Industrial Strength Earplugs Anyone?

Why is it that people think that the Old Port of Montreal is uninhabited? And that it’s fine to walk along shouting at each other in conversation between midnight and 4am every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night? Apparently it’s also perfectly reasonable behaviour to see how fast you can drive between stop signs with your sh*te hip hop blaring at full volume, screeching to a halt, then screeching away again. Do you really believe no-one knows you’re drunk driving?

Sigh. Guess I’m getting too old for city life. Or maybe bars should take some responsibility for controlling their patrons on the street after they’ve finished raping their drunken wallets for every last piece of cash. Or perhaps the city should take a leaf out of Toronto and New York’s law books and close down bars that get regular excessive noise complaints. Just a thought…

New York City Steam Explosion

Earlier today a steam pipe exploded in midtown Manhattan on 41st & Lexington, killing one and injuring others. This death toll is amazingly low considering the pipe exploded around 6pm, high rush hour, right next to Grand Central Station – one of the busiest parts of New York for commuters at this time. It’s amazing to see the images of the steam escaping, and to think that these pipes are under most of Manhattan. To me it raises the question of whether this steam driven system is appropriate any more, but then people die each year from ice falling off sky scrapers, or even electrocution from drain pipe covers!

Hole blown in road by steam explosion

You can see from the image above the size of the hole that was blown in the road when the steam escaped. Other images in the footage at BBC news show the steam reaching to midway up the Chrysler Building nearby.

New York Post-Teenager

Continuing the New York theme this morning (even though I’m in Toronto) – according to Time Out my New York age is 20, a side effect of continuing the Peter Pan life-stylings of Williamsburg methinks. Although strangely I didn’t recognize old school Upper East classic Elaine’s, which I have eaten at with Marc and Sid, prior to going outside and bumping into a very drunken Russ with his other 20 years old-ish friends at the Irish bar next door. Hmm.. maybe that estimate is spot on.

Go calculate your own age here.

The Blob Attacks Greenpoint

Apparently Greenpoint, and increasing areas of hipster gentrified Brooklyn, is sitting on top of a huge bubble of toxic oil spill that’s been known about since the 70s! Hmm… I guess since this is pretty much exactly underneath my Brooklyn apartment I should be worried, but then maybe my landlord is using the oil to provide cheap heating. Another fine mess from Exxon Mobile (allegedly).

New York Love: IdiotARod 2007

Today was the IdiotARod. A rag tag fugitive fleet of… oh wait. That’s Battlestar Galactica. Sorry. It’s basically just a group of folks who get a shopping cart (that’s trolley to us Brits), dress up funny and then ‘race’ to the finish in a treasure hunt of location finding.

IdiotARod is one of the reasons I love New York: people come together in ‘spontaneous’ gatherings such as this just for the hell of it. They brave possible police action, just to remind us all we’re here, we’re alive and we should cherish the fun and freedoms we have. Especially at a time when so many freedoms are being carefully eroded in the name of ‘safety’.

Next year come along. Or check out Chenguin. Or dress as a zombie. Or santa. Or start your own. I’ll be there.

BTW: In a fit of uncharacteristic timeliness I’ve uploaded all of my IdiotARod photos from today. Go check them out here.

Freedom.

Well since I’m not in Bermuda after all I wandered down to check out the Idiotarod, New York’s crazy trolly race. Turns out the police are big fans – the entire McClaren park starting point was surrounded by cops in cars & horses. Hmm. I seem to recall Mayor Bloomberg promising a less ‘police state’ approach to New York after Guiliani’s particular style of management.

HOWEVER – it transpired that this police presence caused the start to be moved. The police followed, aided by the ever present helicopter. A mass of Idoiotrodders gathered, and eventually the police commissioner spoke up: this was not a legal gathering, and we would be arrested if we didn’t follow traffic laws and keep to the sidewalks. Pretty easy stuff in theory.

Now, I’m exhausted, knackered from following after the ‘race’ (not that anyone’s really trying to win) and just about to go through the 700 odd photos I took. Check my flickr for them. A good day for all, except maybe for those covered in flour and dead fish.

Decisions, Decisions

The other day mentioned how much I like New York for it’s generally sunny weather, even when it’s cold – and today is no exception. Bright, clear and chilly. Today’s New York experience is all about the trouble with choices. New York is full of them. Everywhere you turn there’s another choice:

“Do I take go east one block and downtown one or will it the lights be in my favour if I go downtown one block then east one?”

“Should I start a Web 2.0 company for no pay in the hope of millions down the road and a sense of self-accomplishment, or get paid enough money to live in this city?”

“Should I get this cab that just swerved dangerously in front of the other one to get my fare, or the other guy who looks like he’s wearing coke bottles for glasses hunched over his wheel?”

And the worst of them all: “So what do you feel like eating? I feel like sushi.” which then inevitably leads to a full description of what every person in the group has eaten for the last three days, so they couldn’t have that – well, maybe they could, until eventually you end up in the restaurant next to you.

Today was a food choice day – luckily the group only consisted of me. I was sitting in the office for a good 15 minutes as I mulled over which of the 200+ lunch places to eat from on my block alone. Then i plumped for soap from Hale & Hearty. So I wandered over there and spent another ten or so minutes in contemplation of their near thirty soups before I made my choice. Chicken and corn chowder if you want to know. Then, of course, I got to the checkout and realised I’d forgotten my Hale & Hearty regular soup swiller card, so I now have another of those to add to the collection all with just one of the ten necessary stamps.

Note to self: New web 2.0 idea. Let people pool their ‘regular soup’ cards to get one soup to share between them.

Two hours later and I’m hungry again. Still, there’s plenty to choose from for snacks round here…

Today’s “New York Experience” comes to you courtesy of the great people at Halal Chicken on 54th & Madison. Spicy chicken – your way. As long as you want it fried and with rice. Mmm mmm – them’s good eatin’! (TM)

New York Walks

People will often hear me say that New York is a walking city. Then they’ll generally tell me to shut up and either hail a cab, an activity that generally takes all of 10 seconds, or walk into the nearest subway. Those people will probably also have no interest in reading about author Will Self’s 26 mile walk from JFK into the center of Manhattan, which is a shame because it’s a fascinating read.