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As much as I would have loved to stay indefinitely in Boston, other things came up.  The next day (night) there was a YouTube Concert, the Digitour, playing in New York City.   Their headline acts were the Key of Awesome and the Gregory Brothers, 2 popular YouTube comedy-music acts.

My first view of the city outside of the Port Authority. Not quite that blurry though.

After a 4-hour bus ride I scored for $18, rather than the $40 that Nate from the HI Boston paid for the same ride (we somehow just ended up on the same trip), the two of us got off at the Port Authority, the NYC central bus terminal.

I had booked 4 nights to start with (no idea how long I wanted to stay in New York City) for a great deal of $35 per night at the 1291 Swiss Hostel.  It was among the best prices I could find on and the location, which I didn’t know at first, ended up being fantastically located almost halfway between Times Square and Central Park.

Nate and I stepped out of the Port Authority, and began walking north on 8th Avenue.  My hostel has on W 55th Street, only about a dozen blocks away.  Nate, however, was going to the HI New York, which was off of 104th Street, a good 49 blocks further than where I was going, which I would later find is actually a lot farther walk than it sounds.

Still, after stopping in an 8th Avenue bar for an IPA and discussing each of our upcoming plans, he was intent on walking the rest of the way there.  So we continued on and parted ways at 55th street with tentative plans to hang out in a couple nights, though that never ended up happening.

My room with a sky theme in the 1291 Swiss Hostel.

I checked into the hostel and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had been assigned a larger bed with the room (temporarily) to myself.

With not that much time to explore, I ended up just walking out to the surrounding area to find some food.  After looping a block, I found a pizza place selling slices for $3 a piece.

After eating dropping off my things, I got on the New York subway for the first time.  At first glance, at least to me, it made much less sense than the Boston subway system.  Many different lines, and so many of them intersect and branch off, and then merge together again.

I managed to make it to exactly where I needed to be on my first try and found a much bigger line than I expected outside of the venue.  With a little under an hour to kill, and not wanting to wait in the line, I looped around looking for a bar or some food.

Despite the infamous legends of the “New York Hot Dog Stand”, very few of the stands around seemed to be an actual dog stand.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of wheeled stands on a good deal of the corners around the city, however, most did not sell dogs and rarely any exclusively dogs.

There were among them, however, halal (meat prepared according to Islamic purity standards) stands that smelled absolutely fantastic.  I kept meaning to get a lamb and rice dish from one of them the entire time I was in NYC, but could never find that one specifically when I was craving it.

Rather than hog dogs, though, cheap pizza by the slice is the actual go to food for New York.  Most places that I came across sold them for $2-4 per slice, and usually a pretty good size.

A couple corners away from the Gramercy Theatre, a small (as in a door in, a counter, and a door out) pizza place sold me 2 slices of pepperoni pizza for $3 each.

Making my way back to the Gramercy Theater, I found them sorting the crowd into those that had tickets and those that did not already.  Since I bought my tickets through (still getting emails from them about New York Concerts) I figured that I had the ticket, so went into that line.  Turns out since I didn’t have it in hand, I ended up back in the other line.

Finally inside, the acts that I had never heard of ended up being the best part of the concert.  Singers like Christina Grimmie, Dave Days, and DeStorm Power ended up being the best part of the show.

The Key of Awesome: Anastasia and Mark Douglas, and Todd Womack as Pitbull.

That isn’t to say that Key of Awesome (who I had come to see) wasn’t entertaining.  However, the video aspect is so much a part of their act that live, it just doesn’t quite have the same comedic effect.  Still a couple of their songs were acted out in character, which added a very fun element to it.

The show concluded with the Gregory Brothers performing live versions of their Autotune the News videos.  These ended up being much more entertaining than I was expecting and couldn’t help but start singing along to the ridiculousness of the lyrics.

Come the end of the show, I was fortunately enough to briefly meet Mark Douglas, the comedian behind the Key of Awesome.

Making my way out of the subway back toward W 55th St and the 1291 Hostel, I found traffic stopped and a large crowd gathered around a block over in front of one of the tallest buildings in the area.

Notice the "Oscorp" logo?

I asked what was happening and was told a movie was being filmed.  The staff blocking traffic and pedestrians was telling the crowd a movie name I cannot remember, but general knowledge around the area informed me that they were actually filming a scene from the new Spider-Man Movie.  This became a little more apparent when I saw a plaque on the skyscraper labeled “Oscorp” and a squad of half-lizard cops around it.  My guess, the Lizard is going to be a villain in the new Spiderman movie.

Following that, I caught a nightcap at a quiet bar around the hostel.  Their beers were very cheap compared to what they charged normally throughout New York City, $2 for a Miller Lite or Bud Light draft.  Most places around the city, those average about$-5 for a pint.  Around Times Square they got as high as $8-9.

Would you believe that's made out of Lego's?

Curious little thing in the Barcelona Bar, they have a piece of art mounted on their wall.  It has to be about 2 meters or more wide.  Looking at it, you would never figure that it was made out of Lego’s though.

Calling it a night, I walked the half block from the Barcelona to the Swiss and lay down in my bed, the City winning out on the title of the One who Never Sleeps.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

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