Okay so first off, I’ve been around a lot over the last two months, and I haven’t faithfully conveyed in picture or word what’s been up. The short version is that I’ve been on a project in Geneva and flying back/forth a bunch and somewhere in there spending a day in Zurich and Sofia, Bulgaria. The reason for so little communication is that most of these places are pretty boring and Bulgaria is not the type of place that is exactly fun to visit. Somewhere in there I went to Lake Tahoe for the weekend, so I’ll post that afterwards.

Today is July 4th, 2007 – actually the anniversary of my landing here in New York (plus a day or two) so it ends up being kind of a reflection on my time here in the big city (when I was in town, at least). I’m in the process of leaving town to somewhere undecided and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I really appreciate all of the great things about New York without being irritated by the many annoying parts.

So in celebration of the great parts of NYC, I went with friends to Coney Island for the day. We started off trying to catch the famous Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest, famously dominated by a Japanese teenager for some years. This year, of course, the rumors circulated of an eating-related jaw injury and possible title-loss to some other guy who looks like Peyton Manning. The crowd was abuzz.

I popped out of the subway and found a ginormous crowd of people who all were thinking it would also be cool to watch people cram inhuman amounts of pseudo-meat into their moo. I have to admit – I should have shown up earlier. You know when stuff is on ESPN, you need to show up a lot earlier. Turns out the other guy won by downing 66 dogs and buns. Not clear how long before he barfed everything up.

Anyhow, I tried even going to the other side but all I could get was this enormous Ketchup bottle in my face so I decided to go for some non-competitive eating of Mexican food followed by the Cyclone (surprisingly great for being a million years old), the Tilt-a-Whirl, Pirate Ship, and bumper cars – all classics.

All of the rides for some reason had airbrushed backgrounds from the early 80’s, and my favorite dated ride was straight called the Break Dance. Much nausea and junk food was observed

Then we stopped by the Sideshow by the Seashore, aka the Freak Show. The first thing I noticed was the reference to the Luna song “Sideshow by the Seashore” and the references to mermaids made a lot more sense. Man I wish they didn’t suck so much now.

Anyhow, the Freakshow was great because it hammered home the great American circus tradition of promising a bunch of crap and then taking your money. It felt right. The highlights of the show included sword-swallowing, fire-eating, a contortionist, and Chuy the Wolfman (Interview), who I saw on PBS once.

All in all, it felt good to get back to America’s roots of cheap entertainment and delicious junkfood. I did the most American thing I could and promptly went to sleep in the middle of the day. I woke up to catch the NYC fireworks off of my roof. Here in New York, they do two big displays – one off of lower Manhattan and the other over the East River, and from my meager NoLita 5-story apt roof, I could see both okay. The East river one seemed more elaborate.

Nonetheless, a solid day appreciating all of the great things in America which I miss when I go to stupid Switzerland like restaurants open all day and everyone speaking English. I’m glad to be here in the US and I’ll definitely miss NYC.