Tag Archive for 'Boston'

New York, New York

I’ve been in New York city since Saturday, and I fly out for Europe this Wednesday (tomorrow). You honestly need a full week to really appreciate this city, so I am a little disappointed. But I also know I’ll be back, so it doesn’t phase me too much.

My cousins in Boston drove me down and stayed for a night. We shared a room that cost $US200, overlooking a lovely cemetery. The average rooms in the city were $500! Accommodation is a real bitch here. The last few nights I have been staying with my other cousin Pete. He lives in Greenwich village, down on 11th St. It’s a bit like Sydney’s Paddington – young, trendy, gay-friendly, yuppie-ish. Such a nice area though, compared to the dirt in NY’s touristy regions like Canal St (China Town) and Mulberry St (Little Italy).

I stood atop the Empire State Building, visited Wall St, Ground zero, and dropped by Battery park which is where the statue of liberty ferry takes off (they ran out of tickets when I went). I also walked through some of Central Park, and visited the American Museum of Natural History which was awesome. I’ve been extremely lucky with my family connections here in the States, and in the case of NY, Pete has taken me to some good food joints. We also went to a Comedy club (Gotham) which was really high quality. We were sitting at the centre-front seats. And yes, yours truly was the butt of all five comedian’s jokes – everything from my watch, my shirt, my mobile on the table, and my nationality. Almost as bad as my experience at the r-rated hypnotist show in Boston (don’t ask).

New Yorkers are in such a hurry. They are like a trail of lemmings, running into each other and whatever is in their way. The city itself is impressive – Manhattan is organised in a grid system, which is very handy. The city is so dense, that every avenue (roads going South-North; “Streets” go east-west) are main roads, crowded with people at all hours. There are about 12 avenues, and 150 streets – to give you an idea of the size of Manhattan. Whilst there are tall skyscrapers, it’s also the average buildings that amazes me. You’d be pressed to find anything smaller than four-storeys – meaning you have these valleys of buildings all around you. And because of the grid system, you’re looking quite literally looking down a valley of buildings.

The subway system is very good, however this is more because of the grid system rather than the actual subway that makes it so good. All the subway lines do is go up and down in straight lines, directly underneath avenues, looping when they get to the end. The result is that you have several of these lines running parallel, enabling you to get to any part of Manhattan very quickly. Having said that though, the trains run quick, and I found them reasonably clean.

Cars are abundant as well, and clogged up roads are the norm. It’s interesting though that when looking at parked cars, apart from tourists, all the cars appear very upmarket – implying that driving is a rich persons luxury. Although with such a good subway system, I can’t see why you need a car.

Plenty more to say – however all I will say is do yourself a favour and visit New York at least once in your life because it really is the capital of the world. Next destination is Athens, but really it is Gallipoli, as I spend two days in Athens, waiting for my bus trip to Istanbul.

Boston

I am hopeless – so much for trying to write entries in this blog every few days. Either way, these last two weeks as been more about visiting family rather than experiencing wild and exotic things.

I spent two nights in Ohio with my friend Debbie, and it was nice. However I spent my entire time sleeping, as it rained, while Debbie was stressing out over her school assignments. Lucky I rested, because the day I got off the plan at Boston, I had a bit of a crazy schedule.

My cousins Stacy and Elaine – whom I have never met before – picked me up and took me to a bar straight away. It was about 2pm. At about 9pm, I went to their house, and met my aunty and uncle for the first time – completely drunk as a skunk. I passed out on the couch. Apparently, it took a while to wake me up.

The second night, we went – surprise surprise – drinking. I had three long island ice teas the size of balloons (you’ll see them in my pictures). On top of that, the girl behind the bar was Stacy’s friend – meaning extra alcohol. I have never had that much to drink before in my life in such a short space of time. I passed out on the couch that night. Again.

The next night…lets not go there. Almost two weeks later, and I have become like a piece of the furniture around the house – it is going to be weird when we say our goodbyes. I get along like an absolute riot with my cousins, who are drop-dead-gorgeous, however they are also completely fruity – absolutely hilarious. And don’t get me started on my uncle and aunty – they are like living cartoons. “Oh mae Gads” – I have adopted half of their vocabulary.

I have also met like a gazillion families I am related to. Crazy. And I am absolutely convinced that my uncles have formed their own little mafia outfit here. So mafioso it’s not funny – Cadillac’s, pizza parlours, and “donations”. They know everyone is their area. The police are very friendly to my family here – must be the free pizzas. God I hope so.

Massachusetts, and in particular Boston, is an amazing area. I came not expecting to see anything but family, and instead I was blown away by the culture and history. It is home to the first American settlers; it is where the American revolution started; the first baseball game (and last year’s world series winners). They are even the home state for the Kennedy family.

There are over 50 colleges and universities in sister city, Cambridge (more like a suburb), including MIT and Harvard. They have some of the leading medical facilities in the world. Even two of the September 11 planes began their flights from Logan Airport in Boston. Could you ask for any more fame? No wonder they call this state “the spirit of America”.

I also visited nearby state Rhode Island, which is where the mafia hang out. We are pretty sure we had a beer at one of the mafia’s fronts, overlooking the beautiful chemical plant on this (not-quite-water-anymore) water-front location.

The Australian thing is a bit annoying. Not just the accent, but the vocabulary as well. So many common Aussie words like “queue”, “buggard” and “you give me the shits” are unheard of here. Half the people I speak to look at my like a stunned deer. The other half laugh their “asses” off. However if you want to speak Boston-english, just say the words “Wicked” and “Nasty” and you will get nods of acknowledgement, like they totally understand what you mean, even if it makes no sense.

Off to New York on the weekend. Can’t wait.