Metro North

“You live the glamorous life in Gotham don’t you?”

I get that a lot from different people who don’t live here. Trust me when I say that our life isn’t always going to Dive Bars, eating at fancy places and driving around in a Rolls with our own driver. Well…..we do like Dive bars but scratch numbers two and three. Anyway here is what my ‘Typical’ Saturday looks like. Mind you I don’t have a car so all of these errands are done on foot and I have to lug this shit back to the apartment.

IMG_1835First I bang out any remaining work ish. That way I don’t have to worry about doing any of that on Sunday. I ‘try’ to get my stuff done during the week but stuff happens.

IMG_1840When I die, I want to come back as a Monkey Head. Tough life as they ‘struggle’ to survive on the mean streets of Manhattan. *the white dog is snoring like a freight train right now as I type this*

IMG_1843I became someone this week. When I hit the door the guys at the Coffee Inn know to get my Pumpkin Spice Latte ready. They also shine up their shoe to kick me square in the balls too!

IMG_1823I know that we have all the delivery services for groceries but every once in a while you just like to go squeeze the produce. Tomatoes are now out of season but I am still jonesing for BLT’s in October.

IMG_1824Looking North on First Avenue – That was the street that we saw the Pope by the way.

IMG_1827I had to swing by my physicians office to get my flu ‘shot’ *KLC Man and RMT – You see what I did there?*

IMG_1826There is Maria’s beloved Citi Bike station. Notice how it is empty. They can’t keep a bike up here in the UES. It was a great day on Saturday also.

IMG_1830Got to swing by and pick up my dry cleaning and say hello to Ms. Nguyen

IMG_1831This place is no bigger than a shoe box. They do laundry by the pound, offer dry cleaning and she does my alterations too

IMG_1828On this past Saturday Momma went all the way to Westchester county to Apple Pick but they had major logistical issues so she promptly came back. Roughly she spent 6 hours for nothing so I figure she could use some flowers. According to ‘my guy’ the flowers were good this week since the hurricanes are not stopping flights.

IMG_1825Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital

IMG_1839Had to pick up some Paper Towels since we were on the last roll. *Insert President Joke here*

IMG_1833Trust me when I say that bag weighs roughly 40 pounds. You have to plan out your trip if you don’t want someone to lug your stuff for you.

IMG_1834Since it was 86 degrees this week, I had to have a suit cleaned since it was kind of ‘stinky’ I will be ready to start bitching about being cold soon!

IMG_1836Finally Some Carbunkle Trumpet Time!

Keep it light folks!

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Katie Mac is going to kill me – The Campbell Apartment Bar & Lounge

Yeah, she is over in Europe right now according to her Snaps but when she reads this she may fly direct back to JFK just to whip my arse. You see when I moved up here Katie Mac was the first to tell me about The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station and how cool it was. I visited it once to meet up with a former client of mine from Memphis (think “Thank You Cattlemens”) but she had to bag at the last minute. It took me a while to find the joint. I mean I have lived up here now 2 years and I finally can make my way around Grand Central without difficulty but it is still huge.

So when RJ and JL (not Social Media JL, Ponzi Scheme JL) were in town this past weekend we made a trip with the Asian Fireman to The Campbell Apartment for drinks. I was in work clothes but I recalled that when they were with old management it was slacks and dress shirts. Thankfully the new ownership relaxed the rules just a tad.

Drinks at the Campbell are old school New York; manhattans, classic martinis and upscale bourbons and scotches. Our group chose Red Wine, Manhattans, a Martini and someone had to keep it real and ordered a Bud Light. The service at The Campbell is impeccable and we had a good time and left after having 2 rounds. Thank God we left when we did, to drink in Midtown Manhattan you pay to play.

Katie Mac – Don’t worry when you come up I promise to take you there.

the-entranceEnter off of the Vanderbilt Pass which is on the West side of Grand Central. To find it inside the terminal is tricky.

plaque-for-the-campbellYou can also look for the sign too.

IMG_1462 (1)Picture from Ponzi Scheme JL – Of the Main Bar and the huge ass ceilings

IMG_1446The Asian Fireman and I win the award for the most expensive drinks in the joint

IMG_1464Even the coasters are fancy

IMG_1465Gold raised lettering too! Patrick Bateman from American Psycho would drink here

Don’t bust my chops, some of you guys drink on Beale Street or the Peabody Hotel.

 

Welcome to Woodlawn – 1 year anniversary!

We made it! Albeit this Friday 8/5/16 will be one full year of living in Manhattan we can consider our first night at the Asian Fireman residence on 8/4/15 in the Bronx as close enough.   Regardless, we made it! One year in a day of living on this rock called Manhattan and we didn’t get squashed by a crosstown bus! For those of you who took the under…. GFY baby because we made it! By my estimation we probably have 90% of the Upper East Side speaking Southern and soon we take on Midtown East, Murray Hill and Gramercy next. This will be a 2-part series because I don’t want to make this too long of a blog entry. I do realize that 2 of my 6 readers don’t like it when I get longwinded with the run-on-sentences. Anyway in one year we have done a lot of stuff. Allow me to recap if I can.
I am going to break this down into 8 subtopics. They are in no particular order;

  • Shit we found out on our own from living here in Manhattan
  • Shit we found pretty difficult to do here as compared to living in Memphis
  • Great experiences/cool shit we saw this year
  • Food we ate this year (Sorry AT, you may want to skip over this one
  • Famous people we saw
  • Great Friends we made/rekindled
  • Recommendations for visitors to NYC that is not on a top 10 “must-do” list
  • Stuff we still have yet to do and or see or eat (again skip this one A.T.)

Shit we found out on our own from living here in Manhattan –

  • Man this was an eye opener. Number one on the list was using the grocery, booze, and amazon delivery service to our building. This is a lifesaver if you ask me.
  • Those stupid plastic bumpers that New Yorkers put on the rear bumper of their cars.
  • That New Yorkers aren’t as mean as the stereotype that is painted of them.
  • Those Steam Vent’s and Nitrogen tanks on the streets are for fiber optics.

Great Experiences/Cool Shit we saw this year (Even my boss said we did more than most New Yorkers)

Unbelievable Restaurants and Foodie Mecca’s that we ate at this past year. (Shout out to Murphranks, Homeless Tim, and MC for the invitation into the club)

  • This is where A.T. is going to start cursing me. But let us go big balls and start with a French Seafood joint named Le Bernardin
  • To make the LVD happy I have to mention a certain meat in tube form joint in the UES called Papaya King.
  • When I was slinging bags for the man, I grabbed some lunch at a Puerto Rican joint at 125th Street that still to this day makes my mouth water. I need to get back up there.
  • During the Christmas season we put veils over our heads so that the man upstairs could not see our faces because we dined on fancy butter and had great company too!
  • We also dined at Red Rooster in Harlem not once but 3 times, ate over in Brooklyn at a steak joint called Peter Lugar and celebrated our 19th anniversary at another steak joint downtown called Delmonico.
  • To finish out the fancy meals we made a trip to Tarrytown to eat a bunch of veggies, drink some wine, but most of all have great company at Blue Hill

Great Friends we have met/relationships rekindled

  • I would be remiss if I didn’t open that with our move to NYC we got the Three Musketeers back together. The Musketeers would be Mrs. CBT, Myself and our NYC Consigliore Maria. If you read this worthless dribble you notice that I use funny nicknames or initials when I refer to people other than the two of us. I do it for a number of reasons in that I try to protect the innocent but that it may detract from the story. Maria on the other hand, she gets full billing.  Anyway one thing that we both were excited about in this move that we would get to spend more time with her. Oh and once we get some stuff handled, look out Belize!  If you forgot how we know Maria and some of the others that I mention by names here is a post to catch up.
  • We got to see some old friends and got to meet some new ones over in Long Island this past July.
  • Mrs. Trumpet joined a wine club that I am not sure if there is much discussion of wine going on but she likes it. We need to start a Cigar and Good Booze club on the nights that the ladies get together.
  • I will close with this famous saying. They say that you can measure a person’s wealth by the number of good friends that they have. If that is the case then Mrs. Trumpet and myself are some Rich Mudda Feckers.

See you on Friday!

 

 

Pictures of the Week

Long Weekend folks, I think that a picture of my liver is going to be on a milk carton very soon. Between the sunburn, shaking hands and a desire to have something that isn’t smoked it was great seeing everyone this past weekend. I will discuss that later but here are some pictures for my 6 readers. Be careful out there folks it’s Monday.

IMG_5053Will all of you feckers move? I can’t get a good shot of the sunset!

IMG_1738I would rather be a Bama Fan than drink Rose. Yes I am looking at you JAM & LZ.

IMG_1659I may need a little religion after this weekend.

IMG_1739Are you fecking kidding me with these prices?

IMG_1740Sons of Motherless whores, how in God’s name can you charge that for Bologna. I shudder to think what King Cotton Bologna would cost up here.

IMG_1720No this isn’t a crotch shot or me showing off the stems. My buddy FW would appreciate my choice of clothing for the Boogie Down.

IMG_1701Yep, it gets hot up here so Cabbies have to do something to keep us passengers cool.

More later, now I got to catch a train.

 

Cost Of Living On This Island

I have had some folks ask me does it cost an arm and a leg to live in New York. It isn’t that bad, you also have to give a kidney and pound of flesh too. Sadly, kind of like on Ambergris Caye in Belize things have to be brought from the mainland to the island. Manhattan is no different because things do cost more here in the city. Case in point let’s talk about something that I have a little knowledge about purchasing…..Bud Light Beer!! Across the street at our local Morton Williams Grocery Store a 6 pack of bottles  will run you about $10.00 bucks. Down the block at my local Duane Reed I can get an 18 pack of cans for about $20.00. When I am visiting the Asian Fireman up in the Bronx I can get a 36 pack of cans for about $20.00 cash. Naturally the doormen snicker when we pull up in an Uber and I have to get the cart to roll a pallet of beer up to our apartment but hey, we got to value drink you know?

Now before you start in on our salaries, yes they are larger than what we were paid in Memphis but that doesn’t mean that we can go out every night and light cigars with Fifty Dollar bills. We eat at home here about the same as we did in Memphis but that is so we can eat healthier and keep our weight down. Before you start thinking we are pictures of health trust me when I say that there have been many trips to Famous Famiglia Pizza and Seamless deliveries on late nights. For groceries we use Fresh Direct Food deliveries and use Amazon for foods that we can buy cheaper. Yes I recall when you snickered about the cost of Rotel Tomatoes up here but we found we can get them from Amazon for a buck a can so life is good.

Going out for drinks can be costly if you aren’t paying attention. When we went to the Boat Basin a couple of Sunday’s ago drinks and food cost us about $140.00 per couple. What can I say, we paid for the view and had a blast so we can live with that expense. When we go out on Sundays searching for Dive Bars we have paid high and low for beers. For example, about a month ago we went in search of patios to get some much needed sun. We paid anywhere from $3.00 for a beer to $4.00 to a ‘bend you over the pommel horse ass rape’  $9.00 for a Bud Light a block from our house. Needless to say we have not been back to Sessions 73.

Fine Dining with the Murphranks, Asian Firemen, and the other Foodies. I will just say that I have never asked at the table how much something was going to cost. When you dine at a 3 star Michelin star restaurant you expect to pay for it. When I went to get the Ripert Book autographed for Allison one of the questions was why Le Bernardin cost so damn much. Eric said “You eat on $70.00 plates, you drink wine out of $50.00 wine goblets, the linens, the flowers, the ingredients we never skimp. It has to be the best or it is returned or thrown out.” I can agree with that, to have 5 wine sommelier’s on staff may seem a tad excessive but we didn’t have to wait one minute to hear about a pairing. What is funny is that we don’t pay the night we dine, we get the bill from JM a couple of days later. Not once have I ever thought “That was a tad excessive for the experience.” So if you want to know how much we pay, join us but don’t bitch and you have to be invited too.

Transportation, sure cabs and Ubers are great and give you door to door service but there are times when walking and grabbing a subway is actually quicker than on the street. If there is a ‘gridlock alert’ forget about it, take the subway! When we go to see the Asian Fireman we are always good for a Metro North train ride up and may take an uber home since we have to carry all that beer home! That and the trains get sparse towards the witching hour. I am sure I will be doing this practice in a couple of weeks for the Boogie Down. Of course I am planning on being “juiced like a Ferrari” but that’s another story.

IMG_0551Yes that is 2.99 for a can of cheap ass Tomatoes that cost a buck in Brooklyn

IMG_0436We pay less for Momma’s Maintenance Wine than we do for my beer!

IMG_8931I will have to do some research for Ernest Herbert’s Red Tops.

 Want to leave New York City with a million dollars? Show up with two million dollars!  Have a good Fourth!

 

Dining at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

“Do you guys want to go with some of the same Per Se group to eat at Blue Hill at Stone Barns?” was the question that one of the Murphranks asked us back in January. My first response was “hell no, I hear that Applebee’s is about to come out with their summer menu and I have to be the first on line to dine there!” Of course we are in! Now granted, I really didn’t know who, what,or even where Blue Hill was or why does it have a Stone Barn. Naturally I did a little GTS (Google That Shit) and found that Dan Barber, the mad scientist, pioneered the first “Farm to Fork” restaurant using sustainability and better dialogue with farmers. If you have not had a chance to watch the Netflix Chef’s Table Season 1 do yourself a favor and watch it. The dude is cutting edge, granted I bet he is not the greatest to work with but he gets the job done.

The back story about Dan Barber was that he opened up Blue Hill in the West Village and was trudging along like any new start up restaurant would. They said if they could break even the first year then it was a win. One particular Saturday morning Dan picked up 4 cases of fresh asparagus and was bringing them to the restaurant. He opened up the walk in fridge and found that he had an entire stack of Asparagus that was ordered undenounced to him and he frigging lost it. That night everything was going to be asparagus based. Asparagus Soup, Asparagus Appetizers, even Asparagus Ice Cream. This is probably where the front of the house started calling around to see if they could get on with another restaurant because normally chefs don’t go this cray-cray. Naturally as luck would have it, guess who decides to come in for dinner that night? The New York Times Food critic…..Well there was nothing they could do so they went along with the asparagus themed menu and the critic loved it. Boom!!!!! The start of Farm to Fork dining began and Dan Barber was at the helm.

So a couple of weeks back we head up to Tarrytown via Metro North with MC and let me tell you, the Hudson Valley is really beautiful in the spring. We get to “The Farm” and this isn’t like your normal farm. It was later that I found out that it is part of the Rockefeller land. We naturally under the expert guidance of Lady Lawyer and Homeless Tim we all agree on the grazing and pecking menu paired with wine (of course) and have a great time. I have to admit; I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with the ever changing menu  I dug it. Bonus also was that we find out that the dining room manager is a huge Elvis Fan.  I inquired when Tomato season was going to be and we will secure a table that night too.

13094106_10154148320699764_7437875963709209459_nWhy does all the fancy joints we go to have detailed menus? The Tavern doesn’t have a menu and they just as fancy.

13124688_10154148319944764_2333726738441885912_nDisplay of all the stuff that is available at current season

13100768_10154148318984764_306557371284769834_nThe Bread Room – This place does not play at all!

13092016_10154148320029764_4486770916974523826_nThis is their Grill/Smoker/outdoor play thing at Blue Hill

13062252_10154148320064764_6155295292157447343_nChargrilled Asparagus – And it was damned good too!

IMG_1114A little PDA during courses I see.

13076673_10154148318904764_6456046196893328_nYes this was taken in…..wait for it…. The Manure Room. By the way, it was bigger than our apartment too!

IMG_1116The Bar at Blue Hill – Very Impressive

dan_barber_portrait2The Mad Scientist himself – Dan Barber

Thanks for the invite Murphranks and TL. We are certainly in for the next gastro experiment!

Be there in 45 minutes to an hour – traveling by NYC Mass Transit

Back in Memphis we used to joke that it took only 15 minutes to get from point A to point B by car. Seriously, you needed to get to the airport from downtown – 15 minutes. Needed to head across the bridge to grab a 30 pack of beer at Walgreens from South Bluffs – 15 minutes. When we moved up here we were told by a couple friends that your normal travel window went from 15 minutes to roughly 45 minutes to an hour. This applies not only to driving/riding in a car/cab/uber but also to taking mass transit busses/subways/light rail trains. I here to tell you that I have tried this theory out and it stands true. My current job requires me to travel to LaGuardia Airport and the easiest and cheapest way is via the MTA buses. To get to work I grab the M15 n/b bus to 125th & 2nd Ave in Spanish Harlem and then transfer to the M60 Select Bus to LGA. Door to door is roughly an hour. I have made it in 35 minutes on a lucky day and also got delayed by traffic for an 1.5 hour trip.  Thankfully because of my OCD practices I always give myself 15 minutes so <knock wood> I haven’t been caught late.

Like with anything, there is always an exception to the rule. Exception Rule #1 – On the weekends the subway lines could be delayed/not running due to scheduled maintenance. This will really screw you up because if you forgot that a particular line isn’t running then yo ass is running late.

This past weekend I put a trip to see my Asian Fireman and his family to test; 

Started the clock when we hit the lobby

 Closest subway station to our house is at 68th & Lexington so we zig-zag the blocks on green lights to get there.

 Heading west on 70th street

 Crossing 2nd Ave @ 70th and here is our 86% completed 2nd Avenue Subway station. When completed, our walking commute will be cut in half. *Stop laughing J.M., M.L., D.S., J.L., & B.M. It will get completed before we all die, the Mayor told me so!

 Here is our station at the corner of 68th & Lexington Ave closest to Hunter College

 Took is 12 minutes to walk to the subway station. Granted this will go longer in rain, swamp ass heat or snow

 Thankfully this station is a one horse station (only one line) so today we need to head to 125th street & Lex to catch Metro North Light Rail


But you said that only the 6 train stops at this station, this says that the 4 & 5 trains stop here too? Did I mention the weekend exception earlier?


On the weekends the 4 & 5 trains run local so a normal 15 minute ride is taking more like 30 minutes

 We get to the Metro North Harlem station at 125th & Lexington and wait on our light rail train

 So far we are at 45 minutes, I am kinda glad that I factored in those 15 minutes.

 This can get tricky because if you don’t know the end destination you can end up on a train that is running express and you would bypass your stop.

 This is why I love those Mass Transit apps. It takes the guesswork out of this.

 All aboard the choo choo! Right on time!

 Metro North trains are nice and have comfy seats. Here it was pretty packed as Fordham was playing a home football game and the alumni were heading to the campus. I bit my tongue as these folks had just enough time to get to the stadium and not tailgate.

 18 minutes later we are in Woodlawn located in the Bronx and start walking to the Asian Fireman’s residence.

 Walking down Webster Ave

 And we have arrived!

 Like I said, it takes an hour! I ridden in a car to the same residence and with traffic it took 45 minutes.

*Editors Note – We were able to get to the Garment District from Woodlawn later that evening in under 40 minutes. Go figure!