Overheard New York Conversation #2

Ah bless New Yorkers!

Joe's New York

English lady asking a cop for directions at the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

English Lady – “Excuse me officer, could you please tell me where Water Street is?”

Cop – “Where?”

English Lady – “Water Street.”

Cop – “I’m sorry lady I can’t understand what you’re sayin.”

English Lady – “Water Street? W-A-T-E-R Street!”


Lost in translation. If she’d simply asked for “Wadder Street” she’d have been perfectly understood.


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Top 5 New York Skyline Viewpoints

5 great ways to see the New York Skyline

Joe's New York

There’s little more to dazzle a visitor to New York and get the cameras snapping than to take in the magnificent, and ever evolving skyline. And guess what? Nobody is going to charge you to look at it. Yet. At most you may have to pay some transportation costs.

Here are my five best ways to soak up the skyline:

  1. The best way to get downtown views is to walk across the bridges. Either do a straight walk across the Brooklyn bridge or, a round walk starting at either the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge, then take a stroll down into the cobble streets of Dumbo and the Brooklyn Bridge Park before walking back to Manhattan across the other bridge. Both have fantastic views of the city, the Statue of Liberty and each other. If you only pick one though, the Brooklyn Bridge is a must.

    While on the Brooklyn side…

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New York Celebrity Sighting # 3

Joe's New York

Stepping out of the West 53rd St entrance of the MoMa one Wednesday afternoon, I’m surprised to see the street closed off and half of NYC’s police department patrolling the neighborhood. I peer over a temporary railing to see a large motorcade approaching. As it passes, through the tinted windows of a large, robust looking limousine, I see the unmistakable silhouette Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th and current president of the United States of America.

You don’t see that every day.

Obama in 'The Bitch'

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Tastes like a pig’s…

An unfortunate accidental restaurant order

Joe's Travel Memories

Rouen, Normandy, my colleague Ross and I are enjoying our last night in France at a bistro in the city centre, near the Eglisse Jeanne D’Arc where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake.

Cockerels, big and small decorate the restaurant, paintings of them don the walls, statues and models fill every corner. Waiters whiz by carrying orders to busy tables to the murmur of guests punctuated by the clinking of cutlery on china and the glug-glug-glug of wine being poured.

Our waitress approaches, short and blonde with a no nonsense look about her, she curtly responds in the negative to Ross’ inquiry as to whether she speaks English.

“Err…” he stutters, a lost look of confusion spreading rapidly across his face.

He’s hungover from last night, and in its fatigued state, Ross’ mind has failed him. Whatever little French he did possess has now completely departed. Unwilling to…

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It Always Starts With an Elevator

Joe's New York

There must come a time in every New York Brit’s life, when they realize that they’re English has gone, well, weird. For me, I fear that time may have come.

It started off innocently enough; elevator, that was my gateway word. But If I said lift, then I’d have got, “Whatcha gonna lift?” The next thing I knew I was calling the pavement sidewalk and I didn’t even think about it.

Last week I said soccer to somebody when referring to my beloved sport. To say the least I felt uncomfortable and I visibly winced.

“That hurt a little didn’t it? ” said the person in question.

“A part of me just died inside,” was my reply, “I hope you appreciate what I just did there.”

The problem is, I’m in another country and I need to be understood. It isn’t my fault that this particular country speaks a weird…

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Overheard New York Conversation #1

Joe's New York

Outside construction site, 2nd Avenue & 1st St, two construction workers chatting as I walk past.

Construction Worker # 1 – “So he fuckin’ tells everyone he’s anti-gun right?”

Construction Worker # 2 – “Yeaah sure, so fuckin’ what?”

Construction Worker # 1 – “So why the fuck, is he always hangin’ out wit’ his fuckin’ cousin and his buddies, when they always got fuckin’ guns?


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The Mysterious Sarcophagi of Karajia

A tough days travel to a haunting Peruvian mountainside

Joe's Travel Memories

“Mira tumba,” the woman next to me says, nudging me in the ribs and motioning toward the hillside.

I have no idea what you are saying, I think as she points out the window. I follow her finger and see a peppering of cave entrances high on the rugged slopes.

“Tumba!” she repeats frustratedly.

“Tumba? Ah tombs! You mean tombs?”

“Si! tumba!”

I’m in a packed colectivo, a shared taxi used as public transport in the Chachapoyas region of northern Peru. It’s taking me to Karajia, to find the mysterious sarcophagi. After scoffing at the inflated organised tour price, I’m trying to reach the site independently.

Hours later I’m left in a cloud of dust at a barren village of ramshackle, unpainted buildings. No one is around and nothing can be heard but the sound of the wind swirling through the grass and whipping up dirt from the…

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Red Baraat @ The Bowery Ballroom

Great band, great venue, an all round great night out in NYC

Joe's New York

This is pretty awesome to hear,” a member of the crowd shouts to me at the bar during one number, “this is a ceremonial good luck blessing, growing up in an Indian family you hear this all the time. To hear it played like this is incredible.”

 The fast, energetic rhythms of the dhol drum and the deep bass and lively melodies of the brass section keep the sold out and distinctly multi-ethnic Bowery Ballroom crowd electrified. For the group, Red Baraat from Brooklyn, this is a rare home city gig in a world wide musical journey.

 Described as ‘funk dhol n’ brass’, Red Baraat are a band made of three percussionists and a five piece horn section. They are a fusion of traditional north Indian, jazz, funk and Latin sounds. A cross-cultural flavour born in one of the world’s greatest melting pots. As far as a…

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Higher and Higher

High altitude traveling

Joe's Travel Memories

Awaking before first light I cook breakfast under the stars, pack away my tent, brushing the ice from the nylon with my cold hands, then start walking in the dim light of dawn. The path beneath my feet is frozen solid as I walk in the shadow of a mighty Andean skyline in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru.

“Punta Union – 4750m” reads the sign as I take in the panorama of countless snowy peaks at the top of the pass. The high ridge of Talliraju which, at the start of the trek two days ago seemed so far away, now towers over me like a row of gigantic jagged teeth. I follow a narrow path through the rocky ridge to an immense vista of the valley below and the mountain range tapering off into the distance. The long march down stretches out in front of me.

Leaving the beautiful…

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