Thoughts on New York

The lift in the hotel goes so fast and so high your ears pop.

There is a constant rumble in the background. The sound of millions of living human beings. It sounds like thunder about to break but it’s also oddly soothing.

It costs how much?

No, I don’t want to buy your CD.

The bus tour costs over $150 and is worth every damn cent.

The hotel is near a fire station, and the wail of the sirens ricochets off the sides of the skyscrapers. It sounds like wolves tearing around the tower, trying to get in.

Times Square feels like reality is breaking down around you in a bleed of colour, light and noise. If someone walked up to you and said “This is a dream. You are about to wake up.” you’d believe them.

It costs how much?

The fancy food is great. The fast food is AMAZING.

For such a large city the people are really friendly.

“Hey, what part of the UK you guys from?” “Ah ha ha. Bravely spoken.”

So are we just going to ignore the green vapour rising up from the manholes? It looks like scarecrow is trying to douse the place in fear toxin.

It costs how much?

The tour guide points out apartments at random and tells us how much it costs to live there. Property and wealth and class seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts. Not in an avaricious way, but as a matter of survival. It feels like a sinking island where everyone is scrambling for higher ground.

Matilda. Damn.

Hamilton. FUCK.

Watching Donald Trump become the presumptive nominee in the hotel room. Wondering if it’s the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.

The weather is like Irish weather but slower. Sunday was gloriously sunny, Monday overcast, Tuesday rainy, Wednesday foggy. In Dublin we’d burn through that in an afternoon.

I am so fucking white.

The city provokes feelings of awe and wonder that I would normally only get from mountains or canyons. This is man building on the scale of nature, ants constructing castles.

Where I come from a green man means something, dammit. Taxis seem to think they can drive through pedestrian crossings at will. It’s as if they don’t know that I am walking here and I wish there was some way I could tell them.

Avoid Applebees like you would smallpox.

So Alexander Hamilton was kind of a big deal.

According to family legend my great grandfather came through Ellis Island. He couldn’t read English so he came through customs carrying six English books under one hand and another in front of his face as he walked so they just assumed he could read and didn’t bother with the literacy test. I couldn’t find him in the archives though. Maybe it’s not true. Or maybe he was too crafty and used a fake name. I’ll go with that.

Flying home across the Atlantic and going from day to night to day in five hours makes me feel oddly sad, like finding out how the magician does the trick.

Best holiday ever?  Maybe.

Three year olds who haven’t seen you in a week make you feel like the most beloved person on earth. Yes we’re going  to the playground,  jetlag be damned.

Checking my account. It cost HOW much?!


  1. Ahh, went there when I was about seven, can’t remember a fucking thing except how filthy the streets were. Oughta go back on day.

    So… how ’bout that Trump?

      1. I think at this point even us Americans can be glad we don’t live in the Phillipines, where presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte has straight-up admitted to having people killed.

  2. Visited last year to see my brother, who is stationed 45 minutes from the city at West Point. Never been to the city before; it was amazing.

    Part of me wishes I could live there, because it is so fascinating and full of life and humanity. Another part of me suspects I would be reduced to gibbering madness after a while. Still, I’d love to try it for a year; either I’d fall in love with the city and never want to leave, or I’d kiss the ground of suburbia when it’s over and never want to go back.

  3. “Visit New York but leave before it makes you hard.” (or broke?)

    It sounds like you had an awesome trip, cost notwithstanding. And you saw “Hamilton”?! So jealous! 🙂

  4. You sneaky heartwarming bastard. This post nearly made me cry. ❤

    I turn into such a little bumpkin when I see cities at night. I can't stop looking around in wonder. 'Ooh, a busking rabbit playing the bass! Ooh, sparkly laughing people! Ooh, lights in a building! Ooh, a seagull!'

  5. I went to New York with my high school theatre troupe in my senior year. We saw Wicked, Newsies and The Lion King. Then we did acting workshops with real Broadway casts. Ran into Steve Carell at La Guardia. Had the best fucking Thai food at this little place off Times Square, and the best fucking Irish stew at some pub near Broadway. Honestly though? The most impressive part of the city is the subway system. It’s like… Why doesn’t every city have one of these?

      1. Having only recently sat down and listened through the entirety of the cast album, I find that very easy to believe. Unfortunately actually watching Hamilton may have to wait for another few years…or decades, depending, since I’m 3000 miles away and on the wrong coast.

        Welcome back to Eire! Glad you enjoyed your stay in the Big Apple, probably the closest thing to Ankh-Morpork in the world.

      2. I wish I’d have known to get tickets (though, as a Slytherin, I’ll proudly admit to watching the bootleg while that was still up). And I don’t know how much you know about the other major Broadway productions (that aren’t from Disney) but what did you think of Hamilton by comparison?

      3. Of the ones I saw running I’ve only seen Le Mis and now Matilda. Le Mis in London was one of the greatest theatrical experiences of my life but Hamilton has it beat I think.

  6. Last time I went to New York I wandered through Times Square at 3 am with all my luggage before falling asleep in Central Park for the rest of the night. Not the preferred tour by any means.

  7. I have little desire to ever visit NYC (being from Los Angeles and having grown to rather despise large cities) but I’m glad you had a great time Mouse!

  8. Glad to hear you had a nice time!

    I’ve only been to New York once, on a band trip in high school a few years ago. I’m not much of a city person, so I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the experience, but getting to see all of the famous landmarks in person was nice. By far the highlight of our trip was seeing Matilda, though. I was completely blown away. It’s awesome that you got to see two shows! Hope your wife enjoyed her birthday present as much as you did 🙂

  9. Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself! For me, being the nerdy, scientific guy that I am, the only New York attraction I’d like to see is the American Museum of Natural History. I understand the appeal of big city life, but it’s not for me.

  10. Glad that you had fun in my hometown. All I ask is what cycloptic triangle demon did you sell your soul to to get Hamilton tickets, let alone that AND Matilda in one trip?!

    1. Matilda we were just lucky and got half price tickets on the day. Hamilton I’m afraid was just booking half a year in advance and paying through the snout.

  11. Lol I can see why a wall through Times Square would make you feel conscious about your skin color. I was the same. Like, it was just rainbows.

  12. I remember New York. If I didn’t say before, mostly all the sights I wasn’t able to see due to always going with my sister who refuses to go anywhere besides the big mall. There’s always later, Central Park. Or maybe not, considering the news you were watching appears to suggest this earth doesn’t have many days left.

    So, is the smell the same since I was there. The descriptions of the green fog make me think so, but I’m wondering what its aroma is like compared to the atmosphere at home. Seems I’ve yet to leave my hometown without coming back extremely appreciative that fresh air is something that exists there.

    In any case, glad your first trip across the pond was such a success!

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