in Travel/Experience

Weekly Review #34: Solo New York City and the Hamptons

I’m in the middle of a New York City trip, alone at first but to be joined by my family next week – which will make for two very different snapshots. This is my first visit with enough time to do the place justice, and so far it’s been all good. While New England isn’t a different country from California, I notice all the little difference from home just like if I was abroad. Namely, everybody smokes, people are more patriotic, awesome lightning storms, and they have ridiculous Long Island accents.

I found it humorous that many NYC residents hardly ever leave their neighborhood, despite the Big Apple’s many offerings. It sort of makes sense, since each area is overflowing with stuff to do, and even on a direct subway it can take up to half an hour to get from one half of Manhattan to the other. It’s just crazy to think that in this huge metropolis, you’d want to stay in only one corner. Oh well. Other Manhattan takeaways are the incredibly high number of stunningly gorgeous women on the streets, and the preponderance of preposterous characters (obviously) straight from the pages of Humans of New York.

I popped out to the Hamptons to visit my good friend Elly, who works at a fancy hotel there. While swimming in the jellyfish infested waters (I got stung), bearing the humidity, and walking the rocky beaches, I felt bad for the East Coast rich people who use this place as a vacation destination. But I’m just spoiled by California.

I spoke with a few interesting characters out there, like the Peruvian chef convinced that everyone is naturally bisexual, or the Bahamanian retired butler who has spent years living withand serving a rich NYC pharmaceutical executive. I asked him what the hardest thing he had him do was and he said “Party with him nonstop for a month” and regaled me with tales of him traveling with thousands of dollars in cash on a money belt, next to another money belt full of exotic recreational substances. Best accusational quote of the recollection “You ate all my Xanax!” 

I spent a few days exploring. Some highlights include the Duck Duck Bar in Brooklyn (good DJs/ambiance), the famous Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho (croissant + donut = cronut, shot glass made out of cookies filled with milk), the DoubleDown Saloon in East Village (super dive-y, has oddly delicious ‘Ass Juice’ [because you pound it]), a giant abandoned 20th century granary in Red Hook (I climbed it, skirted danger), the Barcelona Bar in Midtown (expensive spectacle shots a la Espit Chupitos), Koronet Pizza ($4 pizza slices, each piece is like a square foot), Mamoun’s Falafel and Papaya King in West Village (‘best falafel’ and hot dogs in city, respectively), and seeing a man walking around with a live, nonplussed cat on his head.


In online happenings, gives you whats cheap and free around NYC every day, while Babycastles is an Arabic video game art collective in Brooklyn with some of the most ersatz web design I’ve ever seen (click through and see). Then there’s Circle Rules Football, created by an NYU student and played with a yoga ball, one goal, and perpetually wrestling goalies. I gotta find my local chapter!


Astore by Amazon let you make a little corner of the web filled with affiliate links – handy. aims to show the world that solo female travel is possible – certainly a misconception I’ve had to disprove many times over the years.

The OODA loop was created in the military but now used in commercial and business endeavors – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. Less of an command than a way of thinking, apparently many tech companies use this when reacting to competition.

Lastly, David Cain’s piece on how the forty hour workweek has already designed your life for you hit me hard. He highlights the disparity between the traveler, who has plenty of time but no money, and the white collar worker, who has plenty of money but no time. Thus, we spend our money on high cost, high entertainment pursuits in the scant evenings and weekends we have left – reminds me of my Frugal Margarita observations on freedom versus value. Yikes.

  • “The perfect customer is dissatisfied but hopeful, uninterested in serious personal development, highly habituated to the television, working full-time, earning a fair amount, indulging during their free time, and somehow just getting by. Your dollar goes a lot farther on the road.”