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


There’s trash in the sky!

There’s trash in the sky! There’s trash in the sky! Only in New York City can you look up, and see trash fly by. The seagulls squeak, but where do they live? No beach in sight, there’s trash in the sky!

Do the seagulls chase the balloon as if it were a boardwalk fry? But clearly they know, it’s just trash in the sky! The planes fly high, up top they go. Is a young boy looking out the window, saying “Mom look! There’s a bag flying by!”?

On the corner of 34th and 9th the garbage can over flows, piles onto the street, seeps into the subway, then up to the sky. How strong is the wind, to make it fly so high? Clearly only in New York, can you watch trash fly by.

Could this be beer heaven?

We crawl through Hells Kitchen and down restaurant row. Although its cold outside, it’s not cold enough for us to see our breath. The glow of Christmas lights outside the boutique restaurants gives a sense of comfort, despite the holiday having gone. Onward, march.

Approaching 10th avenue there isn’t too much around except a vast Hess Station on the corner of 45th street. Taking up nearly a whole block, this immeasurable vicinity sticks out as awkwardly as your grandmother at a gay cabaret. But there is another defining characteristic to this street corner, The Pony Bar.

Stouts, hefeweizen, IPA…hops upon hops upon hops! Glorious days, I think to myself, this has to be the best place on earth. What makes this place so unique is that it serves only craft brews from across the US. That means you may try a Belgian ale or a delicious German wheat but its going to be grown domestically.

I feel like I’m on Family Feud when I scan the large board taking up the back wall behind the bar. Each listing depicts the brewery, beer, and alcohol content (ABV). No need to mention price because they’re all only $5. Try and find another steel like that in Manhattan. I dare ya.

I’m intrigued by the breweries and curious to learn more. Where is Goose Island and what’s their speciality? How about Sly Fox? I’m seeing a theme here that many brewers choose names from animals, uhum, Dog Fish Head.

I take notice of the clock on the wall. It’s permanently stalled at 4:20. I find it no coincidence then that their happy hour which earns patrons $1 off all drafts runs from 4:20-5:20 daily. I approach the bartender and ask for one of their large score sheets. This allows me to keep track of each beer I drink and give it a rating. Once I hit 100 I get a free t-shirt. Clearly obtaining this goal is my latest priority.

I now spend my days daydreaming about the next time I will be able to stop in the Pony Bar, grab a seat at one of their large picnic tables, and dabble with the thought of which beer will catch my fancy. For starters, I cannot get that Cappuccino Stout out of my mind!