The Boston Trip 2011 part VI – Times Square

05 Feb 2011, 0009hrs NY
Wokeup & took subway F to Bryant Park. First experience. not as congested as SG. $2.50 for unlimited two hour, cheap (IMO) for single ride. Cool digital display of coming stops. Looks old.
Times Square, interesting. Billboards & TV ads all over the place.
Yoshinoya beef bowl tastes good after extended abstinence.
Nicholas Cage looks damn real @ Madam Tussaud’s display.
Walking entire day, legs nearly fell off.
Saw Jennifer Lopez @ hotel going into a limo. Smaller in build than I thought. Got scammed by this bunch of guys -> $8. Bought Kindle! Undecided on leather cover @ first, realised no backlight = cover is necessary. Bought souvenirs for colleagues too.
NBA store is shit. Limited Celtics gear + messy + lots of staff idling. Saw this awesome poster of Jordan dunking + piece of autographed hardwood, $1500. But damn cool. Stan extremely disappointed by this place.
Niketown equally shits, had nothing worth buying (toilet was useful)
Trump Tower => Starbucks wifi good.
Concussed after getting back, did not go Professor Thom’s as planned. Wokeup @ approx 930pm, watched live updates for game.

In case you haven’t guessed it, our main stop for this day was going to be Times Square. NYC landmark, tourists have to go plant the flag. Tourists = us.

First walk in the city itself. We hopped onto the subway and got off at Bryant Park, exiting into the chill morning with self-absorbed people on their way to work.

(Or maybe it was just too cold to dawdle too long in the open; only tourists walk slowly with a camera in hand gawking at every remotely impressive building.)

Plenty of snow left on the sides of the street!I simply couldn’t understand how some people could walk around without any sort of headgear; tried it for like five minutes and I couldn’t feel my ears anymore – numb’s the word here.

This is a good reference for understanding NYC streets. Basically the avenues are the verticals and the streets are the horizontals, so you can pretty much know how to get to places by knowing which junction they are at.

The trick of course is knowing where you are right now, and what direction you’re facing.

* Uptown refers to moving upwards, or north if you like. Downtown of course refers to the opposite, which is down or south. Understanding this will allow you to have an easier time on the subway, since they refer to everything as uptown or downtown.

*Avenue numbers get bigger from right to left, so 1st Ave will be on the right (or east), while 5th Ave will be towards the left (or west).

*Street numbers get bigger from down to up, so 4th Street is down, while 42nd Street is up (or north).

Times Square. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Time to gawk around the rest of NYC.

Saw an old friend of mine and stopped to exchange greetings; say hello to Yoshinoya beef bowl. I know it’s kinda dumb to eat this when there’s tons of other choices in NYC but I haven’t had this in a really long time sooooooooo.

First NBA-related picture – New York Knicks, here we come! Can’t wait.

In case you’re wondering, the alphabets and numbers represent the available lines at this station.

I think staying in Melbourne for too long has sort of made me forget how tall buildings can get. So we looked at this one at eye level, then craned our heads up and up and up and up and up and up (you get the idea) before we finally saw the roof. And went “WTF! That’s tall.”

Now that’s what I’m talking about – a real skyscraper!

I had to place my camera like almost on the ground to take this picture. It may not look that way, but it’s really tall.

Street carts like this are a very common sight within NYC itself and are mainly located at street junctions. Their main sell? Something they call gyros, which is a Greek-style wrap with sizzling meat slices (lamb, chicken), fresh veggies, tomatoes and sauces. Going at $4 a pop they make a very affordable and tasty meal on the go : ) Won’t recommend eating them with gloves though, eating this is kinda messy.

*Australians know this as a kebab; gyros taste exactly the same but at half-price and with extra sauces.

So we had walked a ton, we were tired and needed a break. And what do we see, but one of our listed chow spots – Pop Burger!

The deceptively small entrance hides a very long area with counters for dudes waiting for takeaways, and a seating area right at the back. I kinda like the decoration on the wall (refer to the right wall on the picture), it looks really cool although you realise after awhile it’s just their menu items with words that make you hungry e.g. sizzling steaks, cool and frosty soda, hot burgers, firm fries, creamy shakes.. you get the idea.

So we were at Pop Burger, and we had to try the Pop Burger of course. It’s a slider which means it’s a bite-sized burger; tiny and yummy. Remember the White Castle burgers from Harold and Kumar? Yep, something like that.

The iconic Apple Store. Nope, we didn’t get downstairs. No Apple.

After several wrong turns, finally got to Stan’s long-awaited destination, the New York NBA Store!

Which turned out to be a big, big disappointment.

  1. Limited range of merchandise, the NBA Store website offers a great deal more in contrast – this would be a recurring theme on the trip.
  2. Staff gathering in corners having a good chat. The store was overloaded with staff, with about a third of them working. You could see they weren’t really interested in helping customers.
  3. The store was very strangely devoid of Celtics merchandise. I saw a great deal of stuff which stocked other teams but Boston? NOPE. crap.
  4. The basement was supposed to feature a half court with some interesting doodads, but looked like it was in renovation or something. We learned later that the store looked to be due to move somewhere else. Bummer.

I saw this awesome Jordan poster which cost like $1,500 because it had a chunk of the hardwood court from that championship year attached, along with MJ’s autograph. I did ask if there were any posters without the hardwood, sorry but nope.

So Stan being pissed off, didn’t get anything. I bought a couple of tees, one for me and one for V which qualified me for the free gift via a voucher we got at La Guardia airport.

The black gentleman who was processing my free gift (a passport wallet) asked where I got the voucher, and so I hazarded a guess. “Marketing purposes?”

He chuckled. “You know the rules sir.”

The pictures might not have told the entire tale, but we walked a lot. A lot. There were wrong turns here and there, we were going up down left right all over the place. So at the end of a very long day, we were really happy to be finally crawling back to Linda’s pad.

Here’s a look at the New York subway. Yep, looks old all right; just like what the movies make it out to be. I’m always reminded of that scene in the Matrix where Neo runs in the subway tunnel heh heh.

One good thing about the subway, it’s fairly easy to figure out which lines you have to take. Look for the line that your final stop is at and work your way backwards for the stops you have to change lines at. A lot of the trains feature real-time dashboards showing the next 10 stops and which lines they intersect, a really neat feature IMO.

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