An italian gentleman in New York - 03 June 2007

My last treat before next month departure: a short trip to New York to spend Bank Holiday (Memorial Day) with my good friend Ian, in Manhattan.

The perfect tourist.

Ian collecting meAn advice to Continental Airlines : we know you're cheap and your food is crap, but who the hell is in charge of your on-board entertainment system on the London - Newark route? I can survive with cheap micro waved dodgy food, I can even pretend your hostesses are good looking, but how can you provide "The Cleaner" feat. Cedric the Entertainer as your main feature on the shared screens? And repeat it again after the first time? That's just torture.

NewarkI landed in Newark , New Jersey, in the late afternoon, with apparently no signs of any jetlag. Probably the horror of opening my eyes and see the fat face of Cedric on any screen around me somehow shocked my system.

The day was hot. And humid. I could feel humidity licking me all over. On the air train, connecting Newark to New York, with broken air conditioning, my bum got soon stuck with the old leather sit.

I tried to spend my time reading the books I quickly bought in Gatwick, but I finished Gaiman's collection of short stories (Fragile Things) in 5 hours on the plane, and I was left with the cheapest guide to New York that I could find.

Madison Square GardenI didn't really have any plans for the weekend. I knew that anyway I couldn't see much in 4 days, plus, with Memorial Day around, probably all the big attractions would be over crowded. But hey, after all I'm probably the perfect guest for a short tourist trip. Too many times friends stayed here and over the years I always thought "Well, if I were him, I would probably do as little as possible, live under the host's radar, and generally go with the flow. And probably buy him some drinks".

View from the rooftopI don't care about museums. At all. Looking at painting bores me to death. Probably it has something to do with the fact that I'm color blind and I like films. So looking at something that should be admired for techniques and colors and that doesn't move at 24 frames per seconds seems just worthless.
So half of my guide, dedicated to the great and vibrant cultural scene of the city museums, was already useless.

So, as you can see, playing the part of the easy going guest visiting the city is perfectly suitable who someone like me who drinks and eats pretty much whatever is offered, likes to walk and relax and likes to enjoy whatever is in the area.

Dudes in the sunFortunately Ian moved to Chelsea, Manhattan . I met him outside the Penn Station, which is just under the Madison Square Garden (wow, first stop and already saw something that I so many times read about it!). Ian collected me and we walked few blocks to get to his apartment.

Sunset in New YorkIan's location was fantastic. And the accessible rooftop, one of the few in the area, provided an amazing and breathtaking views of downtown in the south (you could actually see as far as the statue of liberty and the Verrazano bridge), Jersey, the Empire State Building, Brooklyn and its bridge, and Manhattan Bridge . A true 360° experience from the 39th floor in Manhattan.

Weird to think that Manhattan is just an island ("A giant penis", as Ian said) squeezed between mainland (Jersey) and another bigger island (Long Island , just like the cocktail) . I really never thought about it.

Drinking cold beers and talking about the past months seemed the most natural thing in the world. Sarah joined us after work and we stayed until the sunset over Jersey hinted us that it was time to get out and get some food.
We opted for a barbecue place for our first dinner. As usual, great American food.

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