My Cultural Awakening: Summer in NYC
So the last time I posted here, I was sweating in my stuffy NYC apartment in the dead of winter and months later, you guessed it, I'm doing the same in the dog days of summer.
Now I'm not going to lie, I miss summer in MD with the regular bbqing, the leisurely swims in the warm and strangely yellow colored pool of my former apt complex, the cheap nights at the empty Orioles games (where I had grown accustomed to hearing the largest roar of the night when mustard would beat ketchup in the condiment race between innings....hey that's what happens when the home team has been irrelevant for a decade) and the good old tuesday night all-male nude mud wrestling matches.
That being said, I am thoroughly enjoying my first full summer in the Big Apple. I am pretty much the opposite of cultured or classy, but here you can't escape it even if you try. And trust me I try. But thankfully I have been kept in the loop by my classier friends in the know. My friend Josh B, in particular, is my go to guy when I am looking for an adventure that will involve 4 subway transfers, beers I can't pronounce and a genre of music or artwork that even wikipedia could not adequately define for me. I therefore refer to him as "the cultural pipeline" or the "CP" (if you are like me and have a need to abbreviate everything.)
But even without the guidance of my CP, I have taken some serious cultural initiative this summer and I figured I would share some of my doings which reflect a truly cool and cultured summer in the city:
Biking to the Entertainment: There are few things chicks dig more than a man on a bike. Ok maybe that's truer in regard to a different kind of bike than the 10 speed I ride around the neighborhood. But in the past few months as I have regularly biked to the summer nightlife, and by now I pretty much own the streets of the upper west side (or at least share them with the delivery boys). Honestly, you’re always going to be the life of the party if you show up sweating and still wearing your helmet. I will, however, say that an area of concern is a fear of the dreaded BUI (biking under the influence).....Don't worry mom, if I ever have one too many cold ones, I make sure to nab a designated biker as I ride home in the attached child seat.
Concert Going: I've made an effort to get to more concerts especially the freebies in the park. But I have to say the biggest and most diverse cultural experience of my summer was the Tom Petty concert in Newark, New Jersey. I mean for my money it doesn’t get much better than Tommy P and his wacky voice belting out Free Fallin to a crowd of very Caucasian Jerseyians, many of whom spent the night livid about the inexplicable shortage of beer in the stadium (they also ran out of cups and offered to serve me in a used one with 3 pieces of gum caked in--true story). My friend AR, who is well connected in the black entertainment music industry, told me her boss “laughed his ass off” when she inquired about Petty tix for me. I didn’t fully understand why until I noticed that the only non-white people within ½ a mile from the arena were the employees being blamed for the beer shortage. It ranks up there with my participation in Jewish Model United Nations as one of those “realizing you are as white as a dry erase board moments.”
Short Wearing: In Bmore getting dressed up to go out involves throwing on some nice shorts and maybe a polo if the place is more upscale. So imagine my shock when I was recently turned away from Manhattan’s Hotel Empire's Rooftop Bar when I showed up to a friend's party in my new plaid "going out shorts" and polo shirt. As the late great Christopher Farley once said "what kinda hotel is this?"
Whiffle Ball: My roommate and I, two individuals in our mid to late 20's enter a Duane Reade at 11 pm on a Monday night and for some reason exit sipping fruit punches and carrying whiffle ball sets. Granted, the above little shopping experience reveals that I have probably regressed from my Bar Mitzvah, however the whiffle ball purchase is an essential summer tool and arguably a cultural experience. It resides in my trunk and makes appearances at bbq's, weekend retreats and even during lame cocktail parties.
And finally a couple other things I have picked up in NYC that you may or may not want to try at home:
- Winking at strangers on the subway (only resulted in one black eye so far)
- Eating full meals at bus stops
- Fake Clogs
- 5 or 6 Flavor Ices after basketball games
- Not blogging for six months
- And then trying to make up for it with unnecessarily wordy blogs