one night in new york

30 Aug
Looking out from the "Frying Pan" at Riverside Boulevard towards Manhattan

Looking out from the "Frying Pan" at Riverside Boulevard towards Manhattan

Friday and Saturday night: the two nights of the week that J-schoolers ENSURE that they are out and about, stalking the streets of New York in an effort to keep the madness away.

For most, it’s been a rough day after a rough night. I was up until about 3am doing a story on Brooklyn residents watching Obama’s acceptance speech at Cafe Shanes in Crown Heights. With the story filed at around 2am (written in the subway and typed at a phenomenal speed), Friday has hit me at full force.  But after an extended nap I am ready to head out again … another New York nights stretches out in front of us …

And this is how it goes …

7.45 PM: HOP STOPPING IT TO BROOKLYN

The Brooklyn Brewery smells of ... beer.

The Brooklyn Brewery smells of ... beer.

It’s Franz’s 24th birthday and he’s planning one hell of an extravaganza, one that starts at 8pm at the Brooklyn Brewery with pizzas and, well beer, naturally.

Brooklyn is not entirely a hop, skip and a jump away from Morningside Heights. More like 45 minutes on the downtown 1 and the L, plus a few minutes walk. But it’s made all the better by my lovely companion Katya, whose Australian accent I could listen to for hours (undeniable betrayal for the Saffers!)

Franz has garnered quite a crowd at the Brewery, who are made all the merrier by an assortment of beer at $4 a cup. Most who know me will also me know that beer is not my thing and so it’s Diet Coke and pot shots about my acccent from Alex that keep the evening going.

11PM: ALL ABOARD MATEYS?

Jax and Laura wax lyrical on board the Frying Pan

Jax and Laura wax lyrical on board the Frying Pan

With a shut-down time of 11pm, Franz guides a straggling group out of the famed Brewery and shepherds us all through a walk, a subway ride, a walk and a taxi ride to the Frying Pan, a lightship boat docked at Chelsea Pier that hosts parties and other shenanigans. Tonight, the Frying Pan is sadly shut down inside (a tour through the bowels of the ship was enough to scare the living daylights out of me), but the barge next to the boat is pumping, and we sit upstairs and talk. I, for one, do not know where to look: out to the towering and blinding skyscrapers of Manhattan, or the docile riverside condos of New Jersey. In both directions, it’s beautiful.

1.15 AM: TRAFFIC JAMS ON ROUTE TO GREENWICH

Yes. They're fierce like that.

Yes. They're fierce like that.

Off the  boat and onto dry land, it’s another walk and taxi ride to Dell’Anima (“of the soul”), a restaurant owned by Franz’s friend that sits happily on the corner of 8th Avenue and Jane in Greenwich Village. En route Laura and Alex try out their fiercest looks, and we argue with taxi drivers about the four passenger limit that taxi rules call for. Alex uses his charm to woo the taxi driver and all is forgotten as we wind our way through a major traffic jam on Riverside Boulevard.

Dell’Anima is alight with people, and host Joe is more than happy to oblige Franz’s posse with some wine and champagne. It’s a good place with a happy vibe, but at about 2.30am it’s time for me to go.

Others will go onto their fourth and fifth destination for the evening … it’s not uncommon to visit multiple sites in one evening in Manhattan. With cabs and the subway at hand, why not? But sadly, for a girl with few pennies in her pocket (a dismal $15 dollars was spent the whole evening), it’s more about conversation than partying at this point.

And there’s plenty of that, with the J-schoolers offering points of view on pretty much anything you want to talk about: existentialism and loneliness, companionship and relationships, Plato and rock-climbing – whatever rocks your boat.

And if it’s done while bobbing up and down on the Hudson River, or while standing outside the most famous chocalatier in Greenwich Village … well, all the better!

3.30 am: Bed.

This South African girl disappoints miserably as she climbs into bed, exhausted and depleted at only 3.30am. Sacrilege in the eyes of a typical New Yorker. But it’s been a good night – and like every night, it has opened my eyes a little bit more to the randomness of New York, to my own piece in this insane puzzle of a city, and to what’s really important in life: seizing the moment and joining the tide, going with the flow without being scared of where it’s going to take you.

Amen to that!

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2 Responses to “one night in new york”

  1. Frouse August 30, 2008 at 11:48 pm #

    Are cabs cheap to take in NYC or are people with no cars just resigned to paying to get around quicker?

  2. franz August 31, 2008 at 12:01 am #

    hey thank you for this detailed report and of course for joining me in a long night. I’m sorry you don’t like beer that must have been aweful at the brewery.
    If you got more pics I would love to take a look at them. Maybe you can email them?
    Cheers,
    Franz

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