And now, more traditionally …

Lauren said that I didn’t quite convey just how filthy New York really was. Up until today, our experiences of garbage putrefying on the sidewalk, rats in the subway, rank water falling from the heavens unpredictably, really conveyed to us how disgusting it was. If it wasn’t for the magic of the place, you wouldn’t stay here. Like, really wouldn’t. Lauren I hope that I have fixed that up; I don’t think I have – something to be seen and smelt I think.

We have walked heaps. We have been here (not counting Wednesday because we arrived at night) for five days. Today our feet are hurting. We went to a shop here in Chinatown to buy some buckets and some Epsom Salts (or their equivalent). No Epsom Salts. We did end up with sachets of brown stuff. We also ended up with really itchy and red feet. Woopsy. Luckily a shower and some of my cream for my allergic reactions seemed to do the trick. If it had worked we would be singing its praises – what can you do. If you never try you never know.

Side note: if you come to New York you really do need to purchase Go Walk Skechers. They are amazing.

Yesterday we saw Manhattan from the water. I was really excited to see The Statue of Liberty and really, really worried that I would be disappointed (similarly to when I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris). Lauren and I never had any intention of paying to go to see only her on her island and I think that choice was vindicated yesterday. She is amazing! And I don’t see that seeing her close up or from underneath could do her majesty proud. I think that if you want to see her, go on a cruise of Manhattan (Landmark Tour of NYC). She is worth it. Absolutely worth it. I was awestruck. Interestingly, the only landmark or must do thing in Paris that I thought was any chop was the Eiffel Tower. I like this guy’s work hehe. Great gift.

And the cruise was great to go underneath Brooklyn Bridge.

Beyond that, our outing made me really appreciate how beautiful Sydney Harbour is. We really do have a harbour that has everything. To the extent that I may do a touristy cruise of Sydney Harbour when I get home (and it warms up lol).

After the cruise we went to get Subway (food Subway) for lunch. We do this pretty much every day except for tomorrow when we will mix it up and try 5 Napkin Burger on the Upper West Side. Every Subway restaurant charges us different prices for the exact same thing (creatures of habit lol), and every restaurant is different. Like the one on Saturday night near Madison Square Garden had a toilet that smelled and looked like people had urinated freely over the entire floor. Today’s were the cheapest for each of us, in different locations.

After lunch yesterday we went our different ways. Lauren went shopping. Tina headed to a tattoo studio to check availability for an appointment. No luck so she came back to the flat after watching some soccer (football) in the park adjoining our street. I googled other tattoo studios and sent an email off (no luck there either; I heard back today). Lauren came back shortly after and we cooked some dinner and then went to Brooklyn to see some stand up comedy.

Heading to Brooklyn last night and Williamsburg the other night we used Uber. I recommend this for night and distance travel. If you live downtown obviously. A little expensive (cheaper than a cab) but safe. If you have the funds.

We arrived in Brooklyn quite early. There were two guys drinking on the corner. We assumed they came out of a pub, unnamed, behind them. You wouldn’t know it was a pub unless you were local and knew it was a pub. I loved it. People with tattoos. As unattractive as I am feeling in my own skin, I seem to always feel just fine in Brooklyn. I really like it there. Younger people but similar to the Newtown, Sydney of the nineties (yep, feeling my age lol). It is an area that is cleaning up and none of the stereotypes were in view (a little disappointing all throughout NYC – no real stereotypes of the place at all – TV has a lot to answer for lol). After a drink (soft drink) we headed across the road to The Knitting Factory, a pub slash venue for music and comedy.

We bought our tickets and waited for doors to open. Minimal seating so we wanted to be comfortable.

The thing about stand up comedy in venues away from home is that you need to know the references to find the comedy funny. Luckily for me I have been brainwashed/submerged in American  pop culture (and I am quite ashamed by this) and know a fair bit about American politics (enough to get the jokes) so I found it reasonably entertaining. However, I found myself offended by racial and gender stereotyping. Other people were laughing. But I was offended. I question if I have become too politically correct for my own good or if the values in our societies have denigrated that significantly. Food for thought …

We left after the (almost) second act and Ubered it home. An early night for the start of our Hop On Hop Off bus tour today.

I really like the atmosphere in Brooklyn. I think that if I were to move here I would consider Brooklyn (only if I couldn’t afford Manhattan bahahahahaha bahahahahaha bahahahahaha).

And so, today. Lauren and I subwayed it in to Midtown to catch the bus. I love learning stuff. Really thrive off  it. I am a bona fide nerd. Proudly I think. The beginning of my tour experience was so nurturing today. And as a result of it, I know that I do not need to visit Soho, Noho, Greenwich Village. They are no longer the sprawling artist capitals of NYC. They are gentrified. The bus tour covered what I  needed to see.

I stopped at Battery Park to walk to Battery Place to visit the Jewish Heritage Centre/Museum. A beautiful walk by the water and through gardens. Lauren continued on the bus to see the Whitney Museum. We organised to catch up at the High Line after our respective museum visits. Sculptures caught my eye. Flowers cleansed my soul. My statue made me smile; I love that she could be seen again today, if only from a distance.

I am a little obsessed with the Holocaust. My students will tell anyone. I think I feel some shame that my heritage is linked to it. And I think by teaching it I try to do my bit to ensure that we learn from those mistakes.

As I walked through today, often wiping escapee tears, it really dawned on me how we haven’t learned anything. Greed and ego stops the human race from evolving, growing, learning. And it angers me. Before religion, before race, before gender, we are all human. Beyond that, we are all visitors to this planet, that we wilfully destroy due to greed and ego. I don’t get it. Us. Our ways.

And when hurt, shouldn’t we endeavour to support others that are hurting, to ensure that those after us do not hurt.

Hippie ideals, I am sure some will mutter. But, really. What is wrong with us?

Hmmm  … pause for intermission before I gather listeners around my soapbox ey.

So I left the museum. Satisfied that I had been. And made my way back to the bus pick up point to continue on to meet Lauren.

I love this city.

The new tower is beautiful. I love it. It is elegant and sleek. Beautifully designed and beautifully executed; a building to be proud of. I love the memorials. Tasteful.

The High Line. Interesting. A nice walk. Interesting performers. Interesting concept. The highlight for me was a painting on the wall of a building. Albert Einstein, the answer is love. Segues perfectly from my last rant, don’t you think? 😉

I found Lauren and we walked to the bus pick up point. The Big Bus pick up point. And we waited …

And we waited …

And we waited …

And we waited …

And then a bus came.

Came to tell us that they were full.

Full.

No one was getting off.

No one was getting on.

No answers.

An apology.

We walked.

And as a result we saw beautiful clean streets with beautiful old brownstones in Chelsea. Lovely. And I had a late lunch.

We then attempted to get some gelato from Eataly. Failed. Flavour choice was restricted.

We then made our way to the subway and for the first time went into the Downtown option rather than the Uptown option. We were going Crosstown in our minds so it was confusing. And then our Metrocards wouldn’t work; it takes eighteen minutes for them to reset. Luckily a lecturing and cantankerous Subway man opened the gate for us and we could get through, “just this one time.” Pfft … then we did this for the rest of the day. Nah, joking. I just wanted to. Lauren didn’t. Maturity.

We headed home and taking a slightly different route from the subway, realised that the streets on the other side of us are the cool, hip parts of Chinatown. Who knew. Lol. Quiet night in. Soaking our feet. Prank Sentralling Sara. Prank messaging Nicole. Nice messaging Belinda. Getting dinner from Sticky Rice around the corner (nice). Planning tomorrow’s adventures.

And now I have written myself back into jet lag and the awakened state.

Bugger.

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