Friday, March 30, 2012

A Night Stroll in Manhattan, New York City

Hey there Delilah what's it like in New York City
I'm a thousand miles away
But girl tonight you look so pretty, yes you do
Times Square can't shine as bright as you, I swear it's true.
I had checked into The Wellington, after a 4 hour road trip, from Maryland to New York City on St. Patrick's Day and the first quest was to look for Halal dinner. Thanks to Zabihah's iPhone App, my brother and I were able to locate a couple of diners in the area. Our car was stowed away to be parked in a parking garage, that's how NYC rolls; they don't let you park on the streets ANYWHERE, so we were on foot! The nearest option was a place called Afghan Kabab House. And so began the night time adventure.
Dad had forewarned that everybody has a fair chance of been mugged in NYC, so I was carrying my purse on my shoulder and tucked between me and my brother. Ha! As if that was clever. Robbers have handguns now, don't they?
One block down from The Wellington is the heart of Manhattan, the Times Square. It felt surreal looking down that lane as we crossed it. The glare from the neon signs, flashing billboards, and flashlights reflected right off the glass skyscrapers and shot through towards the sky! Times Square doesn't really need sunlight. As we crossed the road and took a turn into the back alley, the glare could be seen as a supermassively big flashlight shining out of NYC. 
NYC's back alleys by night were exactly the way they show in movies. They were dark and dingy, there was dirty water standing at the edges of the sidewalk; refusing to drain into the gutters, the smell of alcohol and urine stank up the rare walkways of huge apartment building, overflowing trashcans smelled of wet garbage, and police sirens echoed in the distance. There was even a police roundup in action outside one of the apartment buildings and several teenage gentlemen were making a frail attempt to hide the beer bottles they'd been sipping from. I urged my brother to pick up pace because a police roundup is not the most fun adventure for a bearded guy and a Hijabi girl in NYC. 
The back alleys have entrances to places no decent human being would wish to visit. There were adult bars, stripper's clubs, and other weird names which implicitly stated indecent activity. The hosts to these few joint were right out of the Eerie Indiana series! They remained silent and their sinister-looking pupils followed us as we passed by. *shudders*
Another turn brought us out on the main road where Manhattan's night life was in full swing. People, mostly youngsters, were still in their St. Pattie costumes; green madhatter's hats. green clover-printed t-shirts, green jewelry and face paint, and green plaid skirts. The elderly, sophisticated pedestrians were more soberly dressed, headed for lavish diners to celebrate St. Patrick's feast, and had on green brooches, scarves, and cardigans. NYC was very chilly!
Ice cream shops were crowded with young people, their high spirits immune to the chill, diners were storming with families, and bars and lounges were full of adults watching a game while sipping on their margaritas.
St. Patrick's Day festivities, Saturday night, and the party mood was a perfect excuse for the New Yorkers to get drunk. Large groups of young adults appeared obviously high on alcohol. The delusional ladies and gentlemen escorted each other, arms over each others' shoulders, and laughed in abnormally high-pitched tones. Some were dancing on the curbside, some were shouting abuse, and some were engaged in expressions of love and affection. *sigh* You can't really do anything about the effects of alcohol, can you? It screws you up more than just that horrid, kaleidoscope vision they show you in Driver's Ed classes.

Afghan Kabab House was this small diner with a dim lit interior. We crossed the road to check Ariana as well but settled for Afghan Kabab House. Our 20 minutes wait time let me take in the details of the Afghani diner. The place was small and had very little lighting. They had incorporated a little of Afghani culture into the little diner. Hand woven Afghan carpets hung from the walls, handcrafted jute rugs covered the tabletops, and huge-sized wall paintings depicted the Afghan sport of hunting and horseback.
The rest of my attention was directed towards gentleman who had over dozed himself on wine before his meal and was narrating all kinds of delusional stories to his escort, a lady, for the night. As his platter of food approached, he doused it entirely with ranch dressing, killing the Afghani flavors of whatever he had ordered.
The rest of the night was uneventful as we collapsed into bed, after a quick dinner, for a very entertaining morning ahead.
Adventure Continues ...

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