Brooklyn’s floribundas

Now that I’m a Brooklynite, I’m starting to check out what this new borough has to offer, apart from moustache wax and wide-brimmed hats. I took my first ever jaunt to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens near Prospect Park.  Flowers aren’t normally my thing but it was pretty darn pleasant.  The place was divided up into … Continue reading

Crazy Shake Craze

Everything has to be a craze these days, particularly in NYC.  The latest one that I heard about was Black Tap NYC’s shakes.  I’d been to Black Tap a few years ago, when it was an ordinary, quiet joint with decent burgers and craft beers.  But that was before the crazy shakes. They’re all the … Continue reading

Voting in America

Holy crap, the politics here confuses me.  We all hear about the Democrats and Republicans, who seem to be locked in a perpetual Puerto Rican knife fight on a seesaw.  The words democracy and republic are good words with a lot of similarities but somehow they’ve been chosen as opposing labels in this strange land.  … Continue reading

Pizza in the far east

I finally got around to visiting Roberta’s, one of New York’s most hip pizza joints.  They’ve won michelin stars and plenty of awards but the thing that had kept me away until now was their location in the far east.  Not Asia; just Bushwick, but as a Manhattanite I can rarely be arsed to journey … Continue reading

Cards Against The Strand

Bookshops and libraries are for reverant, studious people right?  You’d think so but you’d be wrong.  It’s for horrible people. I found this out when The Strand (famous NYC bookstore) recently hosted a Cards Against Humanity event, sponsored by Coney Island Brewery.  This event was held in their Rare Books room, which is probably usually … Continue reading

Do the Harlem Shake

I finally paid a visit to a funky shake & burger place in Harlem called Harlem Shake.  It’s wonderfully retro and pays homage to black heritage with photos of local folk everywhere. Harlem Shake is also the name of a 2013 dance craze that you have to see to understand. Links below. My favourite Harlem … Continue reading

The Little Red Lighthouse That Could

A few weeks ago, the Little Red Lighthouse had an open day.  Open Days are a New York thing where they open private buildings to the public to take a squiz inside. The lighthouse itself wasn’t much more than a steel shell with a winding staircase, but it was interesting to hear the history and … Continue reading

Tossing the dough babies

My close acquaintances know not to expect any culinary skills from me other than the ability to open the microwave or unscrew a bottle top.  I’ve probably never cooked a meal in my life except for pizza, which for some strange reason I learned how to make from scratch, by watching Jamie Oliver videos on … Continue reading

Smuggling budgies in The Big City

My sister and I were standing in a subway car when a girl suddenly took her pants off and stood there in her knickers.  She got off at the next stop and then a man and his small son began doing the same thing before the following stop.  Two stops later, my sister and I … Continue reading

99 Red Balloons

Just before Christmas, I managed to convince 2 friends to go with me to a pop-up, interactive art exhibit without them knowing anything about it.  We had to wake up early and wait in the cold for an hour but all of our doubts subsided as soon as we walked in and saw a room … Continue reading

Anything But Standard

Some weeks ago, I made the kind of journey that conjures fear and loathing in every real New Yorker.  No, it wasn’t New Jersey, but it was just as bad – Staten Island.  I didn’t just dip my toe off the ferry either, I went all the way and touched it with both feet.  My … Continue reading

The little French lady

My folks came to NYC so we did the most touristy thing we could think of and visited the Statue of Liberty.  She seems small when gazing from a boat, but up-close she’s a monster with surprisingly manly toes and facial features.  I loved her flowing robes, which looked so natural that it seemed more … Continue reading

It’s not weird, it’s New York

I was recently walking through the East Village when I saw 3 young, Asian girls posing weirdly in the middle of the street.  Except it’s not weird, it’s New York.  People do whatever they feel like here and, after a while, we all get used to it.  These girls reminded me of an OK Go … Continue reading

Knocking on Harlem’s door

Some friends of friends came to visit NYC a few Sundays ago and they had an urge to see some Harlem Gospel.  Harlem is the neighbourhood in north Manhattan that’s famous for black cultural expressions like jazz and Gospel.  We picked a random Baptist church with a reasonable starting time and cautiously walked up their … Continue reading

Dear Snow

Dear Snow, I used to enjoy your company so much. You never visited where I grew up so I had to travel for days just to see you. We’d play together with my brothers and I’d jump on top of you and throw you about. As we grew up, we learned to snowboard together and … Continue reading

Coney Island Baby

A few weeks ago, I decided to hang out at the closest beach that New Yorkers can reach by the subway, Coney Island (which by the way is false advertising because it’s a peninsula, not an island). I’d visited Coney Island before for special events like the hotdog eating championship, the mermaid parade and roller … Continue reading

Cheese’s Christ

East Village Cheese Shop, in NYC, is famous for its array of ridiculously cheap cheeses and its tacky paper prices covering the front window. It’s cash-only and crammed floor to ceiling with cheese, bread, crackers, olives and many other random party goodies. Apparently they just buy in bulk whatever happens to be cheapest from various … Continue reading

Sugar Tits

Last month, an artist by the name of Karen Walker showed a provocative art exhibition about sugar and slavery in Williamsburg. it was in an old sugar refinery that is due to be torn down soon, so seeing the exhibition was literally a now-or-never moment. I was glad that I did. The humongous sphinx made … Continue reading

New York Minute

Although I’ve lived in NYC for 2 years, I’ve never actually worked here because I’m always travelling around the country to visit my customers. My recent customer was in New York City, however, so for the first time ever I was working in my own city. I got to wake up in my own bed, … Continue reading

The Maven

It’s been almost exactly a year since I last saw a NYC roller derby and it was so good to be back in my local hood, watching my local death wheelers. The bout was just as fierce as I remembered, and the derby virgins that I brought with me were over the moon about the … Continue reading

You Bred Raptors?

Last week, I got to see a local NYC band that I’ve been dying to see. You Bred Raptors? is a 3-man instrumental band that comprises of only percussion, cello and bass. They have a weird fixation on dinosaurs, always perform in a variety of masks, and have a staunch commitment to playing in the … Continue reading

No Soup Nazi for me

I never realised that the Soup Nazi (from the famed Sienfeld episode) was a real “thing” until I bumped into his shop in NYC, the other day. I did a little research at home to make sure it was legit (and to make sure that I clearly understood the 3 rules of ordering) before I … Continue reading

Street Fair Greed

I’d just finished my half-hour weekend run, feeling a little tired and sweaty, when I was unwittingly lured into a random street fair by the kind of sign that makes women shave their heads and fathers sell their daughters – free ice cream. Not just any ice cream, either, but delicious Ben and Jerry’s. It … Continue reading

Burger Joint

My friend showed me an unusual burger joint which was hidden in the most unexpected place. To get there, you have to walk into the lobby of Le Parker Meridien in Midtown, then walk around behind the spiffy hotel staff and main desk area to a small, unassuming curtain that could easily pass for a … Continue reading

Jewish Flicks

Two weekends ago, I decided to try out the New York Jewish Film Festival at the Lincoln Center. Rather than commit to some random, long, unknown movie, I went to a session of 4 short films. Shorts are more rewarding anyway – they don’t have time and budgets to waste so they stick to the … Continue reading

Holiday Training

Over the Christmas season, NYC occasionally brings back vintage 1930s subway carriages and uses them on one of the normal subway routes. I stumbled upon one, so I jumped aboard to check it out and found that it was very quaint with raw light bulbs, ceiling fans and old school advertisements still up. What a … Continue reading

Strife of Pie

In case you missed it, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show ripped a new one on Chicago’s style of deep dish pizza a few weeks ago, causing an interstate feud that made all the headlines. A few days later, he made peace with the windy city by eating (and enjoying) a slice of Lou Malnati’s … Continue reading

The Big Piano

I learnt that the giant piano from the movie Big is located in a NYC toy store called FAO Schwartz, so I absolutely had to try it out. As I lithely hopped and skipped across the ivories, I was nowhere near as skillful as Tom Hanks and my rendition of chopsticks probably sounded more like … Continue reading

Carpe Cronut

Have you heard of the cronut? It’s the latest craze in NYC – a hybrid pastry that lies somewhere between a croissant and a doughnut. Since being released in May 2013 from the boutique Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo, people have been lining up early every morning to purchase a maximum of 2 cronuts per … Continue reading

Goodnight, sleep tight

With dread, I listened to my housemate as she explained that she’d been getting bitten in her bed for the past month and had finally realised that they were bed bug bites. Our landlord, to his credit, immediately organised an exterminator, so we prepared for his visit by spraying our clothes with Lysol and bagging … Continue reading

Fourth Fireworks

On the 4th of July, this was my view over the Hudson of some of the coolest looking fireworks I’ve seen – kind of like little death stars exploding.

Nice Ride

If you ever had a beer with me in London, then you probably suffered my numerous exhortations to try out the Barclays “Boris” Bikes.  You probably also saw me ride away from you with a swerve in my gait, a grin on my face and carrying a supremely confident air in the knowledge that I … Continue reading

Yankees

I finally fulfilled a small dream of mine to go and see the Yankees last week.  I found a deal for Mastercard-only tickets in the bleachers for only $5!  As I walked up the subway stairs just by the stadium, it was like entering a crazy little world.  The roads were all blocked off to … Continue reading

The next cupcake

My buddy and I went to Mia Chef Gelateria for a short gelato making course.  I’m certainly not known for my kitchen skills, but dessert is one of the things I’ve been known to throw a little gusto into from time to time, so I was excited to try this out.  Our guide was very … Continue reading

Sub-thirty-two

Last Friday a blizzard hit New York and the surrounds. I know these kind of events happen to other people too, but the locals here think that everything is so important when it affects NYC. I guess its population is half the size of my whole country. I love snow anyway, but the fact that … Continue reading

Look Mum, No Pants

Last Sunday, I took my pants off and rode the subway for a half-hour or so and walked around a park. Just another Sunday in New York. Why, you ask? The 12th Annual No Pants Subway Ride of course! No Pants is probably the most famous recurring stunt organised by Improv Everywhere, the NYC-based public … Continue reading

The night was dark and stormy

Frankenstorm was the friendly name that we gave to Hurricane Sandy because it threatened to ravage NYC just prior to Halloween. It ended up causing wild devastation for some and dull boredom for most. Here was my experience: – Sunday: I performed The Thriller at my friend’s halloween party and opted to sleep over to … Continue reading

Slice o’ burger

I went out with some friends and found myself a slice of hamburger flavoured pizza at Ray’s Pizza.  Americans have this innate ability to take any normal food and then find a way to make it even fatter or sweeter.  Fat and sugar are definitely in excess here.  In this country, it seems that every … Continue reading

The Golden Skate is ours

Last weekend was NYC’s local roller derby championships, with the Brooklyn Bombshells trying to defend their title against the Manhattan Mayhem. I was so happy that my borough, Manhattan, won. Both teams were extremely fired up and skated super fast for the whole match. The girls got aggressive and we saw many trips to the … Continue reading

Little Italy Dishonoured

I saw this innovative ad on the corner of Little Italy, just near me. Cool, no? Americans say the darndest things: – Porridge is called oatmeal here.

Buy, Sell, Kill

Last weekend was the Empire Skate Showdown, where 8 different roller derby teams from all around the state came together for a one-day tournament. We also saw an exhibition match from the boys. It was an ace day. The bouts were only half of the normal duration, so they were much more physical, fierce and … Continue reading

The Letterman experience

Yesterday, I scored last-minute tickets to David Letterman. I had to answer a trivia question, though, so before calling back to confirm, I had to do some online research to prepare. I used to love Letterman but to be honest it was about 17 years ago that I used to watch it regularly, back in … Continue reading

69 Bayard

I’m starting to develop a tradition with a buddy whereby we watch a free dance or music performance (NYC offers many of these around summertime) and then follow it up with a meal in Chinatown.  He’s Asian and was quite disturbed when I mentioned that I’d been living in Chinatown for 4 months but hadn’t … Continue reading

Mostly Sondheim

Last weekend I was invited to watch my friend perform at Mostly Sondheim.  It’s a weekly event at The Duplex, a piano bar, where people get together for a drink and to perform their favourite show tunes to each other.  It’s sort of like karaoke, but the quality is high, you have to know the … Continue reading

Naked Cowboy

The Naked Cowboy is a staple landmark at Times Square, and I finally remembered to make my pilgrimage last week.  He’s not really naked, but he only wears a big white hat, boots and briefs.  He plays clever tunes on his guitar and poses for tourists’ photos.  His cheekiness is exemplary; he grabs people and … Continue reading

1 in 64 Trillion

On Wednesday I went to a free improv comedy event in Central Park, which turned out to be really fun.  There was about 8 people and somehow they managed to consistently stay on the same page while changing the props, roles and scenarios. The show was made more enjoyable by the random bumping into of … Continue reading

The MP3 Experiment

Imagine sitting in a big park on Governors Island, minding your own business, when suddenly thousands of people drop to the ground and lay still.  Then they all start acting in silent unison doing things like following you, giving you high fives, walking in slow mo and running around with white sheets on their heads.  … Continue reading

Free Phil Harmony

Summer in New York is a veritable feast of free activities.  There are all kinds of free concerts, festivals, and movie screenings in addition to all the regular free things like art galleries and museums. On Tuesday I watched a Korean film at the Tribeca Cinema and tonight I saw the NY Philharmonic perform some classical pieces … Continue reading

Horsemen of the Oesophagus

Yesterday was the 4th of July, which is quite a big day for my new compatriots.  I decided to honour it by attending the time-honoured tradition of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. The contest goes for only 10 minutes and the goal is simply to eat as many standard hot … Continue reading

Mermaid Parade

Today was Coney Island’s 30th annual Mermaid Parade.  It’s basically an excuse for eccentric people to dress up and make floats to parade down the road amid cheers from the packed sidewalks.  The mermaid theme was applied fairly loosely so I saw everything from sea creatures to pirates and of course plenty of mermaids with … Continue reading

Sheep for wood?

The next day, I had my first real outing in Central Park, which I’d been dying to do, now that it’s summer.  The occasion was a Settlers of Catan meetup, and I’m pleased to report that I won 2 of my 3 games.  It was beautiful sitting in Sheep Meadow in the breezy grasses.  I … Continue reading

To Brooklyn and back

I like being fit, but when it comes to exercise I’m a bare-minimum kind of guy.  Doing a single 6km run every Saturday morning is just enough to keep me healthy.  I’d dreamt of running through Central Park, but it’s too far away from my pad in Chinatown and, besides, I’ve possibly found something even … Continue reading

Katz’s with Kohnsey

An old work buddy from London called me out of the blue because he was in NYC for the weekend.  We hooked up yesterday and it was great to just chill out with an old friend.  It was the excuse that I needed to finally make my 1st visit to Katz’s Deli – a classic … Continue reading

Into the Danger Zone

NYC really comes alive with free and fun outdoor events, in the warmer months.  Last weekend, I went to a free outdoor screening of Top Gun.  It so happened that it was screened on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, in the Hudson River.  I can’t think of a better place to … Continue reading

A Salt & Battery

The best name ever for a fish and chipper.  I don’t like fish but I did London proud by having a chip butty.  It was much hot diggity.

Goose eggs till half

A week ago I went to the baseball to see the New York Mets v Atlanta Braves.  We won.  I almost looked like a real American, with my hotdog and a beer.  It was pretty dull for the 1st half, with mostly goose eggs on the scoreboard, but then they started taking more risks and … Continue reading

NYC is BIG

I’m in NYC now and the locals are always telling me how much they love it.  I’m resistant because I so adored London.  It’s going to take me a while before I allow myself to feel like one of these Americans.  Everything here is big: the skyscrapers, the cars, the food, the drinks, the people, … Continue reading