Flip Flop Flying

I may well end up ♥ing NY

with 12 comments

Not necessarily out of the blue, but a bit last minute: tomorrow I’m going to New York.
It’s a business trip, so pinstripe suit is packed, and Financial Times will be my newspaper of choice on the plane. And obnoxious attitude ready to kick in as soon as a steward/ess talks to me. Oh-ho-h-only jokin’! I’ll be the uncomfortable looking chap with a copy of Mojo and an iPod, doing silly drawings in my notebook while my neighbours wonder if they’re sat next to a mentalist.

But oh, the plane… I don’t like flying. There’s nothing I like about it at all. Being up there above the clouds, the seats, the toilets, the food, the no-smoking. Taking off and landing are the bits that freak me the most. But, it’ll all be worth it once I’m at JFK airport.

Well, that’s assuming I’m not strip searched and, err, examined internally at Immigration. I’ve only been to the US once before and that was before 11th September 2001. I imagine it’s a tad more strict these days, and it wasn’t particularly lax back then. Anyone got any tips or tales to tell about getting into the US?

So, yes, it’ll all be worth it once I’m in a cab on the way to the rather fancy hotel I’ll be staying in: The W (Times Square). I’ve gotta quickly learn how much to tip the various people I’ll come into contact with, too. Any advice?

Then, I’ll be doing stuff for an agency out there for the next fortnight (not a modelling agency, you’ll be sad to know: an ad agency. Whisper it: I’m selling my soul to the Devil!). And once each working day is done, I’ll be grabbing a map and looking for nice things to see and do. Again, anything cool to see that you’d recommend?

If there’s no more blogging after today, you’ll know that the plane exploded somewhere over the Atlantic. Otherwise, next blog will be from that New York City.

Written by Craig

July 20th, 2005 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses to 'I may well end up ♥ing NY'

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  1. I read that entire post in the style of Douglas Coupland. You’re like the riot grrl in MicroSerfs who hit the big time.

    Great customs tip I got from a British friend who lives in NY: wear a GAP-style sweatshirt with a massive ‘USA’ logo – they’ll wave you straight through


    20 Jul 05 at 16:35

  2. As far as air travel in the U.S., it sucks after 9-11. I used to love to fly and now I hate it. Not to get you down though. Just don’t have a lot of metal on you, ie, coins, belt buckle, watch, cell phone. You’ll need to take it all off. Sometimes you even have to take off your belt and your shoes and run em through the x-ray machine. Laptop? You’ll have to take that outta your bag too. The biggest tip though, be nice. See hello, ask them how their days is going, don’t complain when they ask you to send something through the x-ray, or go back through the metal detector. They hear it all day and don’t ever expect to deal with a nice person so it kinda catches them off guard.

    The W Hotel is an excellent choice.

    Tiping – Cab driver (couple bucks)
    Tiping – Bell Hop (five bucks)
    The guy you really want to look after is the guy at the conceirge’s desk, he has all the hook ups. If you wanna know where to go and what to do he’s your man.

    If you want some exercise while your there go to the Statue of Liberty and take the stairs all the way to the top. My bro did it and it kicked his ass. You can check out the big hole some of our friends from over seas left us a few years back and see the latest stages of rebuilding. Time Square is a lot of fun as well. Don’t miss central park.

    Thoroughly Amused

    20 Jul 05 at 17:27

  3. Don’t take any fruit or vegetables with you, they are really nasty about that, well they were at San Francisco airport and we didn’t even have any fruit or veg in our luggage!

    Apparently the eggs benedict in The W is the best ever, according to my friend who always stays there when he goes to NY!

    Have fun


    20 Jul 05 at 17:27

  4. Dave:
    Thanks. I can’t remember her, but I’ll take it as a compliment even if it wasn’t.

    Thank very much for the info. After all my moaning about bad service, I think I’ll be ready to summon up some pleasantries for the Immigration chaps.

    Better unpack those marrows, then…


    20 Jul 05 at 18:20

  5. Craig, it was a good thing.

    And Thoroughly was right. Be nice and cheerful, it works wonders. Just think in your head; ‘I’m going to NYC! It’s going to be ace!’


    20 Jul 05 at 18:24

  6. um, I know this is about a frotnight late, but I can’t help responding to your one-man-band question. Mull Historical Society probably doesn’t qualify, but it’s pretty damn close – he plays all the instruments and mixes them together on his computer. But check him out anyway – http://www.mullhistoricalsociety.com


    20 Jul 05 at 19:09

  7. Craig, please do a FFF Does New York when you get back.


    21 Jul 05 at 01:12

  8. The W is an extremely nice hotel, but the area where you are staying is pretty much a tourist wasteland. I would not go to any restaurants or bars in this area-pretty boring and dull. Transportation wise, you are located in a good place – easy to travel uptown and downtown. As someone who has lived in NYC for 3 years, I would skip the Statue of Liberty, etc. unless you happen to have a lot of free time. The Empire State Bldg. is pretty cool but try to go on a weekday – it is not worth waiting in a 2 hour que.

    As for the arts, definitely check out the new MOMA. On Saturday afternoon, go to P.S.1 – public school turned cutting edge art museum connected with MOMA that is located in Long Island City, Queens. It is definitely worth the subway ride. There is a fun party called WarmUp where they have great music, beer, good art, and a cool crowd. Check it out at http://www.ps1.org.

    All of the galleries are located in an area of Manhattan called West Chelsea – from the West teens up to the West 20s between 10th and 11th Avenues.

    There is a good cafe called Cafe Gitane located on Mott between Houston and Prince in an area called NoLiTa. There are a lot of cool little boutique-y shops and cafes here and worth checking out. Venture further west and you will be in Soho – shopping mecca. Venture east and you will be in the Lower East Side – hipster haven. There are some interesting bars, restaurants, and shops in the Lower East Side and they are not very expensive. Same with the East Village which is north of the Lower East Side.

    It’s always cool to go to Chinatown but try to avoid it on the weekends – filled with tourists buying fake Louis Vuitton handbags.

    A lot of celebs live in the West Village. It’s a really cute, quaint area and there are some shops and cafes here. A little family-ish but nice to walk around.

    Way west is the Meatpacking District. Hence the name, it was and somewhat still is the area where a lot of meat packing plants are. About 2 years ago, though, it became the trendiest area in NYC – filled with designer boutiques, trendy and expensive restaurants and clubs. It’s a little obnoxious now and gets really crowded at night and is pretty much “over “but a ton of people still go out there. I don’t know if I would necessarily reccommend this – depends on your personality but definitely worth seeing – during the day at least.

    Well, I hope this helps! Have a great time in New York!


    21 Jul 05 at 04:08

  9. I totally have a tale to tell about travelling to the USA! Okay, so, my friend was going to visit a friend of his. He’s on the plane, filling out the form (“Are you now, or have you ever been, a terrorist?” “Yes. Wait! No- damn.”), and it tells him to fill in the address and phone number of the person with whom he’ll be staying.

    Now, he doesn’t have these details. He only has his friend’s phone number, and that’s on his phone, which he can’t turn on on the plane. So, he lands, and gets to the desk where they ask for his form.

    When they query the lack of details, he apologises, explaining that he only has his friend’s phone number, on his phone, so if he can turn it on he’ll get the number, and call her, and get her address. “I’m sorry sir.” says the guard. “You can’t turn your phone on in the airport.”

    “Okay. The phone is the only place I have the number.”

    “You can’t turn your phone on within the airport.”

    “Can I leave the airport?”

    “Not until we have the details of the person with whom you’ll be staying.”

    “But I can’t give you those without turning on my phone.”

    “You can’t turn on…”

    And so on. Eventually, having been take to a room where the suspects are kept, the guard finally, grudgingly, lets my friend turn his phone on to get the number, watching him, hawk-like.

    This is where my friend finds out that, when you turn on your UK phone in America, it’ll spend a good long time searching fruitlessly for a network it can connect to, preventing you from doing anything with it in the meantime. The guard’s trigger finger got rather itchy during this time lag, but eventually the number was obtained, and my friend wasn’t taken away to a remote interrogation camp.

    That was kind of long. The moral? Know where you’re staying.


    21 Jul 05 at 11:52

  10. I agree with Anon… the MOMA is a must! I watched a programme about it the other day, and it looked absolutely awesome. If I ever go to NYC, I know thats where I’d go, and being an arty person yourself, you’d probably enjoy it too.

    Looking forwards to an ‘FFF does NYC’!


    21 Jul 05 at 14:53

  11. So I assume you’ll be spending your free weekend with us here in Austin, right? It’s just around the corner. Well, even if you don’t, hope the trip’s good. Do like they said above and take everything out of your pockets, remove your shoes. And be your own charming self.


    21 Jul 05 at 17:05

  12. have fun in nyc, craig!! watch out, it’s hot here, and stinky (garbage smells, body odor, etc.).

    recommendation: Shake Shack (hamburgers, fries, Milkshakes!! in Madison Square Park (23rd Street and 5th Ave.), eat in the park, good/cheap food, open until 10? or 11?

    Also recommend: closing this weekend, but an art show at the Japan Society, curated by Takashi Murakami.


    21 Jul 05 at 19:40

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