Friday, May 8, 2009

Manhattan delights

A dear friend of mine once described a concept called 'patel shots'. When I asked him to elaborate, he said that they were postcard-type photos taken by tourists near all the garden variety tourist spots around a popular city. This guy loved all the nuances of NYC that I could show him, but make no mistake, he could give the patels a run for their money (which is bucketloads, by the way!) in the quest for the unparalleled patel shots! (No offense meant to actual patels!)

The other part of Manhattan, that only residents can show you, are the quaint coffee shops, the small but amazing brick oven pizza joints run by the temperamental Italian owners whose moodiness is not only tolerated, but appreciated, all due to their culinary genius.

What I am gonna give a preview of right now, is a part of the Lower East Side of Manhattan...a little further off NYU campus. For a long time, the lower east side has been associated with the student and worker crowd, which brings with it fashionable pubs, bars, cafes and well slightly proletariat experience altogether. It was not out of character for the rents to be lower here than say the upper west side (endorsed by the sitcom Seinfeld, as it is based entirely in that area).

Now, however, the paradigm shift has come where the quaint coffee shops are quaint not because they cannot afford to expand, but because the yuppie mindset is tired of the chain stores and eateries and now covets the European bistro/cafe experience. Coffee now costs $4.50 at some places, and people are happy to shell out the duddu.

I am in the process of discovering places which serve great food. Now there is one place I ate just today morning. It is a small breakfast place, where there are long lines on weekday mornings just to get a table for two. If you are in a group of four or more, the reservation card handed to you may as well say "Are you kidding me!" The breakfast was awesome, I had a salmon based entree, with some fresh squeezed orange juice and my cousin had something similar. We wound up the meal with coffee, and the check came with the number $50 on it, which I duly passed on to my cousin, whose face had the calm of a person who had eaten there before, compared to my jaw which was somewhere between the table and the floor! The amazing thing is, with unemployment increasing at the rate of knots, the lines outside places like these (and there are many, mind you) have not been affected at all. You gotta love NYC. There are other reasons too.

One other aspect of Manhattan is the women. (This characteristic applies to the whole of Manhattan, and not just the lower east side.) Most of them are businesslike, which basically means they don't care/mind if you look at them for a time more than what can be described as innocent and less than that done by the average sex offender. You get all races and types, and they all are pretty alluring. Now, I am speaking hypothetically of course, as I am not at all what you might call lecherous. (Wink!). This is, of course, no slight on women in other locations.

Rents are going up as people are now wanting to live here. I, of course, am enjoying the delights of this region as I visit a cousin of mine every weekend, and mooch off him while he picks up the tab, with me realizing all the while that pretty soon, I would have to do this for someone else. Duniya gol hai!

This is the first post of mine where I have rambled on without much direction or purpose, and I really feel indulgent today. You might scoff at my desperation to have my blog read that I did not forewarn the readers of this randomly ambulatory post.


buddy said...

next time...also want to see the upper east

and remember the 3 women in the subway we shamelessly ogled at?

swatimala said...

hey, ur blog is amazing, keep writing

Vivek said...

Loved the para about the restaurants!
Too funny.
Well written, indeed.
Makes me WANT to stay there!

Anonymous said...

"You gotta love NYC"!!. Ask a person who has to leave NYC for some prospect or another. Even the rumbling trains which shatter the crypt like silence are missed. One needs to be surrounded by people from all levels of life in order to be comfortable. You need those who are better than you as well as those who are worse. New York provides that for sure. The hustle and bustle you feel at the Brooklyn bridge which blends with the serenity of 'pineapple street' is amazing. I guess I should stop here.

Liberal said...

Next time, you be available for longer, and I will show you most of the city!

Thanks! I have blogrolled you for some time now, so my opinion of your blog need not be said.

Thanks man! I believe everyone should experience NYC at least that I mean living here for some time at least!

Wow dude! You seem to know this city far better than I do! I like Pineapple street myself, not to mention the promenade...with the right company, it is a sight for sore eyes.

Anjana R said...

A desi student in the US would not be a complete desi student in the US without posting once about their visit to NYC.

Liberal said...

Fair enough! But I am a desi studying in NYC, so ideally if I were to post about my visits, I would need more blogs than one!

sid said...

LOL!!!Well written!!!is it the $50 bill or the waitress that bore the bill, that was the reason for the dropped jaw??Buddy's comment raises the question!!!But nicely written!!!

Liberal said...

The waitress was surprisingly forgettable...the place was good for buddy, he is the ogler, I admire tastefully from a distance!

chocoliciousgal said...

ohkkk now I luved this post...and I am so dying to know the name of those quaint coffee shops and if u could plz reveal at least a few * unless I need to learn it the hard way...then my chances are really less.. :| *

rambuna said...

a good 'tour'around mahattan