Saturday, September 06, 2003


Yesterday was a day of firsts! Well, two of them anyway.

I have succeeded in completing 1 of my 3 'to do in New York before I leave' list. I went to China Town for lunch. I know, I have lived in New York for almost 2 years, and never eaten in China Town before. I am not even sure if it truly counts, because we went to a Vietnamese restaurant. But still, I can now say I have eaten in China Town.

To be honest, it wasn't that special. It was nice - and I have certainly eaten worse Chinese-style food here - but it really wasn't that special. I have had better food in Brighton, let alone China Town in London. Still, I can now cross it off my list.

I went with friends I used to work with. Sexy Eric walks out of his building, and sees my hair, and starts laughing. I asked him if he liked it, and he said "You look like a freak! Now you really WILL be the freak on the subway home" (this is a claim I once made when I travelled home with red horns in my hair.... another tale). Thanks Eric, I love you too! Fred said it looked fantastic, and that with hair like this I had to stay in New York as I fit right in. The rest of people it was a bit of a subdued reaction - I think that means they don't like it, but will put up with it because I am one those 'crazy Brit's'.

The man at the Clinique counter in Lord and Taylor loved it. The old woman in the lift at Lord and Taylor didn't like it - she almost walked out again when she saw she had to share the lift with me! The man at the corner shop loves it. But who cares? I am the one wearing it, and I love it, so that is all that matters!

Another first for yesterday - I travelled on the New York subway on my own. Not really a tremendous first - not like the first time I travelled on the Tube in big bad London for the first time when I thought I was going to get mugged because that's where all the crime happens in London isn't it? (I know, but I come from a very small, insular town remember, and London was exotic). I was sitting there, and realised that every other time I have been on the subway I have been with someone else, usually Nancy. So there. Not only was I the freak on the subway, but I was the freak travelling alone!

Not much else going on. I have been full of cold, and trying to keep it off my chest as I really could do without bronchitis, but I don't think I have managed it. If it's no better by Monday, it's back on the antibiotics for me.....

Went for one drink last night with Nancy, to our friendly, neighbourhood shithole. This bar is fantastic - it is like walking into some one horse town saloon, but right in the middle of Jersey City. Eric is afraid of it - he has only been there once and that was only because me and Nancy made him. The beer is cheap - the barmaids are fantastic. There are two - one is enormously fat, and very scary - you really wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her. The other barmaid, is, I believe, dead. Reanimated in some way. Beautifully preserved. But still looks dead. She served me and Nancy once, asked if we wanted another, we said no, and she gave us one anyway. We were too scared to turn her down. Then when we tried to leave, she begged us to stay with a promise of free beer, but we were too scared. This place is great. It has been there forever I believe - the man who owns it owns a lot of land in the area that he bought in the 70's when it was cheap. We were discussing it at lunch, and reckon he must be worth in the region of $20 million. The beer is really cheap for around here - around $2 for a pint on draft, $3 for a bottle. It has one of those jukeboxes with really awful music on, but it is on constantly. And the clientele are just out there on their own. And we were in there last night and saw a very distressing poster.

"Closing down party for Cap'n Al's, weekend of 13th and 14th September".


Apparently, the man owns the whole block, and he has sold it to developers for a huge amount of money, and they are going to build a posh apartment block. But he has a clause written in that he will still run a bar on there. And it will still be called Cap'n Al's Harbor Casino Bar (it's a great name - it's not on the harbour, and it's not a casino!). But basically this building is going to be knocked down, and it will be rebuilt. And be a little more upmarket. This is a shame for the neighbourhood. There aren't that many places like that left. I do like the Lighthorse, which is a brand new, trendy pub just steps from my front door, but at $5 a pint and $10 for a burger, it is a little pricey. And sometimes you just want, well, rough!

Going out to play later with Nancy. Much discussion about where we will go. Believe it or not, part of me is a little fed up with Fitzies - we usually only go there maybe once a month - but another part of me knows I am going to miss it when I am gone. And if we go somewhere else and don't like it, well that's just a waste of one of my few remaining Saturday nights. So, Fitzies it will probably be.

Anyway, it will give me good tales for tomorrow!

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