A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Johnny257

Next time i come here i may never leave (Part 2)

The Bars, Coffee & Places of New York, New York


View Heading North on Johnny257's travel map.

This has been a long time in the coming but finally i have had the time (over a LONG RV trip) to finish writing & now the internet connection to post it.

Here is the second part of New York. The Bars, Cafes and Places that made an impact.

The Bars

Little Branch,
What only could be described as a black door leading down into the ground, opening the door you will hear the sweet smooth sounds of jazz, the murmur of patrons and the sound of cocktails being made. Descending the steep stairs into the mood lit establishment you will find yourself in one of the best cocktail bars in Manhattan. So hidden that Cassie, a friend who has been in NY for three years didn’t know about it. The cocktail selection is well put together with classics, adaptions and originals. One of the best selection of the cocktail menu is the last item on the first page, “Bartenders Choice”, letting the guys & girls behind the bar do what they do best.

Wythe Hotel
Seeing the sun set on the other side of the world is amazing, seeing it set through the Manhatten skyline is something else. From the roof top of the Wythe Hotel is one of the many roof top bars in the area but it is (in height at least) far above the rest of them.

The Coffee

Leaving with the dread that I will be subject to only drip coffee for the next two or so months I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that you can find some amazing café’s around New York. Many of these places are not far behind Brisbane’s best.
New York has an interesting café-work culture where a lot of creative and even some suits head to a café to enjoy coffee while working on a laptop. This culture is both embraced and rejected. Some places have free WiFi and power boards to connect into. Other have a strict no laptop policy deciding that they want people to simply enjoy their time there.
Most cafes are a strange mix of counter service where you talk directly to the barista who makes you coffee on the stop.

A proper coffee isn’t cheap, with prices being around the $4 mark it is very much on par with Australian prices (neglecting exchange rates).

WhyNot, The Village
Newly opened (about 2 months ago) this relaxed café is quite small in space but big in charm. The two guys who run it are definitely characters bringing a lot of atmosphere to the establishment.

Stumptown, Midtown
Good coffee and service. Extremely busy. The café is at the front of Ace Hotel, you can walk into the hotel lobby where there is ample desk and lounge seating and free WiFi to allow you to connect it needed or relax and read a book. The lobby is also home to a bar called The Breslin Lobby Bar while we were there coffees were quickly being replaced with something a little stronger.

Toby’s Estate, Brooklyn
The Australian Brand is making its mark over in New York. The café and roastery is located in a very trendy part of Brooklyn called Williamsburg which, to put it bluntly is hipster central. Amazing place and they appear to be doing incredibly well. The coffee is great, what you would expect from a really good Australian Café.

The Places

Manhattan Bridge
The walk over the Manhattan bridge shows a great deal of contrast between the rougher area of China Town, with its rooftops covered in graphetie and the smart, clean, modern Brooklyn apartments of glass and concrete.

Theater District.
The Theater District includes Time Square with all of its craziness. While we were literally in the mix of it all and in a very convenient location with resepect to the Subway and a lot of other places, it is not where I would like to live or really stay again. That is really only due to the fact that it is quite commercial

Brooklyn/Bumbo
Definitely up and coming, the area has a lot of hidden Gems which I couldn’t even describe to you how to get back to, but there was a series of “spaces” which were occupied by artisans of all kinds. These places included a Rap Radio station who also designed shirts and skateboards, silver jewelry designer who made predominantly original pieces, so much so that you couldn’t buy a set of earrings only single pieces, artists and designers of all sorts. The spaces are rented on a monthly basis with no contract so that you can leave your space when ever you wish.

Williamsburge
Aka Hipster Central. If you don’t wear thick rimmed glasses and have rolled up vintage jeans, you will feel like you don’t fit it. Despite its being hipsterish it is a really interesting area filled with thrift shops, art galleries and amazing café’s & restaurants. On Sundays they have a market down near the river with amazing food (including the best Pork Belly on a stick that I have ever had).

Manhattan
Manhattan is such a lively area, it is hard to sum up such a large collection of separate areas but it is amazing space filled with Life and Love, Arts and livelihood. There are amazing parts of Manhattan that really separate it from any city i have ever visited, there is an amazing number of parks and green spaces. Not only are these scattered around the city but they are also taken advantage of. On the weekends a there isnt a green area which doesnt have people picnicking, throwing a ball around, basking in the sun or simply walking through.

The Highline
I have been following this amazing reuse of infrastructure since it first was made public years ago. The project has been so successful that it is now going into its third stage. If you haven't seen or heard about this project you should explore its story. To actually walk The Highline was amazing, to see and experience a pinnacle project like this is incredibly inspirational as to how a small contingency of people can make such a huge impact on an urban space.

Posted by Johnny257 19:29 Archived in USA Tagged new_york great_coffee great_bars great_places Comments (0)

Over and back, now down and up

There will be a slight detour to mexico!

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The beauty of not going back to a job or house is that you can change when the opportunity arrises.

With a woozy head and slight dehydration, Matt D and I got up somewhat early and set off to meet a couple of his friends from Brisbane (Another Matt & Siobhan) to go for a bike ride on the LA boardwalk. They also have been travelling around the US on an extended holiday which was going to take them through Cuba and end in Mexico. Hitting it off with these fellow fun loving, easy to get along with Ozzie's they offered for me to join them and some of their other friends for two weeks in Mexico. Amazingly the dates have lined up well and i will be detouring after Los Vegas down to Mexico City for a week then catching up with Matt & Siobhan on the Mexican coast before heading up to Vancouver. Looking forward to some beach time before i head north! It does make me laugh that i am literally traversing the American mainland over and over again, first east to west & back, now south to north & back.

Posted by Johnny257 17:04 Archived in USA Tagged mexico detour new_friends Comments (0)

Next time i come here i may never leave (Part 1)

The People & Food of New York, New York

sunny 25 °C
View Heading North on Johnny257's travel map.

Its hard to believe that i have had two weeks here. It both feels like a lot longer and that it has gone in a flash. One thing is for sure thought, i love this city and will try my hardest to move here in the close future.

With so much to say it would be easy for me to ramble on to no end and really to no point so i'll break it down a little more into a couple of categories.

The People, the Places, the Culture, the Food, the Drinks and the Coffee

This will be the Part 1 of... hopefully 3 but maybe more.

The People

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New Yorkers seem to have a bad rap, they are said to be load mouthed, impatient, arrogant and most of all unhelpful. I have found this to be absolutely and utterly untrue. At any given point you can ask a New Yorker for directions or help and they will not only will they stop and politely chat to you, they will be extremely helpful and even potentially walk you part of the way.

In New York the stereotypes seem to hold true, in appearances at least. It was amazing to see classic characters like a fat Brooklyn Construction worker, A Hasidic Jew, Struggling Writer who sold personalised poems for $1, Fat Cop eating a donut with a coffee, Italian Deli Worker, Sluggish UPS worker, crazy guy who looks like a pimp, Graffiti Artist and so many more.

Food

There are a couple of gems that were disclosed to us while we were here. This sort of local knowledge cant easily be found in guidebooks amongst the million other suggestions of places to try.

The Meatball Shop, Brooklyn (really Williamsburg). 170 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY
These were the best meatballs I have ever tasted. You can choose your own meatball type (classic beef, chicken, spicy pork…), sauce which it comes in, pasta or other “base” and then sides. The place was packed on a Monday night which is always a great sign. I cannot believe how delicious it was.

Dumplings, China Town. 46 Eldridge St, New York.
On one of the last nights we were in NYC we went to a little hole in the wall dumpling place which was recommended by Cassie. She promised delicious dumplings for next to nothing. It turned out to be a bustling hive of activity of both China Town locals and people from all over NYC.
The front man is a quirky older gentleman who speaks broken English with a thick accent, making it hard to understand

Fresh fruit and Veg
The best fruit you can get without going too far out of your way is street vendors where you can buy 3 tubs of blue berries for $5 or 4 bananas for $1. Our blue berries were about 70% good but even after throwing out the bad the value is amazing.

Okay more will come in the coming days.

Posted by Johnny257 22:21 Archived in USA Tagged people new_york great_food Comments (0)

Up, down, almost sent back, cancelled & 16 hours later.

An extra 15 hours in LA


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Even before the the plane finishes taxiing to the runway we are all dead asleep in the exit row. Im sure that they were concerned that, if needed, we might not wake up...

The whole thing started about 48 hours before this when i rushed to pack the last of my things that were scattered around my old room into my backpack, leaving absolutely nothing behind but a bad filled to the brim with my suits and by deadly treadly (10 speed race bike). After saying goodbye to one of the most gorgeous girls i have ever met & choking down the lump in my throat, i threw my overloaded backpack into the back of my friends car and we headed off to have breakfast and one last coffee before heading to the Brisbane Airport. After final good byes to great friends and housemates the journey finally began... through the airports.

BNE to LAX flight was good, well as good as a 16 hour flight can be, leaving in the morning made sleep a little difficult but did provide some amazing views out of the window. We were flying against the rotation of the earth which compressed a day into a much sorter time. That combined with crossing time zones meant that we landed a little over 3 hours on the same day that we left, an odd thought to try to deal with.

Once we were off the plane the fun really stared to begin. Sleep deprived and weary eyed i lugged my body up to the US immigration desk where the unfortunate immigration officer had to ask each question a couple of times for my brain to spin into gear and allow me to be able to properly respond. After this we collected our bags and headed towards customs, where i was pulled aside and talked to regarding my VISA. The officer noted that my flight out of the US is more than 4 months after my flight in, apparently the Visa Waver Program only allows me to spend 90 days in the country, meaning that he could literally escort me back to the departures lounge and onto another plane back to Australia... thankfully after a little time explaining that i would be dividing my time between the US and Canada that i fell under the 90 days and the officer just being a really nice guy, he let me continue to the customs area. Where i was once again pulled aside, and directed to a customs check area. Expecting to have all of my things pulled out of my already popping bag i slumped into a bit of sadness. Thankfully after 5 minuets waiting to open everything up the customs officer said that everything was fine and walked me to the exit...

After finally finding Matt and Anna who were patiently waiting for me outside of customs we made our way through the airport to find out that our plane was delayed by 6 hours until 2pm. After making it to the front of the customer help desk line to see if we could change it to an earlier flight we discovered that the flight had been cancelled and that we would be flying out at 10pm, making it into NYC around 7am the next day. A little frazzled and disappointed we decided to exit LAX and head for the beach. With nothing but our carry on luggage and uncomfortable shoes we spent the day in a daze around Santa Monica and went out to the Pier. The festival spirit was a little lost on our weary souls but the surf and sun certainly lifted our spirits.

After having some incredible sushi and making the best of the day we headed back to LAX, exhausted we collapsed into our seats and i fell asleep soon after the plane pulled away from the gate. Only waking after at least a couple of hours, not realising we had even taken to the air.

Posted by Johnny257 16:21 Archived in USA Tagged planes la immigration transit Comments (1)

The time is nigh

But i have not yet accepted it.

sunny 22 °C

3 days left before i hop on a plane with what will be eventually my 6 counterparts (plus anyone else we pick up along the way).
It honestly still hasn't hit me that i am leaving so soon and that i wont be coming back to the life which i am leaving. Despite the fact that i am now sleeping on a air mattress in an almost empty room, have no job or personal transport, and im now saying "Good bye" rather than "See you soon"... life still feels kind of normal. Im some ways i am reluctant to accept it, as before any big change, everything at the moment is awesome. I am surrounded by amazing friends who have told me that i will be sorely missed, i have been offered amazing opportunities & met some amazing people who i will be sad to leave. BUT that is the way it goes, onwards and upwards too what, only God knows.

Posted by Johnny257 20:58 Archived in Australia Tagged brisbane 3_days_left leaving_soon Comments (0)

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