Where the hell are the….

by Julie Frayn on September 14, 2013 in  Adventures in New York City

Adventures in New York, part ten

New York City is FULL of amazing things to see and do. And we saw as much as we could in six short days. But what often stuck out were the things that were missing.

Three things in particular.

Bugs. Seriously, there were virtually no bugs. No mosquitoes. No ants. No gnats (those damn itty bitty annoying creatures that insist that my nostrils are THE place to be).

Nothing to do with this post. It's just cool.

Nothing to do with this post. It's just cool

Speaking of be – no bees. No wasps (the winged kind I mean). And only one fly. Honest to Pete – one fly in six days. This includes all the times we passed by piles of garbage bags on the street waiting (I assume) to be picked up by civil servants. So many bags we wondered if there was a strike or something. But I digress.

One fly. Can you guess where he was (because all flies are he’s, just for the record)? On the observation deck of Rockefeller Center. Yup, one fly on Top of the Rock. Weird.

Chip readers. The entire world is going PCI compliant. Forced into it, really, for the sake of personal credit card security. I know a little something about this, being in charge of IT and all. But I guess New York City got a pass on that.

We did not encounter a single chip card reader that wasn’t covered in some kind of tape – scotch, electrical, duct, packing. It was swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe everywhere we went. For a fashionable city, that is just SO last year!

Next time someone tells me I come from a hick town*, I’m going to hit ‘em with – but we’re ahead of New York in PCI compliance! Suck on that, haters!

Our favourite 'washroom' in NYC - Al Hirschfield Theatre

Our favourite 'washroom' in NYC - Al Hirschfield Theatre

Washrooms. Everybody does it. And at my age, I do it more than I used to. So a common theme on this trip was seeking out the nearest toilet.

Our “Where is the washroom?” question got met with crickets and doe-eyed stares everywhere we went. Except at TJ Maxx. The security guard we aimed the query at looked at us like we were seriously fucked up. “Washroom?” He said, his brow knit in utter confusion. “What’s that?”

Same washroom. Cool reflection shot

Same washroom. Cool reflection shot

Really? Is it that much of a leap? In New York (and maybe this is true for all of the US), it’s bathroom. Or restroom. Never washroom. American buddies, why? Fill me in, eh?

While there was a distinct lack of New Yorkers knowing what a washroom was, a dearth of chip readers and a disturbing lack of bugs, New York made up for it by providing us with a shit-ton of squirrels for our entertainment. Yeah, we’re easily amused.

Let me introduce you to…. Ruby.



*I don’t live in a hick town. I live in a city of more than 1.3 million with the unfortunate nickname of ‘cowtown.’ It confuses people.

Part eleven on deck. Don’t touch the giant whales. Or Batman (yeah, you know I did)


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Frayn September 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm

hahahah… awesome. Yeah, I know you did… :)


Julie Frayn September 15, 2013 at 7:10 am

I always do…

Carolyn Frayn September 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

LOL … yup.

Carolyn Frayn September 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Love the reflection shot! In the “washroom”… hilarious.


Julie Frayn September 15, 2013 at 7:11 am

Me too. Had to crop the stranger beside me. That was one of those nights where that camera wouldn’t focus right. Or we didn’t? :)

Carolyn Frayn September 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

tomatoe, tomato… pass the toilet paper!

David Miller September 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

As a native New Yorker, and in no particular order:

What the hell is a washroom.

All the bees and wasps are in MY back yard.

The flies, known to be suspicious of strangers, become more so
when they smell a foreign prairie.

What the -hell- is a chip card reader.


“disturbing lack of bugs”

By presidential order, all packed in crates and shipped to Calgary,
Alberta, CA circa 2005. Except for the cockroaches.

“American buddies, why? Fill me in, eh?”

By presidential order, all remaining washrooms in the US have been
replaced with more advanced technology (biometric sensors).

There are now only bathrooms in this country. If you need to use
a washroom, you’ll have to wait to return to your own country.
This could be problematic for future travels to the US, please
plan accordingly.

“shit-ton of squirrels”

Chipped and armed with biometric sensors, yes. Take a closer
look at Ruby’s eye. And that is not a real “nut”.

Looking forward to your experience with giant whales. :-)


Julie Frayn September 15, 2013 at 8:08 am

Love this! Not a real nut – hey I believe you. Even though you ARE a real nut! 😀 ♥

Mitch September 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

I think it’s funny that Americans don’t know what washroom means and yet they call it a “restroom”. Think about it. Not a place I want to go rest in! Now the Aussies, they know what it’s all about. When I first arrived there, I remember asking someone where the bathroom was and they gave me the same look that security guard gave you. Then they said, “Oh, you mean the toilet? Where are you from in America?”

I also don’t think that it’s just NYC that doesn’t have chip cards and readers, it’s the whole country. I get a few Yanks in my store over the summer months, more so during Stampede, and they are all swipers. That word reminds me of Dora the Explorer (your kids are too old for you to know that one Jules!). Swiper, no swiping! lol

No bugs eh? That’s probably because the freakin’ cockroaches ate them all!


Julie Frayn September 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

That’ll be my strategy in future. Where’s the damn toilet? And it’s weird that America doesn’t have chip readers since the PCI standards are being developed there and required dates for compliance have passed! Makes me wonder why I’m so damn diligent in make sure WE follow the rules. Oh, and not one cockroach either.

Carolyn Frayn September 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

In Paris I don’t remember how I asked for the washroom, perhaps I just jumped up and down… but it was usually in the far back, in the corner, no toilet paper. Lesson learned… I still carry some in my purse, to this day.

Sean P. Farley October 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I was born and grew up on Long Island. I went to NYC once, when I was a wee tot. I barely remember it. I long to go back one of these days, and I will. But it sounds like you had a great time. Good for you! :) As for ‘washroom’? Well, out here in good old California no one has ever heard of a ‘pocketbook.’ You say it and they look at you like you’ve spoken a foreign language. Oy!


Julie Frayn October 10, 2013 at 7:11 am

Isn’t if funny how local some words are? I know what a pocketbook is. :) I think you would love New York City. The food and the shows and just the energy is amazing. I will go back one day. Maybe for longer than six days…

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