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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

  1. ‘Now you’re in New Yoooooooooooork’ (except I’m not because I’m back now)

    April 19, 2010 by superlative

    Hello all.

    I had a marvellous time in New York (concrete jungle that dreams are made of), it was really really good. And as a bonus I got back with 36 hours to spare before the whole world went volcano-crazy and had to resort to plebeian land-based forms of transport.
    We walked MILES, at least five miles a day, and we did and saw so much, so I shall only share with you the highlights and some of the nicer pictures. It was meant to be a more relaxed trip to New York this time, as we’d already rushed around for four days there before doing all the touristy things, but in the end we did just as much this time. It’s that sort of place, you can’t really just sit around when you’re in the middle of one of the coolest cities you can visit.

    Our flight out from Heathrow was fine (good old Virgin Atlantic, they’re always so good). We used Purple Parking at the airport, which I had been a bit worried about because I’d read some bad reviews, but in actual fact they were really good and ever so efficient. I guess some people just get unlucky and have a bad experience, but we thought they were really good.
    Anyway, the flight was fine as I say, and I watched the film Precious on the way out. It’s a harrowing film in many ways, but it’s also brilliant and gritty, and kind of uplifting by the end. I also watched half of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which was crap and predictable and as annoying as any of the other JK Rowling drivel (I watched the second half on the flight home; it didn’t improve).
    The hotel was the same one as we stayed at on our honeymoon, the Chelsea Pines Inn on West 14th Street. It’s a really nice gay hotel with very friendly staff, and all the rooms are named after movie stars and have their movie posters on the walls. This time we were in the Mitzi Gaynor room, which was a cheaper bracket of room than we had before, and it did show a bit. It was fine, nice posh furniture and stuff, but not as plush. I’d still recommend it anyway, and you can’t fault the location; it’s ideally placed so you can walk uptown to Times Square and the touristy bits, and downtown into Greenwich Village where lots of gay bars are.
    Some of the exciting things we did included:
    – Walking miles and miles up and down 8th Avenue, 7th Avenue, 6th Avenue, 5th Avenue and Broadway. We saw lots of skyscrapers, and went in loads of shops, but apart from my cool new Skechers I didn’t actually buy anything. American clothes were so BORING. If I want checked shirts and chinos I can buy those at home thank you very much.

    The shopping was not wasted time however, as several US stores apparently employ hot, semi-clad male and female greeters who entice you in and then stand there letting you drool over them. Principally I’m talking about Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollisters. Behold the hotness:

    And once you’ve walked around looking at all the hot boys (and girls dancing in stairwells in bikinis) you can swan back out again obviously without buying anything, and they STILL wish you a nice day.
    – We went to a couple of museums: the Museum of Modern Art (the MoMa), where we saw lots of famous paintings by famous people. There was also an ‘artist’ woman who had decided that sitting in a chair in a red dress staring into space for three months counted as art. The museum apparently agreed, but it all seemed rather pointless to me, as she was obviously just sitting there wondering what to have for her tea. I liked this piece though:

    And we went to the Museum of Sex, which was good for a giggle. I learnt about female anatomy:

    And Chris learnt about sex toys:

    – We went to quite a few different bars for drinkies. Some were very good (a bar called Pieces in particular), and some were crap (The Duplex). The Duplex was a pretentious piano bar where the drinks were over-priced, and they kept passing round this stupid fucking plastic top-hat to try to solicit tips for the pianist. Frankly, after paying £10 for two drinks AND having to tip the barmaid on top of that, we weren’t prepared to give them any more money. “Has everybody had the hat?” they kept asking expectantly. Yes we had had the hat, and we passed it straight onto the next person thank you very fucking much. We didn’t stay there long.
    Pieces, on the other hand, had some excellent reasons to stay there, including this:

    And I met @plaintruthiness whom I know from Twitter there too. I think that’s the first person I know from Twitter that I’ve met in real life actually.
    I had one night where I over-indulged and threw up everywhere when we got back to the hotel, and consequently one day with a shocking SHOCKING hangover, but other than that I coped fairly well given my general wussiness and lightweightedness.
    – What else… oo yes, we saw Chicago on Broadway, which was fab! I knew nothing at all about the story, and so it was all new to me and I really really enjoyed it. Plus it had the third not-quite-so-famous one from Destiny’s Child in it (not Beyoncé, not Kelly Rowland, the other one. Michelle summink) in one of the lead roles.

    And I think that’s about it! I’m obviously really pleased that we got back before the volcano erupted, as I’m not sure I’d fancy being stuck abroad indefinitely. Chris’ brother and sister-in-law are currently trapped in Fuerteventura, but I think they’re OK and the tour operator is looking after them, and so there are worse things.
    I’ve been back at work for half a day now, and it’s been alriiiiiiiiight, it could be worse, but it’s still pretty crappy compared to swanning about in New York and photographing hot boys.
    I have lots of other things I should write about that aren’t New York-related, but I shall save those for later.
    TTFN.

  2. Milk you can’t drink and politicians you can’t trust

    February 23, 2010 by superlative

    I have just realised to my horror that I haven’t posted anything on my blog for two whole weeks, so I thought I’d better do a bit of a catch up. I hate it when I click on someone’s blog and it hasn’t been updated for ages, it just looks a bit boring, so I’ve been a very bad superlative for letting it slip for so long.

    Anyway, these are some of the things that I have been doing and thinking about recently:

    Milk
    I watched Milk a couple of weeks ago, having previously known virtually nothing about it. I was aware that Harvey Milk was some sort of gay politician from San Francisco, but that was only really because I’d had a couple of drinks in a bar called Harvey’s when we were there, and they had information up on the walls about him.
    Anyway, the film was GREAT, as was the story of his life in general. He was the first openly gay man to hold public office in the United States, and he was just so dedicated to improving the lot of gays and other minorities in his city. What was most shocking to me however was how recently it all took place: it is set from 1972 to 1978. Having been fortunate enough to grow up during a period when homosexuality started to be properly accepted in society, I hadn’t really realised how much I’ve taken for granted the freedoms I enjoy. In the mid-70s in San Francisco, it seems the police would regularly raid gay bars and arrest and beat up their patrons. This was the POLICE, the people you’re supposed to be able to call when someone assaults you! Even if homophobia was rife back then, I hadn’t really expected on duty police officers to be engaging in it.
    Anyway, the film is about a lot more than just that, and although the ending is sad, I still found Harvey Milk’s courage and determination very uplifting. It made me feel like I could and should be doing more to overcome intolerance, and not just enjoy the benefits of the work done by others. I probably won’t of course, I’m fundamentally lazy and it was only a film, but it made me think at least and will keep me thinking in the future.
    Political things
    Sort of related to the above, I have been continuing to ponder my position as a gay man with semi-conservative views and the fast approaching general election. I still haven’t decided who I want to vote for, but I’ve still got a couple of months to go, and I’m quite enjoying researching the parties and thinking about it anyway.

    Attitude magazine has published an interview with each of the three main party leaders over its last few issues, and I’ve found that very helpful. I’ve taken everything the leaders have said in the interviews with a pinch of salt, because of course they’re just going to say whatever they think will appeal to the magazine’s gay readership, but it was useful to see them address those kinds of questions specifically.
    Overall I’d say Nick Clegg came off the best. I don’t like Gordon Brown, so he would have had to say something very special to change my mind, and he just didn’t. David Cameron’s interview and the accompanying articles they published were tremendously interesting, but only made me less inclined to vote Conservative than I had been before. It made David Cameron look very much like a ‘will say what you want to hear’ politician, even more than politicians are in general, and it was pretty absurd to read him denying he’d voted against gay adoption even while they waved Hansard under his nose showing that he did. I’m not going to base my vote particularly on what his party did in the 80s, but the voting record of the current Conservative front bench is important and doesn’t make for good reading.
    Nick Clegg seemed the most straightforward and honest, and said some nice things about equalities for gay people. My only reservation is that of course he can easily make generous promises: he’s unlikely to become prime minister and ever have to live up to them. Even so, I’d say the Lib Dems are currently winning in my estimations.
    On top of that, there is a debate going on this week about a bill the government is putting through parliament and its section on sex education in schools. After intense lobbying by religious groups, the Labour party has allowed an amendment to let religious schools teach sex education (including mandatory information on same sex relationships) ‘within their institution’s ethos’. So that means religious schools would be free to say “Yes there are same sex relationships. These are wrong, they are immoral, and they are inferior to heterosexual love and marriage”. I’m absolutely appalled by that and think it would be a big step backwards for the country. Some gay activists are even calling the amendment a modern Section 28.
    How would a gay child in that class feel to be told they are inferior and immoral? Shouldn’t they be free to be taught the facts of sex education without judgement attached, so they can make up their own minds? That seems like a fundamental right to me, and I really hope the amendment is removed. Labour have proclaimed themselves the only party that has championed gay rights over the last two decades, and this would be a terrible stain on their record.
    General bits and bobs
    This post is going on a bit now, so I shall cut the rest short.

    I’m very much looking forward to our holiday to New York in six weeks. So far we have booked to tour the Federal Reserve Gold Vault, where you can view $8billion of gold all stacked up, and we have bought tickets to see Chicago on Broadway. Both of those should be really good.

    Life is otherwise fairly good at the moment, but work is interminably dull and it is starting to affect my moods in the evening again. This feeling of unfulfillment I get creeps into my home life, and I become terribly listless and depressed. So anyway, I’m trying to be more positive at work, to fill my days with activity instead of endlessly clicking Refresh on Twitter, and to do some studying and other things in the periods when I really haven’t got anything to do. It’s worked for the last two days anyway, so I shall try to keep it up.

  3. So much yummy food stuffed into my face

    January 31, 2010 by superlative

    I’ve had such a nice weekend. It started off with a little bit of a wobble, but after that it has been great, and I must have consumed about 60,000 calories in the last 24 hours.

    The initial wobble was Friday night when we went to try a new club night called Don’t Stop Believin. It was the same club night we went to for New Year’s Eve, which they have now tried to turn into a regular Friday night thing. It’s run by Dynamite Sal, whom we know quite well really (to chat to at least) as we’ve been going to her club nights for more than 10 years. That makes me feel quite old to say that actually. Anyway, it was at The Jam, the same as before, and we thought we’d give it a try.
    Unfortunately, although the music was alright really, it ended up being really empty. It was freezing cold in there, possibly not helped by the lack of people, and while there were quite a few people in the bar upstairs, no one was coming downstairs to dance. So we kept our coats on (because of the cold), had a bit of a dance, and then bailed out by 12.30. I feel a bit sorry for Sal, but maybe it will pick up a bit after a couple of weeks, and when it’s not so freezing cold outside.
    We had friends coming down on Saturday, so I had to drag myself out of bed with a bit more of a hangover than I was expecting yesterday in order to do the dusting and hoovering. Fortunately for me they were a bit later than they expected, so I had time for a nap and to make myself look presentable before they arrived. We’ve known these friends for about five years now, having met them on our first holiday to Gran Canaria, and we have a lovely relaxed, flirty sort of relationship with them.
    So anyway, the first part of my massive calorie overload was last night, when we had a few glasses of wine at home before going out for dinner. I can highly recommend Old Telegraph Shiraz which our friends brought for us, as it was DELICIOUS. I don’t usually buy Shiraz as I think it’s too dark for me, but this had a really lovely chocolatey flavour to it. Then after my chocolate-flavoured red wine we went to Cafe Rouge, where I gorged myself on deep-fried Camembert with red current sauce, followed by confit de canard in a delicious orange jus thing with dauphinoise potatoes. It was sooooooooo nice! And massive, and meaty considering I don’t each much meat at home.
    Then we had a drink in the Star Inn (nice but a bit expensive actually), a drink in the Marine Tavern (who have a FIT little bar boy who shows his pants when he bends over to get things) and a drink in Vavoom (nice but, as always, massively over-priced. £4 for a drink is rather a lot). I was practically waddling by the time we walked home.
    Then this morning I weirdly woke up hungry again. I don’t know why but that always happens when I’ve eaten loads the night before, but body seems to start expecting constant stuffing with food. I had a nice muffin thing for breakfast, a short walk in the cold, and then we went to the PV at the Jury’s Out for Sunday lunch.

    The PV is actually a really nice pub, and every time I go there I think “wow this is lovely, we must come more often”. The Sunday lunch is GORGEOUS. I had roast beef, yorkshire pudding, stuffing, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, broccoli, parsnips, green beans and cabbage, and it was all soooooo yummy. It was only about 15 hours since my dinner though, so I don’t know where I’ve put it all, I must have gained a stone.
    I definitely want to go to the PV more often; they do a quiz night, and cheap drinks (£2, can’t beat that), and it generally has a nice atmosphere in there.
    And now I’ve got a wild boar sausage roll sitting in the fridge that I bought from Bona Foodie for no apparent reasons, which is calling out to me to eat it in the next half hour. I’m such a fat bloater.
    Oo yes, and I forgot to say that I drank BEER this weekend. Well, a Hoegaarden with my dinner. But normally I don’t drink beer at all. However, I am in training so that I can drink beer more regularly because my other big news is we’re going to New York!!! We booked the tickets on Friday night, flying Virgin just after Easter and staying for five nights. I’m really looking forward to it. BUT, last time we went, I couldn’t drink properly in the bars because if you asked for a vodka and coke you got given a glass of vodka that had about 5ml of coke in it so it was very slightly discoloured, and it was DISGUSTING. I couldn’t drink it, and I love vodka. So in anticipation of that I plan to convert myself into a semi-pro beer drinker in the next two months, so I can saunter up to American bars and say “Gimme a beer” without adding on “I hope it doesn’t make me throw up” in my head afterwards.
    So anyway, I might try to sleep my lunch off now, and then drag my massive carcass over to the fridge to eat my wild boar sausage roll in time for the Dancing On Ice Fittyfest at 6.15. Bring on Gary Lucy and Kieron Richardson in skimpy lycra tops and tight trousers.

  4. Post-wedding and off to New York

    August 21, 2008 by superlative

    The lovely weather continued the day after the wedding, and as we knew lots of people would still be around we had booked one of the bar/restaurants on the beach for a late lunch. I’m glad we did actually, as it was really nice sitting out there in the sunshine, and it gave an extra opportunity to see some of the people we hadn’t had much time to talk to the night before.

    Mum and Dad left after lunch, having had two OK nights in the hotel but complaining that it had been noisy from the traffic on the road. Ha! They were lucky they had been at the front, the people at the back of the hotel hadn’t had a wink of sleep because of the nightclub outside their window and the roadworks that started at 7am, so they should count their blessings. That was the main drawback of the hotel in the end – it’s location is great in some ways, but it also means it’s very noisy and you can’t park within two miles of it very easily. But you’re not really thinking about those things when you book it 18 months in advance, are you?? And nobody really complained to us, they just got on with it, which is good.

    Sunday was our first day of proper rest and recovery, and we spent a nice couple of hours in the afternoon opening all our cards and presents. Oh. My. God. Everyone was SO generous, and we got given SO much money! We’d said “no presents” to people, because we didn’t really want lots of toasters and we weren’t actually that fussed about getting any presents, but everybody wants to give you something on your wedding day. So they all gave us money instead – a mixture of dollars for the honeymoon, and normal cash. I actually felt a bit guilty about how much we got in end… Well, not that guilty, but you know…

    And on Monday we jetted off to New York! It was terribly exciting to be going somewhere so interesting, and that we’d never been to before. We had thought it might be worth mentioning at the airport when we checked in that it was our honeymoon, on the very slim hope that they might bump us up to first class. Alas, check-in was at an automated kiosk that didn’t have a button for “We’re on our honeymoon”, and the lady at the bag drop looked thoroughly unimpressed when we tried it on her. So we flew normal class, but that was fine as Virgin Atlantic is quite good anyway.

    We arrived late in New York, where we spent the first four nights of our honeymoon. The hotel was lovely, a little converted town house down in Chelsea that I’d found on Trip Advisor. Each room was named after a film star and there were cool movie posters everywhere, which was quite fun. We stayed in the Lee Remick room – I’d never heard of her, but apparently she’s the Mum in The Omen, amongst other things.

    The three days we had in New York were nice: mostly very busy, loads of walking around and doing touristy thing, and it was VERY hot. I think it was about 90 degrees, and it was a sticky humid heat with no wind. The temperature was exacerbated, and possibly caused by, the millions of air conditioning vents that constantly pump hot air out in the street from every building and subway line, so being out in the street generally wasn’t that pleasant. Once you were inside on the good end of an air conditioner of course, it was all fine.

    We did all the tourist things we could fit in in three days, namely:

    • went up the Empire State Building
    • walked around in Times Square and Broadway
    • saw Madison Square Garden (from the outside anyway)
    • saw Grand Central Terminal
    • went to the UN headquarters
    • went to Macy’s
    • walked around Central Park – nice, but just a park really
    • went to the Natural History Museum and saw lots of dinosaurs and gemstones, and touched a REAL 30-tonne meteorite that had been in actual space
    • went up the Rockefeller Center at night
    • took the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island and back, taking a million photos of the Statue of Liberty on the way
    • saw Ground Zero – just a big building site now
    • walked through Chinatown (quite shabby and horrible actually)
    • rode the subway and caught yellow cabs

    So lots of things really. The best bit was probably going up the Rockefeller Center at night. The views of the city lights were fantastic, you got to see the Empire State Building (which you obviously can’t do when you’re actually on the Empire State Building), and it was lovely and cool up there compared to ground level.

    We also visited a few of the gay bars during the evenings – Sport Bar, Barracuda, View Bar, The Monster, and Pieces. They were… OK. Not amazing, I have to say, but Barracuda and Pieces were both lots of fun. The others were a bit of an older crowd, or were a bit empty, or didn’t have any music on. We saw the best BEST karaoke ever at Barracuda, a girl who sang I’m Every Woman and who was every bit as good as Whitney Houston. And Pieces was fun because they had shag tags and beer pong (that’s a game, not the smell of beer) and good music. They also had a hot barman who had much better dress sense than most Americans, who we sort of tried to flirt with but failed because I’m so bad at flirting.

    And that was New York! Lovely, tiring, hot, and photo-filled. I photographed EVERYTHING I think. On Friday we got the subway to Jamaica (not the real Jamaica, it’s in Queens) and the Air Train to JFK airport, where we spent a couple of hours in the crappiest terminal ever – JFK Terminal 3 is tiny and pathetic, due to it only servicing domestic flights with Delta.

    But that didn’t matter much because then we flew off to San Francisco for the second part of our honeymoon adventure…

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