I am sitting in one of the reading rooms of the New York Public Library. The place where Carrie got stood up by Big in the SATC movie. I love the big metropolitan public libraries in the US. Maybe I've just made some massive oversights, but I don't find anything like them in the UK. Oh sure we have lots of little community libraries, though lots of those are getting closed down at the moment of course, and we have places like the British Library, but what I love about public libraries in major cities in the US is that they're in the grand impressive buildings, and that I as a foreigner, can freely walk in, roam all over, even set up in a reading room and get on with some blogging, or use their internet to plan the rest of my day, or whatever.
They remind me of University libraries, the rooms are big and bright with lots of people working and, with power, and personal desk lamps, and high ceilings and giant paintings on the walls. And you don't need any access card, any sign up, anything to be able to enjoy this. It's a very hard feeling to explain, but I don't find similar places in the UK, and I certainly don't find many UK libraries at all as inviting as the ones in the US.
As I said, I'm in New York today, I got in yesterday afternoon and went over to my friend Jarrod's place in Astoria. We went to Madison Square Garden last night to see the New York Rangers play hockey, in case you hadn't guessed from my twitter and facebook posts. It was my birthday present to myself which I bought about 9 months ago, I spent $350 on the tickets, but fuck yeah was it worth it. They lost their game, but it was amazing to see MY TEAM, which I love, and follow, even to the point of keeping up on the scouting reports for next season's prospects like a really dedicated sports fan - playing live. On home ice. They didn't play as good as they could have done and it was a shame I didn't get to see them win, as that's likely the only game I'll ever get to in my life, or at least for a good few years, but I loved every single second of it, even the guy throwing homophobic slurs at players who was sitting next to me. If I drunk beer I even would have gladly paid the $10 a bottle price.
Wandering round NYC today, I did all the tourist stuff like 2 years ago, and I'm only here for about 36 hours so there's not much I can get up to, I'm mostly just having fun walking around the city, I went to some of the gay shops, there's a rather impressive Rufskin boutique who sell some really beautiful jeans that I just can't justify at $160 even thought they fit me PERFECTLY. I got to visit the Nasty Pig store which was awesome, the guys in there are REALLY HOT, and I found out even I love Nasty Pig rubber, it feels great, doesn't have that rubber smell (which is one of the things that turns me off about the whole deal), and their rubber trousers are only $140 which is pretty damned fucking cheap! They even do them in a 28" waist which is awesome. They don't fit great, so I didn't buy them, but it was worth a visit to the store, if only just to make Adam jealous :P
I also got to visit Big Gay Ice Cream, who I've been following for ages and all through their recent store purchase and fit up so was really eager to head over and get something. I highly recommend the Mermaid - ice cream, key lime curd and graham crackers. I just wish I was here more days so I could go work my way through the entire menu over 2 weeks or so.
Currently wandering the streets of 5th Avenue, then might head over to Penn Station, then down to Wall St AFTER business hours when it's a little quieter, then maybe back up to Central Park for the museums. I've only been going 4 hours and I've probably walked 80 blocks already. I'm impatient when it comes to the metro, just like I'm impatient with tubes and buses in London, so I just tend to walk. I'm really looking forward to being over in California again, current forecast of 70-80 degrees whilst I'm there so if I'm lucky maybe I can go hit the beach and find some cute surfer boys to play with (not on the beach though, sand gets everywhere, it's not pleasant) Will need to find some power i.e. an empty starbucks eventually to recharge laptop and phone, but I'm having fun. Missing certain peoples obviously, but I have several ideas of presents to bring them back and I'll probably be arranging some Skype dates when I'm kicking around in LA later in the week.