eating at that restaurant, but that's another matter.
The ad is for "T-Mobile Unlimited Messaging", by the way. Props to Greenpoint!
Spotted Paul Mooney on 8th Avenue yesterday. You may know him from the Ask A Black Dude skit on Chappelle's Show.
August 2004 - I purchased a Tangelo at my local grocery store (because I love tangelos). Cost? $1.94. FOR ONE TANGELO. Wasn't even a big one, either.
On the plus side, it was tasty.
New idea for a band, based on my mis-reading of a poster on 8th Avenue every time I walk by: The Bad Pitts. See how that's funny in several different ways?
A couple notes about fashion, etc...
First, I saw this japanese kid (well, early 20s) on the subway (Q train in the hizouse!) on my way home on Saturday night. He had a total skater outfit: baggy jeans, bowling shirt with the phrase "Central Champions" on the back, and even a skateboard. The board had an anime drawing of a girl's face on the bottom. He had a wallet chain, big plug hoop earrings, and long slim sideburns.
And then there was the hair. I would describe it as a mohawk, but instead of tapering to a point at the top, it sort of exploded in all directions.
Then to complete the ensemble, he had a cute little japanese schoolgirl caricature of a g/f, except she was a real girl.
For reasons I can't fully explain, his coolness was beyond cool. Watching this pair walk by on the platform just transfixed me. OMG, I thought, this is blowing my mind with overcool amazingness.
Why are the Japanese so good at that? A mystery.
Speaking of the girlfriend, here's a word from Vice Magazine that I like: hott. As in, that girl was hott. As in, so hott that an extra t is required. The beauty of that word is there's no way to actually say it - it's purely a written construct. Plus when you see it, you immediately know what it means.
A few other fashion/style observations for fall 2004:
- The seersucker mini-craze of the summer appears to be subsiding, thank god.
- I still see the ocasional Lacoste alligator shirt, pink, with the collar up. Usually on b&t types.
- The big music fad in hipster bars all summer: 80s Hair Metal . That is so painful to listen to - it's like I'm at a high school dance all over again. Great White makes me physically ill.
- Lots of pinstripes, particularly on womens' slacks. Does anyone even use the word slacks any more? Got me.
- There are these bizarre womens' pants making the rounds that are kind of like parachute pants, except with super wide legs and tons and tons of hanging straps and buckles, like 20 pairs of suspenders all hanging down or something. I think of them as techno ninja pants.
- Trucker hats: a dying breed. Thank you, jesus.
The cheapest mixed drink at Olives Union Square is $10.
The NY Times likes to use the word pied-à-terre a lot when describing expensive apartments.
My boss just used the term "shellacking" in a sentence, which I found charming in an olde-fashioned sort of way: "Hey, did you see the shellacking we took in Japan last night?"
I choose to spell it with a k because that makes it sound more old-timey. You can get a similar effect by using extraneous hyphens:
- My god, good fellow! Do not tarry in transmitting that document on the facsimilie-machine!
That actually has nothing at all to do with NYC, but I'm leaving it in anyway.
Time for Page Three