>Empire State of Mindfulness- Part 2

In the last episode, I was about to take in some fine alternative/sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade late night show.  The line that greeted me upon arrival confirmed this would be worth the advance start on that night’s sleep I was denying myself. In the gritty basement of an old theatre me and a mixed bunch of hipsters, comedy nerds and students kicked back for a tight comedy night only the American’s are capable of producing. Whilst their leanings may not always be in my direction, humour wise, the Yanks know how to do show business like no bodies business. The show had some really edgy and dark acts and one particularly experimental sketch group who could only be described as Grunge-Sketch. Probably only by me.
Tuesday was another day of work, with the promise of that nights NBA game as reward. I had booked tickets via StubHub before leaving and was hoping they were legit. Turned out they were. After consuming one of the biggest burgers of my life, with a side of lettuce leaf for balanced nutrition, I headed across the road to Madison Square Garden. The venue was built on the original land of 1700’s New York pioneer and eccentric Lady Maddison Horbtike, who curated a garden of shapes, particularly triangles and squares. Today however, it hosts bands, sports teams and a family of overly educated possums released from NYU testing facility. I was there to see the famous New York Knicks, take on the less-famous Detroit Pistons. The game was over before it started, with the Knicks smashing the Pistons all over the court. I was disappointed that the announcer didn’t comment with ‘Boomshakkalaka’ on dunks, like they used to on NBA JAM on the SNES.
American sport is non-stop entertainment. It reminds me of a movie, not so much because it’s a caricature, but because of the constant assault of the senses. Even during a time-out, they provide some form of visual stimulation. Whether it be dancing Cheerleaders cavorting provocatively, Screeching mixed ethnic Child performers battling it out in a mini-talent quest to faux-child heroes receiving an award or a full court peddle car race. All of it screams professional, elite sports right?! Americans are also scarily obedient in crowds. If the announcer tells them to clap/scream/dance- they do. Not just in a participatory manner, but more a current day Nth Korea/Germany in the 30’s vibe! They even have dance crews to make sure you are doing it right. These cheer troopers are armed with promotional t-shirts, a gas powered t-shirt cannon and an arsenal of choreographed dance moves. I swear a couple who refused to participate nearby “disappeared” during the half-time ‘Who wants to be a Money-aire?’ quiz show hosted by a real monkey.
Wednesday night saw us hit up WD 50, which despite sounding like a propellant used as a household lubricant, is actually a mid-range hot dining option in the Lower East Side. We enjoyed a Masterchef style meal. Highlights included the Eggs Benedict reimagined entrée, the Rice Krispy finishers and the Wines’; a Pinot Noir from Oregon (amazing!) and a Semillon Botrytis from South Australia. Afterwards we were lucky enough to tour the Kitchen. I think the Chefs didn’t enjoy it based on the small peeling knife I later found lobbed in my shoulder.
Today was my last day in NYC. After kicking the day off with a nice Intelligentsia coffee, I munched on a pain au chocolat as I walked in the crisp morning to work with an army of other Manhattan workers. For a slight moment I could actually imagine myself living here…then I was distracted by my more often reoccurring daydream of being a curator of the World’s only Museum of Potato Mashers.  I made my way to JFK, after a quick detour to the very cool Chelsea Markets. It took me nearly 2 hours to reach the Airport which should make my total transit time 24 hours! I am now sitting here next to that annoying type of person; The Australian who at International Airports is genuinely surprised to hear another Australian. As if they were the only ones to leave the country, and the rest of the nation is awaiting their return…. “And in other news, recent country leaver Lachlan Ryan is due to return from his overseas adventure tomorrow. Airport staff are on standby for the imminent arrival, as to is next traveller Jeremy. C. Daswollen. When Mr Daswollen jets out of the country, he will mark the 56thperson to travel overseas this year.”
Strewth Bloody Hell Mate. Glad to be on Qantas. Crikey!