NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

It’s not just a city, it’s an attitude

NEW ENGLAND ROAD TRIP (August 24 – August 26) 30 August 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 1:13 am

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“Assumption is the mother of all f*ck ups”… a word of advice a work colleague once gave me. Our first U.S. road trip was littered with “assumptions”. A key one being that each party mistakenly assumed the other had packed the road-map and travel guides. So, armed with no map and no travel guide, we set off on our road trip. Luckily, we invested in a GPS tracking system which turned out to be both a friend and a foe. On paper, the plan looked simple enough: New York to Lenox (to see JT) then onto Boston followed by stops at Cape Cod, Newport, Providence, New Haven and back to New York. Turns out that thinking we could fit all that in was another one of those problem “assumptions”.We managed to find our way out of Manhattan just fine, and had no problem driving to Lenox where we saw James Taylor (please refer to immediately preceding blog entry). We stayed the night there and set off for Boston on Saturday morning. GPS technology is amazing. It knows where you are and takes you to exactly where you want to be. This is “assuming” of course that you input the details of your destination correctly. We (more specifically, Adam) entered the address for the Boston hotel with the wrong zip code. This resulted in the GPS taking us to the Boston backstreet “hoods” where we sat wondering why our 4-star hotel was a run-down old mechanic shop on the rough side of town. After a short panic, we eventually found the real hotel.

Boston .. the “Beantown Land”. Home to the Red Sox, Harvard University, Boston Rob from Survivor and New Kids on the Block (which explains the above pictures). After spending two months in New York, a few observations were readily apparent. Boston is like the smaller, educated, softly-spoken little brother of New York City. I can imagine him dressed in a Polo shirt, with a sweater casually sitting over his shoulders and wrinkle-free beige chinos. Our first encounter with a Bostonian occurred as we were fumbling with a map, trying to find our way to the start of the popular “Freedom Trail” walk. “Do you need help?” asked the Bostonian. My gut New York reaction was, “Why? What do you want for it? My left kidney?”. Alas, no bodily organs were required. The man just wanted to be helpful. Weirdo.
With Boston being one of the most historically significant towns in US history, the Freedom Trail is like an all-day history lesson. It was like “follow the red brick road” to places such as the Boston Massacre site, the historic market halls, and graves of important men such as Samuel Adams.

Beforehand we read that the Freedom Trail will “move you to tears”. Perhaps that might have been so for Americans, but for a couple of Aussies who unfortunately chose to do the trail on a record hot 94 degree Boston afternoon, the only moisture our bodies were moved to create was drip-sweat. Despite the heat, it was a great way to see the different areas of Boston, and I was quite impressed at how pretty the city was.

As for the rest of our anticipated stops – Cape Cod, Newport, Providence, New Haven… what can I say? They looked great from the freeway during the 12 HOUR drive back home. Listening to Adam sing the 80’s soundtrack of his high school years (i.e. the dark ages) all the way home was also a pleasant experience.

P.S. Looking for great sing-along road trip music? Try the “Music & Lyrics” soundtrack – particularly “Pop! Goes My Heart” by Hugh Grant .. its gold! And the video is tragically 80’s inspired. Check it out!

-Posted by Trinh

 

JAMES TAYLOR – TANGLEWOOD MUSIC CENTER, MASSACHUSETTS 29 August 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 12:33 pm

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Alright, prepare yourselves everyone. I am about to gush and babble about one of my all-time favourite artists: Mr James Taylor. Hey, where you going?….don’t click away….this will be interesting…..I promise!

Those of you who see me as simply a “heavy music” listening rock god who prefers a loud plugged in guitar over more subtle and gentler sounds, don’t know the real me. Sure, I like me some juicy rock and roll in all its forms, but my favourite sound on earth is the sweet strumming of an acoustic guitar. And nobody does it better than James Taylor.

I am still buzzing from seeing him live a few nights ago. It was without doubt the most perfect concert I believe I have ever seen. Especially since, only a few months ago, I had come to the conclusion that I may never see him live in concert in my lifetime. When I arrived in New York and discovered he was playing I knew I had to go. The fact that he was playing almost 3 hours away from New York didn’t stop me. The fact that the concert was sold-out didn’t stop me either. Mere obstacles on my mission. I HAD to see him.

So thanks to the magic of hire cars and the wonder of ebay I managed to sort it all out. I found some tickets, grabbed a car and we decided to make a weekend of it by spending a day or two in nearby Boston after the concert.

The concert was held outdoor under the stars in a very picturesque part of Massachusetts. Trinh and I packed a picnic, bought some alcohol and laid out a rug. Not a bad way to see live music.

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James Taylor’s guitar playing is amazing, his voice is flawless and perhaps most-importantly, he is one of the greatest living songwriters. This was a hometown show for him and during his almost 3 hour set, he sat there on stage chatting to the audience about his life, his career and his music. From being discovered and signed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, to his drug-fueled/rehab days in the late 60’s and 70’s, to his stories behind the songs like, “Fire and Rain”, “Something In the Way She Moves”, “You’ve Got A Friend” and all the others. It was very intimate and very entertaining.

I find it a bit of a shame that when we told people we were traveling so many miles to see James Taylor we were met with a response of, “Who?”. Granted most of these people were young and may not know their music history, but those of you who don’t know who he is, shame on you and I urge you to at least check out some of his music. You’ll thank me.

Best concert ever. I can now die a happy, complete man.

-Posted by Adam

 

CHEERS!…FROM BOSTON 28 August 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 3:38 pm

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Another day and yet another visit to a TV related landmark. This pop-culture obsession of mine is officially out of hand. This time it’s the bar made famous by the TV show “Cheers”.

Not sure why I wanted to visit this bar, but if you’ll allow me to be philosophical for a moment…the way I see it – Making your way in the world today takes everything you got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help alot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. You wanna go where people know, their troubles are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

….and besides, me…like…beer.

-Posted by Adam

 

MOVIE TOUR DAY 20 August 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 5:39 pm

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It wasn’t necessarily planned this way, but a week or so ago we had a bit of a movie-tour day. We’d heard about a place called Katz’s Deli where people say you simply “must” try the pastrami sandwich. Never ones to knock back food suggestions, Trinh and I took it upon ourselves to check it out. (actually, has anyone else noticed how much this blog discusses food? We might have to book an extra seat each on the plane back home to accommodate our potential girth)

Not only is Katz’s Deli famous for its sandwiches but it is also the place Meg Ryan gave us her fake orgasm in the scene from When Harry Met Sally. Need a visual reminder? Here you go:

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Oh, you want MORE of a visual reminder? Well, how about this:

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Thanks Meg. Well, we tried the pastrami sandwich and I must say it was quite…..um….well….kinda….orgasmic! We weren’t throwing our heads back and moaning in Meg Ryan proportions but we weren’t far off. We certainly let out a few “MMM’s” and “YUMM’s”.

Something to remember if you ever order a meat sandwich in America, you will get two slices of bread with ALOT of meat between them. Here’s a shot of our sandwiches to illustrate:

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Vegetarians need not apply.

Keeping the Meg Ryan theme going, we also walked through the park that her and Tom Hanks met up in at the finale of “You’ve Got Mail”. Or so I’m told….it aint exactly an “Adam” movie so I really wouldn’t know. Trinh, on the other hand knew exactly where she was. The girl knows her chick flicks.

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Finally, we continued the Tom Hanks connection by visiting the FAO Schwarz toy shop on 5th avenue. This is the place Tom visited in the movie “Big” and played the huge “foot piano”

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get a go on it. I would have loved to push some of the kids out of the way and give everyone a rendition of the only song I can really play on piano, “Do-Re-Mi”. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

So that was our movie tour day. All the movies are strangely G-rated. I’m looking forward to a more MA or R-rated movie tour down the line.

-Posted by Adam

 

Seinfeld-athon!!!! 14 August 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 4:56 pm

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Trinh and I are Seinfeld fanatics. I think that’s safe to say. We have all the DVD’s back home and find ourselves constantly quoting lines from the show during our everyday lives. Yep, pretty geeky I know but I’m sure we’re not alone. So what better thing to do whilst in New York City than to visit a couple of the locations featured in the show?

First up was Tom’s Restaurant. Better known as “Monk’s” in the show. As you can see from the picture above it is instantly recognizable (if you ignore that fat, balding idiot standing in front of it…oh hang on, that’s me!). This is the coffee shop where Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer would meet to discuss their lives. The only thing is, the inside is nothing like it is in the show. They shot the inside of the place on a TV set, but that didn’t stop Trinh and I from going in and having lunch.

The inside of Tom’s restaurant is a pretty standard American diner/coffee shop with tables, a bar and booths. It was also the place Susanne Vega sat and wrote that song called, “Tom’s Diner”. You know, the one where she rabbles on about useless info like, “I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner..” and then later she fills some lines with, “Do do do do, do do do do etc etc”.

There was quite a bit of Seinfeld memorabilia on the wall including shots of the cast with the restaurant owners. The food made us both a little sick to be honest but that may have had more to do with how much we ate than the food itself. Or maybe not. Hard to say.

Next up is the famous Soup Nazi:

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Ok, a bit of trivia about the soup nazi. He is indeed a real guy who ran a small soup kitchen in New York. And yes, he was famous for his temper and his strict rules when ordering soup. You don’t follow the rules and you may hear, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”

The thing is, when Seinfeld used his character on the show, he was seriously not happy. He took great offense to being referred to as a “Soup Nazi” and hated people asking him about that episode. In fact when Jerry himself went in with some crew on a break from filming Seinfeld one day, the soup guy screamed at him and refused to serve him.

The soup guy still holds the grudge, but somewhere along the way he woke up to himself and saw the dollar potential of it all and recently has begun to turn his soup kitchen into a franchise. To his credit, he is very passionate about his soup and will not accept anything but the freshest ingredients.

What’s more, after Trinh and I tried his soup we can tell you that it is incredible. The picture above shows a Lobster Bisque and a Garden Vegetable variety that we ordered. I aint kidding when I say that Lobster bisque was the best damn soup I have ever tasted. Sorry Mum, I still like your pea and ham soup, but this stuff was incredible!

-Posted by Adam

 

A Chorus Line – Broadway 11/8/07

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 12:31 pm

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Call me old fashioned but I just love a good musical….I don’t care how gay that sounds. Trinh and I attended our first Broadway musical on Saturday night. It was a last minute decision. We picked up the tickets Saturday morning.

Deciding which show to see came with its own complications.

You see, Trinh is really keen to see Chicago. Whereas I would rather spend the evening having my nose-hairs individually plucked than to sit through that show. I hated the movie and have still not forgiven the academy for awarding it the Best Picture Oscar a few years back. An outrage! I demand a recount! (as a footnote, Chicago beat out films such as The Pianist and Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers to win that Oscar. Crazy!?)

As for me, I want to see Spamalot, the musical based on the film, Monty Python and The Holy Grail. I’m a massive Python fan and this film is my stand-out favourite of theirs. Trinh doesn’t share my views on this. That’s cool, Monty Python can definitely be an acquired taste and certainly not for everyone.

We decided to seek mutual ground and see A Chorus Line instead. I’m really glad we did. A Chorus Line is basically a show about an audition for a Broadway show. It was fantastic. Two hours of pure entertainment. Great songs and a top-notch cast. Anyone who has seen a Broadway show will know what I’m talking about when I say there is something special about walking out onto the lights of 42nd street after a show. Very New York and very cool.

-Posted By Adam

 

The Black Crowes – Central Park Summerstage 9/8/07

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 11:20 am

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I’ve always had a soft spot for the Black Crowes. They bill themselves as “The most Rock and Roll Band In America”. I guess that depends on what you consider to be “Rock and Roll”. It’s so broad these days. I heard some boy band on TV talking about their latest album the other day and saying how much it “Rocks”. Hmm, unless I missed a meeting and the word “Rocks” now means “Sucks” I seriously doubt this boy band knows the true meaning of the word.

If “Rock” means simply old fashioned, guitar wailing good time music then I reckon The Black Crowes have every right to call themselves Rock and Roll.

For those that don’t know this band, the lead singer married, impregnated and divorced the actress Kate Hudson a few years back. Check your back-issues of New Idea and you’ll be up to speed.

The biggest critics of this band call them “derivative” and “Rolling Stones copycats”. Yeah, maybe…but who cares? Good music is good music. If you can look past all that nonsense you’ll see a nice, tight and really polished rock and roll band with some great songs.

While the show we saw last Thursday was by no means a knockout, it was a great night nonetheless. The setting was amazing; A hot summers night outdoors in Central Park.  That’s hard to beat.

-Posted By Adam