Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New York: Expect the Unexpected

The stench gets worse as the day wears on. An 8:45 a.m. subway ride is a Febreze bottle full of morning promise compared to the putrid mix of body odor and frustration that takes a seat on a late-afternoon train home. Life in the Big Apple can be a breath of fresh air, but sometimes it stinks.

Try heading from the serene landscape of Israel— where I visited in early May— to the off-pitch sirens in New York or the Corona-dotted coastline of Miami—where I live— to the cement behemoths that dominate the city skyline.

Congested train rides become a game of Risk while jockeying for position on a metal bar. Get too close and you bump into somebody. Veer to far and you lose your balance. Walking trips test the patience of the directionally impaired. Despite its flaws, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. As the renowned poet KRS-One once said, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

Every street corner yields a surprise—whether it’s a hideaway hole-in-the-wall or an even-cheaper dry cleaner. Every day at Field & Stream holds learning experiences and answers to life’s questions like where are the best hunting spots and what’s needed on an elk hunt. Terms like jigging and rigging, once foreign are now familiar. 

I head into work five days a week. Wake up at 7:30 a.m. Shower. Iron clothes. Put on a tie. Take the elevator. Walk out the double doors. Past the Halal food truck. Past the Trader Joe’s. Down the escalator in Union Square Station. It’s the closest to monotony one gets in New York.

My workday ends about nine hours later. The Hare Krishna’s chants crescendo throughout Union Square. It’s a celebration for another day finished and another night beginning. I’m always coming home with something new to 129 Third Avenue, even if it is a new smell.

This wouldn’t be a blog post without some lists.

Top-three Bars & Clubs

1. Toy: This trendy club in the Meatpacking District has a girl donning a feather costume, which guarantees it’s a good time right? Begin your night at The Standard Biergarten across the street.

2. Houston Hall: A quintessential beer hall with 10 beers on tap. Yes, a small selection, but it makes up for it in taste. Houston Hall features a lively atmosphere with plenty of places to sit.

3. Nevada Smith’s: Located in the East Village, Nevada Smith’s is known as a “football” bar. Soccer usually blasts from its surround sound and wall-sized projection screens, but this spot had the best game-viewing experience for the NBA Finals.

Top-three Happy Hours

1. Turtle Bay NYC: Home of the $1 Beer Wednesday. That’s not too bad.

2. The Pour House: There are three locations across New York and New Jersey. I went to the Downtown location with 24 beers on tap. The restaurant also has New York-themed sports memorabilia lining the walls.

3. Latitude: Located in the Theater District and has three floors to take advantage of including a rooftop bar.

Top-three Food Spots

1. Mamoun’s Falafal: Best falafel and shawarma in New York. The falafel sandwich costs $3. You can’t beat that.

2. Bauhaus: An interesting restaurant in the East Village that serves Taiwanese street food. Ever have Taiwanese street food? Neither had I until this summer. Get the Chairman Bao sandwich.

3. Ralph’s Italian Ices: If you find yourself in Long Island, take the time to hit up this ice cream shop. I recommend the Rainbow Cookie. You’ll thank me later.

By Adam Pincus, University of Florida, Field & Stream Magazine

Edited by Taryn Finley, Howard University, ESSENCE

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