Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Where the Streets Have No Names (for the most part)

Way back in school in Cochin, a friend once told me confidently that the song 'Where the Streets have No Name' was about New York, because the streets were numbered, not named. I am, of course, better informed now thanks to Wikipedia, but it was still a story I liked.
And so it was that this weekend I met with Bansal (may his tribe ever increase) and Kracker (may his blog readership increase). Being neither Yale students nor Cary Grant/Tom Hanks wannabes, we eschewed Grand Central Station and the top of the Empire State Building as possible meeting places and chose to meet in front of the Port Authority bus station at approximately 1 o'clock. Due to a lack of organization/lot of silliness on my part, I ended up waking up late and taking a Chinatown-to-Chinatown bus which, in the fitness of things, deposited me in NYC in the middle of a fairly robust shower. With neither a map nor a clear idea of which direction to head to, I did the manly (i.e. fat-headed) thing, plodding along in the shower in the general direction of the bigger buildings on the horizon, not bothering to ask for directions. I finally managed to find a place that sold me a map, from which I ascertained that I was going in the right direction, after all, and then continued plodding, until I met the others, approximately an hour later than planned.
Having filled up on pizza and Gatorade, we continued to plod, though thankfully the sun had come out. We managed to cover Central Park, the Rockefeller Center and Times Square, all the while enjoying the unique freedom that knowing a second language like Hindi offers, namely the ability to cuss without being comprehended. It's like having a mild super-power (besides the one we already had). After all that, we went to a place called Virgil's for beer and dinner (more of the former, less of the latter) and then packed off to Connecticut for the night (what can I say - I move in less upmarket circles than the Han).
The next day involved further roaming around NYC - a couple of rounds of Grand Central Station trying to figure out how to get south, a walk past the entrance to Wall Street, further wandering in and out of various subway stations (grimier than Boston, more reminiscent of Delhi/Bombay), and then a free ferry ride past Mme Bartholdi herself. Having taken umpteen photographs of the statue and of Kracker grimacing in the glaring sun, we then moved on to Chinatown, where I had my first taste of Malaysian cuisine (yay globalization!). I ordered stir-fried noodles, which tasted a bit like the sort of stuff you get in cheap Punjabi-Chinese restaurants in India, only with better ingredients and not so much of a greasy feeling afterwards. I think I may have impressed the waitress with my chopstick-wielding skills, although I did have a couple of beers, so I may have confused amusement with admiration. Then it was back on the Lucky Star bus to Boston.
So there you have it - My Visit to New York. I suppose I should have done a few more touristy things, like buying an 'I love New York' t-shirt, but then I'm sure I can probably get an equally authentic one back in India itself. They're all probably made in Tirupur anyway.


  1. so is the conversation regarding the making of the indian pale ale going on sometime soon?

    its a classic

  2. Ah yes the supposed ambiguity...Here's an expanded write-up from the official site which should resolve it:
    "Brooklyn East India Pale Ale is inspired by the original East India Pale Ales brewed in England in the early 1800s for the troops in India. Eventually, these beers became known as IPAs. Everyday English ales were spoiling during shipping from London, aound Africas Cape of Good Hope, to Calcutta. Using extra malt and hops, British brewer George Hodgson developed an ale with the bitterness and strength to endure the long sea voyage, giving rise to a great beer style."
    As I hope the above makes clear, the beer was engineered to survive the trip to India, not necessarily to aid in the survival of its imbibers during said trip, although I'm sure the imbibers themselves were glad to have an ale that did survive the trip and found that it made their continued survival much more bearable...

  3. its funny...i consider pale ales to be lighter and sweeter than most other beers...or is the pale ale of today more bitter and stronger than pale ale of pre-Hodgson england?

  4. Don't throw stuff like that at me. Until recently, I've mainly been a Kingfisher drinker when it comes to beer.

  5. im sort of curious now to go back an have kingfisher. what with my well developed beer palate and all...

    honestly though i have developed a much wider appreciation for beer. I dont think i've had any hard liquor for the most part of the last year. Beer can actually be tasty and have flavour. Who knew?