11 February 2014

Fifty Shades Of NYC...

Fifty shades of? No, I've not read those books, neither do I ever want to! Please, I'm no schmuck! I'm talking about the fabulous fifty shades of New York City! From my time living only a heartbeat away from the Big Apple I grew a greater appreciation for the hidden and less popular parts of this insane yet ever so endearing North American city.

Shalom Williamsburg! If you haven't heard of Williamsburg then I'm not going too be concerned for this Kosher community took me a lot of searching to find. I didn't have a 3G enabled mobile back when I visit the home of New York's Jewish Hasidim, so I had to rely on helpful passersby and conducting some pre-trip research on Google Earth. Lee Avenue is where it all happens, its a hype of energy for sure with its bustling businesses that all abide by Kosher law. I had watched countless YouTube videos about the Hasidim living in New York City before my visit, especially in Williamsburg so I was very intrigued to rewrite the tourist guide and see a slice of Jewish life in New York. Captured to the left is the gateway to Lee Avenue, a road that took me by surprise for sure, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before with its Hebrew billboards I was taken out of my comfort zone! No tourist maps allowed!

Making my way from Newark to the heart of New York City's Jewish heartland, the journey wouldn't of been as chaotic if I had started from Manhattan but I loved the adventure! I didn't see a McDonald's restaurant or any other American chain until I made my way back to Manhattan later that day. Lee Avenue really shows how Kosher everybody lives in that side of Brooklyn, modest clothing is the way forward. Mothercare would have a field day if they managed to set up shop in this part of Williamsburg for each Jewish woman that I saw had a baby in a pushchair, whilst other ladies had multiple children with them, I guess that those Williamsburg families are the true reason for the Jewish baby boom! Frankel's Kosher Supermarket provided me with my lunch that day, I ate Kosher snacks for the first time from a 100% Kosher mart. Trusting New York City was the only way that I was ever going to see such an closed neighborhood during my time in Williamsburg, New York City!

Greenwich Village, it's kitsch and quite camp but that's just fine with me. If I could have my time again living in America I would live in this district of New York City! Who know's what the future has in store for me?! Back in March 2012 my co-worker Sharissa told me about the wonders of Greenwich Village, those words painted a picture in my head for sure! Jumping off the PATH at Christopher Street little did I know that this side of NYC would hold many memories for me. My first afternoon in Greenwich Village was absolutely darling! I found the many men's fashion boutiques to be so en-trend, I went to Rag & Bone, I parted with $70 for a turquoise tank top. I think the shop assistant mesmirised me with his good looks?! I was skinny then!

Fast forward to May of 2012 I returned back to Greenwich Village, I made my way to Christopher Street to find the perfect spot to watch the NYC Pride March 2012! That occasion was my very first Gay Pride event so I feel very lucky that I spent that time in New York City! Cyndi Lauper was the Grand Marshal, I guess girl just wanted to have some fun?! I randomly made another visit on a beautiful August morning that I should of been resting from my hectic work schedule but when I awoke at 7am that sunny morning pushing my tiredness away and made it the city of New York! I remember eating a really good slice of pizza from a crazy looking pizza takeaway on the corner of Sheridan Square and Stonewall Place, it was great! Greenwich Village is where the beautiful people are in NYC! 

Ni Hao! Chinatown New York breaks the mould for its nothing like its depicted in the movies, its much more real and gritty! Making a random visit in February 2012 with my fellow Intern Paolo we found Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant. To the left is that very restaurant that served up some very interesting culinary delights. Chinatown, NYC lies around the Canal Street area not too far from the Manhattan Bridge and the Downtown NYC. It was mad to see all of the bag and watch stalls amongst the many Chinese restaurants, I loved it but I always felt the need to be cautious at the same time! I found a great little comic shop that sold special edition Pokemon cards, the child within me influenced a rather surprise purchase that just had to be made! There's nothing quite like the edgy streets of New York City's Chinatown! Embrace the shade, I know that New York City wouldn't want it any other way! Yes B!

During my time discovering New York City I would have to say that Chinatown has a crazy feeling, a sense of activity and excitement could always be felt during each visit. I learnt to further trust the streets of New York City and be safe, as time progressed I was becoming more and more familiar with the NYC Subway, so getting to and from this part of NYC didn't prove to be a stress at all! Upon my final visit of 2012 I enjoyed another delicious meal at Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant, that final meal wasn't any ordinary meal for it was Christmas Eve night, I won't forget that visit for a long while. To celebrate my stateside Christmas Eve I found a great Bubble Tea cafe that were selling two medium Bubble Tea's for $2.50! NYC showed me to enjoy my first Christmas away from home! From my first visit to Chinatown NYC to my unplanned discovery when I found out that Chinatown sits at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, this side of town is one of my fifty shades of NYC! Trust!

Battery Park throws the final form of shade, I best get started! Desperately Seeking Susan is one of my favourite films so when I made it to Battery Park I was simply lost for words, no drama that's the harsh damn truth! Throwing another serving of shade I have to proclaim that the Lady of Liberty and Ellis Island can seen within the distance from Battery Park, there was so much going on that I just didn't know where to look?! I've mentioned before I half expected to see a 80's inspired Madonna saunter down Battery Park's waterside walkway but the Material Girl didn't turn back time. Talk about fangirling! I love Times Square for it gave me that 'Empire State of Mind' but taking each and every opportunity during my time stateside. Vogue I say! 

Battery Park showed me that certain parts of  NYC really look like the movies, like I said before the scenes filmed in that area for Desperately Seeking Susan looked exactly the same even though several years have past since the filming took place in the 1980's. Upon my early 2012 visit I loved what I saw and when I go back I'm almost certain I'll love it just as much! Yes, I also love Central Park but that place is for a whole other story, so keep posted for that! I would have to say that Battery Park is a perfect place for the people that don't do parks, trust what I say because it's true! I might not have exactly covered fifty shades but I know that If I was questioned about my time in NYC I could mention the full figure because I'm just a New York City Boy! I'll make a comeback soon BB! 

New York City ... You Threw Some Shade Girl!

Joseph Harrison 

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