I Went to NY and All I Got Was This Really Smelly T Shirt

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I have been to nearly every major city in the world: LA, San Fran, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt, London…all of them, except up until about a week ago: New York City.

Went there for “business”. I like to use the quotes when I talk about some of my trips, because, well, business = fun and therefore it is kind of fun to do business. Company bar tab, talking to people about cool stuff all day, eating really good food. Yeah we all have to work for our living–except for this guy
so we may as well crawl out of the coal mine and get it on in New York City. My liver may begin to look like a coal miner’s lungs with time. But you might get carpal tunnel-we are face occupational hazards.

I have to say, i was somewhat dissapointed by the Big Apple. Now before you say, “Fuck you, chopper” read me out. I had thought that people in New York were all supposed to be assholes-surly and curt, the streets filled with Christian Slaters’ on crazy bikes doing wheelies and track stands, the food wretched and retarded expensive, and the threat of an ass-raping or mugging lurking behind every corner.

What I found was a city of actually quite nice people, a ridiculously low freak factor (I mean Portland has more freaks in one city block than the entire island of Manhattan), hardly any homeless people (Seattle is like an outdoor homeless pavillion compared to the Apple), no moments of “Holy Shit there is the barrel of a revolver sticking me in the face” (I got drunk on martinis one night and pissed off my wife, which is about as close to a harrowing experience as I had), no one tried to rip me off for my cab fare (Las Vegas anyone?), the food was more affordable than here at home (people here are a bunch of fucking thieves with menus), and the majority of the bikes i did see were shitty, clapped out mountain bikes or road bikes (all with gears) or absolutely stupid fucking track backs with 26″ front wheels and handlebars the width of a robust mustache (which I assume is all an image thing) locked to lightposts with chains worth twice the bike.

I don’t blame people for not riding a lot of bikes around in the city there. The traffic is not just crazy, it’s fucking terrifying. It’s like Phoenix without the meth and cactae: four lanes wide, but the boulevards are skirted by skyscrapers and pedestrians all head down just getting to the next point of the day. Every cab ride was as though I had done a classic, “37th and 5th, Step on it!” to the cabbie hitting 60 between traffic lights as though gas was free. There was very little regard for human life from behind the steering wheel (which is not unusual anywhere). I came to the conclusion, that i would not rent a bike to ride around and see a little more of the city. Walking was fine. Somehow, this did not really bother me. I think if I did live there I would ride in Central Park with the carbon fiber set.

Despite not getting insulted, ripped off, mugged, or beaten to a bloody pulp for my sneakers, I have to say NYC is the coolest city I have ever had the chance to visit. And while I was there, Lance was hooking up with one of the cast from the muppets. It’s awesome that a guy from Texas made the biggest freak maneuver I saw or heard of. Way to go buddy!

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About Chopper

Poet, sage, liar. Bike fag, BIKE Mag contributor and lacky who couldn’t handle the discipline required to be a real pro. Bald, slow and generally known to speak out of turn especially when under the influence. He’s got two beautiful daughters who make you question genetics and a wife who could school your ass on a bike any day of the week. Ketchum, Idaho, USA

23 Replies to “I Went to NY and All I Got Was This Really Smelly T Shirt”

  1. Sanity has returned to DC.

    Praise Allah.

    Grew up in Jersey. NYC was a shit-hole back in the 70’s and 80’s.

    Was actually decent the last time I was there in 94.

    Why is it a good rep can be lost in a heartbeat but a bad rep lasts fucking forever ??

  2. NYC is a trash dump. All of their trash is on the streets, because of the lack of alleys. Daily. Who wants to look at that? That is my biggest beef with NYC, along with the fact they do not really have “neighborhoods”. I think Chicago gets stiffed on the popularity chart of big cities. Check out Chitown sometime…you may actually be able to ride your bike here.

    NYC freaks/homeless have nothing on Seattle or Portland!

  3. Their major problem is that THEY think they are the greatest city on the planet, just because of all the attention they get. I grew up further south, in the City of Brotherly “Fuck you, asshole!” and went up to the apple from time to time. Seen it recently too, and it’s changed. Not just because of 9/11 either, although I’m sure that has something to do with it.
    They are losing their soul like most American cities. Selling out and all trying to become the same thing.

  4. Don’t you mean Kevin Bacons on track bikes? Christian Slater and Kevin Bacon might have been interchangable for a while there. Perhaps it’s an easy mistake to make. I’ve never been to NYC but I do have friends there, maybe I’ll go. You’re right, I don’t have any friends. I feel shame.

  5. Thanks for the normal post again, dewd. poems are completely obsolete. i’m embarrassed to even have written one.

  6. Kevin Bacon (Quicksilver) was in SF i thought? Although I never saw it, I am pretty convinced …

    Slater was not in any bike-related movie I can recall, but again. I don’t like him particularly so…

  7. Glad you liked it. Just keep in mind next time you’re here that for a fashion-bike freakfest (or an iPod mugging) you have to go to Brooklyn!


  8. …i agree, nyc is a cool town…

    …dig the link…CfuckingF is a serious ass bike dude who doesn’t take hisself too seriously…always on the wheel…rides everything but @ cross, he’s the shit…

  9. You have to come back to New York to ride!

    Once you get used to the traffic, it really isn’t so bad. This morning, I passed a woman heading up First Avenue with her toddler strapped in to a bike seat — a not uncommon sight. (Okay, she may have passed me, but it’s not as lame as it sounds. The kid was kicking her to spur her on. I’m sure of it.)

    And heck, even the poor quality of the much of the road surface creates an effect akin to one of those vibrating beds in which you put quarters at a cheap motel. I’m just basing that on what I’ve heard, however.

    But if you want to see neighborhoods, you have to get to the outer boroughs.

    And if you want to actually ride without having to think about traffic lights, you have to find some of the greenways.

    We like to complain, but the truth is, this isn’t a bad place to ride. Except in the winter, along one the rivers, in a head wind. That bites.

  10. Pretty much everyone there during business hours is a regular, sane person. The freaks got pushed out to the outer boros years ago by high rents. But they drift back in at night. Go hang out on Christopher Street and Hudson during the day on a weekday, and then again on Friday at 11:30 PM. Two completely different sets of people share that same neighborhood. There is a reason that if you work for a halfway decent company, and you have to work late, they usually pay for car service rides home. The subways are filled with really dangerous, psychotic kids from Brooklyn and Bronx.

    And if you found cheap food, that means you were more downtown. Get yourself anywhere near Rockefeller Center and 5th Ave, and you’ll feel differently!

    And you were damn smart not to ride a bike and observe the behavior of the cabbies. In my 10 years working in the city, I witnessed some pretty amazing shit. Still plenty of trackies (Jamaicans on fixed gears, but the messenger biz has been greatly affected by an influx of illegal immigrant latinos, and they tend to prefer Walmart quality bikes for their runs. Did you notice the thickness of the bike locks?


    Watch this. And yes, that’s Pot.

  11. …patrick…pretty cool vid…as i was watching i began thinking that all those fools who post “first” & “green jersey” on various sites should be strapped on the front of the camera mans bike & be taken for a spin like that…”sorry dood, ya peed yerself & maybe a little more…you can never be the green jersey again”…

    …anyway, quite a ride through town…two thumbs up…

  12. Patrick —

    That video has been around.

    What’s the big deal?

    You can see that sort of thing anytime.

    If you want to get hit, it’s easy enough to do.

  13. …i don’t watch a lotta that stuff cuz it gets old, but that one, even if it’s from ’04 is pretty cool…

    …bravado is maybe not the best pre requisite for ‘safe’ riding but, damn…gotta admire some a’ that…

    …kept watching the guy in front & hadda remind myself that the guy w/ the camera still hadda get through…

  14. nice skills, but as a motorist who does his part and then some to keep cyclists safe I’ve gotta say that I’d just be pissed as hell if I clocked one of them.

  15. ok ok ok ok ….next time i am going to post on here when i am headed to nyc. bike snob, dude, yo uare the shit. seriously. it was a killer experience is all i can say. kind of like getting laid for the first time…you suck but its fun enough to want and come back and try again.

  16. If you ever come back to NYC, you must ride the avenues with the cabbies, the jaywalkers and the bad roads. Anything else is like going to a go-go bar to order a glass of milk and a blindfold. If you have a full head of steam and green lights, racing down 5th Avenue from 37th is a rush. Just beware of the sketchy drivers and tourists by the Empire State Building. It is the difference between an adrenaline rush and an ambulance rush.

    I had to do a double take because I thought that photo was my bike. I guess I’ll be re-wrapping the bars this weekend…

  17. yeah, i thought quicksilver was NYC but apparently it was both NYC and SF. from wiki:
    “The film was shot on-location in both New York and San Francisco, and takes place in an imaginary amalgam of these two cities.”

    bout time for a review of that flick.