Living in NY my whole life, I tend to take the city for granted. So when I had the luxury of hosting a friend’s friend while she was away to Florida last winter, I didn’t know what exactly to do. My friend told me just a few things about her; she was cool, super into Kanye, she has never been to NY before, and she went by the nickname TLC. So I took that information and just ran with it. I was given her number and began texting her. The conversations were light, nothing romantic of any sorts, I simply wanted to know what she was doing in NY, where she was staying and how long was her trip.
Since she’s never been to NY, my initial thought was to do the touristy thing. Take her to Times Square, walk through Central Park, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or maybe take her to the High Line, they all seem pretty nice but seem to depict a fabricated version of NY, the ones you see in the movies. I wasn’t sure what to do.
The day came when I had to meet my friend’s friend. I had no idea what she looked like nor did I know what she liked to do. So I did what us New Yorkers do on the regular; I just winged it. I simply succumbed to the fact of letting the chips fall where ever they may. I hit her up and told her to meet me at my favorite comic/book store, Desert Island.
Desert Island, which is located in Williamsburg, was probably the best spot to get to know someone. It’s a magical place to rediscover your love for books and art. It’s filled with so many gems from local authors to globally known artists. It’s a hidden treasure in NY that is meant to be stumbled upon. The plan was simple, wait for her to come in, hide behind a few shelves of books and look from affar to see what stuff she picks up and come up with my own judgement about her. But of course it didn’t happen that way. I didn’t know what she looked liked so after several minutes of staring at a few females, I would creep up next to a girl and ask her if I was the guy I was supposed to meet with. You can imagine how long that lasted, so I simply just kept to myself. After a few minutes waiting, I was buried under a book when a petite and stunningly beautiful Indian girl tapped me in the shoulder and said “Jack?”. At last, after countless hours of texting back and forth for a week, I’ve finally got a face to go with the name TLC.
The moment she tapped my shoulder, I just knew that I was given an alley-oop from GOD and I had to make sure that I scored. What was suppose to be a short tour of the city ended up being an all day affair. We left Desert Island and started our adventure, never leaving Williamsburg. We walked everywhere, and I meant EVERYWHERE. I showed her all the things Williamsburg had to offer. We walked around, showed her some cool art, took her to Barcade and played some games, walked into a few thrift shops, and then walked to the waterfront to catch the sunset, followed by intense snowball fight. The day was completely unexpected, and to be quite honest, the more I got to know her the cooler she got.
After several failed attempts of capturing the perfect sunset and deciding which Instagram filter to use, we were getting cold and was getting hungry as well. Coming from Florida, TLC had never seen snow before in her life, Which lead to many of barehanded snowball fights. Not understanding the concept of frostbite, the burning pain and sensation she was feeling play with the snow caught up to her and she needed a warm place to get to fast. The closest spot we could find was this little supermarket where she rushed to the soup section and laid her hands over some hot plates. I felt like I was with a 4 year old, but in a good way. Everything was new to her and fun. It made me forget what NY really had to offer and we only stayed in one area in NY the whole time.
It soon came time for her to get a good taste of NY. We needed a place to eat but didn’t know where. I had a few suggestions but whatever I suggested, she was never in the mood for. After several minutes of walking around , she finally said she was in the mood for wings. Good choice I thought, but I had no clue as to what place around Williamsburg supplied great wings.
We walked around again for about 10 minutes walking into every known restaurant we seen and looked at a menu. We were both getting restless, we turned a corner and stumbled across this small restaurant squished in between two buildings. We looked at the menu, and both read “WINGS”. At that point we were sold but at the same time I was still doubtful this was a good spot. The waiter came outside and sweared to us the the food was amazing. So we both took his word for it and walked in. We ordered our food and got our wings. We each took a bite and we never looked back. The wings were so god damn good, we ordered another round. I was completely shocked that an establishment like this existed and I never heard about their food nor even the name. After a few drinks, I flagged the waiter and demanded to know the name of the place, he said “It’s called Baoburg, we’re new and we JUST re-opened this weekend”. Baoburg quickly became , TLC’s and my spot for months to come. Chef Suchanan Aksornnan, nicknamed Chef Bao Bao , infested her menu with dishes like roasted octopus with edamame and chipotle bernaise; baked cod with sushi-rice mushroom risotto; and seared duck ramen with poached daikon and shiitake mushrooms making it one of the most delicious meals on the side the island.
When dinner was over, I payed and suggested that we do continue the night. She told me that she made plans with her old friends to meet up but I knew she didn’t want to do that. So I said, fuck that, we coming back to my place, have some wine and vibe out. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse. So we hopped on the train and went back to the crib.
We played all types of music as soon as I walked into my apartment, she showed me hers, I showed her mine. A lot of Kid Cudi, a lot of Kanye and plenty of Frank Ocean. To end this long ass story, I turned myself from a tour guide to a hot date with the quickness. The day was good, the night was better. We kept hanging out after that. At the end, we later became friends, real good friends and remain great friends til this day. She reminded me that NY is a island full of gold. TLC is now part of the CTRL team, signed her to a multi-year contract worth $50 million.
Can’t wait for my next accidental date.