6/30/2009 10:40:00 pm

Advertising Attraction and Doormen

Posted by Tom French |

Today was walk to Times Square and back day. That's almost all we did.

However before we set off I walked into our dorm and the Russian girl who is sharing with us was standing there half naked. Having mixed dorms with half-naked Russian girls in them seems like it should be every young man's dream come true, I found it kinda awkward. I quickly turned away and started fiddling with the key to the locker trying to work out what the etiquette was in a situation like that. I wasn't sure if I should just pretend that nudity is the most normal thing in the world and go about my business, because she was standing there in the room she shares with 7 other people, half of them guys, maybe she's fine with it and it'd be rude if I ran away like a prude. Or should I leave because she was caught during a private moment she had in the dorm. In the end I pretended I had only walked into the room to fiddle with the key to my locker for a second and then I walked out again. I'm pretty sure that was the best compromise and no one lost face.

Eventually when I thought it was safe I went back to my room. I passed the girl in the hallway and gave her an awkward smile. Back in my room I got ready to leave.

Times Square is a long way away from our hostel, so it was pretty exciting to see New York. All the New York like buildings and shop fronts, and food places. We ate brunch at a place called Jackson Hole in honour of the King of Pop. On my burger I ate seven pounds of beef and didn't think of Will Smith once.

I can't say we saw anything too remarkable but everything was cool. Everybody who drives in New York seems to drive smaller cars than the people drive in the rest of this country. While 75% of cars in the rest of what I've seen in the US seem to be SUVs and over grown sedans, here cars seems a bit more normal sized. It could just be that half the cars are taxis and yellow is a very slimming colour.

Times Square is pretty amazing. Neon and video everywhere. Everything is advertising. It didn't even occur to me while I was there, but we trekked for two hours through New York to see a bunch of advertisements. That's a little sad. Still I like advertising when it's ten stories high and lit up. In fact I liked it so much as soon as I left Times Square I bought myself a Coke and a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. I also almost bought a Samsung TV, GMC Truck, Timex watch, got a loan with the Bank of American and started lining up for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but I held myself back.

After this celebration of consumerism, we wandered back through Central Park. It was full of people sun baking and playing softball, none of it was advertising. The contrast was amazing. I fantasised about lying in the grass and reading my book but I had an appointment to keep.

The appointment was to go see my distant, rich, relative who lives in an apartment on 5th Ave. We went back to hostel, I got changed and left Lesley there, then hopped in a cab only 6 blocks from the Hostel. I haven't yet got the knack of waving down a taxi yet. When we made it to the 5th Ave Apartment block the doorman came over and opened the taxi door for me. I felt wealthy.

In the apartment block there is a man named Nathan whose whole job it is is to press the buttons in the elevator. He was very good at his job.

My distant relative is the cousin of my Great-Grandfather. He was very friendly and welcoming. He told me stories about his time in the Hungarian Army in WWII and about his children and grand children. He gave me ginger ale to drink. He was very kind.

He also has a view out of his window right over Central Park. It was quite impressive.

At the end of the visit we went back down to the lobby with Nathan the Elevator Button Presser, and I hopped straight in my waiting taxi and went back to the Hostel.

Tonight we had Chinese for dinner from across the road. Lesley is reading and I'm blogging. I'll go read soon too. Tomorrow we're going to catch a bus.

Subscribe