The second day of my trip looked rather dull since it had been raining all night and there wasn’t any chance of the rain stopping any time soon. I was on my own for the first time since my host obviously had to work. We were to meet up later during the day, but until then I was out to explore the city.
Actually I had set up a meeting with someone else I knew via the japanesebaseball.com Koushien chatroom to watch the Hannover 96 – FC St Pauli game which was the late Friday game in Germany. Therefore I had to go to a bar located in the eastside of Manhattan. Turns out getting there wasn’t so easy.
I left the house and had a cigarette in front of the entrance to the subway when I was approached by some guy who asked me if I had another cigarette for him. As I was about to give him my tobacco another friend of his shows up and also kindly asks me for a smoke. Both of them were very riendly and especially interested in how german tobacco would taste like. One of them was even kind enough to show mehow to get to the bar in Manhattan, walking down with me to the subway tracks and showing me the way on the map down there. And that’s where my trouble began…
…because I don’t seem to be able to use the entrance system properly. You are supposed to slide your Metrocard through a device and then walk through either a door or revolving bars. But somehow I pushed the door too early and ended up being shut out. So I decided to walk.
Walking through Brooklyn during the rain might not be considered fun by a lot of people but just walking towards the river is very very interesting. You get to recognize all the street signs you might be missing when you take the subway, you get to hear all the sounds of the cars, the people walking past you. So I just kept walking straight and followed the signs to Manhattan Bridge, because I didn’t want to end up way down south.
When I crossed Manhattan Bridge (and because I came totally unprepared) I ended up in the middle of Chinatown. It really seems and feels like entering a whole new world. The smell is different and I even had the feeling the streets and broadwalks were different. Of course there are a lot of tourists walking around, but seeing so many asian people on the streets is very fascinating.
I took the rain up north to Union Square, asked for directions there and ended up at the bar where I was supposed to meet up about an hour too early. So I took the time to just walk around a little bit more, since the grid system of the streets makes it so easy to orientated yourself. Walking around what is the East Village is kind of interesting because the streets look a little alike, but there’s always something different with lots of bars, galleries, restaurants and other different shops.
I was able to meet my friend at the bar at the set time and we sat down in the bar being the only customers. St Pauli won so I was kind of satisfied. We then headed a little further to the east where he showed me a mural for Joe Strummer and met up with my host at what seems to be the oldest pub of New York City. McSorley’s was founded alomost 160 years ago and only serves beer. And not only that, the beers only come in two, so you always have two glasses standing in front of you. No one was able to explain to me why that was happening. My host’s wife joined us after work and then we set out to find a restaurant, which is kind of easy, because there are so many there. But it’s also kind of hard because you have to decide on one.
We tried to get into a venezuelan restaurant, but because we had to ait for a table for almost an hour we decided to go cuban, which was very tasty and good. The evening ended at a coffee shop. By the time we got home I have to say I was pretty exhausted.