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Friday, 23 March 2012

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...

It was George's last day in New York. In only 24 hours, we would be losing our original travel musketeer and our team leader. We knew that our last day as a four had to be something special and it was imperative that George had a good time and an even better night out. First on the agenda was a visit to the MET museum. Now we had all wanted to do at least two museums on our trip to New York but unfortunately, time was not kind to us and we had forgotten that museums are shut on Mondays. Rats.

We had all agreed that the MET was our top museum to go to and with it being on George's list of things to do, we were off. When we got there, we spilt in to pairs as we all wanted to go at different paces. Nicole and I ended up together and spent hours mesmerised by the exhibits, wandering from Ancient Greece and Egypt to China and on to India. Nicole had studied Anthropology at University and I had done Politics and History so together, we shared our knowledge on  the different exhibits and absorbed the information provided for each artifact that we came across.  We were having such a good time that we had to meet up with George and Sarah and ask them if we could have a few more hours.

 I absolutely loved the MET and both Nicole and I, being the history geeks that we are, spent hours imagining what it would have been like to live thousands of years ago in Africa or Ancient Greece, conjuring such fascinating images and tools. How was language developed and what kind of emphasis was there on art and creativity?  Truly amazing stuff. I would definitely go back to the MET and take even longer to enjoy each of the exhibits. They are truly fascinating. It was really interesting listening to Nicole explain her perspective on a few historical events and the development of certain empires, particularly as my knowledge only spans back maybe five hundred years. Nicole can quote events that occurred millions of years ago. Smart cookie that one.

Paper, Scissors, Rock.

 After getting lost in time at the MET, we finally left to go and meet up with George and Sarah in the late afternoon to decide what to do next. I had been told by a few cool kids back in Auckland that I should definitely check out the Brooklyn scene one night as it is quite a trendy spot. So, after discussing this with George and the others, we decided that we should subway to Brooklyn and have a few beers- given of course that it was George's last evening. We almost didn't make it that night as after the MET we were all pretty mentally drained and even though we had semi planned Brooklyn, it was easy to talk ourselves out of it with promises of pizza at home and bed. However, someone (I can't remember who) took the lead and led three tired comrades on to the subway straight from the MET.  We made it to Brooklyn. We even made it to the Brooklyn Post Office and sent off the millions of postcards that we had forgotten to send to our parents and so in haste, had written them all the day before leaving. Whoops.

Postcard time!

We ended up at a bar called The Brooklyn Bowl which had the added bonus of being a bar and a bowling alley. Unfortunately there was a competition of sorts on the night that we turned up so after a beer, we decided to call it a day. Or so we thought. As we were walking down the streets of Brooklyn, we stumbled across a bar called 'The Whiskey Brooklyn'.  We had to go in.

As soon as we walked down the stairs in to the dark bar, I knew that we had found a winner. Why? Two words- shuffle board. Know it? It is possibly the greatest game ever created and a new favourite of mine.

Not only were there shuffle board tables, we were greeted by two of the friendliest bar tenders that I have ever come across in my travels. We were instantly set up with beers, good banter and a 'pickle back'. What is a pickle back you say? Get this. It is a shot of whiskey (good whiskey), chased with a shot of 'aged' pickle juice. Sarah was the only one of us brave enough to do both shots and she said it was amazing. And Sarah does not lie so it must have been.

In all seriousness, this bar was one of the best that I have been to in a long time. It was very chilled out and had a good vibe and all of the staff were ridiculously friendly. The Whiskey Brooklyn gets a gold star from me.  I highly recommend that you go and check it out and say hi. Maybe have a game of shuffle board.
After having a few (too many) beers,  we bid our bar tenders farewell and headed to the shuffle board tables to begin our tournament. It was Nicole versus George on one table and Sarah and I on the other. We didn't like the rules of shuffle board, so we amended them slightly to our liking and then we were off!

I am sad to say that I only just lost to Sarah (the light was shining in my eyes) and George got beaten by Nicole. The next round was therefore between the winners and the losers. George and I squared off and at this point, I must have had one too many beers as I lost again. Well only just, it was more a tie. But for the sake of the game, I lost. Still, I felt as though I had learnt from my two losses and with my beer induced courage, I was confident that maybe I could pull off the ultimate victory and beat Nicole (the unbeaten champion). Guess what happened? I lost.

At this point I was getting a bit vocal about our duelling (as were we all) and when I looked around, I noticed that we had attracted a bit of an audience. In particular, there were three Americans who looked to be around our age that had come up to the table. They asked if they could play us. The challenge was accepted. However, it was going to be two on two which meant that people were going to be cut from the team. And when I say people I mean me. So to avoid this happening I self-elected myself to be the referee of the match and George decided to sit this one out. Now I am not one to toot my own horn, but toot toot. I think everyone present that night would agree that I was a pretty good referee. In fact I am sure that the word brilliant was used in reference to my referee ability.

I can't remember who won the game because at that point, it really didn't matter. We were having so much fun and had really bonded with these three Americans over our love of shuffle board.  We continued to play all evening.  At one point, we had both teams playing their four members. I was fabulous of course. Ha- or maybe a liability.

Again, I'm not sure who won or what the outcome was- maybe because we lost and I have repressed the memory. Or maybe it was because it didn't matter as we were all having such a great time. The beers were flowing and I think I speak on behalf of Team Laura New Zealand when I say thank you to those three Americans for a fantastic night of shuffle board. We would love a rematch sometime.
My night in Brooklyn was one of the best of my trip. I had an absolutely amazing time and met some really wonderful people. I guess it was sort of one of those nights that 'you had to be there' to fully understand how much fun it was and just how great the night turned out to be. Definitely worth the subway fare and  one for the books! Brooklyn was the hidden gem of New York and I am so grateful to have found it just in time.

Day six to follow...

1 comment:

  1. Nice summary of that night - I was wondering how you were going to do it. Also let's set the record straight - I did both whiskey and pickle juice shots - it was almost compulsory!!