Start spreading the news…

Start spreading the news…I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!

Descending into John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, New York, I imagine myself landing in the city that so many people dream about for the first time. It’s by far not my first time, I grew up in Jersey for crying out loud, but that feeling still never goes away. There’s so many of them; teeny tiny lights. They’re clustered nearly on top of each other, and appear endless. This is the true definition of population density.

Stepping foot into Manhattan that old feeling rushes back. It’s euphoric, and energizing, and makes me want to scream from the inside out, “ahh, I love you New York!” There really isn’t anywhere else like it.

Walking the old streets again made me feel like I had never left. The smell of Nuts for Nuts, zigzagging the unpleasant bustle of mid-town, instant aggravation. I craved shopping, took one look at Macy’s with lust, then took another look and remembered the vow I made to never step foot in Macy’s on 34th Street again. It’s an anxiety attack jam packed into one old iconic building.

I jaywalk without fear of a ticket, hop in the back of cab to catch up on the daily news, and squeal a bit that I can go so far, for so cheap. I look up at the symbolic Empire State Building and curse myself for never actually making the journey up myself. Then pass the line down the street, the tourists huddled in groups being bombarded by sightseeing companies. I’m just one with the locals; they don’t know I left.

But the even better part is going to the old hang outs. Dirty dives in the East Village and restaurants that deny you a table without a month’s advance reservation. These streets are just every day streets, with everyday people. It’s not chaos, it’s just living. Cab horn beeping, siren blaring, crazies cursing, stroller pushing, frat boys smoking, high heels wearing, beer drinking, cocktail sipping New York!

And I miss the days where I had no pretentions about it. I knew exactly where to get a $2 beer and 2:1 meals. Where live jazz in an unmarked door in the West Village kept me up past my bedtime on a work night. Or when I’d wake in the morning to the sun on a friend’s penthouse balcony in Hell’s Kitchen or to 3 people in a Murphy bed in a studio on the Upper East Side.  But that was a different time.

This is my New York now, nostalgia for all that New York is.

My View of Manhattan from Jersey


Sushi Steal of Tribeca

Sake Bomb

When friends of mine proposed all you can eat & drink Sushi in Tribeca for a mere $30 I was skeptical, this has to be the california roll only kind of deal. So as a group of us hauled into a few cabs and made the short trek from the West Village over to Greenwich Street my mind was racing of the thought of spending my hard-earned pennies potentially planting me in bed all weekend from consuming defective raw fish.

If you’re attempting to visit Ashiya III (also has sister locations in the East Village and Jersey City) on a weekend make reservations. Simple enough – this place gets packed! Walking in we were quickly ushered to a group of small wooden tables pushed together making one long sake-bomb shelf. Listening to the amusing and rambunctious tables around us it was evident that we could wait no longer. At precise timing the waitress delivered to each table setting a clear glass cup, and inside, a ceramic sake cup.

Bang, drop, drink. With careful expertise the gentlemen of the table poured their glass cups halfway with Asahi Beer. Next the sake cups were filled from the small white sake pitchers. Chop sticks were placed side by side and layed on top of the beer cups. Then the sake cup was placed on top of the chop sticks. All are ready and marching orders are in place. At the count of three…bang, drop, drink! Fists pound on the table; sake quickly drops in the beer cup; and the men rush to drink the contents as fast as possible. I see a long night ahead of us.

What’s most impressive about this place is the two-sided menu. At first glance, the one side has your traditional sashimi and basic sushi roll offerings – spicy crunchy tuna, california roll, philadelphia roll. This met my expectations and therefore I was ready to order my usual “I’m on a budget” fare but before I could complete my order the waitress quickly pointed out that there’s more. There’s more? (subtle eye brow lift).

Heck yes there’s more! There’s maki rolls made from real crab meat and speciality rolls – each unique enough to make you scratch your head and ask yourself, but which one do I choose? Choose all! It’s all you can eat, duh! A few table favorites included the Lover Roll (salmon, crab stick, and avocado with spicy crunchy tuna on top) or the Dinosaur Roll (cucumber, avocado, and tempura flake with broiled white tuna and masago on top).

When your 2 hours are up it’s time to get out and the staff aren’t afraid to say so. We started to notice before our next pitcher of beer was ordered and the few pieces of sushi were soon scarfed down a check magically appeared on our table. The extra $10 per person thrown on for tax and gratuity make the $30 all-inclusive more like a $40 all-inclusive but hey, it still ain’t a bad deal baby and the sushi was damn good.

Ashiya Sushi I
680 Rt 440
Jersey City, NJ 07304

Ashiya Sushi II
167 1st Ave
New York, New York 10003

Ashiya Sushi III
374 Greenwich St
New York, New York 10013