Saturday, July 25, 2015

Last day

Here in the Big Apple, not much to do but tidy the apartment and prepare for home. After a leisurely morning trolling the climate change deniers on The Australian website, I go with Lynda for brunch at the Australian-run Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe on Greenwich Avenue, a haven for expatriates needing their Vegemite on toast, baked beans with eggs or a genuine flat white.

Washing done and time for a movie. We go to the historic Bow Tie Cinema on W 23rd to see Amy Schumer's first movie Trainwreck.

The movie is ok, if a bit formulaic, and passes the time.

What for the last meal? To Dallas BBQ for some down-home cooking,

  The chain serves meat and carbs, and lots of them, with large cocktails and upsized drinks. I go with the pulled pork burger, which emerges as a hamburger with pulled pork topping, sweet and smoked, on the burger,

Back to the apartment to pick up our stuff, leave the apartment with the keys and a card inside, to the C train to Penn Station, then the NJ Transit to Newark International Airport, bus to Terminal 2 and a wait for the Cathay Pacific plane strongly mitigated by a bottle of red and a cheerful waitress "Jyvette"

The best part of the day later, back in a rainy Hong Kong. We eat airport food at airport prices until the Perth plane arrives to take us home.

Final impressions of New York? Fashion stuck with distressed jeans,  mullet dresses and checked shirts for the boys, black wet-look skirts for young women. Not much obvious innovation in two years, tourists everywhere and the big danger in the mean streets is being bumped by people staring at their phones or e-books while they're walking. Prices up, and $AU down, so watch out for that.

Fun place to visit, the food is great and diverse and there's pop and real culture.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coney Island, Baby

Today we're visiting Coney Island, New York's fairground beach on the south side of Brooklyn facing the North Atlantic ocean. Once a prime attraction with up to a million people on the beach, it's by no means deserted but the attractions of the Cyclone roller-coaster and a day a the beach have diminished.

We start, as one does, with tasty treats from the "Nathan's Famous" hot dog store, built for crowds.

Rows of ketchup and mustard

A Chili Dog

Fried Frogs' Legs
Most of the beach's rides don't open until 12 midday, bike riding on the boardwalk is only permitted from 5am to 10am, and there's no swimming allowed until the lifeguards turn up at 10am. Fortunately there is a part dedicated to works of wall art for us to look at in the morning.

Behind this area is the new Thunderbolt roller-coaster which looks both more and less dangerous than the old Cyclone. Physics or wear-and-tear, take your pick.

The boardwalk is a pleasant perambulation, with several play areas inviting patrons to get hustled by buying ride credits and wrist-bands with fine print restricting their use.

The surrounding area was historically settled by Russians, and advertising billboards and signs are still written in both Russian and English. There is a flea market and some signs of renewal.

The train ride takes the best part of an hour, so we get back to Chelsea mid-afternoon and caffeinate until it's time to head down to NoHo for our evening meal.

Gabba Gabba Hey
Tonight we're eating at Le Philosophe restaurant, near to all the smart people from New York University. Apparently if you can name all the philosophers pictured on the wall, you eat for free. It's a genuine Frenchish bistro, strong on French cuisine and wine. I go with a pate de fois gras followed by a nice veal casserole - pardon, Foie Gras Torchon followed by a Blanquette de Veau. Lynda has a Salade Verte which looks very like green leaves followed by Tournedos Rossini, or steak dinner,

We were intending to go to a late movie, but a detour to Hudson Bar and Books made us feel a little tired for some reason and that was all he wrote.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Penn and Teller

Another hot day, so limiting the outreach to our eager American students today. Lynda is having another go at getting some Merrells shoes uptown, while I cruise down to Chelsea Market for some light shopping in air-conditioned comfort,

The chocolate and book shopping is very good - I anticipate some rejoicing as I bring home some blond Valrhona Dulcey chocolate - and I return home for a light lunch of doggy bag and wine.

We've an early booking at swish Theatre District restaurant The Lambs' Club, participating in the New York Restaurant Week promotion of cheapish price fixe meals,

The price fixe menu is short and to the point. I go with the Italian Burrata cheese appetizer with strawberries and sauces, which presents as a soft white cheese quite similar to Turkish breakfast cheese,

Mains is an Amish Chicken, slices of breast with small onions and heavily-sauced green weeds.

Finally there is the Valrhona chocolate mousse, with chocolate ice-cream.

Not bad value for $38 a head, though the bar makes a bit back with water, wine and tip, Your humble narrator is somewhat surprised to see that the men's urinal is packed with ice cubes for some esoteric reason.

From there, it's a short unsteady walk to the Marquis Theatre to see Penn and Teller, famed stage magicians and controversialists.

The show is very entertaining - Penn Jillette is a showman from central casting, and Teller the perfect silent straight man and Stan Laurel lookalike, Jazz pianist Mike Jones opens the show and provides incidental music. They perform ten magic tricks, usually explaining how they did it and debunking psychics and paranormal powers as they go. There's lots of audience participation and the audience members leave the stage with props as souvenirs, We pick up some merchandise for my son and his girlfriend, who are fans.

One is very cute - a copy of the Bill of Rights printed on a metal plate, It beeps if you go through the metal detector at airports "so you literally have to hand over your rights to the TSA to fly".

We walk back through Times Square, where the tourist crowds have parted just a little, to the C train and home.