I really ought to have written about this last week, when it was all fresh and new, but I still think a few items from our First Anniversary/Labor Day Sunday trip to NYC bear mentioning.
Despite the fact that I lived at the junction of Little Italy and Chinatown for my last semester at NYU, I never explored Chinatown as thoroughly as I did last week. Chinatown wasn't necessarily on our itinerary, but we found ourselves heading there after an ill-fated trip to the shiny Nintendo store in Rock Center did not yield the kind of quality import games that Mark was looking for. A knowledgable staffer clued us in to J&L on Elizabeth Street. While the name of the store itself is a knock-off of the eminent J&R electronic store near City Hall, the wares on store there are most definitely the real, crazy-Asian article. If one is so inclined to score strange, Japanese games not found in Best Buy, it's the place to go. I picked up Sing Star 80s for myself. Rockin'.
We next went on a quest for soup-filled steamed dumplings, like what we saw on No Reservations on the Travel Channel. We figured the best thing to do would be to ask the dudes at J&L, who helpfully steered us to Joe's Shanghai on Pell Street. It's a bit hectic (we had to sit with some very nice strangers), but the soup dumplings are indeed, as the J&L guy said, "retarded good." Plus, Mark got a shrimp and rice cake entree and I got a ginormous, magically delicious plateful of fried oysters, and we walked out of there for under $40. Chinatown is good.
Then it was on to the previously uncharted world of Red Hook, Brooklyn on another quest to find a legendary bar that serves moonshine, lets you play with the in-house bulldogs, and (if you choose) grill your own meat on some open grills in the backyard. For this adventure, we were joined by a friend of ours known as the Koz. Koz was born and bred in Brooklyn, and yet he didn't know this area either. I felt like Marco freakin' Polo. We discovered that Red Hook is quite lovely, and we weren't even fazed by the sudden appearance of the BQE, which slightly altered our route. We found our destination, and found a slight, but friendly crowd, who offered moral encouragement as I schooled my two gentleman companions on how to down a double shot of moonshine. Granted, I had never had moonshine, so didn't really know first-hand how to down it myself, but I managed to gulp it down and maintain my dignity, and even received a salute from a local at the end of the bar. The bulldogs, sadly, were not in attendence, but it was quickly clear that neighborhood dogs were more than welcome. Suitably buzzed, we trundled off back to Manhattan for Afghan food before clambering back on to good old NJ Transit back to home base in Richboro.
So it's not the freshest news, but I think there were some PSAs that sorely needed to be delivered to the general population. If you're jonesing for some dumplings and moonshine in NYC, don't say you don't know where to go.