Urban Excursions with Jank: Manhattan, New York

Written by on October 3, 2014

I’m not with all the glitz and glam when I’m on a trip.  It just doesn’t do anything for me.  Like most though, the first time you go to New York you will most likely stay in Manhattan; mostly because you don’t know any better.  I’m a victim of it myself.  My first actual vacation to New York was spent mostly in Manhattan.  While I did see some of the other boroughs, I spent way too much time in Manhattan.  If you absolutely must to go I suppose I can give you a few pointers.
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Out of the five boroughs, Manhattan is the most densely populated.  That means that personal space is out the door (nuts-to-butts).  If you are a germaphobe or hate small spaces Manhattan is probably not a good move for you.  You will be traveling in hordes of non-English speaking adults who cannot say “excuse me” to save their lives.  If you can handle that…you can handle Manhattan just fine.

If you are staying in Manhattan be prepared for the excruciating ride from either airport (La Guardia or Kennedy) into the city especially if you land at drive time or bar time.  People flock across the bridges to go out to clubs causing some of the worst traffic I have ever seen.  My first time there was an almost three hour ride From La Guardia to Manhattan.  That would take about 25 minutes in normal traffic.  It’s that real.  Also, hotels in Manhattan are mad overpriced.  I get the chills just thinking about how much I paid to stay in that craphole.

One of my favorite parts of Manhattan is Central Park; not because I like walking aimlessly for hours but because of the entertainment.  During the summer you can catch concerts and all other types of performances at the many stages and band shelters.  There’s also a zoo, museums and hundreds of weirdos to keep you entertained for hours.  If you want to get nowhere fast jump on bike taxi with a 90 lb African dude peddling.  That was the best $14 I ever spent.

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If there’s a Museum you must see in Manhattan it’s the Guggenheim.  Structurally, it’s amazing.  No matter when you go there will be art you can appreciate.  Of course my favorite bit about the Guggenheim is the shoot out scene from the film, “The International“.  It’s pretty much all I think about when I’m there.

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If for some ungodly reason you find yourself in Times Square, you will undoubtedly get hit up by random people trying to offer you free tickets to shows.  I assure you, they aren’t free.  However, I accepted one of these “free” tickets and went to Carolines comedy club and got to see the incredible  Paul Mooney.  I had to buy two really expensive drinks but it was worth it because while there I also met Ashy Larry aka Donnell Rawlings.

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If you like Asian food and fake Fendi bags Chinatown is the place to be.  There’s also a 16 foot Buddha at the Mahayana Temple that’s awe-inspiring.  If you have to bring gifts home to friends and relatives Chinatown has a huge selection of really cheap crap.  I honestly didn’t do anything there but eat and buy a “real” Gucci bag.

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Make sure to look for street vendors when walking around.  Many of them sell the same items so if you walk around enough you’ll get said item at the lowest possible price.  The hat dude below was pretty dope.  He did custom hats for around $20.  I got one.  Of course I’m too old to wear it.

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The buildings in Manhattan are breathtaking for the first 3-4 hours.  They slowly fade into the backdrop like mountains out West.  My personal favorites were the Empire State and 30 Rock buildings.  You can pay to go to the top floors of these buildings and see the skyline or you can just look out of your airplane window when coming or going.  The choice is yours.  I choose to save $40.  Another way to see the city is to take the Roosevelt Island Tram.  There’s nothing on Roosevelt Island but apartments and a few shops but its a (beautiful) cheap ride.  Here’s a little video I took a while back of the ride.

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Some others spots worthy of checking out in Manhattan are Chelsea for the art galleries, Alphabet City  for the trendy shops and restaurants, Lower Manhattan for the business district and the Theater District (if you’re into that kind of thing).  I did have the pleasure of going to Carnegie Hall to see Aziz Ansari.  It was well worth the astronomical price and I can brag to everyone that I’ve been to Carnegie Hall (crossed off the bucket list).

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What did I leave out?  Bridges of course and transportation (subway)!  Those will be discussed when I delve into Brooklyn.  For now I’ll leave you with more photos from Manhattan because I really don’t have much else to say about it.

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