6:28. Eyes open, watching and waiting for the god awful tone of the alarm.
6:30. Sound of agony escapes the speakers of my cell phone.
6:50. Sipping coffee in the foggy mist of the Wednesday morning in the driveway waiting for Brett and Austin.
6:55-7:00. Others arrive. Packing the car, looking for longboard…”Should’ve done this yesterday.”
7:10. “Forget it, I’ll just take the skateboard.”
7:15. After countless redundant reminders about safety, mum gives her approval for departure via a kiss on the cheek.
7:49. First toll. Realized we forgot easy-pass. Paid after scrounging through the ashtray for 75 cents.
10:10. Dunks break.
10:30. Second toll. Running it.
11:35. “I need to piss… like immediately” From the back seat.
11:37. Exit 22 ‘Welcome to the Bronx’
11:38. Return to highway. Bathroom can wait.
12:00. Screamed at by female cop whilst making an illegal merge into right turn lane for Lincoln Tunnel.
12:30. Arrive at Little Man Parking Garage, Hoboken NJ.
A long morning of driving, heavy eyelids, cold coffee, and near death experiences has brought us to “America’s most walkable city”. Little did I know that this would be one of the best adventures I’ve had in years. We drove down the Wednesday of spring break to sleep on the couch at a friend’s apartment in Hoboken for a few nights to experience the area. Up until this trip I had barely known anything about Hoboken other than the fact that it was opposite the Hudson river from Manhattan. The original intent of the trip was to be in the audience for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, but the it turned out meaning a lot more than that to me. We took an Über to the theatre to make it on time and that barely happened. After waiting in a line that wrapped around the block, we were in. This was my first time being in a TV audience and I was not disappointed, Colbert (My all-time favorite TV personality) was an awesome host and was great at engaging the crowd. It was very cool to get to see what happens behind the scenes, as well as how they actually film the show. All-in-all, a great experience with a lot of laughs, especially since the tickets cost us nothing at all. Turns out the show is filmed at 5:30 to allow for editing before it airs. After the show, we headed back to Hoboken to get some rest for the next day.
I had been to New York twice before this and I always loved SoHo and the areas surrounding it. We got on the train over to Manhattan from Jersey with that as our destination. It had completely escaped us that it was St.Patrick’s day, but as soon as we got on the train in Secaucus, it became very obvious. The train was full from end to end with people dressed in all green wearing crazy top hats, necklaces, and sunglasses. Almost everyone was college aged and it appeared as though the whole train had been drinking heavily since at least 9. When I say the train was full, I’m not talking every seat taken full, I’m talking people in the space between the cars full. Needless to say, after all the awesome ‘Olay’ chants, some of the other cars got pretty rowdy. Warning: there is quite a bit of fowl language in the video.
The pictures and words give you a pretty good idea of the energy.
Leaving the train station consisted of riding overloaded escalators, a loud “CHUG CHUG CHUG…” followed by a few go-getters shotgunning tallboys in a public train station, and one more “USA! USA! USA!” before emerging to a street full of parade goers and about a half-dozen cops handing out citations to some unlucky kids. It was a blast to be around that much enthusiasm for a day dedicated to getting blackout. We made the tough decision to break south from the crowd at Penn station and head for the shops in SoHo.
The streets were insanely busy and this was one of my first times skateboarding on a city street, so I was pretty intimidated. That went away about ten minutes later when we started grabbing truck bumpers to get a free tow to the next block. As hectic as it seemed, it was amazing getting to just cruise through traffic and take in the sights. Once we were out of the scramble that is Midtown on a Thursday, we walked our way into Chinatown to see what we could find. We came to a spot on Canal St. where we decided to get a couple of photos and take a break from walking. The smell of fish markets and diesel exhaust has a way of bringing you into a different world. It was crazy. It was strange to see how little attention New York cops pay to skateboarders. In Boston, we would have been kicked out before we even put a board down.
We made our way into SoHo, the land of strange art galleries, overpriced clothes, and flagship stores. We spent the rest of the day popping in and out of shops and found some pretty cool spots. I finally got the chance to visit Best Made, one of my favorite clothing and equipment companies. After spending more than I would consider responsible, we made a b-line to the nearest train station to make it back to Hoboken to get dinner. My mom, being the foodie that she is, got us a few Groupons to use while we were there and they actually saved us a lot of money. My personal favorite was probably a place called Planet Mac which had all sorts of mac and cheese combinations with pretty much anything you could put in a pan. No matter where we went, the food did not disappoint.
On Friday we ended up checking out the Ducati motorcycle dealer downtown and we were surprised how big the motorcycle scene was in NYC. I had seen bikes riding by all day but I didn’t think that people were into custom bikes there. A salesman approached us as soon as we came in the door and I was ready to say “Just looking” to shoo him off instead of letting him try and sell me a motorcycle he knew I couldn’t afford. The conversation that followed was one of the coolest things I’d seen since I got there. He didn’t try to sell us on anything. We told him that we were working on 70’s Hondas and he shot the breeze with us for half an hour without even mentioning a bike in the store. We saw a bike in the corner that had an extremely unique look and he challenged us to see if we could figure out what it was. After coming up clueless, he explained that it was a bike he had helped build, consisting of parts from almost every model on the showroom floor. We were in awe, the bike was gorgeous and he explained that it was going to be entered in a design contest in Italy in the fall. It’s really really rare that a salesperson is this cool. If you walk into any Harley dealership in New Hampshire, you’re basically agreeing to let these guys call you once a month to try and get you to come in and buy a new thirty-thousand-dollar bike. This guy was the man and us his card, asking us to send him pictures of our machines when we finished.
I left there feeling I had found something strangely awesome. There are so many people in that city that it’s impossible that there wouldn’t be a population of cool people that you share interests with. New York has this crazy weird vibe to it. You have the bad neighborhoods, the rich neighborhoods, the tourist traps, but then you have something a lot more unique. Anything that you could possibly have a passion for, there is a community for it there. I say it all the time, I will live in that city someday because how much better of a place can there be for someone to find themselves as well as meet extremely unique people?