New York City. Of all the cities in the world, I think New York is possibly the most recognizable. At least I think so. With a population of over 8 million people, it’s one of the largest cities in the world. It houses a large financial district which controls a large portion of the world economy I’m sure. It’s also the city that rose from the ashes after 9/11. I have been fortunate enough that I have had the chance to visit this city more than once.
On my way back frrom Toronto in 1995, I remember thinking about how could I ever possibly top or even match the Faith No More concert. I realized that going to NYC to see David Letterman wouldn’t be better than Faith No More, but it would be damn cool. So, I set my sights on getting to NYC the following year.
In 1996, I had saved some money, and got tickets for The Late Show with David Letterman. I remember I was having a hard time finding someone to go with me but then found my good friend Cheez (Chris Goldsmith) who seemed quite interested in heading down there for a few days. The plan was to stay for an entire week. Cheez had a relative that lived near Boston and had found out about a campground near the city that we could camp out in, and then take the train into the city. This sounded like a good idea since driving in New York would be insane.
It’s about a 13 hour drive from Moncton to New York so me and Cheez split up the driving between us and it was a long drive but we eventually made it to Croton Harmon campground. One thing that I’d like to point out, on our way there, we had to take an exit to get on highway 9 which would take us directly to Croton Harmon. The exit for highway 9 lead to a street where we had to turn left or right. Turning left took you south on the 9 and right took you north. I would have never known it at the time, but 3 years from then, I’d be turning right to go to Poughkeepsie, NY which is where I would live for a year, working for IBM. It never even occured to me til long after I had moved down there that I had taken that route before. Talk about odd.
Regardless, we went into the city and did the typical tourist thing. We spent a lot of time walking. It was the one thing I wasn’t expecting to do a lot of. Now, I realize that just walking aorund NYC can be a lot of fun and I recommend it to anyone who ever visits the city. We saw Grand Central Station, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and the Hard Rock Cafe. We also went into a pile of different little shops in downtown Manhattan. It was really cool to see all these different places that we had seen on TV.
Seeing David Letterman live was awesome. It’s a totally different experience to see him live than to watch it on TV. Me and Cheesz got a couple of his cue cards from his monologue as souvenirs and I actually wore my big moose slippers in the theatre.
Regardless, that trip ended early because it had rained the entire time we were in NYC so we got sick of camping in the rain and drove home. It was a cool trip, and it wouldn’t be my last.
In 1997, I went back to NYC with (at the time) my friend Jennifer, Robert, & Marc. We went down there to get a subway token (which I still wear), and walked around for part of a day and then came home. It was one of those instant last minute trips we just decided to go on. We didn’t see a whole lot but we did catch a glimpse of Stephen King walking into a limo. That was kinda cool.
In 1999, I got hired to go work at IBM in Poughkeepsie (pronounced puh-kip-see), New York which is about 90 minutes north of Manhattan itself. When I moved down there, I spent a lot of time in the city since it was so close now. I could hop on the train and be there in no time. During my time as a resident of New York, I saw more things in the city and more of the same. I saw Phantom Of The Opera, Nutcracker, went to Rockefeller Center, visited the village, central park, NBC Studios store, and a pile of other places. I also saw some famous people. Henry Winkler (the Fonz), Penn from Penn & Teller, some MTV VJ, and Polly Shore. I also attended to concerts for the band Mr. Bungle. One at The Bowery Ballroom (featured at the end of Cowboy Ugly) and one at The Irving Plaza.
In 2000, me and my then wife Jennifer took her friend Vicki & Jason to NYC for a weekend. We did all the typical NYC stuff since they had never been there before. We didn’t get to see anything too seriously cool but it was still a lot of fun.
In 2003, I had been craving a serious road trip for awhile, so after finally going back and forth on when I would go, I got my friend Hosford and his friend Walter to come with me to NYC. It was another one of those more or less last minute trips that I just felt the need to take. That trip was pretty cool as I got to see something I had never caught while in NYC. A museum. We went to the Museum of Modern History which also included a lot of artwork. I was never much of a museum person but it was definitely worth the money. I got a LOT of good pictures of some really neat things. Old ancient Egyptian tombs, and art. Very nice stuff. We also went to visit the site of Ground Zero. In all the times I had been in NYC, I had never gone to the world trade center. I have pictures and video but was never actually there. I have to say that standing there at GZ was very creepy and had a sort of morbid feeling to it. It’s not easy to describe but it was freaky. The one thing about that trip that was cool was that we saw Conan O’Brien shooting a skit for his show on 51st & 6Ave. We got to be in it!!! There was a huge crowd of people and the deal was that they all had to chase Conan down the street. They were signing people up when we were there so we got to be in it. It was very cool to be part of that.
In summer of 2004, I took Tamara to New York City for the first time. She had never been there and she had always heard me talking about it and the different things you could do and see. We spent a lot of time going places I had never been to before and got to see The Blue Man Group among other things.
I don’t know what it is about that city that keeps drawing me back there but I would go back over and over again if I could afford it. I don’t know so much about driving there again. It will probably be awhile before that happens, but none the less, if you have the chance to go to NYC, do it! You will NOT be disappointed.