New York City is pretty sweet. I'd go so far as to say it's my third favorite city I've visited. I think I could have easily spent another week (at least) there and still find interesting stuff to get into.
The coolest thing we did on the trip was visiting Louis Armstrong's house. If you don't know, Armstrong bought a house in Queens in the 40s and lived there until his death (in fact, he died there.) His wife lived there until she died in the 80s and the place was restored and opened as a museum a few years ago. I'm not one to get into the whole celebrity worship thing, but this was really cool. Of course, it helps being into music, otherwise I'm sure the trip feels like walking through someone's grandma's house.
The other cool thing we did was caught the awards end of the New York Burlesque Fest. On one hand, this was the only part of the trip where I felt like I'd stumbled into a party I wasn't quite cool enough to attend. On the other, I was watching a burlesque show on a boat going around the island, so I think it evened out.
Normally I hate being in large groups of people, but New York didn't bother me at all, at least not until the Labor Day weekend. See, New York people understand how to move in and as a crowd. They seem to understand you can't walk three abreast on a sidewalk when people are coming the other way and that crossing the street and then stopping right after the curb on the other side to open up a map is a really bad idea.
Another thing I noticed is how unfriendly New York is to anyone with a handicap. This was also something I noticed a lot in Europe. The plus side to that is you don't see a million people too fat to walk riding their Rascals everywhere. In fact, I think I could count the number of "mobility scooters" I saw the entire trip on one hand, and with one exception those looked like tourists. Everyone in New York walks all the time so they don't have the ability to get morbidly obese like we do here in the Midwest.
Let's see, what else rocked? We did a lot of shopping. Rather, window shopping. I got a few things, some Kangols, a few new pairs of kicks, some jeans. (Holy crap, I just realized I went to New York and got excited about clothes shopping.) I picked up some DVDs in Chinatown. We ate at some nice places. Got to see some friends. It was all good.
Those who know me might notice something is missing. It's true, I did NO record shopping on this trip. Absolutely none. The closest I came was killing time in a Virgin Megastore and even then, I was looking more at T-Shirts than music. This is a combination of two things, one of which is the fact that I just have too much stuff as it is, to say nothing on the HUGE pile of Free Zone mail I had waiting on my return.
Secondly though, record shopping just doesn't hold the appeal for me it once did because it's just too easy to hop on-line and find anything you want, usually at a better price than a brick and mortar store, and have it delivered right to your door. Out of the way digging spots (thrifts, junk stores, etc.) are still cool just because of the randomness of what you find and the fact that the prices are usually dirt cheap.
Record stores are good for people who don't know any of those places or don't have time for that or who want to go somewhere and have someone tell them what to listen to. Nothing wrong with any of that. There's also something to be said for actually having your stuff that day and just browsing.
Anyway, that was New York (and then some.)