Manhattan. Horrifyingly crowded Manhattan. Where the bridge tolls cost $12 each way. Where the neon signs everywhere fill your senses with excitement and flash CAPITALISM CAPITALISM CAPITALISM. Where traffic gridlock is a permanent part of the urban landscape, and where the sound of taxis angrily honking and people swearing at each other is every bit a part of the city soundtrack as an Avenue Q musical or an Alicia Keys/Jay-Z collaboration. Where the delicious smell of street emat follows you everywhere. Where Elmo walks through the crowd carrying a purse, giving hugs. Nobody stands out as weird in Manhattan because everyone is weird.
This time, we were hanging around NBC studio, because my sister was intensely trying to catch a glimpse of Kenneth the Page. NBC is housed at 30 Rockefeller, of course, the iconic hyper corporate building with huge murals and slogans that kind of remind me of something the Soviets would have constructed. We got a tour of the studio, by real live pages (but not Kenneth, sadly), and got to see the set of a bunch of TV shows that I don`t watch. I think the magic of the studio tour was somewhat lost on me, as a person who doesn`t watch TV.
My parents wanted to do touristy things, so I spent my weekend trying to figure out what touristy stuff was actually worth the money and what was not. I`m not convinced the ride to the top of 30 Rockefeller (30 Rock) was worth 25 bones. Madame Tussaud's House of Wax, sure. And the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum was worth it, if not to just tell people you were hanging out on a giant military aircraft carrier in Manhattan. You could have pretended you were in the sky, in the Avengers movie. The Skyride was cool, but for $42? I'm not sure, not even to hear Kevin Bacon narrate the voyage in his usual cool style. Luckily we had the New York pass, and didn't actually spent all that dough.
What was totally worth it, of course, was the Korean food in Korea Town. Of course. It's what we used to do when we lived in upstate New York, drive in on the weekends to eat some good food. This time we went to Cho Dang Gol, a restaurant so popular the lineup was out the door. Ottawa people would have never put up with such a line. They served us excessive amounts of banchan side dishes, and seafood soondubu chigae, dishes you don't want to eat in front of white people because you feel embarrassed to dip your fingers into the stew to grab the crab legs and get all messy. It was divine.
After dinner, I met up with my friends at the Wayland, a bar that my buddy Gartenberg had chosen because "it hadn't quite been discovered yet, so we could have a quiet place to talk on a Saturday night in Manhattan". It was still crowded, at least for Ottawa standards. It was a lovely bar though, where they played country blues, the bartenders wore plaid shirts, and they served spicy margaritas and dishes like shaved brussel sprouts. I ended up staying over at my girlfriend Olivia's that night in Brooklyn. I like Brooklyn.
The next morning, we took a boat tour around the harbour to see the Stateu of Liberty. We had been to the World Trade Centres a dozen times to look at the Statute of Liberty, but we had never actually been to the Statute of Liberty. It was pretty big. I guess. I mean, it used to seem bigger when I peered at it through the telescope at the Twin Towers. I thought it would be bigger though.