Wednesday, July 29, 2009


There's something odd about waking up late (10-11), having a leisurely lunch, then starting work at 2pm and still managing to put in 8 hours a day by working until midnight... Anyway, did that yesterday and today. Yay.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What is the deal with "weekend?" Should call it WalkEnd

Another weekend passes and soon to be another Monday. Still doesn't feel like much of a separation between weekend and weekday. I even did a bit of work this weekend! Guess I'll start with Friday. Friday I woke up around my normal time and ate a quick falafel for lunch. Then worked in the park and in my sublet until like 8:15pm! Then I attempted to meet up with a group of people that I was trying to meet in a Malaysian restaurant in Little Italy. I got there about an hour early though (I didn't know when they'd made the reservations) so I waited and waited and realized the fallacy of trying to meet up with a group of Asian Americans right next to Chinatown...

So I texted the group's leader and she never got back to me so I ended up leaving and walking back to Washington Square Park, then to grab a quick dinner at the Papaya Dog, and finally back to my sublet to watch a movie. Oh well. Better luck next time I suppose.

Saturday I walked... and walked... I started out at my sublet (3rd st) after grabbing some Kati Rolls from the official Kati Roll restaurant right around the block from my sublet. I also grabbed a delicious cookie crunch cream puff from Beard Papa's on the recommendation of a friend. I then walked up Eighth Avenue towards Times Square and walked through the sea of humanity up towards Central Park. I knew there was some sort of performance going on at the Summerstage and, heck, I just like Central Park. I got the Summerstage and didn't really dig the music (a very heavy latin band) so I just kept walking. Made my way through the ramble towards The Great Lawn. I took some pictures of it since it was a lot less people saturated than the last time I was there (for the NY Philharmonic concert).

Then I kept walking north to the huge reservoir and walked (the wrong way) towards the upper west end of it. Finally I walked towards the north meadow and relaxed there for a while. Around that time it was starting to get to be dinner time so I looked up some restaurants in the area (Upper West Side) and decided on an authentic Mexican restaurant called Noche Mexicana. It was very good and pretty cheap for the amount of food you got. Anyway, that was at 103rd st (100 blocks north of where I started). I then made the long descent down towards my sublet again. I stopped in the Columbus Circle shops and also in Times Square to think philosophical thoughts of humanity. I also grabbed a pic or two of it because I realized that I'd never actually taken a picture of Times Square. Then made the rest of my way down to 3rd st again (stopping in Union Square for a little breather), covering over 200 blocks and something like 10-11 miles of ground.

Sunday I woke up and grabbed lunch at a local sandwich type shop. It was a pretty good ribeye steak sandwich at a decent price, though must be hard to compete with the Mamoun's right next door. Anyway, I looked up what was going on in NYC today and saw that there was a free folk music concert on Governor's Island today with Judy Collins, a Grammy-award-winning singer. I didn't really know who she was or really cared for folk music, but I figured it'd be fun to check out Governor's Island so I took the N train down to Whitehall station and found the ferry bound for Governor's Island.

The decks were pretty crowded but I managed to stake out a decent spot and tried to take a pic or two of the Manhattan view during the short cruise over to the island. Once there they seemed to be setting up or taking it down or something and I just started walking (again) towards the Great Promenade. The Great Promenade is a path that goes around the island; about 2.2 miles according to the signs and has some great views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan/Brooklyn. I took some pictures but it was so bright and sunny that I couldn't see very well to see if I was getting good pictures.

I made my way up to Picnic Point (the point closest to the Statue of Liberty) then back down again in time to get on the 4:00pm ferry back to Manhattan. I was standing on the deck again leaning against the doorway when I heard this loud commotion and lots of applause. Apparently there was Judy Collins, taking the same ferry back to Manhattan. She came up on the deck and had to kind of eke by me to get through the doorway with her entourage, so there was one of my first "brushes" with a celebrity here in NY since I moved up here. Twice actually (she came back out shortly afterward). When we docked there was a bunch of applause in the pier as the people waiting to board the ferry saw her. Took a while, but I finally was able to get through the crowd.

Walked up towards Battery Park to chill out a bit and grab an ice cream. Then walked up towards Brooklyn Bridge, stopping at the South Street Seaport where there were a lot of outdoor restaurants, booths, and street performers. Enjoyed watching some of them for a little while until it started to rain. Then it started to rain hard. I ran towards the closest subway station (Fulton St) and by then it stopped. Typical. So I walked back up trying to make my way further north and it started raining again. So I ducked into the closest subway station (City Hall St) and took an R back up to 8th St station. Then I had to run for it back to my sublet because it was coming down hard at this point.

Once I was in the safety of my sublet I waited out the rain (and hail, I believe). It was coming down really hard. When it finally seemed to ease up again, I ventured out through Washington Square Park (lots of downed branches including one huge one that fell behind me as I walked past). I'd the hankering some more good okonomiyaki and takoyaki, so I went back up to Otafuku on E 9th St to indulge myself. Ordered and spoke to the guy in Japanese and then made my way back to Washington Square Park to eat the yummy goodness. Then back to my sublet and that was my night. Just rained a bunch more here (loud thunder too), so looks like I made it back to my sublet just in time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh I Love a Rainy Night

Just another rainy day today. Woke up. Worked. For lunch I had the leftover half of my sandwich from yesterday. Still good! Worked until 5:15 or so, when I headed up to Korea Town for a try at some Bibimbap. It was good, but still searching for the wonderful Korean dish that as of yet I've only had in Ueno.

After dinner, I walked west a few avenue blocks to the AMC Loews 14 by Penn Station for a screening. The line was already ridiculously long, plus we had to wait out in the rain. They didn't start letting in until about 7:10pm either so I waited around almost an hour in the rain. Not fun. Anyway, I saw a screening of The Ugly Truth. It was pretty good!

By the time the movie ended, the rain had pretty much stopped so I walked the 30 blocks or so down 6th ave back to my apt.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What day is it?

I've noticed that without a point of reference like work where you go in 9-5 M-F, the days start to kind of blend in and it's harder to tell what day it is. The weekends and weekdays all seem pretty similar to me except on weekends I feel less guilty about not doing work.

Anyway, today is, in fact, Wednesday. Finally got a chance to sleep in today so woke up around 10:30. Got caught up on Emails and stuff, then checked out the Faicco Pork Store, a butcher shop just around the corner. Grabbed a huge sandwich that was quite delicious and ate half and stored the rest for tomorrow. After that I did work as usual until about 4pm or so. Then I decided to go run in the park, so I took the F up to 57th St and walked into Central Park.

I entered around the center of the park and ran all the way up to the Great Lawn, then cut across to the east road and started headed back down. I probably ran somewhere around 2-3 miles. Then I took the long walk down 7th Ave to Broadway all the way from 60th St to 3rd St, about 3-4 miles.

Took a quick rinse-off shower and headed back up to 5th Ave and E 17th St for a Chop't salad. It's an interesting institution. You tell 'em everything you want in the salad and the throw it on a big chopping board and chop it all up, then mix it up with a dressing of your choice. I opted for one of the "chef's selections" of a Monterey salad that was pretty good and a lot of food. Then I just walked back down to Washington Square Park and people-watched for a bit. Overheard someone say that Bob Dylan was discovered there. Anyway, after a bit, headed back to my apt to rest and write up my The Answer Man review and that was my day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back to Work

Monday I got up early (9:00am!) to go check out a couple apartments in the East Village. They were both pretty decent, but of course had their pros and cons. I think if I found a place where I didn't have to compromise anything, I'd jump on it immediately now that I've seen quite a few places and know what to expect.

After that it was about lunch time, so I walked to a local vendor by my sublet that I knew had cheap food and got a $3 gyro and a $1 Brisk tea (yeah... missing the Sweet Tea... I'm gonna have to learn how to make it). Then I do some work in the park until my next apt viewing. The broker lady calls though and basically convinces me not to go since I wouldn't be able to sign immediately. So I work until dinner time, then figure I'll go for some Thai food.

Good thing the best Thai food in the area is pretty close (according to Where The Locals Eat website). I get another good duck curry that was spicy, but had some lychees and pineapples... It was really good. Then I walk around the area a bit and head back to Washington Square Park where I people watch for a bit. Grabbed an ice cream from the Mr. Softee too. After a little while, I headed back to my sublet and that was my day! See? Not every day is an adventure.

Tuesday I woke up early again! 8:30am this time! That's not even counting being rudely awakened by the voice intercom at 5:45am! I had to be up at the Park Avenue Screening Room by 10am for a screening of the Answer Man, with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham. Today was a very rainy day in NYC. My umbrella came in handy this time. Took the F train to the 63rd and Lexington station and walked the rest of the way to 500 Park Avenue.

Got there with about 15 min to spare. There's already two older ladies in the back and one gentleman, who I learned was the Cranky Critic. Anyway, after some complaints about the weather and about some other movies, they get the movie started about 5 minutes after 10am. Only to stop it 10 minutes later! The rep comes in and says that there's one more reviewer who just called in and was going to be a tad late so they were going to start the movie over.

The Cranky Critic got to the bottom of it and apparently it was a NY Times reviewer. Typical. So they started the movie again and it was a decent romance comedy drama. Review to come. After the movie, I walk outside and it's still raining so I take the F back down to my sublet and then grab a bite to eat at Cabrito's, which is supposedly a good Mexican restaurant. It was pretty good, but not the "Tex-Mex" stuff I was expecting. Oh well.

After lunch I work a while and nap a while until dinner time. I guess a rainy day makes you pretty productive. For dinner I wanted to head somewhere close by because it was still raining. I also wanted to do something cheap because lunch was a tad expensive. I heard of Gray's Papaya and had walked past it a few time, so I figured I'd check it out. Supposedly they have really good hot dogs. I got the "recession special" which was like $4.50 for 2 hot dogs and a drink. I wasn't terribly impressed. I couldn't really tell the difference from those hot dogs and a $1 hot dog from a vendor down the street.

Walked through the rain back to my apartment and worked into the night. That was pretty much my day. :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend Fun

Had a nice weekend. Friday I had a few places to look at as I started my apartment hunt. Basically I know that most places are looking to start leases in August, so I'm a little early, but I decided to go ahead and start checking out some places so that I can get feel for what's out there and for what price ranges and such. I'll probably be keeping a separate page with my current apt hunt findings, but let's just say that over the weekend I looked at maybe 8-10 places and I'm getting a good feeling that I'll be able to find the place that I want for a price that I want in a location that I want. If I had to pick a place right now, I probably could and wouldn't be unhappy with my choice at all.

Friday night I met up with my DT friend Patrick in Washington Square Park, who happened to be in town this weekend. We dropped off his crap at my place and then went to eat at Soba-ya, a Japanese noodle joint I've been wanting to try out that makes their own noodles. We had to wait a while, but eventually got seated and I had a pretty good sea eel tempura udon. When we exited the restaurant it had started to rain so I finally got to use the umbrella that I'd purchased.

We met up with James on the corner of 3rd ave and 9th st and walked back to my place to get out of the rain and chill for a bit. Then I walked them to their respective subway stations and came back to sleep.

Saturday I looked at a bunch of places. 2 in the East Village, 1 in Chelsea (probably my number one choice right now), and 1 in Gramercy. For lunch I went to Papaya Dog and had a pretty decent cheesesteak. Dinner I went to Otafuku, a little hole-in-the-wall that makes authentic Japanese fair-food, including okonomiyaki and takoyaki! So I got a combo deal with some shrimp okonomiyaki and takoyaki! Yum. A bit pricy, but oh so worth it. Came back to my place and wrote up a review for Thirst.

Then I met some new friends at Von, a bar on Bleecker St not too far from my apartment. Basically, an old friend of my sister's has been living in NY for a while now, so she's been giving me some tips on living in NY and Saturday night I met up with her and some of her friends for some drinks at a pretty chill bar. After drinking and attempting to converse in the loud music, we got the munchies and walked towards St Mark's place and a place called Crif Dogs. I know this is going to sound disgusting, but it's basically a place where they deep fry the hot dogs. Oh so good. Oh so bad for you. Anyway, after chilling out there for a while, I got back to my sublet around 3 or so and slept pretty well.

Sunday I saw even more places! 3 in Chelsea, 1 in the East Village. I also went up to Times Square to try and see the Break Out in Song Week performance, but I missed it by 15 minutes. Upon recommendation by one friend, I checked out the Biryani cart to get some Kati rolls. Delicious. Apparently I'd already hit up this cart in the past trip up here looking for some cheap eats around Times Square, but it's still good. Then I just went to Central Park to relax for a little while before heading back into Times Square to do a friend a favor.

Basically my friend Lauren had sent a playbill up to the cast of In the Heights to be signed by one guy (Eliseo Roman, the Piragua Guy) that she had somehow missed. Unfortunately, he couldn't ever find the time to actually stick the self-addressed stamped envelope she'd also sent back in the mail so it'd been sitting in his dressing room for the past three months or so. So I went to the stage door after the matinee performance to try and find him and get it from him. In the process, I saw Mandy Gonzalez again, which was pretty cool (she plays Nina in the show). Anyway, I met Eliseo and was able to get the playbill and stuck it in the mailbox for Lauren.

Along the way on Broadway there was apparently some sort of market going on. Interesting. Anyway, I walked all the way back down to the East Village (breaking out into a run at some points to make my appointment in time) to see an apartment. Then took the L westward to Chelsea to see two more places. Then I grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local Chelsea diner, grabbed a few things at the market on the way home, then came back to rest once and for all...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Took it easy today. Didn't do much. Grabbed some takeout at a Chinese restaurant down the street. The food lasted for both lunch and dinner, so pretty cheap day today food-wise... Worked some in Washington Square Park. Went to a screening of Thirst, which is a Park Chan-wook directed Korean vampire movie at 6pm in the same Broadway Screening Room. Then I walked all the way down from 49th street to the sublet on 3rd street, grabbing a $1 hot dog with the works on the way and stopping to get more cash from the ATM. New York seems to need more cash than I'm used to; lots of places don't take credit card or have a minimum to use credit cards. Anyway, that was my day. Interesting note, they've blocked off large portions of Broadway around Times Square to help alleviate sidewalk traffic. Put some lawn chairs and stuff there too. Apparently it's staying like that until the end of the year.

Wednesday - Back to Work... ish

I woke up naturally, which was a nice change from recent mornings. Take a shower and check my mail. Look up some apartments and note that there's an open house in the location that I'm looking at, so I figured I'll check it out even though it's available ASAP just so I can take a look at what's available in that area for around what price range.

Lunch time comes around and I head downstairs and down the two blocks to Mamoun's to actually get a falafel this time. Of course there's a line. Grab my falafel and diet coke (for a total of $3.50!) and eat as per usual in Washington Square Park. Really not a bad way to start the day.

The open house is on 13th street and I have some time, so I head up to Union Square and chill for a little while. Then I walk over to the apt and ring the intercom, but no one answers... This was at 1:35pm and the open house was supposed to start at 1:30pm. I check the ad again to make sure I had it right... Wait around for a bit and finally the broker comes up. Apologizes for being late and lets me check out the place while he waits for others to come. I check out the place... it doesn't take very long... it's very small. Especially with the couch someone had left in there. It did have a very nice terrace though that was bigger than the apartment (though I think it might have been shared?)

Anyway, after that I walked down towards the sublet again past a Trader Joe's which I briefly enter. They had a line there that went around the entire store! It was absolutely absurd. Like they had people standing around with signs to designate which of the lines that wrapped around the store belonged to which lane (express or non-express). Too bad I didn't get a picture. I then walked to the Whole Foods and checked it out. The prices didn't seem that bad. Maybe my mind is just adjusted to this whole New York mindset. Anyway, their registers weren't as crowded, but still decently crowded (or maybe they just had more registers). I did get a picture of that one.

Took the shortcut through Washington Square Park back to my sublet where I cooled off and did some work. Dinner time came around and I looked up a good sandwich place. Turns out the "Where the Locals Eat" best bakery pick was right around the corner from me. Amy's Breads. Too bad they were out of sandwiches. So I just wandered around some more until I came upon a place called Lenny's, which I knew I read about online so I just ate there.

Afterward, I figured I was close enough so I went ahead and walked to the site of the RiverFlicks; a free movie night at Pier 54 on the Hudson River. It was pretty neat, but already decently crowded. I was also tired and didn't have a blanket to sit on and wasn't terribly interested in the film (Vicky Christina Barcelona) so I decided to skip it and wandered north along the Hudson a little ways. Saw a funky looking building too, which I took a picture of. Anyway, I lazily made my way down to my sublet again, but not before I came across one of the local grocery stores I wanted to check out to see if they were cheaper than the big stores. It wasn't... It was very expensive... and small... I left. Came back, worked some more, watched some Anime, and wrote this up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Night of the Burger

After waking up refreshed, I start the mundane task of shoving all my stuff back into the two suitcases I brought up here to move in to my sublet. Having three bags; one 75 lb big suitcase, one smaller carry-on, and my laptop bag, I opted for the more expensive taxi route instead of walking 15 blocks with that stuff, figuring out the semantics of dealing with the turnstiles, taking the N/W down to 8th St, then walking another 6 blocks or so. Of course, the problem with being in Astoria is I had no idea where the yellow taxi-cabs where.

I call up one private taxi company and they're like "Dude, just find a yellow cab; it's gonna be a lot cheaper than going through us." Deterred, I start walking a few blocks with all my crap and it's very unpleasant. Luckily a car from one of those private companies pulls up and asks if I need a lift. I tell him I'm going downtown and he estimates that'd cost about $40. Now using several taxi fare estimators, I knew that if I got an official yellow taxi-cab, I'd pay about $25 plus tip. I figured I might find one on Steinway and Ditmars so I continue heading down that way.

Then another car pulls up and asks where I need to go. I tell him downtown on W 3rd st and he asks how much I want to pay. I tell him $30 and he says ok. Score! We start heading into town when I realize that I don't have that much cash on me. He tells me $28 is fine (that's all I had on me) meaning it'd be about the same as a yellow taxi (after tip). He takes me across the Queensboro Bridge and down FDR and we get to the East Village pretty quickly. He has a very thick accent, but we had some interesting conversations and I got his number if I ever needed a hired car in the future.

Getting up to the third floor of the walk-up was fun, but I managed ok, got in and took a nap. Looking at the free events website, I found out the NY Philharmonic was playing a free concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park so I figured I'd make the trip up there to check it out. I also look up where an ATM is and a good place for dinner. I opted for the Corner Bistro in the West Village, which has gotten some pretty good rave reviews about the burger there. Didn't see a picture of Regis there. It was a pretty good burger though.

Took the subway up to 59th St and entered Central Park wandering northwards until I hit the Great Lawn. And boy did I know when I hit the Great Lawn... It was PACKED. So many people. I mean the Great Lawn is pretty big and it was literally covered from end to end with people and then some. I walk up and down the paths made by the police barriers used to section off the lawn and finally settled for a tiny spot I could find right in the center of the lawn. The people in front of me seemed pretty nice and even offered me a cup of wine. Some other people came and were pretty annoying; they talked the entire concert (they didn't even pay attention to the concert at all). Why didn't they pick somewhere else to talk?

Anyway, a bunch of people came up to talk introducing the NY Philharmonic, including some people running for office and also Alec Baldwin. The concert went on for a while (maybe a little over 2 hrs). They had an interactive "choose your encore" thing where people could text their choice between two songs for the encore piece. Of course this made all the cell towers very busy in the vicinity, along with all the people trying to contact their friends to meet up. After the concert there was a very brief fireworks display and then a huge sea of humanity exited the park. Quite an experience. I headed back to my sublet and that's it. I'm here writing up these entries. I'll try and post pictures of my sublet soon.