Here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks – work have sent me over to the USA, and though I’m nominally in “New York”, I’m not situated in an office block on the corner of 42nd and Madison, or anything.  Despite not being in the thick of it though, I’ve had a little bit of opportunity to get in there & have a look around.

So, for starters…

I’m in White Plains NY, not New York City.  It’s not really “upstate New York” – the state’s northern border is about 370 miles away.  Still, it’s about a half hour walk to White Plains station, plus a good 40 minute train ride in to Grand Central Station, so it’s doable.  More on White Plains later, I guess.

From previous visits it’s struck me before, but no less so this time, that NYC has an incredibly familiar feel to it.  Every direction you look there’s some striking view and it feels like something you’ve seen before.  Principally this is because you have seen it before, due to about 2/3 of the USA’s TV and film output seemingly being set in the city.  So here’s a shot which grabbed me of the Chrysler Building, as I was trekking back to Grand Central to get my train home the other night.

As with any large city that people flock to there’s bound to be all sorts of historic fabric about the place – and you could spend hours delving through Wikipedia learning about it – however this plaque caught my eye on the way past.  So presumably NYC didn’t have the air of easy familiarity about it to tourists prior to 1896.

Somewhat irrelevantly, whilst shopping at a local supermarket I was perusing the “World Foods” aisle, and had to acknowledge the exotic content of the Britain section.

You’ve got to love a vehicle with wood panelling AND a white vinyl roof.  Oh yeah.  Sadly, it’s a lost aesthetic.  I suspect I know why Doc Brown didn’t use one of these to mount his Flux Capacitor in.

Space is at a premium like in any big city and this appears to be one solution to maximising its use without spending lots on construction or presumably having to worry too much about permits – it’s a carpark seemingly made of shelves.  No idea how they get the cars in & out – possibly some sort of forklift.  Just up the road from here I walked past a bunch of improv theatre types improvving in the street.  You know you’re not in London…

My longtime partner-in-crime & fellow beer connoisseur Spiro and I caught up for a cheeky beaker or two the other week, and it seemed silly not to take a picture of the highly commendable selection we made our way through that night.  Tastebud nirvana, seriously – especially the Mikkeller Black and Schlafly Reserve Stout.  Wow.  It’s beer Jim, but not as we know it.

And finally, whilst wandering about the East Village I stumbled across this tastefully named establishment.  Turns out it’s a sports bar (where sports are watched, not played, such is the custom) and not named after some forward-thinking pioneer of the day or hero of the 1880s.  Still, they had about 7 beers on tap there and it wasn’t altogether unpleasant.

That’s it for now – doesn’t really tell you much, but dem’s da breaks.  Carry on!

Tales from The Other Side (of the Atlantic)
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