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Hamish McKenzie - man of the world, London, Ont.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

New York Minutes

Friday, 11:59 p.m.: Arrive in Manhattan after 11-hour ride from Toronto and a frustrating detour through the armpit of America, New Jersey. Try not to get too irritated at SUV-driving rideshare buddies who seem hellbent on driving in opposite direction to New York City, which I am at pains to suggest to them was somewhere near that large mass of lights, bridges, and tall pointy building in the distance. Am rather amused/concerned, however, to see a bonafide posse-fight at a gas station near Jersey city. Feel safe in the ridiculously oversized gas guzzler.

Saturday, 12:17 a.m.: Meet kiwi friend in Times Square. Immediately make plans to find somewhere to drink.

12:45 a.m.: Arrive at a different friend's apartment in Lower East Side, where there's something of a small party going on. Delight in meeting a Georgetown grad who now works as an event planner. He lives near P-Diddy, but doesn't exchange pleasantries on the curbside, apparently. A Wall Street financier spontanesouly undresses in the living room. I have photos of his penis. Don't know how that happened...

1:45 a.m.: ... but it might have had something to do with the bottle of Jim Beam I purchased duty-free at the Canadian border for CDN$13. It was gone by this stage, thanks to much help from friends, including to the recently-arrived Matthew Nippert, a former volunteer writer for the student magazine Salient.

3:00 a.m.ish: Our party of nine walks round the corner and attends two of New York's crappier bars.

4:00 a.m.: We're kicked out onto the street when the bar closes. My two kiwi friends, despondent at no longer having access to alcoholic beverages, circumvent NY's licensing laws by negotiating with a 24-hour chemist to purchase beer, which is then promptly transported home and ignored.

4:38 a.m.: ... except for two bottles, both of which were probably consumed by Nippy.

5:00 a.m.--midday: Sleep happens.

Midday--7:00 p.m.: Sensible tourist-like activities take place, with no drinking to speak of.

7:01 p.m.: Drinking to speak of commences.

Sunday, 5:00 a.m.: Drinking to speak of ceases. Of course, I stopped long ago, but my ravenous kiwi friends try to prolong the activity. I get grumpy at barmen who continue to serve my clearly-fucked buddy even as the bar is closing. I even tell them what they're doing is illegal. How's that for righteous? Get me to a temperance union, I say.

In the meantime, us three kiwi boys have enjoyed a private screening of the Flight of the Conchords' HBO special and subsequently shared the in-jokes with each other to our own great delight.

Then we went to a Halloween pre-party and a Halloween post-pre-party at a bar that must have been at least 600km away. It was a Columbia j-school gig. People were dressed up as scary things. Matt wore a suit.

My other friend and I smuggled bottles of Grolsch into the bar from a convenience store across the street. I was successfully surreptitious. My big-arsed friend got nabbed and almost kicked out. He felt so bad he was compelled to purchase beverages in excess from the bar. His credit card took a real hammering, but not as bad as his body. He had to be helped back to his accommodation in Brooklyn.

I, on the other hand, managed to find my way back to Matt's apartment all by myself. And it only took me two hours. I had a minor mishap. Fell asleep on the subway train, homeless styles, and woke up 150 streets past my intended destination. When I finally made it back to the apartment at the reasonable hour of 7:30 a.m., Matt had beaten me back -- although he doesn't remember how. I was consigned to the two-seater couch for a spine-injuring four hours of sleep.

Sunday, midday--midnight: Sensible non-drinking hungover activities: showering, snoozing, eating, aborting a first viewing of Desperate Housewives. Oh, and I read a great article in The New Yorker about why George Bush Snr.'s national security adviser and best friend, Brent Scowcroft, doesn't like George Jnr. The implication was that George Snr. probably doesn't agree with what his son is doing either. Well, that was my inference. I love New York for its magazines and newspapers: The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper's, The Nation, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Observer, The Onion. It's a news junkie's wet dream.

Monday, 7:15 a.m.--10:30 p.m.: ride trains and buses back to London, Ontario. Home to the London Free Press. An inspiration of a newspaper.