When we first moved to NY, we wanted to go to the hottest bars, party at the most happening clubs and truly experience what NY nightlife was all about. If you google top NY bars/clubs (or even listen to some hip hop) , names like 1 Oak, Greenhouse get thrown around a lot. But a couple of visits to these places makes you realize really quick that thats not where real NY is. Clubs such as 1 oak or Greenhouse is where the hype is. They are the places where only tourists that don’t know where to find real NY end up. You are not going to get into these places unless you look like someone that walked straight out of the Victoria’s secret catalogue or know someone or are willing to buy bottle service. Then how do the rest of us get in? Well….promoters! Promoters can get you into any club that they work with. Provided you dress a certain way and meet their criteria. For example, a promoter that has helped Bijal and I get into clubs usually brings a south American crowd to the club. Meaning…club owners call him up when they need more south american people at their club. Bijal and I are Indian, but i guess we look close enough.
Having been to these clubs, in addition to the numerous other clubs in NY that aren’t as hyped, you realize that true NY is not at 1 oak or Greenhouse. True NY is everywhere but there. Places with friendly bouncers that aren’t really full of themselves, or places where you don’t need to be someone to get in. Real New York is at places such as The Yard or Off the Wagon where you don’t need to know a promoter to get in. So do yourself a favor when you come to party it up in NY…go check out the real NY. Not the NY that is just hype! Leave that for the tourists!
Since moving to the east coast, Bijal & I have become huge fans of the show ‘Lost’. We started with season 1 and in six months have gone through 3 seasons! Towards the end of season 3, as we saw one of the characters prepare a “Greatest Hits” list of all the events that had occured in his life, it occured to me that it was my 6 month anniversary of moving to the east coast! As such, I decided to dedicate this blog post to all the ‘Greatest Hits’ aka memories the east coast has given me in the past 6 months. There have been some awesome times, most of them, well documented through pictures. Thanks to my handy iPhone!
Feb: First weekend in NY we bumped into Adrian Grenier
Feb: First snowstorm!
March: Bumped into Ludacris at Unos
March: Trip to Atlantic City
March: First St. Patricks day on the east coast
April: Macy’s Flower Show
April: Macy’s Flower Show
April: Macy’s Flower Show
April: Fun trips to visit family in Baltimore
April: Getting all the women in our family to take a shot (Their first shot ever!!)
May: Finding awesome mangoes on the east coast (Taste exactly like the ones in India and can rarely ever be found on the west coast)
May: Chanel anyone? Trip to China town
May: Our first street fair market in NY (Hester Street Market)
June: Seeing a live episode of the Jersey Shore in NY!
June: Drunken walk back from China town to WTC!
June: Good Morning Gia!!!
June: The much awaited trip to the Jersey Shore!
June: A dream come true! The AR Rahman concert in Atlantic City
June: Fun times with the family in China town!
July: Happy Birthday Rohan! July 2nd, 2010
July: First speeding ticket on the east coast!
July: First 4th of July in NY (Macy’s fireworks)
July: I like big butts and I cannot lie..one of my first blog posts
July: Surprises from the wifey on my birthday! Personalized m&m’s
July: Birthday fortune cookie! Another gift from the wifey!
Aug: Indian Independence day parade in NY
Aug: Tattoo #2 and my first one on the east coast!
Aug: And just like the first time, my partner in crime!
Summer is almost over! And we all know it’s no fun trying to explore NY in the winter. A couple of Bijal and my coworkers had mentioned to us that Brooklyn was a must see! So we decided to meet up with a couple of our friends in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn museum.
As we drove past the manhattan bridge into Brooklyn, I thought to myself….”Why have I never been to this gorgeous part of NY before?”. Everything was so New York, yet so wasn’t! The first couple of miles of drive was very manhattan like, lots of street food, local businesses, crowded streets. But then as we got closer to prospect park, the scenery completely changed. A close friend of mine always says that he would eventually want to move to Brooklyn. He loved the artistic vibe the city had. He loved the music scene, the art scene, everything about it! I never quite got him because I didn’t understand why anyone would chose Brooklyn over Manhattan….and all that changed within 10 minutes of us crossing the Manhattan bridge. A blog entry about Brooklyn is useless because you really need to experience it yourself. As we drove by prospect park and the Brooklyn library, all we could do was stare and wonder why it had taken us 6 months of moving to this area to venture out to Brooklyn. We had definitely missed out.
Neither words nor pictures can do Brooklyn justice. Yet, I have posted some of the pictures from our day out in Brooklyn below. They include our trip to the Brooklyn Botanical gardens, The Brooklyn Museum, Prospect park and the Brooklyn Brewery.
I thought $1 beers in NYC were just a myth. Something I had just heard about but never actually seen…until this past week when I found myself wandering around in the upper east side. Thursday nights at The Brews Brothers…$1 beers. For the first time in NYC, I had a hard time meeting the minimum credit card tab required to close my card out. $10 = 10 beers…wth! I needed to go to work the next day. So what do you do when you find yourself in such a situation, start buying beers for other people. Oh, another option is to keep your tab open, go have some good Italian food at Tony’s Di Napoli, and then return for some more beers.
On a side note, that part of the upper east side seemed to be quite a happening area. I thought upper east side = what I had seen on the TV show ‘Gossip Girl’ (Yes yes, I have watched a couple of episodes of the Gossip girl….so sue me!). But the area around 82nd St and 2nd Ave has a ton to do, with lots of restaurants and bars with a ton of options. I’ll definitely be going there again some time soon.
National pride or corporate greed?? That’s the question that kept running through my mind as I watched the Indian independence day parade in NY. The parade is famous for being the largest Indian independence day parade outside of India, and having just moved to the area (and being Indian), there was no way I was going to miss it.
You expect independence day parades to be about national pride. You expect them to be a tribute to the thousands of people that lost their life in the freedom struggle. You expect them to be a recognition of everything the nation has achieved since independence. Yet the NY parade was none of that. Truck after truck, as the different decorated trailers drove by, you realized the parade was more about advertising and marketing rather than celebrating India. From banks to Indian tv channels to even US senators trying to gather the support of the Indian community, all drove by with no sense of national pride or spirit. In fact, most trailers had mediocre decorations and a DJ blasting music as they drove by. As if that was going to make all the people standing and watching in the crowd proud of their country.
Maybe I was just expecting too much. Or maybe I was being too judgmental? Or was I? I mean you go to a parade, and then trailer after trailer all you see are advertisements, poorly decorated trailers passing by, each trailer having their own DJ blasting music, and a bunch of people just packed on top of the trailers (maybe relatives of the organizers) dancing away to the DJ’s music as if they were at a rave. Wouldn’t you be pissed off and disappointed just like I was? As some wise man once said – “Opinions are like a$$holes. Everyone has one and they all stink”. I am sure some of you think my opinion on the parade stinks, but then again, that is the beauty of an opinion. Your opinion about my opinion might just stink :).
I have posted pictures of some of the relatively nicer trailers below. There were very very few of these. I did post a video though, of an obnoxious trailer that drove by (which is pretty much representative of what the majority of trailers looked like).
There is a bunch of weird looking stuff (not really sure what) wrapped in a betel leaf and you eat it. Think of it as a lettuce wrap but instead with a betel leaf. That’s pretty much all I know about the making of “Paan”.
If you ever go to India, you will find what Indians call a “paan ka galla” on about every street corner (kinda like dunkin donuts in NY). It’s a small little shack that sells candy, cigarettes but most importantly Paan!! Indians love Paan. While there are many that have a Paan after every meal as a mouth freshener, for my family it was more like a once in a month outing after dinner where the whole family took a drive out to our favorite “paan ka galla” to get ourselves paan. Now the concept of eating a stuffed leaf sounds weird, looks even weirder, but I gotta admit, it tastes amazing.
A good (or bad) thing about living on the east coast is that there is no shortage of Indians here. This also means that where you find Indians, you are also likely to find a … You guessed it right , a “paan ka galla”. I found one such “paan ka galla” in curry hill called Charlie’s paan shop (25th and Lexington). For those of you in the area trying out some Indian food, definitely head over there after dinner for some paan.
Cute waitresses, good drinks, located in the happening neighborhood of SoHo and last but not the least, its outdoors!!! Ladies and Gentleman, say hello to “The Yard”.
Now some of you that actually read my “About me” section know that I just moved to NY (Shame on the rest of you for not reading it!!!!). Prior to moving here, I lived in Seattle for 5 years. And as most of you might have heard, living in Seattle = NO SUNSHINE FOR MOST OF THE YEAR. So most people from Seattle really learn to appreciate the summer because its pretty much the only time of the year when you actually see sunshine. As such, I try to go to as many summer friendly places as I can so that I can soak up the sun and enjoy the good weather. The Yard definitely serves this cause. It doesn’t have blaring music; so you can actually enjoy a conversation, and at the same time, is outdoors, so you can enjoy the weather as well.
Drinks are a bit on the expensive side (mixed drinks cost about $14) and the food comes in small portions…but hey, thats a small price to pay for a good summer joint and some eye candy walking around. I am looking into finding a lot more of these summer friendly places, so if you have any suggestions, leave a comment and let me know.
P.S…. I wish I had taken a camera. Totally forgot to. Photo below is one I found online.