Thursday, February 21, 2013

Just a few more sleeps...

My metamorphosis into a true New Yorker is well underway, I write this post as I sit in a Starbucks around the corner from our new place, mooching off the free Wi-Fi. I suggest you do similar, sit down with a nice hot drink (well... for you Sydneysiders, maybe a cold drink) and a comfortable chair, because this will be one involved post.

So I pick up after Chinese New Year. One of the great things about New York is how their comedy clubs are where some of the biggest names in comedy found their feet. Tipped off by friends about a free show at Gotham Comedy Club, we thought there was no reason not to visit as it was across the street from our temporary apartment in Chelsea.

We all had a good night, my jaw ended up hurting from laughing so much, most of it was genuine, some of it was to avoid being on the sharp end of a roasting, and some of it we really shouldn't have been laughing at. But we were at a Comedy Club, and the atmosphere just takes a hold of you.

Later that week we picked up the keys to what would become our new home for the coming year, we savored it in its blank canvas state before set upon it the mess that moving in will inevitably bring. Before we left that morning we had housekeeping stumble in on us at breakfast at our temporary place, wanting to stay out of their way as I headed back to Chelsea, I decided to go for a little walk, and soak up some morning sun despite the cold morning air. I headed to Union Square as it was only two avenues over. I knew there was a little park there to serve as refuge in this busy city, so there I sat and waited.

For a city with so much going on, there was a suprising amount of people doing the same, just sitting, taking time out from their busy lives. The facilities that the city provides do the best they can to assist you in putting your feet up. Really.

My wanting to not be too voyeuristic kept me from taking a closer photo, but those are wooden loungers you see surrounding the sculpture at Union Square.

We walk to the N,R, subway frequently as it's a convenient way downtown, so I've walked past this a few times, this time I had time to take a photo.

Upon first glance, it's quite an excellent way of advertising a restaurant. The presence definitely adding to the Italian-ness. Look at little closer however and you can see it's merely a fixture, the poor little Fiat 500 is sadly derelict, with one flat tyre, bodywork slowly being eaten away by the salty water that inevitably coats a snowy city. The enthusiast in me wants to buy it, restore it to it's former glory, so it can continue its life running around the city as it was always meant to. When everything settles down.

As a born and bred Australian, I have no knowledge of this phenomenon known as Chicken and Waffles. I sat and watched a TV ad confusedly while my wife, more learned of American culture, informed me that it's one of the more ingrained of their food culture, a staple of Soul Food. For my benefit, and education therefore, Deb resolved to take me to a soul food restaurant on the weekend.

Amy Ruth's is where we ended up. Our first voyage to Harlem since being in this city, and if you were wondering what soul food is, this place will give you a good idea.

A big hug, a big smile, just the things that make you feel nice inside. Deb had had Chicken waffles before, so she wasn't afraid to order them. Me on the other hand went with the Yelp recommendation of the Fried Whiting... with waffles (yeah, fish is far less adventurous with waffles). I had to try it right?

While I may look dissappointed, I'm really not. I'm just very confused because all I know of waffles are the with Chocolate, with Strawberry and with Ice Cream kind. I dig in tentatively, and find the fish tasty, very very tasty. Not the heavily salted "my brain is telling me to like this" kind of taste, but light, and fragrant, and not too oily. The fish had a few bones, but being from Chinese heritage, this fazed me not. I did try a few bites with waffle, but my brain just couldn't compute... I'm very black and white like that. Though, that doesn't mean they weren't nice in their own right. They were plain, with none of the sweetness I came to expect, so for a more open mind, they could work together. For me however, I treated them like dessert, and proceeded to draw liberal squiggles of Maple Syrup all over them. And then I knew what it was to eat a sweet cloud, they were just that fluffy.

The walls were decorated with mirrors, and on those mirrors were some squiggles of a Jazz/Swing band playing, and lovers in an embrace. I thought it was very special and unique.

We had bought some cheap homewares in Chinatown as we knew we weren't here for the long run. We didn't expect to get a chopping board so poorly made that it would split after the first wash... we tried our luck returning it that morning. Unfortunately no dice on an exchange. Them making excuses about us having dropped it or other bologna. I don't know what we were expecting, but needless to say we won't be going back there...

Either way it must have been destiny that brought us there because try as we might to avoid Chinese New Year celebrations in the city, (Deb having experienced and as a result warned against the crush of people), we still managed to find our way right into the middle of it. We stumbled across two small lions, blessing (taking money from) nearby stores;

You can probably just make out the second one on top of Deb's head. We would also run into what we guessed was the main Lion making it's way through the street. This one was quite impressive, as you see this one is still some way away.

Anyway, this feels like an appropriate place for a break. Tune in for the next post as we gear up to move into where we will live for the rest of our adventures in New York.

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