You've arrived New York? Great. Turn right after McDonalds, continue 'till you hit the streetcrossing. There you go left, and then the second on the right. Just up the street you'll see Eva Bratholm on your right side. I'll be waiting in the stairs outside the skyscraper on the left side. Got it? Photo: Jesse Russell
You’ve arrived New York? Great. Turn right after McDonalds, continue ’till you hit the street crossing. There you go left, and then the second on the right. Just up the street you’ll see Eva Bratholm on your right side. I’ll be waiting in the stairs outside the skyscraper on the left side. Got it? Photo: Jesse Russell.

People of all colors and shapes. Women with a beauty that takes your breath away. Food. Architecture. Museums. Art. Pubs and bars. New York has everything your imagination desires, and probably a little more.

Read this article in Norwegian: Naken i New York

If you're going to do the typical tourist things, you'll have to stand in line...
If you’re going to do the typical tourist things, you’ll have to stand in line…

There is an offer for all tastes, interests and preferences – and the problem is primarily not what to do, but rather what one is willing to sacrifice. New York is the city where everything seemingly can be obtained in one way or another. But everything? Is it really so? We soon realized that we had a mission. We were going to find out what the city lacked.
Who knows a town better than the bums, bartenders and taxi drivers? Yes, exactly: the strippers…

And, if you should be in doubt: in New York there are a number of them.

The first woman out…
Name: Jezebel
From: Canada
Years as a stripper: Five
Other occupations: My own mother
What does New York need?

– If we got rid of all the rats, and perhaps received some more Canadians, it would have helped. Seriously, how often you meet someone from Canada in New York? Do you know why? Because Canadians know better. Do not ask me what I am doing here.

I New York they have everything. For example: if you take the seightseeing round "Shopping in the footsteps of Eva Bratholm", you'll be guided through shopping centres, cafe latte bars and all the cosy houses that "Dagbladet"s USA correspondent has seen. So far. Photo: Jesse Russell
I New York they have everything. For example: if you take the sightseeing round “Shopping in the footsteps of Eva Bratholm”, you’ll be guided through shopping centres, cafe latte bars and all the cosy houses that “Dagbladet”s USA correspondent has seen. So far.

Ok, perhaps we weren’t much closer to a solution at this first attempt. To, if possible, get an overview of what’s happening in town, we got a hold of a copy of the free nightlife guide “The Village Voice” in one of the many newspaper stands. After having browsed a few pages, the many options began tormenting us. So we continued the pub to pub-round in the SoHo area, which we are already well underway. SoHo can be compared with Oslos “Grünerløkka”, the difference is that here there is a lot more of everything in SoHo. Several “alternative” people. Several coffee shops. And of course several bars. Do not be put off by the fact that it says “light” on some of the taps. It only means that the beer is low on calories. Alcohol is also cheaper than at home, but not much.

We decided to head for one of the city’s smoking bars. Just like in Norway: in New York’s nightlife, it is forbidden to smoke indoors . But for those who are interested to inhale more than fresh air, there are obviously places that can help. The loophole is that smoking bars must be able to document that 10 percent or more of the revenue derives from tobacco-related products. For example, if you visit CircaTabac (32 Watts Street), you will find a wide selection of cigarettes and cigars (the price of cigars varies from 9 to 22 U.S. dollars). You can also enjoy what you’ve brought, if desired. So far it looks like the city does not lack much. In our standard, that is.

Our next famous woman said the following about the case:
Name: Aleah
From: Israel
Years as a stripper: One
Other professions: Dental Nurse, Student
What does New York need?

– Real men. Nobody is real in this town. People here are so superficial in every way, they will not have time to look for what is real – things that matter. As love. I’m just trying to earn enough money so I can get married. People in New York hunts usually on the money in a marriage. Not me, I want to marry for love.

The Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building

We refrain to ask if Aleah has some experience with Norwegian Wood, and concentrate instead on our shoes. Shoes are in fact a key word in New York. Shoes that are good to walk in. It’s not always sufficient, but fortunately it’s relatively easy to transport your body around, and if you buy a weekly ticket for the Metro (about 150 Norwegian kroner) you’re guaranteed unlimited travels on subways and buses. With them you’ll arrive everywhere and at all hours. There’s also many taxis, and although they are not always obtainable when you need it the most, it is certainly affordable for most travel budgets.

And, if you’re on a budget, you probably have limited time and can’t afford a host of personal assistants who can guide you through the worst tourist traps and directly to the porridge. Then you may want to consult the locals.

Gourmet, television reporter and producer Lisa Skye has following suggestions:

  • Corner Bistro (331 W. Fourth St. / Jane St.) is a landmark experience if you love a decent burger. For four and a half-dollar, quality burger with cheese and bacon. A pint of beer will cost you two to three dollars. But: Be early (about 18:00), there’s always a queue.
  • Sweet-tooth? Go to Magnolia Bakery in West Village on Bleecker Street. The key word here is muffins. Do yourself a favor: Buy a dozen. It is also the upper limit on what you’re actually allowed to buy.
  • If you visit New York in February, which is the official “Hot chocolate” month, you’ve got to try Death by Chocolate, Liquid Chocolate at City Bakery, on 18th. Street (between 5th. And 6th. Ave.) It tastes indescribably wonderful!

For personal recommendations we can add:

  • Cafe Figueira on Bleecker Street. Try a coffee with the same name – hot or cold.
  • Fancy Mexican? The place is Paquito (143 Street, L Street). Good food and friendly staff.
  • Bring your own beer (optional brand) in Central Park. This is strictly not allowed, but we did well.
  • Chinese takeaway. It’s everywhere, it’s cheap and tastes good (for some reason it tastes more or less the same everywhere too…).
  • Mexican take-away. See Chinese takeaway.

Superficial or not, New Yorkers are generally nice people. So: Do not be afraid to ask. Maybe not always about what’s here, but as I said also what it lacks. After having tried a few strippers, we were still a bit unsure if we had to move on in our search of New Yorks needs. We had also forgotten why we were so keen to find out about these defects. Strippers are certainly not; not at the strip clubs and not at the different porn shops you’ll find here and there. Julia, our third New York-oracle, had an answer that, to some extent, we quite agreed with:

Name: Julia
From: Queens, New York
Years as a stripper: One
Other occupations: Have been thinking about it!
What does New York need?

– A huge beach. Not like Jones Beach, but a wide, long beach all around Manhattan, as in Miami. If New York had a beach …
– Or, by the way, it would have been daunting. I heard on the news that half of New York’s population has wide asses. I know that I’ve got a big ass, but men pay to watch it.

In New York, if you're lucky, you can get to see Batman jumping from tower to tower. Or was it Spiderman? Or Eva Bratholm? Photo: Jesse Russell
In New York, if you’re lucky, you can get to see Batman jumping from tower to tower. Or was it Spiderman? Or Eva Bratholm? Photo: Jesse Russell

If you’re not dreaming about lying on the beach, maybe you dream about being a part of the audience in one of America’s countless talk shows? If that’s the case, the area around 42 Street in Times Square is the place to be. Here you can find overweight talk show hosts that discuss obesity and sexual habits, not to mention old comedians, with top ten lists and jokes written on small cards that they throw in the wall, supplemented by the keyboard sound of breaking glass.

Just like in Norway: in New York's nightlife, it is forbidden to smoke indoors . But for those who are interested to inhale more than fresh air, there are obviously places that can help. Photo: Jesse Russell
Just like in Norway: in New York’s nightlife, it is forbidden to smoke indoors . But for those who are interested to inhale more than fresh air, there are obviously places that can help.

If you wish to be audience, you may want to call a few days in advance to save a seat, ’cause it gets filled up.
The bars in this area has a high proportion of tourists, and if you do not want to meet Norwegians and Swedes, you may want to shy away. It is  not only lots of tourists in New York. There are many people in New York in general. A lot. If you’re there for a while, eventually you’ll need to visit the city’s green lung: The Central Park (preferably with a six-pack, as we previously recommended). Central Park, located in midtown Manhattan, is New York’s pride. Four kilometers long and 800 meters wide. It’s easy to get in touch with people, and it is a very relaxed atmosphere – not considering all the joggers.

If you do the typical tourist things, you have to expect to stand in line. Some people just need to visit the Empire State Building. It requires a good portion of standing in line, then pay $ 11 to take the elevator to the top. The view is of course great, but there are better ways to see the city. Take the ferry to Staten Island. Then, in addition to a nice boat ride, you get an impression of the city seen from the outside. A pretty impressive sight, especially at night. And best of all: It doesn’t cost you a single crown (or a dollar) – cause you’ve already got your weekly Metro ticket.

Souvenirs is a natural too, and of course you will find shops with miniature Statues of Liberty, T-shirts that says “I Love New York”, key rings and other trifles. Hello? This is the US!! But what about replacing the decorated tea service with a decorative tattoo? Do you need to come home with a piece of art on your arm/stomach/back or elsewhere, it might be nice to be aware that there are many assembly line tattoo parlors in New York, and the quality varies widely. So please take a look in the tattooists praise album (photographs of previous works) before you agree to anything. This rule of thumb applies wherever you happen to get your tattoo.
Medusa Tattoo (Saint Mark Place) are among those that give a satisfactory result.
Tattooed, animated and generally well versed, we decided to replace the stripper voice with the voice of one of the many bartenders. After all, those are the ones we have exchanged most words with so far …

Name: Lilah Mejia
From: The Puerto Rican Section of the Lower East Side
Occupation: Bartender and Student
What does New York need?

-Nothing. This is the only place in the world where you can find everything. Our pizzas are the best, and the nightlife even better.

So we ordered a pizza, and realized that Lilah was right. New York really has it all. Or at least most of it. Pizza included.

- Eva Bratholm? Yes, of course we know Eva bratholm. Who doesn't? We saved her the other day, didn't we guys? - Yes, she was going to send a correspondent letter to "The World on Saturday", but got lost between the ATM, the Gucci-department and the Postoffice. Photo: Jesse Russell
– Eva Bratholm? Yes, of course we know Eva Bratholm. Who doesn’t? We saved her the other day, didn’t we guys? – Yes, she was going to send a correspondent letter to “The World on Saturday”, but got lost between the ATM, the Gucci-department and the Postoffice. Photo: Jesse Russell

This article was originally published in the Norwegian magazine “Mann”