Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Big Apple

After the Boston trip, Lydia, Verity, and I hopped on a bus and headed for the big apple. To me, New York was a very mixed experience; on one hand, it is a very beautiful city, with brilliant architecture, heaps of things to do, and places to see, and yes, we had tons of fun, but there is also so much about the city that rubs me the wrong way. I'll get into that later (after the fun bits).

We didn´t arrive in New York until later on in the evening, so we didn´t get up to too much mischief on the first night (we just met up with Ver´s sister Felicity and her BF Joules) who kindly offered to put us up in their apartment for the first couple of days in our New York experience. The second night was a bit more eventful, as Lydia, Joules, and I headed off to a New York Comedy club to catch a show. There, we had maybe a few too many beer, which resulted in a lot of good comedy material for the comics (seeing as how we were front and center...... and Lydia actually managed to shush a comedian during his set)! According to most of the comics at the show, Lydia and I love each other too much and Joules wears clothes that are too small:) It was all in good fun though, as after the show, one of the comics even decided to go out with us for some after partying (Ruhbin Mehta - hilarious, so check him out if possible). The day after the comedy show wasn´t quite as funny, however, as both Lydia and I had apocalyptic hangovers!

Here are some photos from some other events we got up to in New York:

Here we are in Grand Central Station.... yup, it´s pretty grand!

Amazing architecture is everywhere in New York. Most of our fun in the city came from just walking around and looking up. Unfortunately, we didn´t have the best background knowledge in building names, so we kept seeing these grandiose buildings and thinking.... WOW, the Empire State Building...... wait a second, that´s not the Empire state building! Pop quiz, what is the name of the above building? 500 points to the first person to get it!

This is the headquarters of the UN, along with a plaque that is posted outside the building. I think Isaiah still has to wait for this one to come true.

Time Square, nuf said.

Lydia being all statuesc´. This picture was taken outside the box office for the Broadway Show Avenue Q, which was the show we were intending on seeing while in New York. Unfortunately, we got our dates wrong as to when the show was playing, and the night we went to go see the show (the day before we left) was the one day the show wasn´t playing, meaning we weren´t able to catch a Broadway show this time.
We were able to catch somewhat of a different production while in New York, however, as we went to North America´s #1 ranked haunted house: Nightmare Superstitions. We got a good student rush rate for the haunted house, and got to take in all the twisted fun. In the haunted house, two of the following actually happened, and 1 did not, I´ll leave it for you to work out which one didn´t happen:
a) We witnessed a child birth

b) Both Lydia and I were sprayed in the arm with monster secretions

c) Lydia was brought back to her farming days in a chamber of hanging rabbits

If you guessed (b), you are correct. We were actually sprayed in the face with monster secretions!
Some more of the brilliant architecture in New York:

Empire state building at night (95% sure).

I always thought that Lydia´s dance moves were one of a kind, but this series of photos proves otherwise. Not only is the giant M&M copying her in the picture above, but in the picture below, our flightless bird friend from the Antarctic (currently residing in the central park zoo), busted the exact same move as her later that day!


The central park zoo is small, but very fun, with several adorable animals!

Top 3 highlights of the central park zoo include:

3) a polar bear that was trying to get a large stick into a small cave.... keep trying buddy!

2) A battle royal of baby dwarf mongooses! Did you know that if you equip a mongoose with an enchantment it gets +2/+2? Inside joke to fellow geeks out know who you are.

1) A snow leopard. Nothing funny to say here. It was just a magnificent animal!

Another highlight of our New York trip was winning tickets to the Late Show with Dave Letterman. About 2 months before our trip, I entered our name into an online lottery draw for tickets, and by chance, my name was drawn the day before we left the island! I was then able to answer a trivia question to attain free tickets to the show!

Of course, when you go to watch the late show, you have to get a sandwich with Rupert G at the Hello Deli beforehand (notice Rupert in the background)!

Lydia enjoying a mouth full... probably will kill me for posting this pic :)

But she can´t be mad now, because here´s one of me :)

The show we saw was awesome! We got to see Charles Barkley, Baba Buey, and KINGS OF LEON!!! KOL in particular were SWEET! It´s awesome too, because Lydia and I were disappointed that we couldn´t catch a KOL show earlier because we were saving for our trip, but KOL came through for us for free anyway (it always works out for us).

I thought I was going to be on the actual show too for giving a WOOT for Canada during the taping but they edited me out... bastards! To get back at them, here (above) is a picture of the studio that I wasn´t supposed to take :P

A wicked free activity to do in New York is to catch the Staten Island ferry, which gives terrific views of the statue of liberty and Ellis Island. HIGHLY recommended!

Once Lydia was done taking shots with the Statue of Liberty, she crushed it with her fingers!

More free fun includes walking around FAO Schwartz:

Unfortunately, I was mauled at FAO by a wookie. Damn him and his Bowcaster attack!

In FAO Schwartz, you can actually make your own Muppet (see video above)! I would so take one home with me if I wasn´t backpacking!

Also in the free New York fun category includes strolling around the beautiful Central Park!

With an ice rink!

And now for the unpleasantness of new York (and no, I'm not talking about the Naked Cowboy of Time Square, which is actually quite amusing, nor the wafts of urine in the air common in most big cities, although that is present too)....

As soon as you step foot off the bus, you notice that New York is ridiculously crowded. Walking down the streets of Manhattan is reminiscent to a stroll down an isle of a mega-Wal-Mart during a Boxing day sale. The next thing you notice is how generally unhappy and unfriendly so many of the people are. I´ve never seen a cashier roll her eyes at someone for trying to purchase a $3 item with a $20 bill before (because breaking a $20 is such a big deal). Nor have I witnessed two grown women (about 50 or 60 years old) get into a shoving match over a public transit seat before I went to New York!

I think part of the reason why I am slightly jaded about the new York experience comes due to the fact that we spent the second half of our time in the slums on the outskirts of the exclusive city (within Manhattan, the cheapest 2 star hotel costs around $300/night, meaning we had to go elsewhere). During our time spent in the "real" New York, we witnessed more than a few crowning achievement in human society:

- When finding our hotel in Queens, we overheard one man say the following on his cell phone:
- "Do me a favor. Uncuff him! Yea man, just let him go for me"
- "I'll be there in a couple. Give me your weapon!"
- "Get it ready, pull the pin out!"
- "Man these Fu$=@"& cops are giving me trouble!"

If it wasn't fun enough that the guy was sitting next to us, he also decided to get off at our hotel stop (during which time, he scanned the streets through the bus window for his buddy with the gun)! Needless to say, we waited to get off at the next stop!

- On a separate occasion, we overheard a group of 15 year old boys talking about their recent knife and pepper spray fight.

- On yet another occasion we saw a guy in our hotel admiring his recent stab wound in the lobby.

The topper in our "real" New York experience came when we were taking the subway over to Manhattan for the day, but in our subway car, we found a guy who was passed out, twitching, and covered in human waste. What I didn't understand though, was why everyone just went to the next car and didn´t go for help! Lydia and I got off the train to get some help for the poor guy, but when we found the transit security guard and informed him of the situation, the guy literally laughed in our face and said "welcome to New York". I'm sorry, but I would never want to live in a place with such disregard for human life! It is such a backwards culture from what I've grown up with! Without getting too much into the topic, this ignorance disgusted me, and really made me grow a strong disliking for the New York culture and social structure.

On a happier note, jumping ahead a few steps, Lydia and I are now in Cartagena Colombia and having a ball! Updates on South America are due next!


  1. Sounds like you guys are having a blast so far! I love all the pictures and look forward to hearing more about your adventures!

  2. Enjoyed the read!! and Pics!! and comedy!! Looking forward for more!!

  3. Drinking with comedians?? Furry woodland creatures? Muppets AND Star Wars??

    I'm totally not jealous guys... *sigh*

  4. Awesome blog post Ty and Lydia. Really entertaining and educational at the same tine! Dad and I watched it together and had a lot of laughs. And who knew that Verity's stint as Miss Victoria took her all the way down to Columbia! Take care guys. Love you lots! Mom and Dad

  5. Thanks guys! Brian, we actually saw you down at the beach today with sunscreen all over your face! I´m guessing that wasn´t actually you in Santa Marta though :(

    Yes mom, I think that Lydia and I discovered Ver´s deep dark secret, working in the Colombian emerald business. Very interesting stuff!