If I could pick one word to describe my first 48 hours in the city, it would be "explore."
explore [ik-splohr] (verb): to traverse or range over (a region, area, etc.) for the purpose of discovery.
I’ve about nailed that.
My second day started off with lunch at the highly recommended, Shake Shack. I had heard great things about this place, so I was eager to try it. I found one close to my apartment so I decided to hoof it.
Mistake number one.
By the time I got there I was dripping in sweat and starving. That being said, I was disappointed in the proportion of the meal. The flavor wasn’t lacking, but I could have used more of it.
After I got a portion of my fill, I decided that it was time to do some blogging. Deadlines. I posted up outside the Starbucks in the plaza of Barclays Center and started documenting. I received calls from Brotha Gary and Mr. D who were both worried sick about me. They’re in agreement that I’m going to get mugged, so I do my best to keep them updated on my safety.
To be honest, I think the cowboy hat deters the undesirables.
But with that cowboy hat comes a deep love of Texas football. And I knew I was going to need some that night. I made plans to attend a TCU Watch Party (Go Frogs) at a bar in the East Village called the 13th Step.
Leaving early to give me time for exploring Manhattan, I purchased a subway pass and with little difficulty, navigated my way to the Lower East side. I wandered to the New Museum of Contemporary Arts, which is constructed like a stack of children’s building blocks that weren’t quite aligned. The art there is truly amazing, but I’ll tell you something else, the view of the skyline from the roof can hold it’s own.
Afterwards, I found myself at the Museum of the American Gangster. A little unsure of the museum due to it’s location in an old apartment, it turned out to be quite entertaining and educational. The apartment once was the headquarters for an East Village mob. Underneath the apartment, the mob had their own speakeasy and system of tunnels for running alcohol during the prohibition years. Apparently while in a hurry to escape town, the mob boss left two bolted safes with stacks of cash. The butcher left in charge of the speakeasy….
Yeah, what a coincidence…
was afraid to touch the safes. Finally in 1964, he opened them. Most of the money had been pilfered, but about $2 million was left wrapped in newspapers form the 1940’s. Not too shabby for 1964.
My tour guide informed me that speakeasies were still a popular place for people to frequent and there were quite a few in the area.
I went to check out Please Don’t Tell, located inside Crif Dogs, a hotdog restaurant. In order to gain entry, you go inside a telephone booth that sits in a back corner. A hidden door inside the booth leads to the speakeasy. Unfortunately for me, this place has gotten so popular that you need a reservation to get in, so I opted for a Crif dog instead.
Finally it was time to get back to my Texas roots and watch some Horned Frog football. I met a few TCU alums, had a few beers, and had a great time. The Frogs even pulled out a W.
Let’s just say, not a bad night for a cowboy in Brooklyn.