New York Day #3 Under the Brooklyn Bridge, through Chinatown and East Village

by Despoina

Day #3 Downtown Manhattan

It is day three in New York and we are walking in the streets of Manhattan. Surrounded by all these immense buildings is nothing but overwhelming, I could not help but constantly looking up to see if I could tell with a naked eye where do all these huge buildings end! You can easily imagine that they go all the way out into space.  I am sure that while I was doing that, at the same time I was standing out as a stupid tourist just because I was looking up all the time I am sure with the most ridiculous expression on my face but how could I resist? It was impossible.

In the streets of Manhattan, just like you see in the movies, there are so many people walking so fast and while I was busy looking up, at the same time I wanted to make sure that I do not fall on people who go about their normal day. I hate it when tourists do that in Brussels! Always standing still looking around like idiots….. Now I was that idiot. The result of all that was that I now started to feel dizzy and had an intense headache so I decided to try and walk normally like a local with my head straight focused on my path for as long as I could. Our plan for this day was to walk down the pier, enjoy the view and have some delicious Fish & Chips. On our way there we saw a sculpture of a bull that is apparently very well known. Tanguy explained all about the statute to me but I really do not remember what the fuss was all about. After grabbing the bull by the horns – rather than by the balls as I should have done-  for the touristy pictures you see below, squeezing amongst the endless line of people waiting their turn for a lucky shot, I was more excited about the idea of finally sitting and eating than staying around that statute and all these people. WOW, I guess I am not a city girl after all if I can’t stand people…. Also, Why would a gold statute of a bull be such a big deal? 


Down to the pier we finally had our (overpriced) delicious fish &chips and our first glimpse of the statue of liberty,  the first time I saw the statute in “real life”, from far far away, so tiny that I did not even bother to take a picture.  The day today was colder compared to the previous ones so the pier was rather empty not inviting us to stay any longer so we moved more “in land”.  After lunch, we walked along the river and under the Brooklyn bridge. I loved every minute of this walk the Brooklyn bridge, the water, the honeymoon kisses…..

You indeed feel like walking inside a movie, I thought of that a lot in New York. There is the sense of familiarity mixed up with the feeling of new all at the same time. Having seen this view on TV so many times before, you cannot help but think that you are in a movie. Well, I also tired to focus on fun romantic New York movies and not stuff like “Law and order”. Although the melody of the opening titles was often in my head I have to admit.

We continued our walk that day towards Chinatown which was strangely enough diverse. Let me explain that, I would expect Chinatown to be a lot more let’s say exclusive. Full of only Chinese shops, signs, restaurants and … people but instead it had a Chinese character, it was obvious that a lot of people from that community lived here for years but today it is a lot more diverse. We walked this way initially because Tanguy wanted to check out a BMX shop in the area. We did not count on staying long in Chinatown but the ambiance was pleasant and we ended up spending the entire evening there.  Amongst all the restaurants in Chinatown we found ourselves, by accident I promise, sitting to a Greek place for a much needed pause, Kiki’s kitchen or something like that it was called. The place looked promising and of course smelled amazing but the service was soooooo bad that I actually felt guilty for it myself (one bad Greek makes us all look bad remember that people!) Nonetheless, I had a nice glass of Santorini wine and a delicious cheesecake, all I needed to gain forces and keep walking.

Put some sugar on me, Ray!

After Chinatown, we walked towards the East Village and Alphabet City one of the areas that Tanguy wanted to absolutely visit since he was reading about it in his Hardcore music books which are all set in New York since hardcore underground music was basically born in New York. We dropped by the legendary  Ray’s Candy Store to have a dessert – milkshake. This guy, Ray, an Iranian immigrant who lives his own American dream,  is somewhat of a New York legend! His shop was very peculiar, looked old as it is and  Ray was very friendly to us! He was curious about Belgian waffles once he learned we are visiting from ,well,  here. He even toyed with the idea to finally include Belgian waffles in his menu one day. He was asking about us, about our visit to New York , what we were planning to see while also sharing some short stories about his life and how he came to New York. In fact I recently learned that there will be a documentary about his story and his shop so I cannot wait to see it and brag about meeting him in person.

East village

After Ray, we passed through the vibrant area of East Village. Now if you know me, you know my love for second hand stores. Tanguy researched a second hand store for me to visit while we were there –awwww- I guess he felt that we did so much of “his” stuff for a day so this was a way to treat me. The shop is called Search & Destroy. That was a very weird second hand store to say the least and is definitely worth the visit if you are there. There were a lot of weird sex toys -yes you read that right-  a lot of accessories and regular toys from another time, patches and clothes from basically every era. Let me tell you though it was impossible to browse through all that! These clothes were packed so close together that I could not even move the hangers in order to see the clothes that were hanged on them.  Then of course there are these very few articles displayed so neatly, these few pieces that they want to make sure you will notice which are naturally very very VERY expensive! Although I was itching to buy something I did not appreciate the snob attitude of the staff so thankfully my reasonable husband advised me to not get that jacket I thought was so cool but deep down I knew was ridiculously over priced –300 dollars for a second hand perfecto? No, thanks-  and it did not look that great on me either. So I walked away from that, proven to be the right thing to do a few days later when I walked in Soho where I found my perfect perfecto.

I cannot remember anymore how day #3 ended, I was obviously exhausted from walking around all day and from all of the new images that I had to register in my brain. I cannot even remember where we had dinner or if we had dinner to begin with but I do remember that I was excited for Day 4 because I would finally see Matthew !

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