NEW YORK: day one

I’m back in my home town of NYC for a week and rather than email everyone with dazzling tidbits of my adventures, I decided to finally do what people have been screaming at me for years: START A BLOG.

So, here I am, in New York Fucking City.  It’s 3am and outside everyone is still awake, roaming the streets and enjoying the bars and restaurants that are all still open.  And what am I doing?  Screwing around on a computer and starting a blog.  Oh, and thanks to my buddy PJ for lending me a Macbook Pro to keep me company on this trip.  Without you, I’d surely be outside right now doing something stupid and/or fun [Yes, I do have my own laptop, and should again as soon as my psycho ex-girlfriend gives it back.]

Anyway, let’s set the wayback machine for 24 hours ago and see how this crazy adventure got started…

This is what greets you as you enter the secret NYC bunker of 2600 Magazine. [www.2600.com] Publisher Emmanuel Goldstein was kind enough to let me hole up here during my stay in the Big Apple (believe it or not, there’s actually a bed squeezed in amongst the supercomputers, ethernet cables and cease & desist letters).  Why am I staying at 2600 Magazine?  Partly because it’s a great place and a nerd’s paradise, but mostly because all my cheap-ass friends who used to live in Manhattan moved out.  Sure, I could stay in Jersey or Queens, but then again I could also just spend a week in Van Nuys.  Besides, if you’re not in Manhattan, you’re not walking distance to this:


Everyone knows about the famous NY pizza, bagels, cheesecake and she-males, but who knoweth Gray’s Papaya?  Whether it’s Gray’s or Papaya King (a competing chain which inexplicably offers exactly the same fare), there is no NY tradition more New York than this.  Why?  Because, although they may not be up to the high NY standards, at least you can get pizza, bagels, cheesecake and she-males anywhere you go; but this:

…is NY-only, my friend.  Sure, you can get hot dogs anywhere, and while they won’t be NYC hot dogs, they can get you over your craving… but the fresh papaya juice this place serves up is like liquid, orange crack.  Why is it so good?  They say it’s simply 100% papaya juice, but either they grow their own, special, proprietary papayas on a magical crackfruit tree or they put something in that stuff because it’s more ungodly delicious than anything you’ve ever tasted.  I mean you start with one cup of the stuff and then after you walk a few blocks and realize it’s gone you’re ready to turn right back around, give the guy a $20 and just shove your mouth under the tap until your stomach bursts.  The other legendary thing about this place is the “recession special,” which is oddly always available: two hot dogs and a papaya juice for $3.50.  You’re lucky to get even one hot dog in LA for 3 bucks, let alone a hearty, nutritious meal like this!  For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray’s_Papaya

About an hour after a steak dinner at a fine, 24-hour french restaurant, I felt the irresistible pull of the Papaya and scarfed down what you see above.  By the way, did you notice the subtle, political endorsement in the window?  The rest of the world may look to newspapers or TV anchors for guidance in choosing our next president, but in NY, if someone gives you lunch for $3.50, you listen!

By the time Emmanuel and I finished chowing down and roaming the city in his attention-getting Smart Car [http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/], it was close to 3am and time for dessert!  Having been two years since I was back in the city, there was only one clear choice to bring the evening to a culinary conclusion:

Ah, nothing says dessert like a 3am slice of sausage pizza from Geno’s (trust me, it looks (and tastes) much better in person than it does in that crappy cell phone pic).  After an evening of sausage bruschetta, steak, hot dogs, papaya juice and pizza, I was finally ready for bed.

I love NY!

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April 2008

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