“You’ve been approved to attend the conference in New York”.
These words from this correspondent’s boss signaled the good fortune of getting a corporate ticket to the Big Apple. That evening, before I could finish asking the mrs “do you want to come to New York?” she had her bag packed and was waiting by the door.
After a 30 hour journey from Wellington to NYC, there was no thought of tiredness or sleep, after all this is the city that never sleeps and I’d never set foot here before. A whirl wind first day that was free of corporate responsibilities saw a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, a very moving visit to the 9/11 memorial and a nosy at Wall Street.
The next 2 days were spent in the suit and tie fulfilling official duties. My newly acquainted American industry colleagues were quick to point out Flight of the Concords and the All Blacks to me – probably their only knowledge of New Zealand.
Once formalities were over, the formal attire was gladly hurled into the back of the suit case and out came the shorts and jandals to cope with the 30+ Celsius days (I should say 86 Fahrenheit). After a couple of days in the burbs of New Jersey (and afar) with mrs kiwisinoz’s extended family, it was back to Manhattan.
I booked tickets online well in advance from NZ to a game at Yankee Stadium. Couldn’t believe my luck when I saw there would be a game at this iconic ground in the week we happened to be there. What was even better was the quality of beer on offer compared to the diabolical rubbish they serve in NZ and Australian sports grounds. Even the mrs enjoyed the Heineken – along with the fries that had cheese squirted over the top – a heart attack on a plate! Beautiful – and only in America.
It’s worth breaking the chronological order of the trip by going straight to the highlight and my greatest beer p*orn effort to date. The Skylark bar on the 30th floor of West 39th Street was recommended to us. The mrs reserved seats online prior to our arrival. Upon arrival, the bouncers (wired up with ear pieces) checked us off the list, radioed ahead our impending arrival. As we walked along the never ending dark corridor, we came across the next bouncer who opened the lift and radioed something through to someone – we felt like we were in a movie or the President of the United States. Then…..the lifts opened – what a view! Our seats looked directly out to the Empire State Building. As the sun set the ESB was light up with red white and blue. My first thought – wow, what great beer p*orn! Mrs kiwisinoz rolled her eyes (I may have ruined the moment for her, who knows).
I happened to be downing a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company at the time. This is definitely a sessionable drop – a very smooth IPA that has a nice hop bite to it at the same time.
Another rooftop bar, although not as prestigious that I had to check out was Beer Authority. This epic bar has three levels and 90 taps and an emphasis on craft beer.
It’s worth diverting from the bar and beer theme for a second to mention a Seinfeld pop-up museum that appeared for just 5 days in NYC. It was a complete replica of Jerry’s apartment. We couldn’t miss this one! So we queued up and got a look in around the replica apartment, including watching other patrons having a go at the famous Cramer entry into Jerry’s apartment and the reverse peep hole.
Other non-bar/beer activities worth mentioning included a Broadway show, Grand Central Station, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Statue of Liberty, Fifth Avenue (the credit card had to be resuscitated a few times) Central Park, and multiple night time visits to Times Square.
Right, back to the theme of the blog. We happened to take favour to the Ivy Bar & Grill on 8th Avenue. A great atmosphere of locals with a good selection of food and craft beer. I favoured the Dog Fish Head IPA but also tried the Magic Hat Dream Machine. Both get gold stars.
This unexpected trip to NYC will be hard to top. An amazing city that lived up to the hype and one that I will be doing whatever I can to get back to in a hurry. God bless America.
Then came the 32 hour door to door commute back home to New Zealand.
(P.S. After passing the 2 year anniversary of leaving Oz, this correspondent will be assessing the identity of “kiwisinoz” as it is now misleading).