Travel Blog New York. June 2012 part two
Saturday morning up nice and early. After a shower and an altercation with the in room Nespresso machine (I called it a cunting piece of shit after it presented me with, what looked like watered down piss). I depart for the subway station in Chambers Street.
As I made the short walk I felt a little nervous. As a NYC subway virgin I hoped she would be gentle with me. I arrive at Chambers Street, down the stairs and towards the turnstiles. I swipe my card and nothing. I swipe it again. Nothing. Now I read on the interweb that there is a bit of a technique swiping the card. This time I push the card through the scanner, but slowly and I’m in. Yippy ky yay, motherfucker, this is easy.
So I’ve got all my route printed out, maps I’ve given myself loads of time. What could possibly go wrong. Really? I choose my platform. This must be the right one it’s headed toward Brooklyn. Big mistake as I realised 15 minutes into the ride. I should have reached my station in 8 minutes.
Shit..I get off with the intention of heading back to where I came from. The only way I could get to the other platform appeared to be to exit the station via the street. As I ascend the stairs all I can hear is reggae music booming out from the street and as I step out into the street I can see I am the only white guy in the area. At that moment a feeling of fear, excitement and hilarity washed over me. That moment will stay with me for a long time, I can tell you.
So the trick here is not to look lost. Ok, so how do I play this? First impressions are sometime all to do with deception. As I see it I have two choices I could be a) the, obviously, crazy/badass cracker motherfucker checking out the hood or b) the totally lost inept douchebag tourist carrying lots of cash. Under the circumstances I thought option a would be a good choice.
So I casually crossed the road and down the stairs back into the station. Good job I packed plenty of spare underpants. Luckily a very nice lady told me how to get to my destination station, Marcy Street. I wasn’t that far away but more by accident than design.
So my first lesson learned (or so I thought, more about that later) if the train don’t say what you have on your instructions it aint going there.
I finally reach my "mystery destination in Williamsburg" in time for a nice spot of brunch.
After I’ve eaten my delicious short rib burger I head for the pre- arranged meeting place and I spot Bailey arriving on his push bike. I walk over and introduce myself. I’ll be with you in just five minutes he says (now we all know there’s 5 minutes and there’s a tattooers five minutes) but five minutes later he’s back inviting me in and a short while after we’re climbing several flights of stairs to his studio.
The studio is amazing, stuffed animals heads, including a really fed up looking brown bears head, adorn the walls. There’s a beautiful glass covered display of butterflies on the wall. Dominating the room is an imposing life sized wooden Native American Indian who stands proudly on a upturned crate with the words "Kirkmans Borax Soap" printed on it. And on the other wall there are loads of tracings, some of Baileys paintings and other fascinating little bits of antique brick a brack.
Where you from? asks Bailey. I’m from the West Country UK about 80 miles from London, I reply. You over here on vacation? No I came over to get tattooed by you. Wow you’re crazy man, says Bailey.
So after about half an hour of making some adjustments to the drawing the stencil is made up. Its an Indian women on a horse, which is rearing up on its hind legs. Bailey checked out my tattoos on my legs asking me who did them. He particularly liked the one I got a couple of weeks ago from [MENTION=14]mario desa[/MENTION] on my lower leg and the one on the front of my right thigh from [MENTION=212]Stewart Robson[/MENTION].
Bailey has got some really nice hand tattoos and he showed me them, some done by Thomas Hooper. He told me his first palm tattoo was done by a guy who had never done one before. All I can say, he said was it was so painful it was like someone tattooing your soul.
So I asked Bailey why he never usually tattoos his own flash (this came out during our email exchanges). Bailey explained that once he’s painted something that’s it. Why would I want to do it all over again, the moment has been and gone. I just can’t get excited doing the same thing again, he said. Bailey then said he made an exception a short while ago when he tattooed a bison head on this guys leg and posted the picture on his blog. Within days he was getting loads of requests to do the exact same tattoo from the same piece of flash. So I totally get where he’s coming from.
Before long the stencil is on my leg. Bailey doesn’t like the initial placement wipes it off and puts it on again. Much better this time with the horses rear hooves nicely centred with my knee.
Within a short while we are under way. We chat about a few things, tattooing, guns even a story of how I injured myself twice in a short amount of time when I was working as a milk delivery man many years ago. Bailey was telling me how nerve damage in one of his legs made tattooing that area more painful than usual. As we had been talking about palm tattoos I mentioned I have slight nerve damage in the small finger of my right hand. That’s how I got on to the subject of my milkman injuries. I think I posted about this on the "Stupid Ways You Have Injured Yourself " thread. He though that was pretty funny.
I mentioned that he did a tattoo on [MENTION=675]Iwar[/MENTION] recently. Bailey commented on Iwars collection of great tattoos.
After we are done Bailey asks if he can see [MENTION=212]Stewart Robson[/MENTION] other work and the backpiece I have from [MENTION=211]Valerie Vargas[/MENTION]. He comments how much he admires both Stewarts and Valeries work.
Before I leave I give Bailey a framed piece of original flash from Frank Carter. We shake hands and then back down the stairs and after a happy and uneventful trip on the subway I am back in my hotel room.
So it’s my last night in the Big Apple so I’ve booked a table at the North End Grill which is slap bang next the hotel. It’s a Danny Meyer restaurant and is rapidly getting a very good reputation. The head chef is Floyd Cardoz. He’s of Indian extraction and has a reputation for his subtle use of Indian spices so I’m really excited about eating at this restaurant.
Before I go I pop back to the shop I mentioned earlier to pick up a couple of sodas some fresh fruit and beer. While I was in the store I saw some bags of salted in shell peanuts. These look interesting so I grabbed a bag. Before long I am back in my room with my provisions. The Beer is a quart of Mississippi Mud, a porter pilsner.
The store even put it in a nice brown paper bag to drink it out of. Now that’s what I call good customer service. So what should I do? head for the hotel lobby sit and drink the beer out of the paper bag and scare some Japanese tourists or shall I go back to the comfort of my hotel hotel room. Quite a dilemma. Although the first option was looking increasingly attractive getting tasered by the NYPD and pissing my pants in the lobby of the Conrad Hotel was the deal-breaker. So it was back to my room.
So there I am minding my own business sitting in the lounge area off my suite (only suites in this hotel) in my boxers drinking a beer watching one of my two TVs (I’m just showing off now) and eating some salted in shell peanuts when the door bell rings. I just ignore it.
Next thing the door opens and the maid walks in. The look on her face was a fuckin picure. I bet she wasn’t expecting a semi naked bald headed tattooed freak in one of their lovely rooms. "Turn down service sir" she asked. No you’re ok, I replied with a nice big smile, as she beat a hasty retreat from my room.
Now this is what happens when hotels offer special deals, it attracts all the low life and riff raff guests. On an aside the salted in shell peanuts are amazing. You peel the shell and peanuts inside have a lovely hint of salt and they taste so fresh. They achieve this by soaking the nuts in the shells, in a brine solution, before roasting.
Oh and another thing they might have two TVs but there is no phone in the shitter. WTF.
All fur coat and no drawers as we say over the pond.
After a shit, shave and a shower its off to the restaurant.
In the restaurant I choose a nice glass of a local IPA and half a dozen oysters as my first course. They are amazing native oysters. Beautifully fresh served on a bed of ice with a lemon wedge and mignonette. Nice and simple just as it should be.
For my mains I order the aged Creekstone Ribeye Steak cooked medium rare with a side of asparagus. The steak is cooked just right, it’s juicy tender and so flavoursome. The asparagus is amazing I can detect some spice, a little cumin and some chilli.
My other half [MENTION=2604]Jade1959[/MENTION] would have loved this place. On the plus side the tab only came to half of what it would have done, had she been there and it was nice to finish the evening without the usual drunken brawl with one of the other female diners.