Grand Central

How Far Is It From…..

Looks like New York City is going to be a favorite destination for a bunch of our friends from Memphis and from all parts of the world. We love it and hope that our schedules mesh so we can spend some time catching up. One question that we get a lot from our friends is “How far is it from where you live?”

If you look at the greater part of Manhattan north of 14th Street it resembles a rectangle. The streets are mapped out in a grid and it is pretty easy to give directions; instead of saying “1300 First Avenue” you can say “1st Avenue between 71st and 72nd.” When we lived in the UES we found that it was a bitch getting cross town. However, when going North and South it was pretty easy. To give you good way to put the city into quadrants; 5th Avenue is the East/West Line and 59th Street is North/South Line. People would ask us all the time where should they get a hotel. We found that even though it was chaos 24/7 around Times Square it was the best starting place because of it being centrally located in Manhattan. The Surrey and The Mark hotels are very nice hotels but being tucked up by 77th and Madison Avenue makes it hard getting downtown or around the city. Same goes with the Upper West Side. (Sorry UWS Holly)

When we were looking for places to live we found that Downtown Brooklyn was a really good option for a number of reasons. For starters it is 2 subway stops from Manhattan. Add to that we have over 13 different subway lines to pick and choose from to get into the city. This really helps when lines are down on the weekend. We looked briefly at Long Island City over in Queens to live but ruled that out when looking at subway options. The L line was slated (at the time we were apartment looking) to be shut down and the 7 train always has issues so that was ruled out.

When saying that having 13 different subway lines to pick and choose from is a big deal let me explain further. If I want to get to the West Side of Time Square or Penn Station I would take the 2/3 from Nevins Street. If I wanted to get to the East Side of Manhattan and say Grand Central I would take the 4/5 also from Nevins. If I was going to the West Village I might take the A/C from Hoyt & Schermerhorn. And If I was going to say a certain cigar joint in the UES I would take the Q from DeKalb. (Confused Yet?) Let me tell you about a little secret that a lot of New Yorkers use on a regular basis. Google Maps is your best friend. To say that I use that app more than anything is an understatement. It can give you quickest the subway routes and if MTA has their act together it can give you a pretty good spot on schedule.

Now with anything there are always exceptions, and even Google Maps can fail you from time to time. If it is the weekend they will take down lines and or stations for maintenance. Sometimes Google gets that news but in the case of yesterday when there were electrical fires because of the snow and ice. This can create some anxiety if you are not used to the subway but the uniformed agents on hand are always helpful to give suggestions. Hell even fellow New Yorkers are happy to give you advice. It is almost a game with some people in giving the best suggestions. Trust me.

That being said here are some aprox travel times from our joint in Crime-Free Downtown Brooklyn direct to various spots in the city;

  • Downtown Brooklyn to Grand Central – 28 minutes via the 4/5
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Times Square – 30 minutes via Q or the 2/3
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Cigar Inn in the UES – 34 minutes via the Q
  • Downtown Brooklyn to 9/11 Memorial – 20 min via the 4/5
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Empire State Building – 25 min via the B or Q
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Red Rooster in Harlem – 44 min via the 2/3
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Maya’s Dog Groomer – 39 minutes via 4/5
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Yankee Stadium – 47 minutes via the 4
  • Downtown Brooklyn to Mary Louise’s Office in Summit NJ – 1hr 22 min via the 2/3 to Penn Station then NJ Transit to Summit NJ (I suspect she goes to Japan to avoid this commute)

Not that I don’t love Taxi’s or Uber/Lyft but you will pay more and 99.9% of the times be delayed due to traffic depending on the time of the day.

The Red Dot at the bottom is our pad. Getting into lower Manhattan is a breeze and taking express trains can cut a normal 45 min car ride in half.
Of course when your 2 of your main arteries are shut down it makes for an interesting travel day. I guess you could say that 240 was shut down that day.

So who is coming to see us?

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“Have you been to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central?”

I would get this question pretty much every time I would talk to my fellow coworker, eye-talian and lover of smoked meats, Guido. I honestly told him that it wasn’t like I was avoiding this joint. It seemed like anytime that I was in Grand Central with some time to kill, waiting for a Metro North train the damned thing would be closed. Back tracking a bit – a couple of weeks ago Mary Louise was returning from a work trip and found herself in Grand Central so she had lunch there. She gave it glowing reviews and said it wasn’t as touristy as one would imagine.

Last Friday Mary Louise was, once again, out of town I found myself in Grand Central around 4:30. I was feeling somewhat peckish so I went looking for food before my long commute home (New Yorkers are you reading this?) So here I was, coming down the ramp, and saw that Oyster Bar was open. I knew that the dog was fine having been taken out by the dog walker so I decided to hang out at Grand Central for the Late Afternoon!

First of all, this place is frigging huge! I had no idea how big it was because it looks very small from the outside. I found a spot at the bar and God Bless Carlos, the server, he was as busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. I found a home at the “shucking bar” since the majority of the oysters are broken here. I was sitting between a mix of Midtown attorneys finishing up a weeks work and tourists who were pissed that it was taking so slow. I knew I was in the right spot because Carlos ran by me 3 times with various requests/specials and he liked that I was quick with my response.

I started with a half dozen and I told Carlos to pick the best of the bunch. *Disclaimer – I don’t know much about Northeastern oysters so I always trust the experts.* After enjoying the 6 best oysters I have had in a while, I watched one of the chefs make a soup from scratch about a dozen times. I really didn’t need any soup but I always appreciate someone who loves what they do. I asked Carlos what soup I wanted and he suggested the Oyster Pan Roast. This is pretty much a clam based soup with cream and tomatoes. Frigging Tomato Soup with oysters? I am in!

My View from the Front Line
Hated those 6 oysters!
Yo Holmes, what you making? Can I get a Sample?
This is some Good Shit!

Guido – You are right, I have been remiss on visiting the Oyster Bar. I am now a fan but still have an issue being only open during weird working hours!

Whisky Tango Foxtrot Carbunkle?

Stop yelling at me, you are probably going to see fewer posts between now and the middle of May. No I am not doing some weird Post Lent purge, momma is nearing the end of her NYU Grad School so the laptop is in full use. Anyway we really haven’t been doing much as of late *BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN SO FUCKING COLD* I mean seriously, we have had 4 Nor’Easters and this Sunday is the start of Seersucker Suit Season!

I do have a future coffee shop blog post/rant about 4 C-Word Upper East Side hard working housewives as I sat next to them at 80th and Lexington. Let’s just say that they might as well have been wearing tennis skirt outfits and or Lulumon leggings as pants. This past weekend was kinda lame but we have new iFoams and it only took me 5 hours to get that done on Sunday.

And as we know this week is Holy Week or as Julian Maile from Losers Lounge said on Good Friday last year “So Jesus died today but he will be back in 3 days. Pretty much anything goes!”

Happy Easter Folks!

IMG_2863When we do get out of our cages we do come up on some really cool shit! This is Grand Central Station as we were walking with my Work Wife (the Domestic One) so she could catch her train home.

IMG_2862The Real and the Domestic One! S/O to the Bar, International, Memphis and HW/AMF wives.

IMG_2856I mean seriously folks! This was taken last Thursday. I saw that the folks in Memphis were bitching about it being hot.

IMG_2858I seriously laughed out so loud that I had scalding hot espresso come out my nose.

IMG_0924Easter for the longest time was always trips down to Destin. I do miss some Peeps Jousting! IMG_2872

Happy Easter Spud!

And to quote RAB – “I can’t wait for you to tell me on Sunday that the bread is ready!”

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.

 

Meet Me by the Saturday Night Live Clock in Grand Central

A while back I was going to do a joint day with one of my fellow tour bus ticket sellers. His territority is south of mine near Grand Central Station. He told me to meet him in Grand Central Station which if you have never been before it is effin huge. I get to the station a couple minutes early and he was running late. I tell him to meet me at the SNL clock in the main terminal. Below the SNL clock is an information station for tourists. While I was standing there I overheard about a dozen question exchanges by tourists. Now for someone who has lived here for some 685ish days some of these questions were hard to give directions. Here are some examples of the questions;

  • Q – “How do I get to Scarsdale?” A – “Track 16 and the train leaves in 5 minutes”
  • Q – “Can I buy my ticket on the train?” A – “Yes but you can get a cheaper ticket over at the kiosks.”
  • Q – “How do we get to JFK and the AirTrain?” A – “You would need to take the E Subway line to JFK and transfer there?”
  • Q – “How do we get to the Statue of Liberty?” A – “You would need to take the Subway to the Staten Island Ferry?”
  • Q – “Where does President Trump Live?” A – “The White House, you need to go to Union Station to ride Amtrak.”
  • Q – “Where can I get one of those cheap knock-off Fendi Purses?” A – “Canal Street or any corner in Midtown.”
  • Q – “Those guys with the large guns hanging around the front entrance, what are they here for?” A – “Bad Guys”
  • Q – “Do you know if those hotdog vendors are serving food that is safe?” A – “If you eat one everyday for a year it may kill you but you will be ok.”
  • Q – “Do you know how to get to Chik-Fil-A on 6th Avenue?” A – “Yeah but why?”

Have a good day!

 

Pictures of the “Last” Week

Sorry for the last of posts this past week. I had a sinus infection, the anniversary of my circling the sun happened, it was a bad week of selling tour bus tickets and momma used the computer all last weekend. Anyway I am behind the 8ball once again. So without further adieu here are some pics I had on my iFoam

IMG_0595I am so glad that baseball season is now here. That means that Hockey Season is over right? #LetsgoRangers

IMG_0596A Cups posted this picture on Insta. I am not going to lie, it moved when I saw the cheese bath for burger dipping. She is my spirit animal afterall!

IMG_0599Hey D&P, I have a client lunch this week and guess where I am taking them!

IMG_0608We were dropping off The-Soon-To-Be Mrs. P and I snapped a pic of this.

IMG_0609We may or may not have been sitting here some 20 minutes before taking the pic of Grand Central.

IMG_0591Still can’t believe that this silly bastard isn’t here to take me to the Track now that I live up here. This is probably a good thing.

C85FWEeUwAAaJdHThat’s ok, I know that she is up there right now busting McNick’s balls on a daily basis. Happy Birthday Otis, we miss you.

IMG_0619Sure go ahead and crack open a 2X4 Bud Heavy. Oh wait that is your 3rd while sitting here. You wouldn’t happen to know (INSERT NAME HERE) would you?

IMG_0582I bet that Mrs. Trumpets boss’ 5 year old daughter Emanuel has forgotten that she invited me to Passover Dinner. Believe it or not I really want to go. The closest Jewish person I knew in Memphis was my Pediatrician.

Have a good Holy Week and Passover!

The Best Music in NYC for a $2.75 Cover Charge

You hear it just about every time you swing past the turnstile heading into the bowels of NYC. No it isn’t the sound of rats being run over by the Express train, it is music. Sometimes it is a simple person playing a flute, or violin, or some western musical instrument, hell I have seen a kazoo player down there. When I was with one of the tourist bus sales reps we made a trip to the upper West Side (Seinfeld territory) which is one area that I am not that familiar with. We were heading down the 8th street and W45th street station and I stopped and said that I heard some Reverend Al Green. He couldn’t believe I knew who it was then he later gave me mad props when I told him I knew about Yo Gotti. His comment about the band playing ‘Let’s stay together’ was one that I will never forget; “The Best music you will ever hear for a $2.75 cover charge.”
On my daily commute to work, I have to transfer at Grand Central Station and there is young lady who plays the violin. I am normally in a hurry but she always is smiling and happy and that puts me back in perspective and in a happy mood. I throw in a buck every couple of days into her case and she always says thank you to me.
Earlier this fall, I went out to Queens for a job interview. As I was returning back to the UES, a group of Mexican Mariachi players popped onto my subway car and put out a jam. Did I recognize the song…no, did I appreciate the gesture and gave them a couple of bucks….sure did. I know that this breaks my strict “don’t give people money” but in my opinion, they are providing a service.  Who knows the next time you see them they could be headlining at a Music Festival or picked up by Flowered Man Bag Productions.

IMG_9832
Here is my violin player as I head to the 7 Train. If I try to stop and take a picture of her head on, I will get run over by the throngs of people behind me.

IMG_9840

Not Sure what this damned thing is but it sounds kinda cool.

band

You boys know “Bamboleo” by the Gypsy Kings?

imagesMMF2WT7U

Not sure of the name but they WERE LOUD!

dhKlVoRpogyJYpu_tJ6r5zl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVvK0kTmF0xjctABnaLJIm9

Dude is a Musical Legend!

Mexican band

These guys were pretty good and also VERY LOUD!

images4E8H43MV

Who doesn’t love a drum line?

Have a good weekend and RMT, there will be a post on Monday.