I spent Friday night hitting up some crazy fun bars on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The one with the Skeeball was awesome (unfortunately it is almost impossible to get the 500 points necessary for a free beer), and the Three of Cups was a cool place with intruiging music selection. Went to another 2 or 3 places, but they were all similar and no one stands out in my memory. I must say that I truly did not enjoy crashing at my friend's place at Columbia University, steam pipe heating systems are out of control, you can't sleep comfortably when you can't turn off the heat or open the window, as is the case in his guest room.
As for Saturday, the hour and a half subway trip from the Upper West Side, to the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn was miserable. I was fired up to try an authentic Brooklyn bagel after my many satisfied trips to the "Brooklyn bagel" store in Arlington (Courthouse). Unfortunately, my breakfast bagel was not so good. Correction: my breakfast bagel was horrible. I definitely do not recommend the bagel Hole. The "thanks for 20 years" banner is not an indication of quality that keeps people coming back, it is more likely an indication of low rents and a neighborhood with no tastebuds. Picture eating a rock shaped like a bagel and over flowing with butter. Lunch was good, delicious burgers on paninni rolls, at a much better Brooklyn restaurant (Bar Toto), I love Italian restaurant, there is always something good on the restaurant even when you are experimenting with new food (not all restaurants are like that, more later).
Much of Saturday was spent walking around Brooklyn in search of a seemingly nonexistent coffee shop, which I believe we walked by or very near as I found it online at Tea Lounge. Tragically the google text message service let me down. If you have never used it you must check it out here. Apparently if I had done "tea lounge nyc" instead of just "tea lounge" it would have worked. I find this interesting, because every time I have used the service it knows your GPS location and will tell you which compass direction and how far to go, so I would think a city indication would be unnecessary, but alas I was wrong and we had sore feet to pay for my arrogance and Brooklyn Friend's uncertainty of his own neighborhood.
Eventually we found our way to Manhattan and were taken by Japanese Friend to a wonderfully authentic Japanese restaurant near Times Square. I know it was authentic for two reasons.
1. My group were seemingly the only non-Japanese or Japanese descended people to occupy the restaurant
2. The menu was in Japanese with such limited translation that it would have been hard for me to order anything correctly without a translation.
I would recommend the restaurant to any adventuresome eaters, but would not necessarily classify it as a safety type restaurant. I tried some new foods, but my genetic inability to enjoy spicy, sea food, and/or vegetable flavorings, I was a disappointment at best.
The highlight of the whole weekend was ATB at Pacha. Japanese Friend and Capital Hill friend came out for the beginning and only Capital Hill Friend and I stuck around till the wee hours. Definitely a different experience than a night out in our nations capital. Not only were you still able to get drinks at 4 am, but there was still a significant crowd, upon our departure at 4:15 am or so. I enjoyed almost all the music ATB played, he started out with one of my favorite songs "ecstasy", the video for which has mysteriously vanished from his website, and continued through all of his good stuff, as well as some remixes of music I didn't know as well, but still enjoyed immensely. Unlike some other DJs I've seen in person, ATB delivers a fantastic, energizing and enduring show without watering down the music that makes his CDs so good, I can't wait for his new album to come out next month.
Other new york observations:
- HUGE, every time I come I see new neighborhoods, but am still overwhelmed by the immensity of the city and the variety of neighborhoods.
- Say what you will about reliability on the DC Metro, NYC Subway has them beat hands down for torturing visitors with many seemingly random train reroutings for the weekends, making any subway map useless.
- Cabs are by far the best way to get around, especially late at night. So much cheaper than in DC and the lights are timed to allow you to fly around town.
- If you haven't been there, go. If you've been there, go again. In my book, New York is the only city that America has done correctly (of course I haven't seen all that many cities outside the sprawling east coast).