By now you must know that a lot of the things I do when I’m in a city are based on the media I consume. In the case of today, two of the four places I went to were places or things found in Vampire Weekend songs.
“Sing next year in Jerusalem, you know, the one at 103rd and Broadway?” -Vampire Weekend; Finger Back
The first place I went to was the Jerusalem Restaurant. Mentioned in the song Finger Back, Jerusalem is a tiny restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I stopped in sometime around 2 or 3pm for some shawarma. It was really good as the last time I remember having it was in Israel in 2010. (Holy shit… five years ago!) It was cool to be in the place that is described in the song. There’s even a “…laminated poster of the dome of the rock” on the back wall. Why wouldn’t there be?
The next thing on my agenda was to take the Roosevelt Island Tram to Roosevelt Island; not something from a VW song. However, in oder to get there I legitimately had to take the M79 bus. It was my plan to take the bus at some point anyway but it was nice to have an actual reason to take it.
I got back on the 1 train and took it a few stops/blocks downtown to 79th street. Naturally when I got on the bus I took the back seat (pictured above). The ride took a jaunt through Central Park (as expected; as described in the song) after which I got off a few stops later at Lexington Ave. I walked two blocks down Lexington to 77th where I got on the 6 train to 59th street. I then crossed two blocks over to 2nd Ave where I got on the Roosevelt Island Tram.
Upon entering the tram station I found, to my pleasant surprise, that you pay for entry with your Metro card. I assumed it was a separate fee that I’d have to pay in cash, but happily, it’s not.
I didn’t really have much of a reason to go to the island; I don’t know that anyone does. I actually don’t know what it’s purpose is. Regardless, there are great views of Manhattan as well as Queens. You’re also able to get particularly nice views of United Nations. I’m sure it would have been a nicer experience but it was so windy and so cold that I couldn’t fully enjoy it.
After a short walk around what parts of the island were open to the public, I took the tram back to Manhattan. I was sort of hoping that something would go wrong with the cables so that Spider-Man could rescue us, but instead it was an incident-free ride.
While walking back to the train station I passed a man in a soccer jersey outside The Carriage House (a bar). He was asking passers by for a light. To his luck, I had matches in my jacket for just such an occasion. He lit his cigarette and then asked if I was going in for a drink. I told him I was on my way home and that I wasn’t planning on going in. He then took some cash out of his pocket and told me to go in and buy myself a drink. At first I refused, all I’d done was given him a light, what did I care. But, he was insistent and so I took his money and bought myself a beer.
What a random act of kindness. This very uneven exchange took me off guard in the best way possible. It was a really cool gesture and made for a pleasant and relaxing end to my day. It also put me in a positive mood and set what will hopefully be a the tone for the rest of my 2015.