Firstly, I want to say: Use this map if anyone is ever name-dropping Manhattan neighborhoods. You can nod your head in agreement, and maybe even catch them in a mistake, like “Ohh… actually my friend, Ashley Anne Harrell lives in Yorkville, Burrough of Manhattan, New York City, New York State, United States of America, Earth.

With that, here are some of my recent observations – whether in Yorkville or Chelsea…

My Neighborhood:
1. The “park” on the corner. This outdoor seating area is technically considered a park, but is just a little concrete area with some flowers growing in boxes around metal benches. There is a man who sits there all day, harassing the little old ladies who come to sit/watch/talk. I think the man looks a little creepy, a little annoying… but the ladies shoot it all back his direction. I think this is single senior behavior.
2. Construction. New York City public transportation boasts the arrival of a new subway line – to be finished by 2013… Well they are doing their first round of construction slash demolition right at the corner of my block. My next-door neighbor told me that 2nd Avenue used to be lined with beautiful old trees, which were removed shortly before the jack hammering and bull-dozing began. I’m not complaining on this one, because it’s an advancement for the city – but it just sucks that the neighborhood lost a lot of it’s “charm.”
3. Traffic. It’s different than California, folks. Taxi drivers will kill you if you get in their way… think – Frogger. Because of all the construction on 2nd Avenue, a lot of the sidewalks have been moved and destroyed, so this makes street-crossing a sticky situation. And there are traffic cops… but they don’t do much. Look both ways.
4. The massage parlor downstairs. It’s a seedy little joint next to Koito Sushi (Koito makes Brian think of the word “coitus”). When you walk by this place, you notice the pink curtains and neon sign which is mysteriously always displaying “open.” The most distressing feature of this business is the video feed that runs 24/7, displaying someone’s legs being massaged. [shudder]
5. Water tower. There are always people working on it. I can see it perfectly out my window.
6. Koito Sushi. How can they afford to always have half price sushi? Why don’t they just change the prices on their menus, and instead they are just a cheap sushi place?
7. Strollers. We all know you have a baby – in a stroller… but, can you please get off your cell phone and move over to allow others to walk on the sidewalk? I think it’s an upper-east-side thing.
8. Key Food. They always have a decent 6-pack for $3.99.
9. Crowe’s Nest. While on the subject of beer, this is an Irish bar with charm and some good happy hour prices… and awesome accents! Not bad for a half block away.
10. Sixth Floor Walk-up It’s not as bad as I thought!

New York City:
1. Male Attention. It seems to be thrown around every which way… I’m just not used to getting cat calls or sweet nothings whispered into my ears from passing strangers. Yeah… it’s sorta weird.
2. Buses. If you are talking on your cell phone while you swipe your metro card, and it’s expired, the bus driver won’t say anything.
3. Sudoku. Is a great thing to play while you ride the subway. I have it on my cell phone. But it’s annoying when the guy next to you is sorta looking over your shoulder and you think to yourself “Ohmygod does he see something I don’t?!” and so you frantically try to finish the puzzle as quickly as possible so as to prove your worth and intelligence to this perfect stranger. Or maybe that’s just me.
4. The Village. A fabulous place to bar hop – “Peculiar Pub” serves over 300 beers… seriously. And you have to try “Magic Hat” beer if you’re ever on the East Coast. It’s spectacular.
5. Upright Citizen’s Brigade. The best place in the city to see long form improvisation… especially since I start my improv classes there next week!
6. Trader Joe’s. Located in Union Square, this is the sole TJ’s in Manhattan. Great shopping, great prices, but I don’t recommend going at 6:00pm on a weekday. Actually I highly recommend that you stay far far away from it at that time.
7. Craigslist. Limitless possiblilities are available on that site… I found someone who gives out free tickets to movie screenings for film critics. She’s added me to her address book, so she now sends me an email every time she gets free tickets! Awesome entertainment for FREE – I saw “The Kingdom” two weeks before it came out… but it wasn’t that great.
8. Taxis. Just as they are particularly scary to see as a pedestrian crossing the street, these yellow machines are just as terrifying from the inside. But they can get you from here to there FAST. By the way, the picture to the left is from an extreme publicity scheme by HBO for Sopranos… hehehe.
9. Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. This place has way more than the music library at UCSB – we’re talking CDs, sheet music, books, magazines, plays, dialect instruction tapes, videos, DVDs, so much! And it’s completely free to all NYC residents. The public library system here is unbelievable… I just can’t believe it sometimes.
10. Times Square Solicators. I hate when you’re trying to get from point A to point B in Times Square, and all these people keep coming up to you saying “You like comedy? You like comedy? Wanna go to a free comedy show?!” “NO!” I answer, “I HATE COMEDY.” Then they look at you like, “Really?” And you think to yourself, “I love sarcasm.”