Unique, New York! / by LD

How can I even begin to recount my weeklong foray into the dizzyingly chaotic world of NYC?

Here are a few excerpts from various sources that serve as a sort of text-scrapbook of my week. Things I wrote. Things I read. Things I listened to. And of course - pictures I took. 

"Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Arcs comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. Love, Irving Sappho, formerly under contract to Elysium Studios Ltd. Please be happy happy happy with your beautiful Muriel. This is an order. I outrank everybody on this block."
- J. D. Salinger, Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction

"Unique New York. A saying that, said ten times fast, jumbles the phrase beyond intelligible meaning. All that's left by around repetition 8 or 9 is a mouthful of clunkish, foreign sounds completely devoid of context. It's like an attempt at reciting throaty phrases in a French film without knowing the language. It's like when Neko Case says 'I'm an animal, you're an animal too.' It's like all those things, all at once. 

And so New York, unique but jumbled; a phrase repeated ad infinitum in all manners of media, new & old. By the time I finally got my chance to shout it from the rooftops - Unique! New York! - the sounds were as convoluted as the jangly measure of buildings crowding midtown. But what's more, it feels like I've been here before. So what can be said about a city that never sleeps (in fact, let's just drag all those comatose clichés from the vaults while we're at it)? It has therefore lost a considerable amount of mystery - nothing that hasn't already been said or sung (if you're Ryan Adams or Frank Sinatra, and what an ear-splitting mashup that would be). 

So I'll say this much: Never before has an island felt so insular. Not even on the farther reaches of St. Thomas or St. Maarten. New York is as self-absorbed a place as exsits on this side of God's green earth. Not even LA, for its yawning chasm of moral and ethical ambivalence, can compete. For one, on a clear day in LA - which is about as elusive as seeing Christ's likeness in the clouds - you can see mountains. That seems to make a difference.'
- A journal entry I wrote while nursing a rather bitter black iced tea at the Tea Lounge on 7th and Union

"You could say it's my instinct / yes, I still have one. There's no time to second guess it / yes, there are things that I'm still so afraid of / but my courage is roaring like the sound of the sun / 'cos it's vain about its main and will reveal them to no one. I'm an animal / you're an animal, too."
- Neko Case, "I'm An Animal"

"And thus we embarked on a day-long journey to Staten Island in search of one thing, and one thing only: Gigantic tiki drinks at an authentic time-warpy tiki lounge. [After taking the ferry] we waited for the S44 bus to take us deep, deep into the terrifyingly suburban bowels of Staten Island. We were on the bus for what seemed like forever before it deposited us in the middle of a mall parking lot. 'What is this,' we shouted, 'LA MIRADA??'

But Adam quelled our fears. 'NEVER FEAR,' he bellowed, brandishing his secret weapon: 'I have an iPhone!'

Sweet success! Jade Island, a time capsule of Polynesian-inspired pop kitschery, replete with thatched roof huts and blowfish-shaped lamps. And the drinks, I'm happy to report, were not only stiff as a board and cheap as a trollop, but were served in hollowed-out pineapples that, as Janelle pointed out, weren't ridiculous or fussy enough on their own, leading to the technicolor pinwheel garnish. Smart. Jon carved the guts out of his pineapple before jumping off the train ENTIRELY by ordering a Manhattan.

Did I mention that the drink menu consisted of cheap tiki drinks and old-school classic cocktails, most of which were under $5? Because if that doesn't just scream LAUREL ERIN DAILEY, then pretty much nothing does."
- A Facebook recounting of my trip

"Never thought I'd feel so blue / New York City, you're almost gone. / Think I'm falling out of love with you."
-Ryan Adams, "Dear Chicago"