“It’s the biggest store in the world!” – Some guy spreading the bullshit marketing lies about Macy’s department store to his daughter.
It was another terrific weekend of catching up with people I haven’t seen in years, some great food and a lot of drinking, marred by bouts of Christmas shopping. Here’s how it went down:
Before Halloween I put some photos up on Facebook that were met with the comment “You’re in New York? Awesome, we should catch up for a drink sometime!” It was from an old university friend and former housemate of mine, Jordan Santora. Jordan was someone I had some great times with years ago, but now hadn’t seen in at least a decade and I completely forgot he was from New York. We were in the same course at University, only I went on to become a trophy husband and Jordan is now the assistant editor of Sesame Street!
We arranged to meet on Thursday night and it was a night that proved how very little has changed. He asked me where I wanted to meet, I asked if he had any suggestions due to him having been here a lot longer than the four months that Anna and myself have. Jordan’s suggestion? A bar that I love and went to for my birthday among numerous other occasions, Peculier Pub, one of his favourites, as well. Not long after I arrived Anna showed up too, even though she couldn’t stay for long. We had an awesome night just chatting and playing stuff on the jukebox that brought back memories, but then there came a moment where I needed to break the seal. I stood up to go to the bathroom and immediately the room began to spin and it was then that it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten anything the entire day and I was rapidly getting plastered. I went out and grabbed us a kebab each, we finished those, had a couple more beers, but Jordan needed to make his way back to Queens and we both had to work the next day, however, we vowed to meet up again on Saturday night, this time so his girlfriend, Justine, could join him.
Friday was unusual in that it was one of the only Friday evenings where Anna and her colleagues haven’t gone for post-work drinks. We had the entire evening to ourselves so we went out to dinner and did somewhat of a mini pub-crawl in our area. Good times.
Not only had I agreed to meet Jordan this week, but I also had plans to meet some old colleagues from GEOS Language Centre, Singapore, Koto and Bridget. Koto lives in Connecticut and Bridget lives in Baltimore, but they were taking the train to meet up in New York and would be arriving a few blocks away from our apartment. I hadn’t seen either of them since 2012, so I thought it would be some fun to catch up. And it was, but it probably would’ve been more fun if my arch nemesis, Google Maps, wasn’t involved.
We met in Grand Central Station at 11:00am and Anna had given me a pretty good tip on place to eat, UrbanSpace, Vanderbilt. There was some fantastic food, we ate well and I appeared to be a normal, well-organised human being. That image, however, wouldn’t last very long.
Koto had to be back on the train at around 2:00pm, so we decided to try to find some flea-markets nearby. That’s when I tried my luck with Google Maps one time too many. A flea-market that was supposed to be reasonably close to our location, about a 15-minute walk away was out target. Good ol’ Google Maps originally thought we were on the wrong street and then when we finally reached the location, it turned out not to be a flea-market, but a primary school. A primary school hosting a chess tournament.
It was great seeing Bridget and Koto again, we’ll be able to see Bridget again if Anna does her stint at the Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins, Baltimore in March and Connecticut’s not far so we should be able to see Koto again, too, but I still feel bad for wasting a large portion of their afternoon in Manhattan by blindly leading them to a kid’s chess tournament. Sorry, guys.
After Bridget and Koto departed I called Anna to see what she was up to. She had a dim-sum lunch with her colleagues and was now, ironically, at a flea-market not too far from where I was. We looked around for a few hours and then decided that we’d do the shopping the next day and headed back to our place to relax before meeting Jordan and Justine.
Eventually, we met up with Jordan and Justine and went to Pino Wine Bar for a pretty spectacular dinner and then it was down to one of my local haunts, Waterfront Ale House, for a beer or 12. We had a fun night of drinking, chatting, getting to know Justine and gorging ourselves on the complimentary popcorn, but soon it was time for them both to catch the subway back to Queens with us deciding that next time Anna and myself will make the trek out there.
We were walking back to our apartment, but one of my back teeth wasn’t feeling right, it felt as if part of a corn husk was stuck under my filling. Now, let’s take this back a few years; Anna and myself were sitting in our apartment in Singapore eating pralines when I broke one of molars. For those not in the know, what is a praline?
That’s right, I originally broke that tooth eating a relatively soft chocolate and re-broke it eating popcorn, despite stripping lamb bones with my teeth merely hours before! I don’t even particularly enjoy popcorn, I might as well have been snacking on Styrofoam, but putting my hand in the bowl and then moving said hand to my mouth repeatedly was just an involuntary, drunken motor-skill.
I woke up on Sunday, ran my tongue over my tooth and realised it wasn’t just a bad dream. Shit. To make the day worse we were going Christmas shopping, because Anna has relatives that are going to Singapore soon and offered to take the presents with them. I’m not particularly a fan of Christmas or shopping so I wasn’t really alive with anticipation for what the day may bring.
Our first stop was the UrbanSpace food trucks on Broadway, that’s right, the same franchise as where I took Koto and Bridget. I went to a stall that had Japanese-Mexican fusion food and got myself a spicy tuna burrito which, in reality, was just an over-sized sushi roll. Anna got herself another cheesesteak like she did so many times when we were in Philadelphia. We finished these and then it was on to Macy’s.
Dear God, not Macy’s.
I’ve mentioned before how the need to rank everything and everyone, as well as the overuse of superlatives here annoys me to no end. Well, Macy’s is a prime example of both. It seems that the majority in the USA have very little knowledge of the outside world, thus, if something is ranked numero uno in New York or the USA, it must be number one in the whole world. How could it not?!? The MLB World Series just finished, even though it is only played in North America. The NBA champions are referred to as the World Champions, despite the fact that the FIBA World Cup exists and the USA don’t always win. In fact, they are tied with Yugoslavia for the most championships.
Which brings me to Macy’s, which markets itself as “The World’s Largest Store”. Well, that might have been true at one point, but now could be classed as either ignorance or blatant false advertising, as shown here:
Macy’s flagship store on Herald Square is wrongly advertised as the largest in the world, even though it is smaller than the largest store of Shinsegae,
The building’s 2.2 million square feet (almost 205,000 square meters) made it the world’s largest department store from 1924 until 2009, when the South Korean chain Shinsegae opened a store of nearly 3.16 million square feet (293,905 square meters) in Busan.
Macy’s may only be two-thirds the size of the World’s Largest Store, however, it is possibly the employer of some of the world’s dumbest staff. We tolerated as much as we could handle and then we were off to check out some more flea-markets where I stumbled across these (right).
Dinner was an amazing Spanish restaurant with some snail and rabbit paella and then it was back home to collapse in front of the TV for the night.
All in all it was a great weekend, I had a blast catching up with Jordan, Koto and Bridget and I enjoyed finally getting to meet you, Justine. Now we’ve got to get ready for this weekend, Anna has a conference in Las Vegas, so we’re heading up there on Thursday and then to LA for a few days the following Tuesday. I already have my ugly Vegas outfit sorted.