Tag Archives: Union Square

Catching Up

Hey y’all, I writing to catch you up as to what I’ve been up to so far. As I mentioned in my previous post, a little over a month ago I moved back to New York. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of things and hanging out with a lot of people and taking a lot of pictures, and yet, I’ve posted none of it.

I think because I’m now on a computer all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is drain my eyes with more computer time. Not to say I haven’t been spending my fair share of free time on the computer, but, now that weather is consistently nice, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it.

What I have been doing, in lieu of writing digitally is to keep a physical, tangible journal. Ever since coming back from Japan, where I was writing what I did every day, it was a tough habit to break. I’m glad though because it lets me know what I did each day and, I feel keeps me productive.

Not everything I do every day or every weekend is interesting, but as I means of trying to trim the fat, I’m going to pull a few highlights from the last few weeks and make a digital copy of them here on HWS. I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath. As usual, this is more for me than it is for you.

4/30/17 (Sun) test rode a bike at Van Moof

5/2/17 (Tue) dinner at Momofuku Noodles – pork buns and chocolate malted truffles

5/4/17 (Thurs) dinner at Black Flamingo

IMG_6973Discension art installation 5/6

5/5/17 (Fri) Alligator Lounge for karaoke

5/6/17 (Sat) New York Bike Expo + Discension art installation + housewarming party at co-workers apartment

5/10/17 (Wed) dinner with Jon Papp

IMG_6987Home Sweet Home 5/12

5/12/17 (Fri) New York Night Train at Home Sweet Home with co-worker

5/15/17 (Mon) dinner with Katie at Korean Place

5/17/17 (Wed) chilled with Guto, got drinks at Nostrand Pub, dollar pizza, went back to his apt, chilled on his roof

IMG_6997My studio as I moved in/organized my stuff 5/24

5/19/17 (Fri) Alien Covenant with Papp, chased the movie with drinks at Videology, went to Rebecca’s (bar) where we met up with Katie and Brandon, macked on some biddies

5/20/17 (Sat) IKEA adventure during the day, stoop life at night

5/21/17 (Sun) moved into apartment, went to Smorgasburg with co-workers

IMG_7019Hovercraft and other rich people toys at Hammacher Schlemmer 6/3

5/24/17 (Wed) movers came and I spent all day getting the apartment organized

5/27/17 (Sat) hair cut, biked through Prospect Park, chilled at Sam Cooper’s

5/28/17 (Sun) biked to Coney Island

IMG_7046Looking back on Manhattan from the Williamsburg Bridge 6/8

5/30/17 (Tue) got Brooklyn Library card

5/31/17 (Wed) chilled with Steve at my apt

6/2/17 (Fri) Mom came to visit, went to Eataly, found $5 on the sidewalk

IMG_8022Berry Park with co-workers on 6/9

6/3/17 (Sat) Brooklyn Bread Cafe, went to Ed Sullivan Theatre, Hammacher Schlemmer, CB2, Bellstaff, cut through Central Park, Zabars, walked to The MET (opera), dinner at Liz and Tim’s apartment

6/6/17 (Tue) got Manhattan Library card

6/8/17 (Thurs) biked to work, raced co-worker to Union Sq (her on foot + train, me on bike) from Queens and I won, watched movie for World Ocean day, got lost biking home and ended up at Katie/Dilila’s apt and chilled for a bit before heading home

IMG_7066Westfield World Trade Center mall on 6/10

6/9/17 (Fri) went to Berry Park (rooftop bar) with co-workers after work, went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see It Comes at Night

6/10/17 (Sat) biked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Fulton Center, went to the Westfield World Trade Center (mall), biked to the Fulton Market and saw Seaport Summer setup, checked out the 1 Hotel, 5-hour outing

From now on, anything that’s remotely interesting that I took pictures during but didn’t post to Instagram is going on here.

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Moved Out

So… I finally did it. It only took 26 years, but I finally moved out of my parents house! The circumstances aligned perfectly. Getting the full time job at Tesla was the first piece of the puzzle. Next was finding a roommate. Coincidentally, just as I began searching for apartments on my own -hoping a roommate would fall into place- a roommate fell into place. Fast forward through searching for “the apartment” and eventually we happened upon a great spot right between Union and Porter Square in Somerville.

IMG_3895

We’re a stones throw from Market Basket, a super short walk to Union Square (including Brass Union, The Independent, Backbar, and Union Square Donuts), Aeronaut Brewery, and this new place I walked past called Somervelo.

IMG_3893

I really look forward to checking it out. Not only do I love that it’s a bike shop that’s super close to me, but also, their logo is dope and they seemingly sell Bike Polo stuff!

Back to the apartment… we’re pretty much done getting everything set up. It’s kind of nice to have a space of your own where you can feel free to do whatever you want. Not that I was so constrained at home, but at least here if I want to have people over super late or if I magically get a girlfriend I’ll have a place to hang out rather than taking her back to my parents house. I feel like there’s more but at the moment I can’t think of it so I guess I’ll leave it there for now.

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Happy Accidents

I initially went into yesterday with a vague plan for what things I wanted to do. However, the more I strayed from it and just followed my eyes, the more fun my day was.

FultonCenterFulton Center

I started off by taking to the train to Fulton Street. Though I had gone there before, I’d never taken the time to appreciate the station from across the street; it’s modern and clean lines. I then decided, rather than to continue on my way to the same areas I always go, to explore the financial district.

There is nothing inherently cool about the financial district. Apart from the fame of Wall Street, what it is and what it represents, there is basically not very many reasons a tourist would go there. It is where New York conducts its business. However, I decided to explore. I made my way down Fulton Street and took a right onto Williams. It lead me to this dense area with all these nooks and crannies that were packed with these really cool looking bars.

CheckerTaxiChecker Taxi

Then, like a dog spotting a squirrel in his peripheral vision, I saw a rare sight off in the distance. A Checker Cab, the epitome of a New York Taxi, was taking a right turn a block or two away. Trying to predict his next move, I thought I would cut him off at the pass and thus I too took my next right. However, making my way up whatever street it was, there was no sight of him.

Then, after all hope had been lost, he popped out and was making his way across my field of vision. I was able to get off the shot seen above. If I’d been a little more confident in my guess of what street he was gonna take, I would have hustled a bit more to the intersection and had my camera ready. Maybe I would have even tried to flag him down like I was a fair just to stop him for a photo and to maybe ask him some questions. Oh, well.

StatenIslandFerry_EntranceStaten Island Ferry entrance  

Though this side-excursion had taken me off the course I was originally on, it lead me to another unexpected find, the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry. Again this is not something inherently exciting; I probably will never need to take it. However, I had seen it before on Girls (HBO) and now I was seeing it in person.

PearlStreetFinancialDistrictPearl Street; the building with the yellow dots on it is what initially drew me to this area.

After a few pictures I made my way around an area I’d been to before (where the helicopter tours take off), before heading back to more of what I really wanted to see. I went back to Pearl Street and explored the area between that and South Williams Street. Again this was the area with the cool little bars. It was so compact and the roads were cobblestone, it reminded me of the North End in Boston.

NYSENew York Stock Exchange

I then continued to make my way around the Financial District eventually running into the New York Stock Exchange building. I continued out to Broadway where I accidentally found the famed Charging Bull statue. If I’d been looking for it, it would have taken me twice as long to find. This wandering thing really seems to work in my favor. It seems the less I try, the less effort I put in, the less planning I do, the more I get out my day.

Thus, I continued to let curiosity be my guide as I made my way to a pedestrian bridge that led from Greenwich Street to Washington Street, passing over the entrance to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (the tunnel apparently pops out in Red Hook Brooklyn). I did a bit of wandering around that area before making my way up Broadway. The end goal I was aiming for was One World Trade Center, ie. The Freedom Tower.

As I made my way North however, I began to recognize where I was. Approaching the Wall Street station, I had a sudden flashback to 2011, my first NY Adventure on my own. I had met up with my friend Katie and for whatever reason the train we needed to take wasn’t running and thus we ended up at Wall Street.

While trying to find our way back to where we wanted to be, I snapped this picture before continuing up Broadway and happening upon the “Occupy” movement. Ever since getting here at the beginning of the year I had been trying to remember where that building -the Equitable Building- was and now suddenly, it was right in front of me. Again, my lack of having a plan had benefitted me.

Moving on, I made my way to The Freedom Tower. It was not due to an interest in visiting Ground Zero, but merely because I wanted to see the building up close. After a quick picture I continued north on West Street towards a bridge that crossed over it. I specifically crossed to the other side of the street just so that I could cross back using the bridge. Before I did however, I snapped the following photo of said bridge with the Freedom Tower in the background.

BridgeAndFreedomTowerBridge over West Street and One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower

After taking the picture I made my way across the bridge. Once on the other side I took a quick stroll through Washington Market Park before making my way up Greenwich Street. I walked through Tribeca and crossed over to Hudson Street and passed the traffic entering the Holland Tunnel. Shortly after this I realized I was right across the street from Classic Car Club. I walked in and admired the collection for a bit before continuing on my excursion.

A sign (literal, not figurative) on Spring Street invited me back to Greenwich Street. I recognized it from when Pete and I came to the city for the Justice concert. As I made my way north on Greenwich, I recognized where I was. Once again I had found a place I was trying to find without going out of my way to find it. It was as if it came to me. The place is of no real consequence, just a location where pete had taken a picture of an old GTO, but still, I was glad to have found it.

GayStreetNuff said

Continuing up Greenwich Street I eventually found myself in a quaint and quiet area of the city. It felt upscale and more neighborhood-ey than the rest of Manhattan. I soon realized I was in The West Village. I can see why it gets so much love, it’s really nice. As I made my way East towards 6th Ave, I ran into yet another things I was subconsciously looking for… Gay Street. I knew it existed but never looked it up or actively sought it out. This was just one more example of unplanned happiness.

Eventually I made my way to 6th and to my destination, Murray’s Bagels. I had passed it the other day and was planning on saving it for when my fam comes to visit, but after seeing Steve’s bagel sandwich earlier in the morning I was in a bagel sandwich mood. I was hungry and I knew it was in the area so I went. The one I got was really good and fueled me up for the last part of my excursion.

For the last leg, I made my way over to 1st Ave. Along the way I passed Union Square to find they were filming something for a feature, that was pretty cool. While walking down 1st I realized I wanted to be one block over on Avenue A. The change allowed me to pass Sidewalk bar (yet another happenstance). I had heard about it and keep meaning to go to their Monday night open mic but have yet to do so. At least now I know where it is.

Continuing down Avenue A I eventually made my way to Houston, the cross street that divides A from Essex Street. Continuing on Essex I got to my second to last destination, Beauty and Essex. I had heard about B&E thanks to my sister who had sent me a Buzzfeed list a couple of years ago about “secret storefronts” in NY. This one is a pawn shop that doubles as a speakeasy. I quickly checked out the pawn shop (I wasn’t in the mood to go to the speakeasy, plus it was too early in the evening, plus I’d want to check it out with friends) before continuing to my last stop.

I continued down Essex and walked to nearby Norfolk Street. Right near the end, before you hit Delancey, is a downstairs entrance to the “Lower East Side Toy Company.” This is actually just another speakeasy from the aforementioned list. Again, I didn’t go in (again, I want to check it out with friends) I just wanted to finally see where it was. After a long day and a lot of walking, I hopped on the train and headed back to the apartment.

In total I estimate I walked anywhere from 6 and 10 miles. If I had to take away anything from my yesterday, it is to plan less. (You have to have a bit of a plan because without one you wander around aimlessly). Maybe have a rough idea of what you want to do, but don’t necessarily plan every detail. The fun and pleasure you gain is gained from the adventure and happy accidents you make.

Later in the evening I met up with Greg and some other FSU alum at Bizarre Bar in Bushwick for some drinks and dancing.

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Birdman Excursion

My excursions had been a little stagnant as of late and so yesterday I decided to go on a solid one to make up for lost time. My plan was to start in SoHo and work my way up towards midtown before heading into Queens. This plan however was foiled by the fact that I zoned out on the train and got off at Union Square instead of getting off at Canal Street. As it turned out (and is typically the case), the unplanned adventures are often the most fun.

ChryslerBuildingThe Chrysler Building upon exiting Grand Central Station (we’ll get to this part of the story later).

I crossed over to Broadway and made my way south towards my original plan. Along the way however I was sidetracked by a comic book shop called Forbidden Planet. Being that it was on a main street it was one of the nicest comic book shops I’d ever been in. Though I rarely buy anything, I typically enjoy stopping in to see what sort of stuff they have for sale. The window display had a life size Terminator and ET that I assume were for sale.

The door pulls were each half of Captain America’s Shield and were connected to large wooden doors. Everything was neat and organized, nothing seemed to be dusty or hiding in a corner. It was a place you wouldn’t feel ashamed to bring your girlfriend, but let’s face it if you had one, you wouldn’t need the comic book shop.

After that I made my way to a few other places; Lids (I was in search of a hat I don’t need), John Varvatos (similar but not the same as the one on Bowery), The Hundreds, and a couple of art galleries on W Broadway. I was going to take the train to Grand Central (where the rest of my adventure was to take place) but decided to walk back up Broadway. I had passed a store that I had, for whatever reason, decided not to take the time to go in. Knowing that a) I need to “smell the roses” more rather than just rush through experiences and b) that I would want to come back at a later date to check it out anyway, I decided to go back to check it out.

The store in question, Flight Club, is a sneakerhead mecca. The walls were filled with -mostly Nike- limited editions. The prices varied, but most of the ones I picked up were between $150 and $275. Each sneaker was shrink wrapped to ensure no potential buyers scuffed them up. There were two that stood out to me but Nike’s aren’t really my type of sneaker, I’m more of a skate shoe type of guy. Plus, I really don’t have the money to justify a purchase like that.

Moving on, I made my way back to Union Square and hopped a 4 train to Grand Central station. It seems like whenever I go there I never exit from the same place. This time I got out at Lexington Ave and was immediately staggered by a huge building in front of me. Not knowing what it was, I took its picture. It wasn’t until later when I got further away that I realized  it was The Chrysler Building (see 1st pic in the post).

TheHelmsleyBuilding(Left) The Helmsley Building seen from one block away, notice the “tunnel” entrance/exit at the bottom; (Right) looking right up at the building from the base; (Bottom) a better view of the Park Ave Viaduct entrance/exit.

I went up to 46th and Park Ave -along the way stopping in at Midtown Comics- because I had a special mission. After seeing Birdman, which [I didn’t take the time to review but] was excellent by the way, I was reminded of an area of the city  that I’d never been to before. It is also featured in Lord of War (another great film) when Nick Cage is trying to evade a helicopter that is following his limo. The area in question is the Park Ave Viaduct that elevates and splits around Grand Central station before dropping back down to street level while exiting through the base of the The Helmsley Building.

As you know I am easily amused by visual stimuli and this was no different. It was really cool to see and to finally know where it was in the city. It reminded me of the Admiralty Arch or the gateway that leads traffic in to Trafalgar Square in London. After taking a few pics I then went stumbling around midtown. Initially I was just going to walk down to The UN but then I saw the Chrysler Building. I hadn’t realized until this point that that was the building I had seen upon exiting Grand Central Station.

ChryslerBuilding2In search of a good view of The Chrysler Building

I tried to make my way towards it but as I got closer, I lost sight of it due to other closer buildings getting in the way of my vantage point. Eventually, when I did get to the base of the building I realized that the view really wasn’t that good and it is better appreciated from a distance. Thus, I made my way East down 42nd Street until I got to the stairs that led to Tudor City Place. Being that I am guided by the spirit of adventure, I made my way up the stairs and turned around to see this…

ChryslerBuilding3The Chrysler Building as seen from Tudor City Place

…a cool view of the Chrysler Building. After admiring it for a short while, I made my way around the block and down to the United Nations. I don’t know if I was just in the wrong area or if you simply can’t just go in anymore (maybe you have to be part of a tour) but the area I was at required a pass for entry. I know I went into the UN when my family went to New York in 1998 but I was too young to really appreciate it and I certainly don’t remember if we signed up for a tour or were able to walk right in.

I was going to walk around the outside but I was freezing and my feet were hurting and I was hungry. Luckily in my wanderings I had passed two 99 cent per slice pizza places. I found one of them and got a couple slices before heading back to Grand Central. I was about to get on the subway and head in to Queens to finish the last couple of things on my “to do” list, when I remembered I wanted to get up close to the MetLife Building (formerly the Pan Am building).

Cut to another montage of me walking around for a good view/to try and get to the bottom; a sidewalk entrance from which I could stare straight up at it. All this was foiled when I realized it is basically on top of or appears to be growing out of Grand Central Station. Thus, one cannot simply walk to its base and look up. Instead I was able to get this pretty cool shot of this uh, art thing in the lobby.

MetLifeBuildingLobbyArt/sculpture(?) in the lobby of the MetLife Building; thin wires that converge to look like beams of light.

I then made my way back to Grand Central to board the 7 train into Queens. Cut to a montage of me freezing my ass off looking for 5 Pointz (legendary graffiti area) that I knew was closed but I still just wanted to see it; eventually finding it, being disappointed and walking back to the train for the long ride back to Crown Heights.

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A Series Of Stupid Events OR How I Ended Up In San Francisco

I don’t really know how this came about. Back in July I randomly got the urge to go to Seattle as I’ve never been there before. I knew my friend (I use this term loosely as we’re not super tight) had just moved out there with his girlfriend who is originally from there. In any case, I hit him up out of the blue and asked if it would be possible for me to crash on his couch sometime in September. He said it would be no problem and to just keep him posted.

Cut to the end of August and I’m at Andrew and Angelina’s wedding. I met up with Marcell and she tells me that she goes to school at Berkley in San Francisco. I offhandedly mention that my cousin Josh lives north of San Francisco and that if I ever go out there to visit him that I could visit her too. She seems receptive to this idea (probably because she thinks I won’t follow through).

Cut to a couple days later, September 2nd, and I hit up Ryan (my friend in Seattle) via email to see if he’s still down to let me crash with him. A few days go by and I don’t hear back from him. A few days later I come to the realization that Seattle is not only a short flight from San Francisco, but I remember that my friend (I use this term loosely as we’re not super tight) Shawn lives in San Francisco with his girlfriend. I send him an email saying basically the same thing I wrote to his brother and explaining that I was gonna try and kill two birds with one stone. Fly out to Seattle, spend a few days there, fly down to San Francisco spend a few days there (see my cousin Josh, crash at Shawn’s place (and go to bars with him at night) and see Marcell), and then fly home.*

I then waited a few days but heard no response from Shawn or Ryan. I then decided to call Josh. Not to try and crash with him, but to see if he’d still at least be available to meet me while I was there, if I was gonna be able to a) get Shawn’s attention and b) if he gave me the green light. After a few days of no response and a bit of telephone tag, I finally got a hold of Josh. At this point I had decided “fuck it,” neither one is getting back to me but I’ve had it in my head that I want to go on trip so I will at least go on one. Since there were/are more potential people to meet up with in SF (Josh, Shawn, and Marcell) than there are in Seattle ( just Ryan) -in spite of the fact that I’ve never been to Seattle and I really want to check it out- there were too many signs (things on TV and Instagram) pointing me to San Francisco.

When I finally got a hold of Josh, he told me that my timing was perfect. He was planning on driving from SF to Boston to drop off a friend and chill on the East coast for a few days before grabbing a girl friend of his and driving back to SF. He said that I should not spend my money on a plane ticket out there and instead just drive with him. Initially my reaction was positive but the second we hung up my heart sunk and rational Kyle kicked in. I didn’t really want to do this but I needed a reason not to, so I made a Pros and Cons list.

Pros: 1) I have to time to do this (since I quit City Express) 2) it’s a road trip, those are always fun 3) the spirit of adventure 4) I get to, at the very least, definitely see Josh. Cons: 1) having to pay for gas 2) it would take longer to get there 3) I have to deal with his schedule, wait for him to drive out here, spend a few days in Mass, then drive to SF 4) I have to bend to his plans; sort of already said but whenever I want to do something and Josh gets involved, it turns into us doing whatever he wants to do 5) I didn’t want to have to pay for motels or worse, have to sleep in his car 6) I don’t want to drive; I really don’t like it 7) I don’t want to have to deal with this girl I don’t know and feel like the third wheel the whole time.

A couple days later I booked a flight and a CHEAP hotel. I then emailed Josh my Pros and Cons list and apologized for getting his hopes up. …and so that is what led me to go in this semi-sporradic, Frances Ha-esque vacation.

*Actually the initial plan included a trip to New York to chill with Steve and Tom again and that I’d fly out from JFK; so the trip would have been as follows: Boston to New York (via bus), New York to Seattle, Seattle to San Francisco, and San Francisco back to Boston. But I didn’t want to throw this in the mix to make this already confusing and unnecessary backstory even more confusing.

San Francisco – Day 1

Friday 9/26 – I arrived at SFO at 12:56 (Pacific time), 36 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival. This was good because it meant a slightly shorter flight, but bad because my check in time was not until 3pm. Oh well. I made my way from the terminal to the BART and began the ~30 minute ride from the airport to the Powell Street station in downtown San Francisco. From there it was a relatively short walk to hostel. I explained the situation to the woman at the front desk and she said I could leave my bags there and get them later (when I checked in). I then walked aimlessly up Mason street to Huntington Park at the top of the hill. There I got situated, figuring out where I was and putting on suntan lotion before walking back down to get food.

The place I ate at was across the street from my hostel. While eating, I texted my friend Shaun (who moved to SF for work upon graduating) to let him know I was in town and that we should chill if he wanted to. After eating I  checked in and brought my bags to my room. My first mission was to locate the hotel I had stayed at the last time I was in SF in 2006. The hotel was only a few blocks away near Union Square.

UnionSquareUnion Square

The moment I got there I remembered everything and knew exactly where I was. After admiring Union Square for a bit I took a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf. After exploring for a bit I walked to Pier 33 to book my Alcatraz tour. The sign said that the next available tour for purchase was September 30th. However, when I asked if there were any tours sooner, the woman said that if it was just for one that there was a cancellation for the tour on Sunday at 11am. Sold.

I then continued to make my way down the Embarcadero. As I was walking, I noticed that this all looked familiar. I knew where I knew it from but I wasn’t getting to the main part of the attraction, the part that was so iconic to me. Suddenly, I saw it…

THPS_SculptureThe sculpture you use to get to the hidden tape in Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

The sculpture from Tony Hawk Pro Skater! Also, featured in THPS4, this sculpture is used to get to the hidden tape in the level. This area is not very accurately portrayed in THPS 1, but it is super accurate in 4. I saw…

EmbarcaderoStairsStairs featured in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4.

the stairs you grind on in one of the challenges,

BigStairsMore stairs featured in THPS 4.

the big set of stairs you have to jump in another challenge,

StreetCarStreet cars and the Embarcadero are also featured in THPS 4. The building in the background is the Exploratorium.

and the awnings and street car wires you have to grind on in the C-O-M-B-O challenge! I felt like I was living the video game. After nerding out for a bit and seeing a bit more of the Piers and the Embarcadero, I noticed a tower at the top of a hill in the distance. Since this first day was purposely unstructured in order to allow for free roaming, I made my way towards it. However, before doing that, I felt I needed to make an important stop first. Along the way I went by the Transamerica building.

TransamericaBuildingThe Transamercia building has a small forrest of redwoods in which their employees can eat lunch and relax.

This building is so iconic to San Francisco and I hadn’t gotten a chance to see it the last time, so I was glad to pay my respects. Next, using mostly my eyes (in other words, not relying on the Maps app on my phone) I walked to Telegraph Hill. Along the way -as I climbed the various hills- I got stunning views of the city and of the Transamerica Building. Eventually, I climbed a series of stairs and got to the top of Telegraph Hill.

SF_SkylineSan Francisco skyline from atop Telegraph Hill; the Bay Bridge on the left, the financial district in the middle and the Transamerica building on the right.

At the top I got a great view of the financial district and the Bay Bridge. Behind me was Coit Tower. Unfortunately by the time I got there (I think around 6pm) it was closed. I don’t really know if you’re typically allowed inside or to the top, but I didn’t really care, there were still great views of the city from the bottom to of the tower.

CoitTowerCoit Tower

Once at the front side of the tower there were great views of the Golden Gate Bridge (see my Instagram). I took a few pics before using the public restroom* and making my way back down the hill.

SF_SunsetThe sunset on the way down the hill.

I ended up going down a different side than I walked up. I then made my way through the outskirts of Chinatown to start heading back downtown.

HippieVanSaw this Hippie van with the church and the clouds behind it on the way back downtown and couldn’t not take a picture of it.

As I did, I walked past Tonga Room/Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont Hotel. I knew about this bar because my friends had gone to SF about a year ago and had posted it on Instagram. I started to go in but immediately felt out of place based on how I was dressed. After going back to my hostel to change, I walked back to The Tonga Room.

TheTongaRoomThe Tonga Room/Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont Hotel.

Because I was by myself and didn’t need a table, I was able to go right in and grab a seat at the bar. I told the bartender that I was/am not a fan of mixed drinks, that I’m more of a beer drinker, but that I felt I should have a mixed drink since I was at a tiki bar. He recommended the Chi Chi and it was the perfect choice. I don’t know if the bartender made the drink weak or just blended it really well, but either way, it was delicious and I could not taste the booze.

ChiChiMy drink, the Ch Chi, a twist on a typical Pinã Colada.

The Tonga Room reminded me of a Boston area staple, Kowloon on Route 1. The difference being that Tonga is much nicer and brings it to the next level. In the middle of the restaurant/bar there is an actual lagoon. On the lagoon there is a small boat, and on the boat there is a house band that plays short sets every 15 or 20 minutes. While I was there, I even experienced a “rain storm.” The lights flickered, there were thunder sound effects, and there was even “rain” that fell from the ceiling into the lagoon. It was a great way to end my first day.

TikiTiki

After my second drink, an Anchor Steam beer, I made my way back to the hostel and straight to bed.

*SF is great with public restrooms. This is a concept I wish more major cities would adopt. It is super convenient to get the urge to go to the bathroom and have a free one available nearby without having to go into a restaurant that probably wouldn’t let you use their’s anyway.

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