Posted by: tlnemethy | September 16, 2012

Big Apple, Tiny Dumplings

I spent three days in the city, and even though I ignored tourist attractions like the Empire State building or the Statue of Liberty I think I found my own personal inner tourist. I purposefully left my camera at home because I was afraid I would be recognized as an outsider and easy prey for the wildlife of Zoo York if I was constantly walking around mouth agape and snapping pictures of everything that a regular wouldn’t bother with. Call me slightly paranoid, but I’m cautious when I’m unsure of my surrounding and its inhabitants. Anyways, I picked up on a few things while I was playing “native” that I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I been too engrossed capturing all the sights. But then again, if I’d documented them this post might be a tad more colorful.

Things I learned from the Big Apple:

  1. Cars wear these special bumper guards because they are always parallel parking in close proximity to one another. They resemble a mud flap, but generally hanging from the trunk compartment and are made of a smooth rubber. I thought they were adorably useful.
  2. Subway rats are not mythical creatures. Sure I knew they were gonna be lurking somewhere, but hell if they didn’t just come out wagging their tails at your feet in the hopes of a snack. Some were very decently sized too, at least three times the size of my chihuahua. At one time I saw four of them running the rails and frolicking through the running rivers between the tracks. I’m not overly grossed out by rodents, but I did find them fascinating as they interacted with the subwaygoers.
  3. Traffic is ridiculous. Even in my town I won’t make left turns very often, but in New York, drivers will just pull out into the middle of intersections, forming huge chains of cars that block the traffic that should be moving. Road rage runs rampant and I think I developed a small ulcer just walking near the traffic.
  4. If you stop a native New Yorker and ask for directions they will tell you, but only because they want you to know they are superior to your feeble attempts at NYC knowledge: I learned that from a young man at a beer garden who tried to steal my friend’s lighter so he must be very reliable.
  5. Beer gardens are beautiful pieces of civilization that do not necessarily have to be attached at all to a garden. I learned that the hard way. Planning: “Oh sure, let’s go to a beer garden.” Once there: “Where are the flowers?” No. Beer gardens are just establishments that serve beer and have outdoor seating/space available, but some of them are remarkable. I spent the vast majority of an afternoon “day drinking” at a place that had an outdoor pavilion where you could smoke, drink, order corn on the cob and hamburgers,  or even read with your dog by your side. I could have sat there all day, soaking up the sunshine and listening to the ivy covered walls as the wind struck them.
  6. China Town is a wonderful place for dumplings. When we ordered two sets of dumplings for only six dollars  I was expecting to get maybe three dumplings and leave with a half satisfied stomach. I was wrong. Not only did I leave my plate with dumplings still sitting there looking delicious, but I was stuffed to the gills.
  7. A metro card is an amazing ticket to any destination you could ever think of. Feeling like some Italian food? Metro card will get you there. Perhaps a beach day? Metro card. Don’t want to travel on the subway? Metro cards work for buses too so you can get some fresh air and avoid the subway rats.
  8. You may expect shopkeepers to see so many faces a day that they become too distracted to know you on a conversational level. Wrong. You show up routinely and they’ll remember you.
  9. Horchata is not just the name of a Vampire Weekend song. It is in fact a delicious almond-based beverage I imbibed at a Mexican restaurant to the surprise of the waiter.
  10. Comfortable shoes are a must. Forget the high heels unless you’re trying to impress someone: I walked the streets for a weekend and came home with sore calves and a blister the size of a child. I named it Honey BooBoo.

Responses

  1. Thanks! You almost made me feel as if I had gone myself! Although…you are much braver than I!

  2. Very insightful, right on the spot.


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