Published: July 24th 2012July 24th 2012
So, it's Monday 23rd July, I've found a Starbucks near Central Park and am trying to cobble together one big blog to cover the last week or so since the first two days I was in Miami. Some of it is a blur, some of it is crystal clear so here it goes...
Miami...11th to 15th July...
Since the last blog on the 12th..Burger took me to a cool Sush place for dinner, Red Dragon Roll was amazing, never had anything like it before, so much better than your standard M&S box! Mays and Cockney arrived at 11pm at Ft. Lauderdale airport so Burger and I drive up there to pick them up. Burgers pointing out landmarks for me as we go, twin opera houses, stadiums, up/mid/down town areas all the while the staple Miami house music is coming from his stereo. Strikes me as a cool place to live does Miami, not as busy as London or New York, but still cool as f**k, with ace restaurants, bars, clean as anywhere I've ever been streets and South Beach to top it off.
We basically pick them pair up, quick turn around at Burgers getting changed and back out by around 1am, standard going out time in Miami! Burger takes us round a load of cool Spanish bars and a token Irish pub.. Back home circa 6am after getting massive hot dogs and more beers on the way home..everything is pretty much open till 6am around here.
Next day, Up and out for breakfast. Everyone in Miami eats out all the time and when the foods so nice why the hell not?! We take a trip over to South Beach and spend a few hours on the beach. The view from the roof of the Clevelander bar was unreal, beach, blue sky and clear water :-). On Ocean Drive which runs parallel to the beach we managed to get a spot next to whichever hotel it was we sneaked into (told them Mays was a guest at the hotel!). Perfect pool and beers in the sun to finish the afternoon. Went to see the Miami Marlins baseball game that night against Washington... Have to admit, I'm not a baseball fan..way too slow for my liking, but we did see a home run which was pretty cool. Back to Burgers via a liqueur store to get ready for a night out in mid-town. Plenty of vodka and red bulls later we head out just gone 1am, few bars near by then onto a lounge bar, a kind of cool dingy bar with a small dance floor... Ended up getting a bottle service table which was $260 between the lot of us but they basically bring a bottle of vodka and all your mixers/ice/glasses etc to the table so you don't have to waste time queuing at the bar! Well worth it :-)
On saturday morning we head straight down to burgers pool after some breakfast. One thing that is guaranteed to banish a hangover is bombing into a pool in the blistering sun.. I could have spent all day there.. We went to try and get a water taxi up the canal system but were too early so back to the pool to recover some more so we could start drinking again for our last night in Miami. This nights a bit of a blur, we stayed local as to get into places on South Beach involves not being in a big group of lads and a shed load of cash, both of which we did not have! More liqueur store action and standard leave of the apartment at 1am.. To the Irish pub which was pretty cool as far as Irish bars abroad go.. Then I think we ended up at the club next door called Blue Martini which is a stylish club by a shopping complex. All I remember of this place is more house music and more vodka...
So, that was Miami, humid, hot, vodka, house music and very f**cking cool...
Flew Sunday evening to New York.. Felt horrendous and like I was on a vodka red bull come down.. Sandwiched in between your typical chunky Americans on the plan... Couldn't wait to get to my hostel bunk bed, that's how hanging I felt.
Once I'd landed at La Guardia, I got a shuttle bus to Grand Central Terminal, pissing it down with rain but still around 28 degrees at 9pm so ended up getting soaked walking 15 mins to my hostel, check in and pass out (after a cheeky McDonald's in Times Square!)
Free breakfast of coffee, bagles, pastries and Muffins, America, F*ck Yeah! Felt more human after that so caught the Subway down to TriBeCa, went on a 4 hour walk around TriBeCa, headed north up the hudson river. Spent ages in and around one of my favourite areas, Greenwich Village, the home of Dylan, numerous beat poets, Uma Therman to name a few that I found out about on my walk. Ended up walking all the way back up mid town south central to Times square and went for a well earned beer in the hostel bar!
Decided to check out one of the roof top bars that night so went to Mad46 which is on the 20th floor of the Roosvelt Hotel on Madisson Avenue. One of the best things about New York is not just what's going on at street level but way up high in amazing skyline, London will never get to be this iconic and varied, never. There's too much politics and planning restrictions in London. On my way home I stumbled upon a free movie screening at Bryant Park 6th Av and 41st which is only a few blocks from my place. It was packed with people watching Roman Holiday, I only stayed for 15mins as it was half way through.. It was absolutely packed with people watching a black and white movie in the evening heat wave, was cool to just hang around and soak it all in. Checked out the parks website and HBO are doing a series of screening so might go check out The Maltese Falcon next Monday, i'm a reet culture vulture :-)
On Tuesday I decided to check out the Brooklyn Bridge in the morning. Caught the subway down to South Ferry terminal. Having lived in London for so long the subway system is so easy to use, I even helped out some 'tourists' with a metro card and directions!!
Walked around south east Manhatten, Wall Street, and up over Brooklyn Bridge (stopping in a few air conditioned department stores as it was so hot, Superdry is still better in Manchester though!). OMG, yep, the views of the skyline looking back at Manhatten deserve an acronym, fo-sho! Amazing views on such a hot (36 degree!) day. Then headed back over the bridge, past City Hall, through the financial centre towards the World Trade Centre memorial and the new Freedom Towers which look fantastic even though it's in the middle of construction. Can't believe the transformation of the area since 9/11, definately gives you a feeling of being in the world and that the buildings are once again set to dominate the NYC skyline after such a huge tragedy.
In the afternoon I walked up to Central Park to chill in the roasting heat. Did a bit of reading up on John Lennon who was shot outside his apartment block, the Dakota buidling on 72nd Upper East side. Went and found the memorial in the park which is this mosaic of the word 'Imagine' with roses and other items left in his memory, loads of people just hanging around, there was definitely a feeling of reflection in such a busy bustling park area.
That night i went for a few beers with Cockney, Chrissy, his brother, cousin Henry and his wife..on the upper East side. Loved that area, totally not busy with tourists and just a normal (if that exists in this city!) New York residential area. Wednesday 18/07 I spent the day looking into New Zealand and booking my hostels for next week. I decided to book a trip down to Washington DC for the following Wednesday so i can go check out the White house, pentagon and all the other geeky tourist stuff...Also booked LA hostel, the Banana Bungalow, sounds interesting, but it's on Hollywood Boulevard, so bang near all the tourist stuff...
Checked into Hilton on 7th Av then went on a 3 hour walk down to Lower East (bit dirty and like east London), over to China Town (rammed) and up to Little Italy (pretty much just one street, still pretty cool to go from one area to the next in just one street, this city is so compact).Met Cloughy, Pricey, little Tom and Burger, trip down to Times Square and back up to our Hotel. Headed back to the Hilton to get ready for some beers with some of Chrissy's friends and other wedding guests. At the Hilton my room was on 31st floor looking north towards central park, amazing views and well worth the money after the last few nights in a Hostel top bunk!! Smashed a load of beers, $13 for a bucket of 5 Bud bottles, which compared to $11 for half a beer in the Hilton, was a bargain! Half priced Jagerbombs are dangerous...Left the upper east side bar and got a cab to 230 on 5th Av for a really nice rooftop bar with better views than the mad46 one I went to previously. Empire State all lit up, top company and general banter made it a good night, but that wasn't the end... Headed to Greenwich Village to a bar and drank a bit more, not sure about the rest of how we got home but needless to say, everyone was up and at 'em the next morning for the trip to upstate New Jersey for the wedding...
Friday morning... huuuungover! Up at 8.30am, walked up 5th Av to Bloomingdales, and then on to Rockerfella Centre to the observation deck at the top. The view wasn't too great due to rain clouds but we could still make out the half complete Freedom Tower to the south and Central Park to the North.
Checked out, jumped in a cab to 33rd st PATH station and caught the subway to Hoboken under the Hudson. Train from there to Woodlake, NJ. Right little bit of upstate suburbia!
That evening we had the rehearsal in the church (it's an American thing) but needed to happen, the vicar was hilariously slow and forgetful which was frustrating the hell out of Cockney!! The guy even fell over some steps at one point only for the organ player to give him pointers of what should happen and when!
After the rehearsal we all went for dinner and a catch up over plenty of red wine and champagne punch...we decided not to go back to the hotel bar with everyone else but instead walk down the high street checking out some yokel bars. Stuck it out until around 3am when we decided to head home...don't remember what the order of bars was, I do remember playing Killer pool, a lot of vodka soda and lime and shots of sambuca, Cloughy convincing some local band he worked for EMI and that their CD could go far (or something like that)..good preparation for the wedding the next day :-)
Woke up feeling pretty rubbish, shockingly, but we're only ever going to one wedding in New Jersey so we made the most of it! Had breakfast in the Hilton and put the bill down to Cockneys room 419, or so we thought..later found out he was in 411!! So after free breakfast went and jumped in the outdoor pool to shake off the hangover.
We got a limo to the church for pictures and sweated it out in our suits until we got in the air conditioned church. Was a nice ceremony, very touching and one that will be remembered for sure.
Back to the hotel bar before headin to Seasons for the Reception.
What a fucking reception!! Cocktail hour consisted of stuffing your face with everything from sushi, mini burgers, Mongolian beef to noodles, cheeses, oysters and even a vodka shot ice sculpture! That was course nr 1. The ballroom opened to a huge dining area where we then had another 4 course and as much YeeHaa free bar as we could get through...we did a decent job on the vodka soda lime, sambuca, tequila, jack n coke and some pink thing that was quite popular amongst the lads.
Mini bus back to the hotel bar at around midnight only to cockney to invite us back to his suite where he had 50 bottles waiting...the rest is a huuuuge blur!
Top class wedding!
Up at 11.30, check out by 12noon and a cab with 2 other wedding guests back to the city for me. They were dead nice in offering to pay my share after hearing about my travels! Others flying home in the evening. Back to hostel in times square. Speak to Annie and feel homesick :-( Planned NZ trip and booked camper van RV. Recover and sleep for 12 hours!!!
After 12hrs solid sleep I spent today walking up the East side of Central Park and back down to a Starbucks where I wrote most of this for a few hours. Then went into the park and got Massivel lost! Popped out where was a few days ago on the West side so walked up to 79th and got the subway back to Grand Central 'cos it started raining. Had a mooch around grand central and back to Bryant park to check out where the open air cinema is tonight...lawn opened at 6pm with film at 9 so I'm finishing this blog in the hostel bar with a beer.
I went to the park for the screening of The Maltese Falcon earlier but only lasted 25 mins in pouring rain and amazing neon pink fork lightening..never seen anything like it, worth sitting in the rain just to watch that.
In summary, it's been an ace 10 days drinking with friends, walking the streets solo, rooftop bars, blistering heat, huge storms and a wedding I'll never forget. Roll on the other 70 (ish) days...
I need to find a good online photo sharinga website to upload all my pics as this one only does a few at a time and it's really annoying!