It should come as no surprise to you now, that it is 2pm, and we have just arrived in the city centre.
Today, we have a rooftop dinner reservation at a place called 230 Fifth. Which, coincidentally, is located at 230, 5th Avenue. This however, isn’t till 9:30pm, so we still have a long way to go. Being that tomorrow, we are all going our separate ways, we decide to fill our time today with all the little things that we wanted to revisit. Maybe not all of them, but a few of them, at least.
We begin our rehash of NYC with a little visit back to Bryant Park. Its that little spot that we went and hung out at after we spent the whole day trying to conjure up a way of getting into the museum without having to pay, and not having to queue up. For future reference, just queue up.
The ladies bring their skates with them. It surfaced a few days ago that Allison once did a bit of figure skating. Not too bad at all. Her skates have got their own little sleeve that goes over the metal skate part. They’re a bit fancy. The reason we wanted to head to Bryant Park was because its free admission.
Turns out that everyone liked the idea of free admission at Bryant Park. Before skating, though, we need to make sure we have fuel in the tank, so first things first, we look for somewhere to eat. And we look more. And then some more. And then as a collective, we are sick of walking to shops that we are excited to eat at for the first time, which are shut, and throw in the towel to Subway. Its a cheap and filling meal. Nothing amazing, but filling.
We head to the winter village, and the ladies head to go for a skate. As they are about to jump on the ice, they clear the whole thing for the Zamboni. Resurfacing takes a good 20 mins, I rekon. Maybe less, but not by much. The Zamboni takes longer than a Norwegian summer’s day, and Damo and I can see the girls just a few people deep in the queue, waiting to get on the ice, only to have to wait for them to clean it. Its classic. The girls finally hit the ice, and Allison isn’t shy of putting on a bit of a show. She cruises over to us, followed soon after by Bec.
Damo and I head off to go get ourselves a donut chimney. Its pretty much a long donut, with nutella, whipped cream, and what ever else you wanna have inside it. Its grand. We didn’t say anything to the girls, and this was evident when Bec came back with her one and offered me a bit. It was pretty kind of her, but I don’t think she would have been so keen on sharing had she known that we had devoured one already.
The ladies skate the ice and tag team, as Bec and Michaela share the second pair of skates. We could have hired another pair, but that is a good $20 (US dollars, at that), for us to hire them. Not worth it at all.
We keep demanding that Allison bust out some of her old figure skating tricks. She happily obliges, but she is way nicer than me. I woulda warned a few people, and whoever gets cleaned up in the aftermath from there on, is on their own. She, however, waited, and waited and waited, and I came to the conclusion that she is way too polite to have lived in NYC. Its crazy. But, the opportunity arises, and she cranks out this epic pirouette. Her hair pretty much covers her face completely. At this point, its just instinct and hours of practice that are taking over.
We were meant to meet up again at around 4pm, but that was stuffed up with the Zamboni coming on the ice to give it a re-surface. Our new time was 4:30, but we since found out that the ice is cleaned in a mere 30 mins. The good thing about that is that everyone is cleared off the ice. The good thing about that, is that Allison has promised to show us a jump & landy-spinny thing on the ice.
I’ve only ever seen this done by Will Ferrel and Jon Heder on Blades of Glory, so if she can pull this off, then her name pretty much is cemented in glory with the legends of the silver screen. Everyone starts clearing out for the Zamboni. The staff cruise around rounding people up and hustling the last few stragglers. Allison waits patiently trying to look like she is pre-occupied by something else while the staff members hurry her along. The ice isn’t clearing our fast enough, and the staff are hurrying her up faster.
Her eyes dart left to right while she tries to work our what she should do. Finally, she settles on a decision and heads to the staff member in the middle of the rink. The battle has begun. She explains that she needs to do this trick for us. He obviously doesn’t agree. We see that he is firm in his decision, so Damo and I start calling out to this bloke “Oh Come On Mate!! ITS FOR AUSTRALIA!!”. He ignores us like a seasoned veteran, but we won’t let that happen, so we continue to peer pressure him into the decision we all know he shouldn’t make.
Allison’s gestures and body movements exaggerate as her frustration becomes more apparent.
I look to Michaela “Wow”, she says “She’s serious”. I chuckle, “Yeah. I know right?!”, I look back over to see Allison skating our way.
She doesn’t smile much. She knows that she has a limited amount of time now, but she doesn’t hold back for long. A brief run up, onto one foot, and a jump in the air. Her foot lands, legs swings out from behind, and her face echoes the sense of achievement she feels. She turns, we cheer, she skates off to the exit, before she gets kicked off.
We finish a quick wander through the markets, and Allison takes us to a Jazz Bar called Fat Cat Jazz Bar. Entry is $3, pints are $4, and there is live music, pool tables, ping pong tables and shuffle board. We’re out the front, and we are thinking “Yeah. Nothing special”. At this point, we didn’t know the joys that were waiting to greet us below.
We head down, and all you can really see is bulk pool tables. The further you walk, the more you see. Couches to your right, set in place to enjoy the live music. Pool tables that extend to the end of the underground room. Ping pong hidden behind netting to as not to allow rouge balls to venture too far from the game play.
We all look at each other, with that mutual understanding that “this place is amazing”. We mention this too many times through out the night, along with commenting on the musician’s involuntary head and body movements along to the beat that they’re creating.
Its a great atmosphere, and a place that we would easily make the local watering hole if we were living in area. It is seriously worth the effort.
You can thank me later.
We wrap up our fierce games of shuffleboard and move onto the next bar. Our next spot is a little joint called Marie Crisis Cafe. Why? I actually have no idea. Its a little hole in the wall kinda place, but the thing that makes it unique is that they have a pianist who just sits there and plays disney and sing-along classics all night. You open the door, and straight away, you’re met with a crowd of voices all singing in their unique drunken state. Its shoulder to shoulder, and we wriggle our way through the crowd to the bar.
“This is great”, I think to myself, and get my camera out to record. The pianist, who is pretty much an MC finishes his song, then sets out the ground rules. They include things like not filming, which I just did, and not yelling out song requests to ol’ mate. He then also specifies that phones screens aren’t something that everyone behind you should be staring at while you try and record the song, to which half the bar agrees with through various mumbles and grumbles.
We leave. I was keen on a drink there, but I think I was the only one. It was super crowded though, and it smells like sweaty meat.
We are headed to a place called 230 fifth, which is a rooftop bar, offering sky-high views of the manhattan skyline. But, before we reach our destination, we have enough time to visit a couple little places that Allison has been telling us about all week. Damo has said that he can’t come to NYC and not eat from a food truck. He decided to eat from a food truck.
We arrive at a place called Ralph’s German Restaurant, which has christmas decorations set up permanently, instead of seasonal. It sounds ok, but not amazing, so we head along there. Allison has mentioned it a few times, so we should at least pay her the courtesy of checking it out. We turn up, peer through the window, and straight away, we are all stupidly glad we did come. To say that christmas decos are littering the restaurant is an understatement. This place is made of christmas decorations.
And as with any good bar or restaurant in NYC, it is absolutely chockers full of people. I head to grab some photos and come back out to find that the rest of the crew is back inside. I walk in, grab Allison on her arm “Is Damo in the toilet?”, she turns her head to face me, and this random lady I have never met in my life is staring at me, wide-eyed and confused. I look to my right, and see Bec and Allison looking straight at me, equally as confused as the lady I just asked. “Right… You’re not the right person”.
I smile at her and laugh.
She does not.
I do not know why.
I repeat my question to the girls “Is Damo in the toilet?”, to which they reply “Yeah”, so turn back around to my newly acquainted friend, “So, it turns out that he is in the toilet, just so you know”. Still nothing. Bloody hell. I’d hate to be a comedian with her in my show.
It was a much more eventful trip than I anticipated it being.
We admire the ambience once more, the head off to see our next recommended destination, Eatily.
We walk through Madison Square Park to reach our destination, and we spot these hammocks that have been set up on the island in front of the Flat Iron building. It is the iconic really pointed building in NYC that is featured on all those photos. I am snapping away, when I realise that in the darkness, this building has been lurking in the background the whole time.
The hammocks are just being packed up as we reach the destination, but we can revisit it another time.
Across the road, we reach Eatily. This place has a rooftop bar also, but it is mainly an up market Italian produce store. So, you walk in the doors, and its kinda nice. Reminds me a bit of Brunetti’s on Lygon St in Melbourne. You pass a few shelves and a few display cabinets with amazing food and desserts displayed in there. It is this kinda long and narrowish store, and Allison has been talking it up a fair bit. I mean, she dark horsed us with this last place. Didn’t really tell us how great it is, except that we have to go there.
She’s said the same thing about Eatily, but so far, its nothing that I haven’t seen before. I just kinda mozie along, and naturally, I’m being courteous, and they sure do have some amazing stuff on display. We get to the end of the shop, and I look up to see Allison standing there, and in her calm and collected demeanour, encouraging us to head over and take a look. I head over, and as I reach the end of the store, I realised that we hadn’t even scratched the top of the place.
I look down the hall that opens to my left, and my jaw drops. This place pretty much covers the entire bottom floor of this building. There is everything you can imagine. There is a fish monger, butcher, cheeses, cured and dried meats, fresh fruit and veggies, crepes, and every thing you can imagine that you should ever need to ever put on a decent dinner party. And the most insane part? Its all under one roof and owned by the same guy.
Now, I have full faith in pretty much anything Allison recommends us. Each time I am expecting something to be just ‘ok’, I get blown away. This was one of those moments.
We finish our little exploration of Easily, and head to 230 Fifth. We are all pretty excited about this. Allison has got a voucher for $100, so we are going to have a good night. We walk in the door, and there is a doorman, as well as a bouncer-kinda guy. We all cruise in, spirits high. Bec and I are through, and waiting, and nobody is joining us. I then turn back to see Damo still with the security guard. We walk back over, and Damo doesn’t have his ID on him. He was under the impression that he didn’t need his ID for tonight.
We try to reason the the guy, and end up resorting to calling the manager. The manager does us the courtesy of coming down to talk with us. But, it wasn’t hard to tell that he already had his mind made up about not letting someone through without physical ID. We had two copies on his phone, but not in person. In the end, it came down to “If he looked 30, I would let it go”. I’d been silent up to this point, and let Allison and the girls handle it, but this was ridiculous. “Wait. Wait. So, if he looked older, we would be good?”. At this point, I think the manager realised his error. Blinking profusely, he answered “Yep”.
“Mate. All you are good is looking at the ID. All you have to do is look at the person and say “Yeah. Thats them”.”.
“You could just download that off the internet though. If you go to an airport, they wont let you on a flight without ID”.
“Yeah, but they are taking finger prints and scanning your eyes too mate. All you are doing is looking at the person’s face and saying “ok”. Thats it. We’ve got two copies for you to look at right now”.
The manager was a cool blend of stubborn and straight up retard. In the end, Michaela instigated the walk away, and we all followed suit. Even thinking about it now gets me irritated. Long story short, Bec and I bought the voucher off Allison, so I’ll let you know how it goes when we head there ourselves.
We decide to eat elsewhere, and head into Korea Town, or K-Town as it is affectionately known. We settle on this place called Abiko Curry, which is a japanese-korean fusion. We all kind of order a variation of the same dish. SUPER chunky noodles, semi-spicy soup, and fried chicken that would have made a black man weak at the knees.
Everyone went silent once the food came out. Mid-meal, this couple walks in behind us, and all we hear of their conversation is “What? I’m Chinese, you racist”. I’m midway through slurping a noodle into my gob, when I stop and look to Mikky next to me. She’s already looking straight at me. I scan the table and everyone is already holding back their laughter. It was the best part of a conversation to walk in on.
Even though we didn’t make it to the rooftop bar, we had a brilliant dinner than none of us were expecting. All in all, it was a great night. 10/10 would do again.
Come Back Tomorrow,