Actually I planned to see New York like the last time, just rushing from John F. Kennedy Airport in East NYC by public transport all the way to mid-Manhattan and make it within two hours, catching the train heading north on Penn Station.
Stumbling with a fat suitcase full of dead rats (some people would actually identify them as rotten socks), a camera dangling from my throat and a backpack full of classic American literature – what could be more fun?

.

Four weeks ago:
On my flight from New York to Los Angeles, I had all three seats on my side for me, my laptop (that I didn’t touch a single time during the flight), my backpack, a book about poker and about half a dozen empty plastic cups which once contained airplane Coca Cola.
On the other side of the center aisle, there were two guys, seemingly knowing each other, chatting for ten seconds after sitting down and falling asleep before the airplane even started rolling.
Six hours later, approaching LAX, the airplane got into turbulences. “Fasten your seatbelts” was the command, and even the nice Virgin stewardesses had to obey this order. The two sleepers woke up, and even a blind person could see them clawing their fingers into the armrests.
I admit my fear at that time, but since it didn’t really help the pilot if I would suffocate my good shirt in sweat, I decided to feel joy.
“Better than a rollercoaster!”, I said across the aisle. Scratching motion and burnt armrest smell coming back. We started talking, exchanged emails, and since then I knew Andrey and Loyzo. Shortly before I left Los Angeles, Loyzo invited me to a film set in NYC, and so my plan changed.

.

This time I deposit my suitcase at Penn Station and walk around with my camera and my backpack, planning to meet Loyzo in the early afternoon. The battery of my camera goes dead all of a sudden, and the reserve battery’s energy is sucked out better than the blood vessels of my neck. I find a camera store online and, may it be coincidence, it is three blocks from Pennsylvania station. Upon entering my eyes exceed the size of my face. I have never been so flabbergasted by the features of a store.

  1. B&H Photo Video is as big as a Store like Ralphs or Food for less. Maybe bigger.
  2. It is filled with lenses instead of cucumbers, reflectors instead of pita bread, and
  3. The majority of employees, I guess more than 75%, wear little, flat black Kipas, important head covering in orthodox judaism.
  4. The number of shoppers equals the number of sellers. You remember those counters where you get advice on what to buy, and how they have numbers, like one to six? In that store, the numbers go from one to about fifty.
  5. On the ceiling, there is a huge system of conveyer bands, crossing like playmobil railroad tracks, transporting green boxes filled with ordered products. Everything is moving, endless amounts of boxes sailing above your head. If you would replace the kippahs with green hats, you would have no doubt that Santa Clause himself runs that store.

I walk out dazzled and amazed, with a nervous blinking eye that revolts again my decision not to buy anything. I finally hope for the goodwill of the guy at the Amtrak luggage storage counter to let me take out my battery charger of the suitcase, and I hope right.

.


Saving the city from fire: Batman


Nice lunch for a decent price right next to Penn Station in Jimmy’s BBQ., perfect place for male New Yorkers who want to talk business with some BBQ in their mouth.


3-man breakdance group doing a 2-minute performance in the subway including back- and sideflips.


A fake kitchen on the film set Loyzo invites me to; a couple of people from the neighborhood were already happily spreading the word that a new foreign cuisine had opened… too bad that its all masquerade


The holding area for the extras. Oh, how I love holding areas for extras.

Loyzo introduces me to the set, and meet Andrey again, and my hands grab as much of the film set food as they can hold. After an exhausting day (I spent 4 hours of it powernapping at Loyzo’s apartment – he seriously offered me to sleep in his living room an a really nice matress altough he barely knows me), we decide to go to a bar within Loyzo’s walkie range. The closest one is this softcore-stripclub named Coyote ugly (who saw the movie?), where the bar tender girls hop on the bar and dance in tight jeans with each other to get the business running.
I, if course not at the tender age of 21 but 19, present my Austrian driver license to the bouncer. There are a lot of numbers on it, and judging his look when giving it back to me, he has no idea which of those numbers my birth date are.


Loyzo left, Andrey right, old dusty bras in the back.


After Loyzo gets back to work, I go with Andrey and a guy named Chris into a super classic American bar. The bouncer is 150 years old and just waves us through the door. You can only order two beers, and they both have to be either light or dark.

Going to the subway in zig-zag lines, I want to thank Loyzo with some candy. I buy one “Good & Plenty” and an enormous lollypop, which unfortunately explodes on the kitchen floor after I attempt to put it in the fridge. So, only good and plenty left for Loyzo.
Next day, 6:30 in the morning, I take a shower and Loyzo gives me some of the smoked meat he brought back from Europe. Believe it or not, it resembles Speck. Speck, Schnitzel and friends in Vienna are probably the only things I really miss here in North America.


On the way back, we get out before approaching the border – my pubic hair immediately turns into ice crystals. That’s gonna be fun in Montreal!

« »