Last month Terry and I went to New York, it was the second ‘official’ meet up for the DCL – the group of dragon fanatical friends I know/chat to from Neopets. We decided to try and do a meet up once every two years after the first one in Chicago. This time it was in New York. This is just a blog post so I can dump some pictures off my phone and talk about the rad time we had.
Brooklyn and Coney Island
Terry and I got our flights over a few days before the meet up – it doesn’t make a ton of sense for us to travel all that way for a three day meet up, so we try to make a full week at least from these events.
We spent the first few days of the trip at an AirBNB in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We actually used this same AirBNB last time we came to New York, it was just a really good location and we knew what we were getting. One of the main reasons we chose to stay a couple of days in Brooklyn was to visit Barcade again.
Barcade in Williamsburg is awesome, really good ales and retro games machines. I kinda love it there. I got some Frogger and Q*bert high scores. 😀
Another reason for staying in Brooklyn again was so we could revisit Coney Island. The last time Terry and I went it was in November and we took the tube to Coney Island to find it cold, dark and derelict. It was like something out of a horror movie!
Thankfully it was nothing like that this time! The fairground was open, so were gift shops and bars. We had a great day wandering around, shopping and drinking on the water front. We even went to the beach and built an AWESOME sandcastle.
We also went to the Coney Island Brewing Company bar. They sold some really nice drinks. It was only a brief couple of days we spent in Brooklyn, so there wasn’t much time to do much more, the next day we were crossing over to New Jersey.
New Jersey and the DCL Meetup
We arranged the meet up to be in New Jersey because we wanted a big house that could fit the 15 or so of us attending, and adhere to people’s budgets. The main point of the DCL meet up is just to hang out, so we found somewhere nice and spacious within a 30 minute drive from Manhattan.
It was a bit difficult to find though, I can’t remember the exact issue, but it was something like a difference between typing in ‘John F Kennedy Boulevard’ and ‘John Fitzgerald Kennedy Boulevard’ took you to one of two different places.
So, Terry and I obviously had the version of the address which didn’t send you to the AirBNB. We had the one that sent you 20 minutes through New Jersey and right outside a Walmart. Luckily half the group also made the same mistake, so whilst we were trying to work out the issue, Joe, Nicole and a few others from the group pulled over and we just had a great laugh over it.
After a few calls to Garfy and realising what the issue was we found the place. This was the beginning of the group referring to Garfy as ‘Mom’ for the weekend. Garfy is kind of the group leader, half because she’s the most responsible and she does most of the meet up co-ordination, and half because she pays for the site hosting and always makes sure our dragon stories are backed up. So yeah, she’s very important!
Eventually the group all made it to the same place. And we had a GREAT weekend!
The first day we pretty much just stayed in the AirBNB, there was some wandering around for food and stuff but it just resulted in us getting pizza back to the house.
We played Cards Against Humanity. And in what was at least a three-hour session, I won no cards. Apparently I am not funny!
We made trips to Manhattan during the weekend, there are really convenient, cheap busses which took you to Port Authority bus station at Times Square right from the house we were staying in.
Half the group had never been to New York City before, so we did most of the usual tourist stuff – Times Square, important buildings and photo ops, and Central Park.
To be honest, Times Square was pretty stressful for a group of 15 of us. It was great, but we all got tired, and separated a lot. Nothing too major, but we all realised that Chicago was definitely an easier location for these type of meet ups.
Back at the AirBNB we pretty much just drew, played games and exchanged stories. It was the first time I met Kathy – she’s one of my oldest friends from the DCL and she couldn’t make past meet ups. So it was AWESOME seeing her.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love this group, they’re all really old friends who are a lot like me, we all like the same stuff, have the same creative hobbies, and the only thing we really get stressed about when we meet up is worrying everyone else is okay. Haha.
Manhattan and the Lower East Side
Okay now I’ve gone back and changed the capitalisation on that header three times where was I? Ah yeah, so most people had to leave Sunday afternoon.
Terry and I were heading in to Manhattan to spend our last couple of days, and Garfy and Danielle came along as they had evening flights back to their cities.
Something that was REALLY cool was seeing Google’s New York headquarters. We spent the afternoon there. It’s pretty amazing. Huge, open plan offices with amazing city views:
There were scooters in the offices to help people get around the huge office space faster, open kitchen areas, game areas and just, lots of useful space. I guess it’s not surprising Google would have a pretty rad New York office. But yeah, it was fun checking that out.
After that we went to Chelsea market for food and drink, which was some of the best grub I had the entire time. There was a German stall selling amaze currywursts.
When it was left to just Terry and me, we stayed at The Ridge Hotel, which was a pretty nice hotel, small rooms but everything was nice, clean and had really friendly staff.
We found what must be our new favourite New York bar – Fool’s Gold. It’s a bar with good food and drink, but they have some form of entertainment on every night at 8pm. We only had two evenings to spend, but we got involved in drinking bingo (we won three times!) and the next day was a pub quiz but we had drank a little too much to be even slightly useful that night.
The nice thing about being in Manhattan for the third time was that by now Terry and I had already seen all the big tourist stuff, so we had no real desire to go back up to Times Square or any of that after the weekend. We chose to stay more south this time so we could enjoy some ‘real New York’.
I can’t think of a reason I’ll have for visiting New York again any time soon, especially since we deduced it was a bad place to host the DCL meet up going forward. But if and when I find myself back there I would definitely stay in the area we did again.
Photo dump timeeeee!