empire steak.

On highways in the USA, people like to throw stuff out their car windows. You don’t really see that in New Brunswick. Somebody threw a sandwich at us. We looked all around the car for something to throw back, but all we had was an iPod and we needed it.

We ditched the car in Connecticut and caught a train to NYC. The conductor kept up an amusing patter over the PA system: “This is the express, express express express. 125th Street Harlem and Grand Central Terminal. Happy birthday Arthur, and thanks again for coming out. Transfer ahead for Stamford and Da Bronx. That’s D-A, DA Bronx… You got that right.”

He sat down behind us and said, “Very very busy train today. Lots of newspapers. It’s a sign the economy is recovering… people are leaving their papers, not picking up old ones.”

We arrived at Grand Central just a few minutes before 11am, just in time for the Veterans Day ceremony. The entire ceremony took less than seven minutes. I guess those are New York minutes. Then we went outside for a walk just in time for a parade. We posted up outside the Empire Steak Building and watched the parade for a while. The US Marines marched by in their snappy uniforms and someone yelled, “Let’s hear it for the Marines!” and everyone cheered except for a little old lady who was pushing her walker up the sidewalk and saying “No right. No right to kill” over and over.

I emailed my brother and told him about the Veterans parade and said “I put on my Mountie uniform and marched up Fifth Avenue right behind the US Marines. People cheered and cheered!” He wrote back and said: “Funny thing about that story… When I went down to New York years ago, there was a huge gay pride parade happening in the city. I put on my Mountie uniform and marched right behind some marines. People cheered and cheered!”

We’re on Rivington just up the street from ABC No Rio where I played with my old hardcore band ten years ago. Best show of the tour as I recall. Dan, Trish and I ate a meat salad from St. Mark’s Place. It was mostly bacon, sausage and big chunks of turkey, with tomato and olives and roasted red pepper and balsamic dressing and there might have been a few little bits of onion and shredded lettuce in there too but mostly it was just the best salad I’ve ever had.

Dan and Trish have this suite for a couple nights, and somehow they got upgraded to a bigger one for less money hence the invitation for me to tag along. They described the place as “a bit worn, but nice” but to me it’s the swankiest place in the world. I don’t know much about hotels but this is nicer than any apartment I ever lived in. When I got out of the shower there was a monkey standing there waiting to hand me a towel. I could totally live like this.

I had a quick nap while Dan and Trish headed out to some bar. Five shots of anything for $10, anytime of day or night: it was about 7pm by the time we all met up again and those two were wasted. Vodka plus Kahlua plus Bailey’s makes a nice shooting sequence but I didn’t want to get drunk because I like to have my wits about me especially in a strange foreign place.

Dan and Trish conked out pretty early, so I went and walked around Manhattan for a couple hours. I met a pretty girl named Maureen and we hung out for a while outside a special party for a bunch of Germans from Cologne (Nov. 11 is Cologne Day) but eventually I had to excuse myself and go get lost in the deserted nighttime streets of Chinatown before finding myself on Church Street standing right in front of Nine Eleven.

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