New York!

I'm off to New York for a few days -- how I love it so. Though I'll be in town for 48 hours and won't have time to break out of the tourist mold, I still expect to have a fun time.My hotel's just a couple of blocks from Times Square, which I find oddly repellent and beautifully American all in one lump. As much as possible when I'm in Manhattan, I walk. I got major blisters on both feet from the miles and miles of walking I did last time -- from Times Square to Greenwich Village and back again one afternoon -- so bad that I hobbled off the plane in Kansas City nearly walking on my ankles.I'll be in and out of seminars for the 48 hours that I'm there because business must be done. Otherwise, I'll be drinking in the town; I've been itching for a New York trip for a couple of months now -- once a year seems to sate the itch. And I'll blog it all when I get back.


cfdxprt 17 years, 7 months ago

Good for you Joel.

Next week Beatle and I will be in NYC, with the trump card played on Thurs. night, NIN - MSG. Other than that, she'll have to show me around. Let us know any side spots that need to be visited. I'm a Statue of Liberty, Wall St., Ground Zero type dude; but then again the only time I went through NYC was on a visit to MIT. I'm sure there's culture beyond the pollution...

Joel 17 years, 7 months ago

I did Ground Zero while it was still smoking -- sorry to be a drama queen here -- but I don't feel the need to deliberately go see the site anymore. I'm not saying you shouldn't, though.

But: New York is indeed stinky. It's GIGANTIC -- it's amazing to me that the system works well enough that it's not unbearably stinky. And for some rural folks, it is. I can live with it.

Marcy McGuffie 17 years, 7 months ago

Cfdxprt, baby...we'll tear the town up. This is trip no. 11 for me...and sadly 4th this year. I'm not an addict or anything...

It's not unbearably stinky? Ok, I guess it must be tolerable...cuz I keep going back. People make fun of me cuz the smell that REALLY gets to me naueated is the damn roasted nuts they sell from the pushcarts (particularly the one at 46th and 7th ave). Yeah...that may be a lil strange on my part...

Oh Joel...a roundtrip Times Square/Village walk? My feet are aching just thinking about it. Yowza!!!

Enjoy your trip!

Cue Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind"

Marcy McGuffie 17 years, 7 months ago

"gets to me nauseated"? seriously folks, I'd love for to let us edit or comments...

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

Oooooh...I'm jealous, Joel! New York is indeed the greatest city in the world. I grew up near there (in New Jersey), so going into the city was like going downtown for other people.

New York is indeed the walking city. When you go there you quickly develop a New York pace and you have to learn to merge when you leave a store. But I think I have one up on you, Joel, where walking in one day is concerned. Once I walked from my dad's place on the Upper West Side (Broadway and 71st) down to Chinatown (which is south of SOHO, which in turn is south of the Village) and back. I didn't have problems with my ankles, but my hip joints sure hurt!

Re "stinky New York." I don't know...I've always liked the smell of New York. Maybe it's nostalgic for me. Didn't Woody Allen once say that he needs the city air and gets very allergic to the air in the country? I know where he's coming from (BTW: We saw him once on 5th Ave near FAO Schwarz once when I was a kid...very cool).

One time when I visited my brother in the city, we were crossing the street just after I had arrived. We crossed right behind a bus just as it was pulling into traffic from a bus stop and we got a face full of exhaust fumes. For reasons unknown to me and by some bizarre reflex, I purposefully inhaled the fumes. After I quit coughing, I sighed and said to my brother: "Ahhh it's good to be back!"

One place my brother and I always try to go to when I visit is Terra Blues. It's one of the last Blues bars in the city (not counting the Blue Note because that is a bit too commercialized). It's in the Village on Bleecker St.

One more thing that I really like to do in the city is to go to the Rambles in Central Park. If you go that far into the middle of the park, you actually forget that you are in the city. It's fantastic. And the park is not a far walk from Times Square.

I could go on and on, so I'll stop now. Have fun!!!

jay_holley 17 years, 7 months ago

I would kindly suggest that you add "buy a good pair of shoes" to your list of NYC activities. Times Square to the village and back again isn't even five miles -- if you're getting blisters, you need some new shoe leather.

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

Joel: You know what's really "oddly repellent" about Times Square? It's so sanitized and Disney World-like - ever since Giuliani "cleaned it up." Times Square probably has the biggest concentration of tourists at any given time than most other parts of the city.

My favorite T-shirt reads "Welcome to New York. Now get out." Once someone told me that I should walk through Times Square on a Saturday afternoon during the summer wearing that T-shirt, just to mess with the tourists a little and bring back some good ol' New York attitude, i.e. charm to Times Square! One day I will.

Jacob Kaplan-Moss 17 years, 7 months ago

Joel, if you can afford to see Avenue Q ( you should do it -- it's basically Sesame St. for adults, and is the funniest show I've ever seen. You can almost always get cheap tickets at TKTS in Times Square (

Enjoy your trip!

Jocelyn Craft 17 years, 7 months ago

Morgana recommended: Whatever you do, have fun doing it and inhale the city. That way it'll stay with you for a while.

smirk Kind of like bronchitis? (sorry, couldn't resist)

All snarky comments aside, if you want to do pretty much anything, New York is your city. I've only been once (not enough time for museums and general bumming around that trip) and it was cold (snowing on St. Paddy's day) but I'd still like to go back in the hypothetical Sometime. Preferably when it's not 32 degrees and raining/snowing.

Best memories:

1) Randomly stopping at some little shop in Little Italy and asking directions from some guy named "Joey". He sent us down the street to his cousin's restaurant for lunch, in a very "offer you can't refuse" way. Needless to say, the "mafia" has great cooks.

2) I was coming back to the hotel from dinner with one of the other girls on the trip (it was a choir trip; sang in Carnegie Hall.) We were accosted by a VERY drunken Irishman (flaming red hair, blue eyes, accent and all) on the subway the night of St. Paddy's:

"Do ye want me picture?"

The girl I was with was from Russia: when he headed over, I said: "Talk to me in Russian; maybe he'll think we don't understand." She did, and he eventually accosted some other young apparently nubile thing.

It was fabulous.

leslie 17 years, 7 months ago

Enjoy it, Joel! And I'm with Jay--get new shoes. Happy feet = Happy weekend.

cee 17 years, 7 months ago

I second the recommendation for Avenue Q. Funny Stuff.

lori 17 years, 7 months ago

Have a great time, Joel.

I can't wait to hear about "the lost hour of Joel Mathis". I hope I hear about it from you at LPT, and not on NPR.

Kelly Powell 17 years, 7 months ago

I have relatives there(my moms family was originally from there) But personally I cannot stand the east coast attitude.....But I digress....Next time you plan to go there invest in a case of cigarettes from some of our many res smokeshops around the midwest.....Then sell them for 5 bucks a pop when you are there. Believe me, people will snatch them up like hotcakes.

Marcy McGuffie 17 years, 7 months ago

Generally speaking, I much prefer the "east coast attitude" to the "west coast attitude." Well, more specifically, I should say I prefer it to the Southern California attitude. Yeah, New Yorkers can be a lil rough around the edges...but I really haven't had any terrible attitude encounters there. But, the one time I've been to L.A....well, I encountered quite a bit of snobbiness. Of course, that's a generalization...

Yeah, I about had a heart attack when my sis laid out $10 for a pack of smokes a couple years back (in NYC)....

Joel 17 years, 7 months ago

Hello from New York!

Great town this. I've been hobnobbing with media bigwigs, but the fun shall start soon.

Unfortunately, I haven't the time to take in a show this weekend. I'll just have to take in the town without spending an inordinate amount of money.

The best part: This time, my hotel room doesn't appear to have been the scene of a murder.

Hugs n' kisses to y'all.

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

Re "east coast attitude": I'd be interested to hear what people in these parts consider to be an east coast attitude and what ideas they have about us folks from the east coast. When you say "east coast attitude", do you really mean east coast, i.e. Maine to Miami or are you really talking about "New York" or "New York/New England"? As you can see, I'm pretty interested in regional identities and perceptions from outside those regions.

Joel: Even if you can't go to a show, if you go out on the town, try to go to Terra Blues. Whatever you do, have fun doing it and inhale the city. That way it'll stay with you for a while.

Kelly Powell 17 years, 7 months ago

Which region? Let's go from philly to NY, curve into jersey and then leapfrog to boston. i lived in philly for around a year and fuckin hated most folks......Let me rephraise my original comment: I find new yorkers(the city) to be abraisive folk who believe anybody who isnt from there is subhuman.....I find people from philadelphia to be cartoon parodies of new yorkers........and people from boston allways seem to have been cloned from dennis leary. This is a gross generalzation of course, and could be that I was getting sensitive from all the "fucking kansas....You aint in kansas anymore toto"... "Who the fuck would live in kansas?".......

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

rednekbuddha wrote: "i lived in philly for around a year and fuckin hated most folks......Let me rephraise my original comment: I find new yorkers(the city) to be abraisive folk who believe anybody who isnt from there is subhuman.....I find people from philadelphia to be cartoon parodies of new yorkers........and people from boston allways seem to have been cloned from dennis leary."

That sure sounds pretty "abrasive" to me. So I guess even people from Kansas / the Midwest can be pretty abrasive, eh?

I'll wait for a few more comments to respond with some contrasting examples.

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

jochan: Sure, a little like bronchitis, but more permanent and the only remedy is a steady supply of return visits :-)

Your memories from your trip to New York are fine examples of New York "friendliness." It's unique and like you said, it's fabulous.

Here's another story:

When I went to visit my dad in New York once, I was going to arrive in the middle of the afternoon while he was at work. I didn't have a key to his place and there wasn't enough time to send me one, so he just left the key with "his Deli guy" down the block on Broadway. When I went into the deli to get the key, I just told him who I was and he gave me the key. Small town neighborliness in New York City. People who don't know New Yorkers would not expect that.

I remember how people reacted with surprise after 9/11 when New Yorkers came together to help each other out, like people in a smaller community would. I wasn't surprised because I know that New York is made up of many "neighborhoods" and that the people come together and help each other out when it counts. Just because they tend to have a somewhat dry sense of humor, don't smile at you on the subway or participate much in senseless chit-chat while standing in line, doesn't mean that they're rude. They're just New Yorkers and there's nothing wrong with that.

And if they seem offstandish at times, well they should be. In a city that size, with a population the size of a small country, you have to be wary around people you don't know and you have to find a way to escape from the masses on occasion.

And like you said, jochan, you can do pretty much anything you want in New York. It's truly fabulous.

thetom 17 years, 7 months ago

You don't have to go much farther than these blogs to see the level to which kansans can treat each other like shit. The 'back east' (DC-Boston) attitude is a bit different than the midwest attitude which is different from the southeast attitude and on and on..., but my experience is that there's a pretty similar percentage of assholes in every region.

Morgana: Ditto everything you said.

Freakshow: Where did you go, man?

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

Are you kidding me?! :-) You bet the "fuck you" attitude exists here - they just hide it behind a smile. It's really confusing, you know, when someone says something "sugar sweet" like: "Hey, let's get together" or something and just doesn't follow through. That's a fake, sugar sweet way to say "fuck you" if I've ever seen one.

Kelly Powell 17 years, 7 months ago

I may be abraisive, but they started it dammit! I do not think kansas is any better....But you have to admit we dont have nearly the "fuck you" attitude.

Kelly Powell 17 years, 7 months ago

You say tomato I say whatever.....We will both come up with examples to support our viewpoint. I'm not saying kansas is any better.....Hell read my responses and you can see that I am a mysanthrope....I HATE EVERYBODY

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

redneckbuddha: Amusing comment! grin ... Well then, I guess if you "hate everybody" and are such a misanthrope, you would feel better and fit in better in a place much like your image of New York! Happy travels! ;-)

Joel 17 years, 7 months ago

I guess the difference here is that midwesterners are more passive-agressive (we're speaking in generalities here) while New Yorkers are more .... aggressive.

Leastways, my cabby to LaGuardia this morning was thoroughly cussed out by a rival as "you f----ing guy!" I'm not sure what that was all about. I just got in and hoped there weren't fisticuffs...

Blog tomorrow about the NY experience. I'm exhausted but happy right now.

morganalefay 17 years, 7 months ago

Welcome back, Joel! It'll be fun to hear about your trip to New York and visit vicariously through your stories.

Re "midwesterners are more passive-aggressive [...] while New Yorkers are more...aggressive": or you could say: New Yorkers are more direct, which can be perceived as aggressive. Of course, it depends on the context. Clearly, the cabby was having a New York style altercation. But I'm guessing he drove on and it was over...

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