We were then approaching one of our most anticipated stops: New York. After seeing the prices for Airbnb’s in the city, we were so grateful that our friend Arnaud let us stay at his place. We had met him in Vancouver not long before he moved back to France. When we looked up his address and saw a street located in the very cool Williamsburg, we were like “wow, these guys have a killer location!” And when we got there, not only did it confirm the awesomeness of the area but we got to see their really cool apartment. You know, the kind that makes you want to drop everything and move to New York. We met his roommates Flo and Lionel – whom I offended right off the bat by saying I had the same necklace as him. Oops. But it’s true! Anyways, we had some pasta over a nice chat with everyone and Flo broke the ice by asking: “When is the last time you guys took a shower?” It was amazing to have a good night’s sleep in a cozy home and in a real bed!
The next day, we went for a walk around the city – only to remember how much you’ll end up walking in the streets of New York. We also went to B&H, a gigantic photography store that looks like a factory inside. You leave your bags at the entrance, then you go through the different floors and their thousands of products. Whatever you’re looking for, they’ll have it. Once you pick what you want, they send it through their machine while you have to go pay. Only once you’ve paid do you get to pick up your purchase from another booth, where all the orders make their way above your head. Plus every salesperson is Jewish and wears the kippah on their head. It’s quite an out of the ordinary experience! We then walked down Broadway and discovered the super cool store Forbidden Planet full of comics, Marvel action figures and superhero toys. We also made a quick stop at Brooklyn Industries, a very cool apparel brand where I got to spend a bit of money… In the evening, we met Arnaud’s friend, Lisa, who’d just gotten here from Paris and indulged in some fine tacos at a small and cozy restaurant in Brooklyn.
The following day, it was pouring rain so Lisa, Steph and I agreed that it was museum weather. We opted for MoMA and were not the only ones to have that idea apparently, when we saw the crowd inside the building. It was a great visit through contemporary art with very cool exhibitions. The highlight was definitely Robert Gober’s “The heart is not a metaphor”: he creates realistic sculptures (mostly sinks and legs) using wax and real human hair in a minimalist setting to convey a very strange feel in every room. As it was getting colder and colder outside, we treated ourselves to some hot soup before heading to the store with the best merchandising in the world. Yes, I mean Urban Outfitters. After buying huge extra warm scarves and a few other things with Lisa, we were ready to step back in the freezing streets. In the evening, we headed to The Jane Hotel to meet up with the others. The interior was very fancy, especially on the lounge side: velvet couches, a fireplace and chic decorations. It typically looked like a cigar room. We stayed a couple of hours on the other side, at the bar of course. What a disappointment to realize that in such an elegant place the waiters were not so good. Steph had to ask one of them to redo his Old Fashioned as it tasted like soda. Not so classy! But other than that, the atmosphere got really fun as it started getting crowded. What a contrast when we stepped back to the other side to find a huge crowd of drunk people dancing on the classy seats to Rihanna. Well, we joined the dance floor for a little while, snapping some Polaroids in between, getting pretty god shots with Flo looking like a marionette as the guys held him so he wouldn’t pass out! We then made a very quick stop at Union Pool for some quesadillas. When we arrived at the apartment around 3am, Arnaud suddenly said “I have to prepare the turkeyyyyyyy!!” And this is how, in the middle of the night, he and Steph held the huge turkey in the sink, filled it with salt, water and herbs and struggled to make it fit in the fridge. It was pretty hilarious. But after all, it was Thanksgiving the next day, so…
With quite a lack of sleep, we woke up the next morning to go see the parade on Broadway in the cold and in the snow. We got there too late unfortunately, and most streets had been closed off to avoid having a massive crowd. We tried through every way possible, but simply couldn’t get closer to the parade. So we stayed with the crowd a few blocks away. Lisa and I were lucky to be with the guys, as we got to sit on their shoulders to get some shots of the balloons: Spongebob Squarepants, a Smurf… We only spotted the back of Finn and Jake from Adventure Time – Arnaud almost had tears in his eyes. It was the only reason he’d come here!
We then made our last grocery shopping for the upcoming dinner and headed back to the apartment to cook the turkey, which requires several hours. Steph led the way with Arnaud, while the girls cut some vegetables. But it was such a good decision to make the stuffing ourselves and not get a pre-made one. As the cooking takes a few hours and requires thorough monitoring, we put episodes of Adventure Time and then Home Alone on the projector in the living room. Sprawled on the couch, it honestly felt like Christmas had come early.
4 hours later, the turkey was then ready and we all headed to JP’s place, another french friend of Arnaud’s. It was basically the Thanksgiving of the expats who don’t have families to go to for the long weekend. And what a crowd! We were all gathered in this incredibly well designed apartment around a huge steel table in the kitchen. Everyone had brought something, so you can imagine the amount of food spread out in front of us. We therefore had a delicious dinner paired with some wine and excellent conversation, happy to meet and chat with such fun people. We even went up on the roof, climbing up the ladders to find the best view of New York by night. Honestly, we couldn’t have dreamed of a better Thanksgiving!
After a lazy morning in Brooklyn, we had some sushi before heading to Times Square with Lisa, just to see those giant screens once again. We then went on a little shopping mission in Levi’s and Urban Outfitters as it was Black Friday and there were some pretty good deals. After a well deserved Starbucks break to escape from the cold, we took some photos in the metro and headed back to the flat before going back to JP’s flat for Thanksgiving part 2. We got to finish eating the meal from the night before as there were so many leftovers, and it was still just as good! We then had the most insane game of flip cup, getting drunk on Corona and Jaegermeister cracking up and screaming “team spirit!!!” whenever we had the chance to do so. And yeah, one side had more team spirit that’s for sure… but we’ll give points to Lisa for screaming on her own on the other side and representing the other team. Once everyone was totally tipsy enough, we decided to head to the bar. Not without pretending to use “the force” to open elevators. Blame the Jaegermeister. We walked to Union Pool for a night spent 80% in the Photo Booth (where we spent most of our money) and 20% drinking shots of Tequila (where we spent what was left of our money.) We even got to see the oldest DJ alive who looked like he’d stepped right out of Fort Boyard. We had WAY too much fun with everyone and just couldn’t get enough of the Photo Booth. We got home super late and quite drunk. So of course, we didn’t leave in the morning the next day like we were hoping to… We woke up at noon, I believe I was still drunk and honestly we had had so much fun that we were tempted to never leave Arnaud’s living room. But hey, we had a car to sell and a plane to catch in Montréal, so a couple of hours and a necessary McDonalds later, we were on the road to Montreal.
And of course, at the very end of the trip, we were stopped by the police on the road. But all good, he was just unable to see the state on our license plate and wished us a good day!
Arnaud, Flo and Lionel thank you guys SO much for letting us stay with you we had such a BLAST. We really hope we can return the favour someday somewhere in the world and have just as much fun. You’ve made our stay in New York totally kickass.