Things I’ve Noticed: Red vs. Blue

There are all kinds of bizarre things that go on in the city that I thought I would start a reoccurring post of “Things I’ve Noticed” so that you could keep up with the day to day oddities of New York City that baffle me.

New York is a Blue State.  Florida is a Red State.  With all of the political debates going on recently, you would think when I mention blue versus red states, I would naturally be talking about Democrat versus Republican.

Think again.  I’m talking Coke vs. Pepsi.

Anywhere you go in Florida, most of the time, you are offered a coke, not a pepsi.  There are a few places where you get the dreaded response, “We don’t have coke, is pepsi okay?”  No, it’s not okay.  Pepsi is terrible and could never be as good as an ice-cold coca-cola.  Don’t be ridiculous.

However, here in NY, they love Pepsi.  Talk about a culture shock!  If you find a place that does serve Coke, you have struck gold!  Every restaurant we go to, it’s always, “We don’t serve Coke; we have pepsi.”  Again, not the same.  I know it’s too much to ask, but I do anyway: “What about Dr. Pepper?”  Nope.  *sigh*  “I’ll just have a water.”  Sometimes you just need a Coke, you know?

Let this be a warning to all of our Red State friends: If you come to New York, BYOCoke.

Brian Approved: First book read of 2012…

So I saw this rated the “book of the year for 2011” from a friend of mine whom I really respect.  I figured if it was his #1, then I better check it out.  I’m not a huge war story guy, so before reading it, I had my reservations.. I’m pleased to report that this book was amazing!  I’d recommend it to anyone. It was one of those books where I caught myself not wanting to put it down.  If you’ve ever had a bad day and thought, “My life couldn’t possibly get any worse”, read this book and you’ll never think that again and be grateful for the life you have.  I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it.  Once you get done with it though, message me. I’d be curious as to your thoughts.

Yes, we will have one of these…

So it took only 1 trip walking home 4 avenue blocks (explanation for the tourists: 1 avenue block is equal to about 2-3 street blocks) and then about another 5-6 street blocks with 8 bags of household items in my hands for me to make the executive decision that I’d never do that again.  While these carts may not look cool, it is definitely useful for New Yorkers.  Tara and I haven’t actually purchased one yet but it’s on the to do list. I’m actually looking for one that is engine powered, operated via remote control and has a coffee cup holder.  Regardless if I find one pimped out like that or not, we’ll have a mobile cart soon enough.  I do wonder what you do with a mobile cart if you’re shopping and decide to stop at a restaurant and have a bite to eat.  Do you chain it up?  I guess I’ll figure it out soon enough.

The Metro Card….a blessing and a curse

So this little card is your gateway to subway travel.  The advantages for a local are that it eliminates the need for a vehicle for city living (thus saving you thouands of dollars a month for a permament parking space not to mention the time trying to find a space on a street when running errands).  It’s pretty affordable.  $2.25 gets you anywhere you need to go one way.  The card also works for the bus system. That fare is $5.50 one way.   This is much cheaper than a cab would be.

Now, you can actually pre-pay and if you load $10 or more on to the card, you get a 7% savings. Initially, I was cheap about it and would only fill the card with $10 or so but I never knew where I really stood until I’d get in the subway turnstile.  God forbid I be out of “credits” on the card during rush hour with a ton people trying to get home…the dirty looks as they say, “Tourist!!!” under their breath while I then try to weasel myself out of line and back to the card machine to add more credits is enough to never want to be caught in that predicament again. All those lessons I learned in August when Tara and I were out there for a visit.

rush hour at the subway turnstile

So, in my head, I thought it was best to pre-pay a high dollar amount on the card.  The only thing I was worried about was losing it.  So I ran a little test. I tried keeping my card from August till December just to see if I’d hold on to it that long.  It was a success!  Of course, as soon as I tried to use it when I returned in December, I was out of credits 🙁   So I refilled the card and because I thought I was skilled enough to keep the card for a long time period, I put $50 on it.  Not even a day later, I lost the card.  What a bummer.  So now my wife has limited me to the $10 cards.  Guess I just have to keep track of where I stand in my head.

One other little thing I have yet to master is sliding the card through the card reader.  Sounds so simple right?  But, you have to realize there is a lot of pressure with a ton of people coming right behind you to catch their ride.  Not only that but it’s a little finicky.  If you slide the card too fast, it won’t read.  If you slide it too slow, it won’t read.  You’ve got to catch it just right.  I’ve got about a 70% average in getting it right the first time.  I’m working towards 100%.  I’ll keep you posted on how it comes along.

A Florida State Victory in New York

As most of you know, I love The Florida State University.  Lo and behold, there is a Seminole Club of NYC and a Seminole bar where they watch all of the games (Brian is so thrilled…).  It’s called Saloon NYC and it’s located on York Avenue on the Upper East Side.  I’ve been on their mailing list since before we knew our moving date.

December 29th, the day of the Champs Sports Bowl game, I finally had a good reason to check it out.  Brian and I arrived about ten minutes til kickoff – cutting it close, because nobody likes to miss kickoff – and the place is packed!  There were three seats in the whole bar left: one that was touching the projector screen, it was so close; and two at a table for four, where a couple was already sitting.  Our choices were limited.  Do I let Brian sit at the one chair by the screen and kneel down next to him the whole time?  Yeah, that sounded like fun… Or, should I nicely ask that couple if they were waiting on two others to complete their table.  After a quick five seconds, I chose door #2.

I politely went up and asked if they were saving the seats for anyone and if they would mind if my husband and I joined them?  “Of course not!  Please, sit down!”  Rob and Heather were their names and they were visiting from Alabama for Rob’s birthday.

Brian was at the bar getting some drinks, so Rob, Heather and I got to talking and whatd’ya know?  I sat next to the only person at the bar from the Florida panhandle!  Rob graduated from Niceville High School (Class of ’89), and he and Heather lived in Navarre for a while.  They now live in Birmingham, AL.  We had such a great time with them!

The atmosphere at this place was amazing.  I immediately walked in and said, “These are my people!”  Everyone was blonde and tan and just looked like Florida.  Well, not everyone…

Not blonde, kinda tan

Our team; however, wasn’t doing so great.  We were behind!  To Notre Dame!

Rob was pissed!

(This is Brian: Like Tara said, the atmosphere was pretty amazing.  Once FSU took the lead though, the place was electric.  Here’s a little clip of Tara and her peeps celebrating after the go ahead score).

[vimeo 34542199]

This video was taken right after Rob and I decided that the only thing that could turn our team around was to get “Tallahassee drunk.”  Enter the Seminole Bombs.

The drinks, were great!  They had Seminole bombs and Garnet and Gold shots.  We did a couple of each, just to check out the quality (This is Brian: – This did not have any effect on the video listed above :))  This is Tara: It had EVERYTHING to do with taking the lead!

The Drink Specials
The food was sub-par.  We had the pretzels with mustard, which were literally pretzels out of a bag and French’s mustard, and the pork nachos.  The pork and cheese on the nachos were both cold.  So, it’s a drinking place.  I’ll still come back.

The Food Menu

There was one Notre Dame guy in the place.

But, we befriended him anyway.

After the victory, we were on top of the world!

Rob and I, that is.

I think Heather and Brian were just happy it was over.

Sorry, Heather!

And, so was the Notre Dame guy.

Can’t wait for next season!  And Heather and Rob, if you ever make it back to the city, let’s go watch another game!