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“Where’s yo’ Hair Grease at?!?”


A weekend exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn.


We had a pretty epic weekend, but before we get into that I just want to point something out; The shoe in the feature image for this post is a size 20! Yes, it is my hand holding it and I have quite large hands, I just picked that sneaker up off a rack, but more about that later…

Friday
All of Friday for me was spent running around Manhattan looking at apartments. This was made a little difficult due to the fact that about 90% of all streets and subway stations in the immediate vicinity of our current apartment  were closed for a parade honouring the World Cup winning US women’s soccer team. The streets were filled with TV cameras and police; Cops in cars, cops on motorbikes and cops on horses. Due to that last mode of transport there was horse shit everywhere, too. Having to deal with NYC police officers made me wonder what test you need to fail to become a cop in this city. They had blocked almost every entrance to the subway, so I asked several of the officers guarding said entrances where I could actually enter. Their replies varied from “Dunno” to “Well, normally it’d be here”. Great…

That's why they're armed

That’s why they’re armed

But, not only are they not particularly helpful or bright, the bulk (no pun intended) of them are in a weight range that fluctuates between ‘tubby’ and ‘morbidly obese’. When you think about it, it’s really no surprise that there are so many police shootings these days, they just wouldn’t have the energy to chase anyone! No wonder there was so much horse shit around, either, the horses probably didn’t need to go initially, but it was squeezed out of our little equine buddies thanks to these salad-dodgers sitting on them. Anyway, eventually a pedestrian told me where she exited the subway and I was on my way. I saw some nice apartments during the day, so hopefully we hear back about something soon, but it’s difficult because bureaucracy and the amount of red tape here is insane. After a day of house-hunting we went out for some drinks at the Brooklyn Brewery with Anna’s cousin, Jennifer, and some of her friends, followed by a trip to the Knitting Factory to see some bands. We definitely needed those drinks after the last couple of days.

Me and my Reuben

Me and my Reuben

Saturday
Saturday started out the same as Friday, checking out apartments, but it definitely got better. The majority of the day was spent shopping with Anna and then we got to do something that everyone that I know who has been to New York has recommended; We went to Katz’s Deli and got a Ruben sandwich (left). Now I can see why. This thing was great, but it was stacked so high that we couldn’t physically fit in our mouths. Sure, I have quite a small mouth, but that was a huge sandwich. Earlier in the day, while we were walking around, shopping, we passed a theatre that was advertising Bayside! The Musical!, the Saved by the Bell musical, so we bought some tickets for that night’s show. This show was hilarious with the plot based around:

  1. The six kids at Bayside High School needing to save Max’s Diner, but also:
  2. Would Zach and Kelly break up?
  3. Would Slater quit wrestling
  4. Could Jessie conquer her addiction to caffeine pills?

Spoiler Alert: Slater’s gay (as if you didn’t see that coming). If you get a chance, go see it. In September the same group are doing a musical about Full House. Definitely going to that one!

Gourmet grilled cheese.

Gourmet grilled cheese.

Sunday
On Sunday we decided to climb the Brooklyn Bridge, but first, brunch. In my Fourth of July post I posted a picture of the Milk Truck Artisanal Grilled Cheese van and curiosity got the better of me. I ordered the “Bacon Cheddar Blue” (right), which is described on their website as:

Thick sliced Double Smoked bacon, NY State Cheddar, Wisconsin Blue, Caramelized Onions & Spicy Pickles on Rosemary Pullman Bread.

How could anyone in their right mind resist that? It was damn good and Anna got a lobster roll from another stall, which was pretty special, too, providing us both with the energy we’d need for our hike into Brooklyn. I had previously overheard a tour guide on the subway tell a British couple that crossing the Brooklyn Bridge would take about 45 minutes. He must be a slow walker, because we did it in about 10 or 15 and that includes stopping to take pictures. Some background info courtesy of my informational-saviour, wikipedia:

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City and is one of the oldest bridges of either type in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It has a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), and was the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed. It was originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and as the East River Bridge, but it was later dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge, a name coming from an earlier January 25, 1867, letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an icon of New York City, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.
The Brooklyn Bridge has a wide pedestrian walkway open to walkers and cyclists, in the center of the bridge and higher than the automobile lanes. In 1971, a center line was painted to separate cyclists from pedestrians, creating one of the City’s first dedicated bike lanes. More than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge each day. While the bridge has always permitted the passage of pedestrians across its span, its role in allowing thousands to cross takes on a special importance in times of difficulty when usual means of crossing the East River have become unavailable.

The view was incredible, but the experience reaffirmed my hatred for self-centred dicks with selfie sticks. Some of the better pictures we took (without inconveniencing others, mind you…):

Brooklyn is an interesting place. One minute you’re in hipster central, with their horn-rimmed glasses and chai-tea lattes, and the next minute it feels like you stepped onto the set of a Spike Lee film, the kind of gritty neighbourhoods you expect all of New York to be before you arrived. We wandered around hipster central, looking at furniture for our new place and laughing at their gourmet dog food (more on that next time), before heading into the rougher part of town. The title of this post comes from a rather large African-American woman in a shop that sells hair-care products. Anna needed a hair dryer and, while shopping for one, the afore-mentioned lady burst into the store with her exceptionally large daughter and screamed at the assistant, “Where’s yo’ hair grease at?”, before stopping to take selfies with her kid in the aisle. Before that moment, I never knew “hair grease” was a real item, for me it just means it’s time to wash my hair. I guess you learn something new every day.

How my US size 12 (Eur 46) looks next to a US size 20

How my US size 12 (Eur 46) looks next to a US size 20

Later, I went across the street to a sports store and was looking at sneakers. In Singapore, it is almost impossible to find my size, but that wont be a problem here. Why? Because, as I mentioned at the start of this post, I stumbled upon a pair of US size 20 Adidas sneakers (right). I have relatively small feet for my size, a US size 12 (Eur 46), but I could have worn my shoes inside of these shoes and proceeded to walk on water. The largest shoe size for an NBA player is US Size 22, worn by both Bob Lanier and Shaquille O’Neal. Why am I telling you this? Because, although Shaq’s foot was two sizes bigger, he had a working shoe-phone made for the NBA All-Star Game in 2005 and this is what it looked like when Allen Iverson answered it:

That's a big-ass shoe-phone!

That’s a big-ass shoe-phone!

These things were massive! Anyway, after a weekend of house-hunting, shopping, musicals and drinking, we were starving so we went out for a great dinner and then jumped in a cab back to our place. The weekend was done, but it was definitely a great one. We have witnessed a lot of bizarre situations  recently, but it would take forever to list them all here. Instead, I’ll save that for my next post.

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About Dr. Tan's Travels (99 Articles)
My name's Tim. I'm a freelance writer and former ESL teacher from Melbourne, Australia, who taught in Daejeon, Korea for six months in 2007 and, until February 2015, had taught in Singapore for seven years. My wife, Anna, is an ophthalmologist. Between March 2015 and July 2016 we spent a month in Pondicherry, India, three months in Bonn, Germany, and 12 months in New York before returning to Singapore, all for training and work placements for her. The reason I wanted to keep this blog is because I suffer from epilepsy and have a terrible memory, therefore this would be a great way to help me remember our travels. I will do my best to keep it updated and even continue writing now that we're back in Singapore, but there is one problem; I have a pretty severe phobia of anything medical.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. New York: An assault on the senses. | Dr. Tan's Travels
  2. A good week spent with good friends. | Dr. Tan's Travels

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