Storytime: Against my better judgement I got into an Uber with a crazy lady. I’ll explain – Mutay and I had just braved a 12hr+ coach journey from Toronto to New York and I wasn’t really feeling to search for the subway to trek all the way to Brooklyn. So, I ordered an Uber.
The Uber came pretty quick – he parked, came to help us load our suitcases in the trunk and at this point, I could see he was talking, but I thought he was on the phone or something. Lo and behold when we open the car door, who is sitting there? The previous passenger he had picked up. The driver was urging her to leave but she was refusing, saying “I ain’t leaving… I ain’t leaving…,” I thought, well damn.
At this point, Uber had taken a pre-authorisation charge but I thought that meant I had already paid for it and couldn’t cancel. So, now this is where against my judgement I got into the Uber because I was tired and thought the driver would just drive down the block and she would get out. She didn’t.
The driver eventually had to park, still trying to get this passenger out of the car, but with her refusing and saying she had no money and bunching herself up in the corner and repeating herself, “I ain’t leaving… I ain’t leaving…” Our driver called Uber support after parking up, but he selected the Spanish option so I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He eventually told us to leave because he now had to wait for the police and didn’t know how long they would be.
We got another Uber and Mutay helped message Uber support and I got my money back in the end, but wow. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat, ready to bolt in case the lady did something wild. She definitely looked like she would have – she had those crazy eyes. 👀
TL;DR got in an Uber with a crazy lady, eventually escaped after driving around NY for a bit but then got my money back.
🎶 IN NEW YORK, CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE OF 🎶
Lowkey, New York was the most chill of all the places we visited. How do I even describe New York? It reminds me of London – fast-paced, too many people and it smells. But there’s something comforting about New York. Like a warm, old blanket from your childhood.
Also, TSA can suck my ass. Why you so long for? You’ll literally read a whole damn book before you get seen to.
🌉 High Line
Oh, man. The High Line on a cold October night is mad. When you’re drunk, it’s even madder. After hitting up Sugar Factory we decided to visit the High Line not realising how cold it was. We were absolutely freezing! Still, I love the High Line – it’s such a cool place and the views are mad pretty.
Seriously, it was so cold and the higher up you are the windier and colder it is. We made our way to Westlight, a rooftop bar with panoramic skyline views. We could literally only stay outside for a few minutes because it was that cold and I for sure thought my wig was gonna get snatched. The gods of wind weren’t playing that night. The views were amazing, though!
🎨 Jack Shainman Gallery
Mutay wanted to see an exhibition by Toyin Ojih Odutola called When Legends Die. Located in Chelsea, Jack Shainman Gallery houses exhibitions from contemporary artists. The series of paintings we saw are surrounding a fictional aristocratic Nigerian family. I didn’t know much about the exhibition beforehand but the pieces that I viewed were so beautiful and I consequently researched more about it afterwards. I particularly liked what she said here:
“This whole saga,” she says, “answers the question: What would it look like to have wealth embodied by historically oppressed figures?” – W
This exhibition has finished now, but I would still visit the gallery if you’re in the area, anyway! That particular area it’s located in has many other galleries, as well!
🖼️ Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Man, I don’t even have words to describe this museum. So many exhibitions and collections span across the whole building and each floor you visit is a new surprise. I wouldn’t even be able to condense MoMA in a few sentences, but I will say that it is a must visit.
The most interesting exhibitions to visit are Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams which showcases sculptures from everyday materials such as coloured paper and soda cans and also Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980, which “explores themes of large-scale urbanisation, technology in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialisation, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture.” Both these exhibitions run until January 2019.
📚 Strand Bookstore
My favourite bookstore in the world. Until I find another one, somewhere – in fact, hit me up if you know any cool bookstores that I should visit. Seriously, though – we spent hours in this bookstore, rolling around our carts and filling them with books and I essentially spent way more money on books than I should have.
Strand Bookstore is a treasure trove – you will literally find books on all topics, which is another reason why you end up spending ages in there. We found a section on Occult & Magic Studies! If you’re a book lover, definitely stop by here and prepare to get lost within the miles upon miles of books.
🌃 Times Square
I’m sad because it rained the day we visited but Times Square is always a good shout. It is so iconic. Those big screens, the hustle and bustle and smell of food on every corner. Yeah, that’s New York.
🍲 Spring Shabu Shabu
136-20 38th Avenue 2nd Fl. Flushing NY 11354
What’s better than shabu-shabu? All You Can Eat shabu-shabu, of course! We spent far too long in here eating and left feeling like we were going to die but, omg it was so worth it because everything was so delicious.
You have the option from 5 different broths: dashi, spicy dashi, pork bone, spicy pork bone and vegetable. You can also add meat for an extra charge! I went for the pork bone broth with non-fatty beef and lamb. After that, you get to choose from the buffet items! Everything from seasonal vegetables to dumplings to noodles is on offer and they also have a special sauce station. Also unlimited refills on your drink!
TAKE. ME. BACK.
🍗 Peppa’s Jerk Chicken
791 Prospect Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11216
I’m sorry, Mutay. I still owe her for most of the jerk chicken that we ordered from this joint. Ahem.
Authentic jerk chicken your thing? Head to Peppa’s and don’t forget to order festival!
It tastes especially nice at 4 AM in the morning after you’ve been wandering around Brooklyn. Jerk chicken, curry goat and other Caribbean food can be found here and although, again, I’m really sorry Mutay, the jerk chicken was so fucking sexy. WTF.
🍔 Big Daddy’s
239 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
Ever since I saw their Instagram I knew I had to visit this restaurant when I visited New York. And I did! Boasting a retro-style interior – felt like I was in Riverdale or something – Big Daddy’s serves up typical American eats and huge ass milkshakes.
I went for the Real Mac Coy burger – creamy mac n cheese & bacon with a side of tater tots. Yum! I also ordered the Cookie Monster milkshake – vanilla shake with oreo cookies & whipped cream. Again, yum! Would definitely visit again – they have so many things on their menu I need to try out.
374 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206
On a cold, rainy day what best to have other than ramen? It was such a unique experience of eating ramen here! You get solo dining booths and all you have to do is fill out the order form with what you want to order. There’s limited interaction with the waiters and the idea behind the solo booths is to allow you to have a more intimate experience when eating your ramen.
It “was created in response to the many distractions and loud surroundings of a typical ramen restaurant.” And if you want to order more, you just place the plate on the sensor and a melody will play alerting a member of staff. The ramen itself was absolutely gorgeous. It filled my heart with warmth and love and I even got a complimentary refill of noodles. Belly full. Happy Chynna.
🍹 Sugar Factory American Brasserie
We didn’t eat here and we only came here for the smoking cocktails we were so cruelly denied back in 2015. But we made it back 3 years later and those smoking cocktails were worth the wait! Also, I have a penchant for massive ass drinks. Shiiiiiiit. I ordered the Raspberry Watermelon Mojito; fruit juices, silver rum and topped with watermelon candy and fresh mint leaves. Delicious! And alcoholic! And everything I never knew I needed!
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✨ Bring hand sanitiser with you everywhere. I wore a yellow puffer jacket and I came out of the subway with the cuffs of my jacket dusty and black. Just goes to show how dirty the subway is! 😭
✨ You can buy a 7-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard for $32. We were only there for 4 days, but it turned out to be worth the value because we used the bus and subway quite a bit. If you’re going to make at least 12 journeys then this is definitely worth it.
✨ Don’t get in an empty subway cart. This is something I actually learnt the last time I visited wherein we entered the cart only to find one singular man sitting there. Suddenly, our poor noses were filled with the foulest stench known to man. I thought I was going to die – pretty sure the man shit himself! 💩
✨ Wear comfortable shoes. New York is a big city and you’ll find yourself walking a lot trying to take everything in, so definitely, be prepared.
✨ Google Maps is your friend. Streets still confuse me in New York, but Google Maps definitely helps you get your bearings.
✨Don’t get into Ubers with crazy ladies.
Oh, New York. You’re like an old friend whom I didn’t realise I missed so much until I visited again. As I mentioned, New York feels very familiar to home and it’s probably why it’s a place that I could visit again and again. And the food! My god, the food! So many freaking options. Another reason I need to visit again!