USA Sep 2011 – Day 4
There are more than one Chinatown in and around New York City and today I was apparently going to the real one down in Queens.
I met up with my friend in downtown and we navigated our way around the metro and headed towards Flushing Meadows where the US open is at. Upon arriving at Flushing you could actually smell the Chinatown from the subway. Its a unique smell, one of grease, of spices and instantly you think, what am I going to eat?!
First we headed to a food court with 20 or so asian cuisine stores which served japanese, vietnamese, chinese and taiwanese food to name a few. Food was made to order so it wasn’t the rubbish you see sitting in the windows at a buffet. I wanted to eat here but my friend insisted we find the proper traditional food court where you eat with the locals and you just sit on stools.
It took us a while to find this place going up and down Main street and still we couldn’t find it. Google had to intervene to restore our mission and eventually we found it. We had asked this store owner earlier where it was but she had no idea! The food court was where she was but you had to go down a narrow hallway then down a flight of stairs to find this eatery.
My mate was right, this place was really authentic and I felt like I was in a foreign asian country with all eyes on me as I was not meant to be here. Everyone was old and just sitting around on stools or sitting on tables inside tiny restaurants that could fit at most 10 people. The area was a food court but it was tiny, somewhat claustrophobic. All the restaurants seem to have no english menu’s so it was going to be difficult to work out and know what we were going to eat. I felt really uncomfortable here in this tiny food court and while my friend was keen to give it a go, I opted to get out while I could! I was not ready and willing to risk getting sick on this trip. So the destination for lunch was the original food court which was a great option as I ordered a lobster for dirt cheap and boy was it delicious. Our appetites were not satisfied after the food we consumed at the food court so we walked around chinatown and tried different types of nibbles like dumplings, buns and other treats.
Next stop was going back to Manhattan and checking out the awesome views from the Rockefeller Center. I wanted an uninterrupted view of New York City skyline and this place delivered. I didn’t want to go to Empire State Building because it’s more busy and I think there would be interrupted views and the crowds would be heaving. I managed to get some nice panorama shots of the city but didn’t quite get the full 360 views. I probably got 190.75522 degrees of the city skyline.
From Rockefeller Center I went onwards to the Brooklyn Bridge while my mate opted to go home to rest. While he hadn’t planned anything tonight, I gave him the offer of meeting at Katz Deli for dinner! Who can refuse a delightful pastrami sandwich on rye bread? Well not me.
So I ventured down to Brooklyn and wandered around. I saw a film or tv show being shot in the neighbourhood then made my way to the river. Locals were riding about and running along the track. The UN meeting was also on so the skies were littered with Chinooks and helicopters ferrying the delegates to the UN headquarters. The police and other military were on manned gun boats in the water so security was pretty tight.
I could see the Statue of Liberty from where I was just below the Brooklyn Bridge. After taking what appeared to be hundreds of photos, I climbed the bridge (more like walk around to the start) and then walked across the Bridge. One lane was for cyclists while the other was for pedestrians. People were walking in all sorts of directions and this New Yorker dude told me off for walking on the wrong side. Tell this to the others as well so it makes some sense mate!
Katz Deli was the venue for dinner and it has been something I’ve been looking forward to here in NYC. I ordered the famous pastrami sandwich on rye bread and it was mouth watering. While they build your sandwich they cut you a small slice of pastrami and this delicious piece of meat simply melts in your mouth. The sandwich is not easy to finish, after having the first half I struggled to eat the second half as I had being overcome by the amount of meat in the sandwich however my friend was happy to polish it off.