Monday, August 08, 2011

To JFK and beyond

JFK is a pretty poorly laid out airport. Perhaps it's unfair to compare it to modern terminals like Hong Kong or Heathrow's T5, but I'm sure it wasn't a mindbending epiphany in the 1990s that it might be more efficient to have departures and arrivals on different floors of the same building, rather than cram hundreds of people walking in opposite directions through the same concourse.

And there are at least eight terminals there: at least eight chances to get things right that were studiously ignored by the architects. I wasn't that impressed by Renzo Piano and KIX back in March, but if JFK was the standard for airports before that, he was a bang-on genius of design.

And in Osaka, you don't have to pay for baggage trolleys.

Actually, there hasn't been an airport in Asia where some clown has tried charging for a baggage trolley in my last three years of flying. Come on, New York, be a bit more welcoming.

(Well, more so than putting up a big sign saying "New York Welcomes You" above the exit of the check-in area, which means that you can't walk towards the welcome but have to go right down a hole in the ground... Is it that difficult?)

Having schlepped for a mile or so, we then had the world's least organised taxi queue. But never mind that. The hotel, when we got to it, was lovely, we had a fine dinner somewhere (another hole in the ground - New Yorkers love the subterrean lifestyle) and then went to the Comedy Cellar: a angry young woman, a pudgy 43 year old, a self-styled printer repairman, a smug bloke in a purple t-shirt with two rape jokes, a very tall bloke and then a closer who yelled a bit but who I can't recall a single detail through the veil of three Heinekens.

A good Sunday night, then, although a little intimidating to see the standard of these people; performing to a hundred people packed into a basement on a Sunday night is clearly a good way to improve.

Afterwards, walked home past a fight, or a brawl, or a bunch of prats taking their shirts off and shouting at one another. This would never happen in the UK because
  1. Everyone is a bit fat and doesn't want to display their spare flesh
  2. It's always cold and raining
  3. You're going to get glassed by the bloke who plays the fruit machine all night and never speaks to anyone
  4. Beer is weaker in America which precludes drinking yourself into a stupor, so there's nothing else to do but "fight"
  5. There aren't enough tasty geezers over here for a proper scrap.
There, that's your multiple choice quiz. I'm off to bed.


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