It’s not walking down Bedford Avenue and trying out the different coffee shops and restaurants. There’s a different post for that.
It’s jogging down Kent Avenue all the way down past the Newton Barge Terminal Playground (which I know by name because I have just looked it up on Maps).
I’m listening to music.
And because it is winter, it is New York and I am feeling very “I-feel-like-taking-a-jab-at-you” (whoever you happen to be), the song of choice and on repeat is “What a feeling” by Irene Cara. And “Eye of the tiger”, of course.
I can see where the TV series got their tone of voice from.
One of the best things about New York is its street grid: avenues go from North to South across Manhattan and streets from West to East. This makes it very easy to get around. This is also the kind of city layout that I came to miss when I returned to London, where streets seem to have little appreciation for consistently being geometrically perpendicular.
One of the best things about the New York grid is the fact that, cross any avenue or street you may, you always have the ability to see North to South or West to East as far as the eye can see. There is no building getting in the way of the vista, as they are all consistently aligned to the avenues or streets that delimitate them.
I have many times dangerously stopped in the middle of crossing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, Lexington or Park and many other streets to take in the view. The window that allows you to see as far as Harlem and as down south as Downtown New York; from the West side to the East side.
It is almost as if the curtain of buildings and skyscrapers that makes up the fabric of New York pulls itself and allows you to take in the view.
Probably my favourite New York feeling: seeing this curtain pulled and breathing it all in.
I miss this restaurant. Located on Bedford Avenue in South Williamsburg, it is a Japanese grill that is probably also the first restaurant that I became a regular of. I first went in at the start of November last year and watched my monthly bank statements reveal my regular visits every month after that.
The best dish on the menu is this crackling shrimp sushi, which melts in your mouth. The restaurant serves it along the traditional soy sauce, which only enhances the “melting” effect.
I ordered this dish so many times (often accompanied by the grilled chicken) that it is amazing I have not turned into a massive shrimp. To paraphrase Sofia Vergara, “What’s wrong with being a massive shrimp?”
I didn’t think I would find cage fighting interesting, but I did. My friend got tickets to an event in Atlantic City in February and we drove there for the day. We mainly went to see her kickboxing coach fight for the championship title. His fight was 10th in a set of 12.
I thought I was going to end up biting my nails and rolling my eyes of boredom for three hours waiting for him to fight, but there was no time for such a thing. The moment the first fight started, fighters getting in the ring, squad and all, jabs, crosses, leg kicks, knock-outs and submissions, I was hooked.
There is something instinctive and primal about two men fighting in a cage that immediately glues you in. It goes beyond sheer adrenaline and appeals to your survival instincts. Looking at the guys fighting, you are not necessarily a spectator as much as someone whose need to survive and walk out of that cage alive has been stirred and triggered and you respond accordingly.
I think this is one of the reasons MMA has become so popular. It is very easy to see yourself in the fighters’ shoes. At the end of the day, the only thing that separates you from them is a cage net.
There are some buildings in the world that look as if they have literally descended from another. St Paul’s Cathedral and Sagrada Familia are two of them and I am blessed to be living very close to the former and to have visited the latter a couple of years back.
I found the third in Washington last year, when my friend took me to see the Library of Congress. It is simply one of those buildings that leave you speechless because of the beauty and the detail which surround you everywhere you look: in the artfully painted ceiling, the amazing statues in the hallway, the marble staircases, the floors, the books. It needs to be seen to be believed.