Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm not in NY anymore

The rest of my stay in New York went so quickly that I hardly had any time to check my e-mail, let alone think about what I'd seen, experienced and felt and convert those musings into a blog entry. I had an absolutely incredible time and I really feel like I gave it my best shot.

Some of the things I did:
Coney Island and Brighton Beach was a super day out. Coney Island lies at the southernmost tip of Brooklyn (and therefore also Long Island) and was a crazy experience. It is often referenced in pop culture, from films like Pi to songs by Franz Ferdinand (see: Eleanor Put Your Boots Back On). We took a long ride there via Staten Island ferry and then a bus over the Verrazano Narrows bridge before we arrived at the faded pastels of the eccentric peninsula community. We rode the Wonder Wheel and opted for the swinging capsules, which had some swing, but we had some beautiful views of the seafront and Manhattan in the distance. We also plucked up the courage to ride the Cyclone Rollercoaster - a wooden rollercoaster with several near vertical drops. I hadn't been on a proper rollercoaster in 7 years so it was really exihlerating. Pete bought the photo of us as we went down the first big drop and it's hilarious. I didn't realise how brown I was until I didn't recognise myself in the picture. Haha!

Brighton Beach is the next nabe along the coast from Coney Island and it could not be further removed from the Brighton we all know and love (apart from the fact that it has a beach). It is THE Russian neighbourhood in NY, everything is Russian, the people, the clothes, the lettering, the fashions, the restaurants. It was amazing. We went into a couple of shops and they spoke Russian at us - the community is so insular that it's hard to imagine why anyone non-Russian would be there. Luckily some of the useful Russian phrases I'd learnt in Moscow would come in use. We ate in a Georgian restaurant that evening - a delicious three course gigantic meal with wine for a mere £10. Incroyable!

Another really interesting thing was visiting the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, recommended to me separately by my friends Deborah and Beth. The Lower East Side is a pretty hip area these days, with lots of great bars and clubs, snazzy vintage shops and y'know interesting graffiti and good ethnic cheap eats. Like all the 'cool' areas in New York it hasn't always been cool (OMG) and it has been an immigrant area since the 1860s. The museum consists of two preserved tenements with rooms kept as they would have been at different stages in LES' immigration history. There are two tours and ours followed the lives of a family of German Jews who stayed in the building in 1890 and then an Italian family who lived there in the 30s. I'd highly recommend it if you are interested in that kind of thing.

I'll update some more soon. Where we are staying in Montreal (lovely, btw!) has free wi-fi so I'll be updating in my free windows of time more freqently!

posted by Robbie de Santos at 6/23/2007 03:52:00 pm


Anonymous Déborah said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the rest of your stay. Did you have time to go to Misshapes?

Blogger Robbie said...

We did, yup, we went on the last Saturday. The music was really good but it wasn't too busy. I did have my photo taken (the most important bit) so when they upload that week's photos, we'll see if I was cool enough to go online!


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