A New York Story – Part 2

I arrived at my apartment and was immediately put to work on my story of why I was in the building.  I figured you’re not really allowed to let your properties as I had to pretend to be a friend of the owners.   Like a true thespian, or more accurately a compulsive liar, I spun a tale of how I knew the owners and was visiting as I was approached in the foyer by a charming lady.   Her look was a mix of “what a thoroughly believable scenario” or “I wasn’t born yesterday asshole”   I’m going with the latter.

I quickly unpacked and decided to get stuck in right away and explore the neighbourhood, I was thrilled to immediately be accosted by a true New Yorker when I sparked up a cigarette.   “Hey man, sell me a cigarette, I’m drunk”   It was 3 in the afternoon so as impressed as I was I gave it to him on the house, “as long as you don’t mind a British cigarette” I added as I passed him a Royal, “it’s what the Queen smokes”  I ad-libbed, my head obviously still swimming with lies after my apartment encounter.


40’s?! You can buy 40’s! This would save me half the time I spend buying 20’s. Think of how many more cigarettes I can smoke instead of queuing for cigarettes.

I circled the East Village taking in the atmosphere, quite disbelieving I was finally here after so many years.  Feeling peckish I stopped off at a lovely looking Thai cafe.  When in New York and all that…

The food was easily the best I have had outside Thailand, and plentiful and such lovely people working there.

For my first full day I decided to get the poignant part out-of-the-way before I descended into debauchery.  So I set off to visit the 911 memorial.

With comfortable shoes and an umbrella as the heavens opened, NY trying to hamper my plans but not taking into account I live in London, rain we can handle.

I set off waving to the Tompkins Square Park hobos and was accosted by a guy asking for $8.  I was not very convinced about his business strategy.  My thinking would be to ask everyone for a single dollar and more people are likely to supply this and he would reach his goal far quicker.  Fishing for a dollar bill is far easier than looking for $8 in change.   Or maybe it’s best to reach for the stars, either way he picked the wrong miserly Brit to ask.

I’ve drawn a line in giving money or cigarettes to most people (New York guy previous day aside – after all he earned it for getting drunk)  When I lived in Camden Town I would be asked for cigarettes at least 5 times a day, because of this the whole world must now draw a blank from me.   And unless you’re a cat you’re unlikely to get any cash off me either.

I continued on my path, weaving my way through the Lower East Side, through Chinatown – a proper Chinatown.  If anyone has bore witness to London’s poor excuse for one then you’ll be amazed by NY.   I eventually arrived Downtown at Ground Zero after assuming One WTC would be a guiding point but most of it was lost in the clouds and the heavy rain made it impossible to navigate that way.

I wandered about the memorials, stopping to listen to the gushing waters remembering the atrocities of that day.   Even being there made it hard to imagine the horrors, maybe the low clouds disguising the height of surrounding buildings made it difficult to imagine the scale and picture the events or maybe they have just done a great job of altering the perception of the site from a reminder of the horrors that occurred to something more contemplative.   I tend to think of the latter as the waterfalls cascading is the only sound you can hear and you become transfixed on this and the names etched into it’s surrounds.

The museum had queues snaking around, and as with the rain, queuing is something us Brits know.   But I declined to join, the memorial was enough.   Serene and poignant as it was.



I retired for a few well earnt beers, which was  a trek in itself trying to find somewhere.  After refuelling I hopped aboard the Staten Island ferry.   I couldn’t tell you if there is anything worth seeing in Staten Island since I disembarked the boat I went round and rejoined it again for the trip back.   Great that it was free, I can’t imagine that in London since to take a cable car across a short stretch of the Thames costs about £6 and you don’t get views of the Downtown area as you head away and chug past Lady Liberty (she’s not that close, this is just the zoom on my camera phone)




Arriving back at the ferry terminal my feet had given up for the day and refused to walk any further.   Waiting to hail a cab, I was accosted again (three times in two days, how blessed was I!)

This time two young women with a young child asked for my cell phone.   I made some excuse of not having a phone as I was foreign, so she said a cigarette would do instead.   Not impressed by the fact she clearly wasn’t drunk at 3pm I didn’t think she had warranted  a prize.   I say she wasn’t drunk, on crack maybe, but not drunk.  My friend relented and gave her a cigarette which she chugged over her child, she tried one last tactic of getting money from me along with a tale about losing everything, only to then to grab the next cab and hottail it outta there.

That first guy who got the cigarette should count himself very lucky, I had just landed and was day dreaming.   A day later and I was hardened to it all.  I felt right at home.

Leave a comment


  1. I have switched over to the e-cigarettes… I did it about three weeks ago… and I have gained like 12 freeking pounds…

    • You’re not supposed to eat them 😉

      They too are getting banned left right and centre now, banned on airplanes, public transport over here and likely pubs and restaurants to follow. They do only emit vapour don’t though, so what’s the problem?

      Probably as no tax revenue so they’d prefer people to revert back to the real thing given the choice.

      I tried them but I actually used them more as I don’t smoke cigarettes indoors and I used this instead and ended up getting chapped lips and a sore throat from the sucking action, and then read stories about them exploding!

      I’ve just cut out smoking once I get home, so only when I go out for a drink now (it’s not as often as you’d think!) I have to smoke at work though, it’s my only break from the idiots in the office who stress me out.

  2. Wow. I hope some day I can also finally visit NYC and be accosted three times in two days. Maybe I should take up smoking?

    • I think they spot the out of towners regardless. It’s not so far for you is it? I say that, probably about 6 hours a away or something!

      • You’ve got it, about six or seven hours away. I have driven down and taken the ferry to Long Island, NY a few times and that was about a 7 hour trip.

        • I was toying with flying over to San Diego until I realised the flight was longer than coming back to London!

          I’ll be back though, loved NYC, didn’t really feel American, and had a very similar vibe to London. Next time I’ll have to experience a lot more. Roll on 2016!

  3. What a lovely first day in NYC. I would definitely take the Staten Island Ferry as I love that episode on I Love Lucy where she and Fred take it in a effort to keep Fred from getting sea sick and Lucy ends up getting sick. I’d have to take it just for that. I quite smoking when cigarettes were 50 cents a pack. I had to laugh at the guy who asked you for $8. You could have just given him a cigarette — I don’t know how much they cost now, but it sounds like a lot of people can’t afford them. I would like to try one the queen smokes though. Maybe my next vacation will be riding the Staten Island Ferry for free while smoking the queens cigarettes!

    • They cost too much, I’m forever saying I will quit soon. I will quit soon.

      You can’t smoke on the ferry, it’s banned just about everywhere! There was a guy on the ferry with teardop tattoos, three of them. I think that means he killed three people. Did I already write that in the post, I can’t recall?

  4. Once you give away one cigarette, the word gets out, and then everybody starts askin.

  5. Wow, they really let you have it with the begging. When I was in NYC the really aggressive people were those in Chinatown trying to sell me knock-off designer handbags. Good for you for getting tough!

  6. Sounds exciting! So, what was the best part of the experience? The worst?

    • I forgot to post the last five days. I’ll get to that

      • Now damn it! Just teasing dear. Did you try any candy?

        • No! It’s my lack of sweet tooth. I looked for funyons but none in nyc! So disappointed. …

          • I can’t believe New York didn’t have Funyuns. It’s their health kick. Stupid healthy people using junk food space for their perishable crap!

            I’m in a bad mood and don’t mean to take it out on New Yorkers. The joystick on my powerchair went out.

        • I like savoury more than sweet.

          • Savory instead of sweet? What is wrong with you?

            Ok, beef jerky. That’s junk food savory. Do you like it?

            • Ugh no!

              Jerky looks manky

              • Sniff, sniff, how, how could you? First no candy, and then to discount the miracle that is beef jerky…

                • It just looks like old boots.

                  I seriously dunno why British food gets a raw deal. Firstly no one can come to London and say the food is bad, obviously we have food from all over the world, numerous Michelin starred restaurants, a burgeoning local produce scene and street food scene. People just must be eating in tourist traps.

                  But, for once thing, our chocolate whips the arse off yours. Hershey’s doesn’t even taste of chocolate. I need to send you our chocolate bars. And we do great sweets. I just don’t eat them often as it’s bad for my teeth.

                  Cheese is my thing. And not the rubber cheese you guys do 😀 We do proper Chedder, what with it being English, lovely Stiltons too, and France with all their wonderful stinky stuff is just across the channel so we get all their delicious delights.

  7. Is that you in the little boat in front of the Statue of Liberty? Did you sail all the way from England? That must have been some transatlantic trip! 😉

  8. For a long time I didn’t give the beggars anything. This was after finding out they can make over $50 an hour in Boulder. But as I’ve gotten older, I look at the person and then decide.
    glad you enjoyed NYC!

  9. It sounds like New York city is a city of beggars! I have never been there myself but I would hate to be accosted by so many of them. More pics please!

    • Actually Paris was worse, I was there a few weeks back (stayed a street away from that awful shooting this week) But there was a lot of homelessness there and harassment from people around the Eurostar terminal. Don’t see it as much in London, I found that odd. New York wasn’t that bad, I just tend to attract the more freaky kind of people.


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