Hi there! So I went to New York City in July this year and here is the story:
So I have been looking for a job since February. The past few months I have been working two part-time jobs. I was working mornings at Bonefish Grill as a prep cook and nights at Stone Creek Restaurant as a server. I really enjoyed working in restaurants (as a matter of fact I still do and am keeping on the schedule at Stone Creek 2 days a month to help) but the money has not been enough to support myself and my student loans. I finally got a job offer from an awesome company you may have heard of…Raytheon! I was supposed to start working at Raytheon on July 5, right after my Fourth of July trip to Michigan so. put my two weeks notice in at Stone Creek with my last shift being on June 26 so I could go to Ohio before the new job started.
A few things happened to delay my start date at Raytheon and had me end up in NYC in July instead of Michigan…
My start date was delayed during the background check process. Since I am from Ohio it took a little longer than expected to get all the background they needed to accept my employment offer. So because of that my start date got pushed to July 11, 2016. The day before my friend Kylee and I were to leave for Michigan to spend the holiday at her family house on Lake Huron there was a fatal accident involving one of her friends. We cancelled the trip to MI so she could attend the funeral.
So here I am sitting at my buddy Adam’s house in Columbus, Ohio thinking WTF am I going to do for 11 days!!?? I could hang out in Columbus but Adam was taking off for Long Island with his family for their annual trip to NY in the morning, I don’t have any money saved at all so I couldn’t really go anywhere on my own, and I was already halfway back to Indiana by the time I got notice Michigan was cancelled so I didn’t want to go back there. Now my brother would tell me to pick up work at the restaurant in the mean time so I’m at least making some money but…I have amazing friends. So amazing that one of them bought me a flight to NYC! BAM. Vacation. Do you remember Danny the fire fighter from Brooklyn we met in Mexico? He spotted me a ticket to NYC to hang out with him on his days off and do my thing for a couple days. (I told you he was a super nice guy.) So we worked it out over the phone. I’d fly in Sunday July 3 and leave Thursday July 7. Danny is a fire fighter so he has a rough schedule. He had to start his 26 hour shift Sunday at 1600 and work until Monday at 1800 (keep in mind Monday is 4th of July.) He also had to work Wednesday at 0700-1800 and Thursday night. So here is everything that went down…
Sunday July 3, 2016
I arrived at Indianapolis International Airport at 0530 to catch my 0630 flight. They let me carry on my 3-inch-too-big suitcase because, and I honestly believe this, Hoosiers don’t even pay attention to shit like that. They don’t care how big your suitcase is or if you have a carry on and a huge ass purse (which I totally did.) If it looks like it will fit they let you bring it. No other airport would have let me carry on that case (in fact La Guardia made me check it before I even got into the airport!)
It was supposed to be a 2 hour flight arriving at 0840. The winds were in our favor and we arrived almost an hour early ha. (To be honest every time I fly to NY from here it is always early, gotta love those NE winds.)
I call Danny like “Hey I’m here” and hes like “I thought you said 0830?!” Ha. Anyway, he picked me up outside of LGA at 0830. We were headed back to his place in Brooklyn and chatting and whatever and he mentioned this place we could go get brunch. After all it is Sunday. So there is this “world famous” place called Buttermilk Channel that opens at 1000 on Sunday. So since it was a little early Danny got some coffee and we stood outside the restaurant for about half an hour waiting in line waiting for the place to open. We were the first people there. Danny kept on telling me how there will be a line around the block by the time the place opened and he was right. There were a lot of people behind us when the doors opened. The menu looked delicious. You can see all the pictures of the food and menu on my Instagram page instagram.com/sl33v3d. I had pecan pie French Toast, a cheddar waffle for the table, and Danny got short rib hash and eggs. Everything was amazing. The waffle was a little weird to me though. It tasted just like a Red Lobster biscuit! Either way nom nom nom.
Since Danny didn’t have to work until 1600 we went to his place (the second floor of a two family home in Bay Ridge (Brooklyn,) New York and watch Narcos on Netflix! (I’m pretty sure I took a brief nap instead of watching the tv though.)
Sunday was the day that worked best to see my sister in Midtown. Before Danny went to work I had him drop me off at Karen’s!!!!
I cannot get across in words how happy I am every single time I get to see my sister. She is just amazing. It is always a great experience. And it is always an experience! We are constantly learning things about each other and noticing shit we have in common and we just have this relationship and we get along really well and our opposites compliment each other. Okay enough gushy shit about me and my sis.
I didn’t know this until just before my trip but my sister and her girlfriend celebrate their anniversary on July 4th so…Chari was going to be there too! Double yay. Karen and Cha insist that I met Cha before back in 2009 when I was there for like a minute but I cannot recall. So this was really my first time meeting her in real life. Like we’ve Skyped before but never face to face so I was excited. We were all excited.
I’m at Karen’s. The two of them were hangry (so hungry you get a little angry/cranks) waiting to go to brunch with me. [By the way thank you so much for waiting for me!!!] We went to their usual spot, which subsequently because me and my sisters spot, The Chelsea Grill in Hells Kitchen. K and Cha love to go there because they have the best hash in the area (and K doesn’t like to walk far lol.) Unfortunately there was some gas leak issue the day before and since it was Sunday they had not had anyone available to come clear them so it was a limited menu…but they had the hash! We all had black and blue burgers. Since I was there and we had some time to kill before Whadimir came to pick me up we took a walk to the Ernst & Young offices to get my Christmas ornament ha! (I bought an ornament from the NBC store in December…my maintenance people broke it, had my sister get a new one for me, it never got mailed.) We also got to look at the New Years Ball again. I knew it was up there all year long but I did not know it was actually lit all year. It was pretty cool. After that we took a walk through Bryant Park so we could get me to the cigar shop Nat Sherman. I got some good cigars. The place is really cool. The guys in the shop really know what they are talking about. I threw out the name of a cigar we don’t have in the states and they don’t even make any more and they knew all about it and pointed me to a comparable cigar.
We walk back to Karen’s and Whadimir pulls up as we’re walking around the corner to the liquor store. The four of us look around at the liquor store and I was amazed. The same bottle of Elmer T. Lee that I just saw in Ohio for $31.99 was up for sale for $99.99 in NYC! I asked the shop person if they just charge whatever they want and they told me that they actually do not mark it up much at all. They have to pay more than other states. Who knew. (The very next weekend my brother saw the same bottle for $149 in NY.) So we didn’t get any bourbon but we got a couple beers from the deli. Karen had met Whad before so we all went up and hung out and talked for a bit while Chari made some homemade guacamole and salsa. Cha’s son is thinking about joining the service and Whad was in the Navy so he talked about that a bit. It was nice hearing positive things from an ex service man. It was pretty informative too. So we were all happy. Before I left my sister and Cha the four of us walked to Two Boots Pizza to see Sam. Sam’s a good kid. Still working at the pizza shop. Still doing his thing for the Mets. Still full ass beard!
Before leaving Manhattan I had asked Whadimir if he could take me to China Town real quick because, you know, I needed a purse. It worked out great. Couldn’t have been any smoother. It was after 1800 so all the street people were closing up shop so I was like one last score to them. I got a new Louis Vuitton bag for $45. BAM!
Back at Whad’s place I cleaned up before going out to dinner in Forrest Hills. We went to a new joint called Station House. Dang they have all the antique bourbon. I’m talking Thomas Handy, Sazerac, Weller, and some other stuff I forget. Did you know that the “Classic Sazerac” drink doesn’t even have Sazzy in it? I didn’t either. Whady had a burger with short rib and bourbon glaze and I had a southern friend chicken sammy. Both very good. Since I’m crafty and prepared for all situations we decided to walk to the next spot which was about a twenty minute walk. So I put my heels in my new purse, grabbed my flip-flops and we were walking. We walked to our favorite bar in Queens; Acey Deucey. The owner, Tim, was bar-tending all night long so we had a real good time and got a nice discount. There was a group of a few dudes in there already and when we sat down they ordered a round of 3 wise men shots for themselves…then they ordered Jager bombs….then they all had shots of tequila. Gross! If I had those three shots in a row I would have been laid out on the floor puking everywhere! However, the Jager bombs they ordered brought me back a bit and made me want to drink a lot of berry bombs. Which I did. And I drank them until we were the last people to leave the bar.
Monday July 4, 2016
So much stuff happened on the fourth of July I think this post is going to be a little jumbled or not as good as I want it to be…
I was pretty hungover all morning long and it was hot. I woke up and Whadimir was gone. Not really sure where he went but when he came back I was ready to try to get some food in me to recover from the previous nigh of drinking. We drove around Queens, NY a little bit and ended up at some hipster-organic burger joint (I really wish I remembered the name but I didn’t care for any of the food we had so I didn’t take any pictures.) I barely ate any of my food so I was still feeling pretty weak. We went to a park to try to find some shade from the heat and smoke a cigar…that didn’t work too well because you can’t smoke in parks. Doh! We ended up going back to Whad’s place and chillin on the front stoop until it was time to pack up and take me to Danny’s.
Danny has lived in Brooklyn his whole life and this was going to be the first time he went out to watch the fireworks instead of watching them on TV. I got to Danny’s around 6 and took a quick shower so we could catch a train to the park to meet my friends from Ohio that already had a spot there. When we got off the train Adam called me and told me that the police were starting to block the park entrance and not letting any more people in. With that info Danny and I decided to pop into the Heights Grills in Brooklyn to eat dinner before finding another place to watch the fireworks from. I told the host we wanted to have a table outside because I thought it would be cooler outside for some reason. Danny knew better but didn’t say anything. Then it started raining a little. Our table, and Danny’s beer, got a little rain water dumped on it but I was thoroughly enjoying all the people on the street leaving the park and running for cover. By the time it was really coming down Adam called to tell us that they were leaving the park and heading to his friends house to watch the fireworks from the roof. Why we didn’t just plan on the roof watching to begin with I have no clue. We got the address and were told to get beer. So it was getting close to the fireworks time and I could tell Danny was getting really frustrated but he would never admit it. Remember how it was his first time attempting to see the fireworks in person…well we had to get beer which took a while because everyone was out, then we had to get an Uber to drive us a half an hour to the house, and the freaking Uber drivers couldn’t find us because we were on a triangle intersection and it was just all jacked up. I ordered an Uber at 3x the rate, he couldn’t find us, I cancelled the Uber and had Danny download the app to order one at 2x the rate (paying the $5 cancellation fee was cheaper.) His app wasn’t working so I ordered another one. By the time we walked to the Uber (the whole time Danny is carrying two bags full with beer) and got on the road the fireworks started. So our first experience with Brooklyn’s famous fourth of July fireworks was watched mostly from a car. We got the the house Adam and his brother were at with a few minutes left in the fireworks show. It was still raining but it was really cool to see the fireworks from the rooftop. Like really cool.
I just got a call from a buddy to have a drink. I’ll write more later. Ciao
So where was I? Ah fireworks on the roof. Okay. So me, Danny, Adam, Christian (Adam’s brother,) and the girl whos name I don’t remember, are all on the roof. It is still raining. We don’t care. It is good people and good times and it turns out we have Spider-Man with us…After everyone else from the building goes inside to keep from getting wet, we stay outside. #badasses This is a rooftop in Brooklyn, NY. There is a lot of random stuff up there. First we noticed a folding table. That table, flipped open and set atop two drainage pipes made a great shelter for two people and large purse. When under the table shelter someone noticed some large sheets of wood (sorry I forget what they are called but like 8’x5’x.5″ pieces of wood.) There is a passage on the roof from the front of the building to the back. Adam is like 6 foot 8 inches so I holler at him to throw a piece of wood up and shimmy it over to make some more cover. While Adam and his brother are picking up the big board Spider-Man (Danny) over here jumps up a wall and on the top of the other roof to pull the wood board up. I don’t know how he got up there or that fast. I guess being a New York City Fire Fighter teaches you a few things about climbing up/on/in/over/through buildings! Now that we have a brave soul on the top why the heck not put two boards up there? We have a nice cover now! We are saved from the rain. There is even a laundry vent in our little make-shift hallway cover! But wait, we were soaking wet before this happened…whatever. We are in Brooklyn (which is vacation for most of there) and drinking, which helps with the being wet thing. We stand outside for a good couple hours talking and drinking and “adultly” fucking around making shelter and doing whatever. It’s either 0100 technically July 5th now and we go in the house to find a bar to head to. Ha. Seriously. It is a holiday so we call a couple places to find one open. I find a bourbon bar (of course) that’s open. We get in the Uber and go. It is a place called Huckleberry Bar. It was open late and they have some badass food there. We got this meat plate with fresh cut salami, prosciutto, some other meat I can’t think of, olives, baby pickles, hot mustard, and ciabatta chips. We had grilled cheese sandwiches which were amazing and some really good bourbon. Remember how we were all wet from the rain? Well we started freezing in the air-conditioned bar! They had these tea light candles on the tables and the guys were all hovering over their candles and trying to dry their shirts and keep their hands warm. There was also some commotion about the restrooms. Men going in the womens’ room and vice versa. I think everyone (but me this time) was pretty drunk so it was fun watching. Bar closes, Uber back to Danny’s place to get a good night’s sleep for whatever we decide to do with tomorrow!
Tuesday July 5th, 2016
Danny finally had a day off. After some random ideas being thrown out there we decided on the New York Aquarium which was absolutely perfect. The aquarium is on Coney Island in Brooklyn so I would get to go to the beach too. I had been talking to my friend Mackenzie about setting up a time to hang out and she wash excited about the aquarium idea and said she would meet us there. Yay. I think we got to Coney around 1300-1330? I remember that we got there just in time to see the sea lion show lol. By the way it was hot as fuck. It was 97 degrees outside and thank the Lord we were going to a beach because I would have died (dude doesn’t like to use an air conditioner in his apartment so it was very hard for me. Almost unbearable. And thank you for putting the AC on a little the last night or two whatever it was.) Anyway, sea lion show = cool. NY Aquarium = small but still cool. They are also building on to it so I guess there are going to have a few more exhibits. **coming soon
Mackenzie had a pretty long commute from where she lives in BK so she didn’t make it in time to go to the aquarium. In fact, she got there just as we were finishing up seeing everything in the aquarium. We met on the boardwalk.
-Whoops, I forgot to tell you we went to Nathan’s Original Hot Dog place. That place the hot dog eating contest is every year…yeah we ate there before the aquarium. It was more for the experience. I mean, hot dogs aren’t too fancy of an item. It was good for a hot dog 🙂
Beach time. Finally some fun in the sun! Mack and I are water people. Danny chose not to get in the water. (Come to think of it, when we were in Mexico he only got in the ocean once…after a few drinks…because I probably made him.) It was very nice relaxing on the beach and getting to dip in the ocean of New York.
Danny and I had to go to a “squad reunion” thing that night so at around 1700 we started getting ready to head back to clean up and go back out. Before leaving we had to get a funnel cake. I had asked if they have any elephant ears here or do they only have funnel cakes? “What’s an elephant ear?”
Seriously, sometimes I am surprised at some places and the common foods they don’t have. Mackenzie confirmed for me that New York people don’t have elephant ears. Weird. So we settled on funnel cakes. Well, a funnel cake. When I was asking around with the food places about whether or not they could make elephant ears I learned that their funnel cakes are not made fresh in front of you like every other place I’ve gotten one but they come frozen, are deep fried, then put in the oven! And ya know what? It was the best funnel cake I have ever had! Also, there are these things called “lobster rolls.” I was like what the heck is a lobster roll and why is it $25.00?? Of course Danny got one so I could experience the deliciousness of lobster meat salad on a bun. It was so freaking good (and Danny said it was actually the worst one he’d ever had.) IDGAF I loved it.
Say bye to Mackenzie. Drive back to apartment. Shower. Walk to train to the city to meet up with a bunch of fire fighters who were in Danny’s graduating squad.
The first thing I noticed when we walked into Down the Hatch was $3.00 bombs and half priced pitchers (more the bombs part.) About 8 or so of the guys Danny went to the academy with showed up. They are all really cool and super nice dudes. I think we all got along pretty well…especially since I kept buying rounds of cherry bombs. But seriously. It was a great time. I met some really cool people that I look forward to seeing again. Larry is this bug dude from Staten Island who is just a normal cool guy. Matty from Long Island reminds me of some AdultSwim cartoon character I can’t think of at the moment and is really funny. David is a cool kid who just seems to be friendly and, uh, I don’t know how to put it..just up for making new friends I guess. Cool people.
Danny had to be at work at 0730 or sometime ridiculously early so we were supposed to leave by 2230 but didn’t leave until 0100. Whoops. Sorry Danny. Thank you for letting me stay out and enjoy the night!
Apartment. Pass out.
Wednesday July 6, 2016
Danny is at work. I’m hot and hungover. It is another 97 degree day in the city. I didn’t want to move. It was way too hot for me. Eventually I decided I needed to go out and I went right back to Coney Island to go to the beach to cool down. David, the fire fighter, told me I should check out Whalburgers while I was there. I did. I was not impressed. Good experience for a tourist but not that great of food. I was happy for the suggestion though. I spent some time inside the restaurant keeping cool taking my time eating before heading to the beach. I chilled, I swam, I did nothing special.
Train back to Danny’s to meet him after work and go out to dinner on my last night there.
Figuring out where to eat was a pain in the ass. We were both hangry so it made things really difficult. You starve yourself and look at Yelp for an hour and try to figure out what you want. Ugh. Danny decided on Sushi Katsuei. Man was that good. Fresh sushi. Danny got the chef’s choice and I was amazed. Everything was so good. Danny asked if I wanted dessert (I think without really weighing the options out) and I said “Sure.” So where do we get dessert after 2100 on a week night? Uh, good question. We drove around, while looking at Yelp trying to find a place that was open late and served food, at least dessert. We found Butter and Scotch. We ordered one piece of each pie! Ha. Bourbon ginger pie, gin vermouth orange peel pie, and s’mores pie. If you ever see s’mores anything get it and enjoy!
We were full from all the food and tired from lack of sleep and had to get up early (for me at least) to play ultimate frisbee in the morning so we called it a night. Food coma.
Thursday July 7, 2016
My last day in New York.
Wake up and pack. Go to breakfast? Sounds fantastic. My favorite meal to cook and to eat is always breakfast. Where did we go? Park Asia. For dim sum. Finally! I have been wanting to go back to the dim sum place Mack, Kate and I went to years ago for like the past 3 years I’ve been going to New York and finally I get to have dim sum. But dim sum for breakfast is kinda weird. Kinda weird and lovely at the same time. Weird because its not breakfast dim sum. Its regular shrimp rolled in rice sheets, shrimp pot stickers, spring rolls, pork wrapped in some sort of pastry, all of it covered in soy sauce, and whatever else they normally have! I will admit that I had a negative view on dim sum for breakfast before I actually had dim sum for breakfast. It was a very hearty meal that ended with a nice sweet ball of poppy seed filled bread. I will never turn down dim sum and I would gladly have it for breakfast any day!
Danny had warned me before I came to NY that he had signed us up to play in his firehouse’ frisbee football game on the day that I was leaving. At the time I was not thrilled about it but once we started playing, it was a load of fun. It was the hottest day of the year so far, I was with a bunch of New York City fire fighters, a lot of them had no shirts on, and everyone was sweaty. I was thoroughly enjoying myself minus them not throwing me the frisbee. Guys, next time give me the frisbee, I know how to throw and catch a lot better than some of the people I saw! It was really amazing. Never in a million years would I ever had gone out in the heat to play frisbee football. Never. But I did and I had a blast. Thank you for letting me participate!
I have been seriously blessed with the company of a lot of great people in my life. Truly great people. Not a lot of people would buy a plane ticket for someone they barely know to come visit them. Not a lot of family members would let me interrupt their anniversary time and spend the day with them. Not a lot of people would drive across town just to pick you up to hang out for a night. Not a lot of people would just take off of work to spend some time with an old high school friend. Not a lot of people have friends that go on vacation near and invite you up on a roof for fireworks! Me, Danny, Adam, Karen, Chari, Mackenzie, and Whadimir are those kind of people and I am so lucky. I would do anything I am capable of for these people.
Life is short. It’s not all about the money. Sometimes it is about giving and sacrificing to enjoy the people you have in your life.
Since this trip I have gotten some sad news. Whadimir and Mackenzie are leaving New York. Whadimir is moving up in his job with IPSoft and moving to Florida in October and Mackenzie has decided to just leave and search the states for a new home while continuing her freelancing. Every time I go to the city I will miss seeing you guys but I know I will see you wherever you go and you better come visit me wherever I end up!!!
I love you!
P.S. Special thank you to Jason Wigger in Indianapolis, IN. There is no way I would be able to travel as much as I do without your friendship and help. You watch my baby when I am away and words cannot express my gratitude. Thank you J.W.