Monday, September 3, 2007

Australian Connections

It amazes me that in a city as large as New York City that I have managed to run into sooo many people that I have a connection with in one way or another, whether I know them personally or we know people in common. Here are a few scenarios:
  1. One night, while I was still in my Gramercy (Curry Hill) apartment, I decided to walk down to the store and get a snack. As I was crossing the street in front of my apartment, I see a familiar face. It was the face of a guy I went to primary school with (Bialik) and I had seen him around the traps in a social setting after high school but had not really had much to do with him apartment from watching him sing in a band at Chevron night club way back when. You may know him - Jeremy Meltzer. Anyway, if it had been on a street in Melbourne I most likely would not have bothered to stop to chat to him because of the tenuous link we had, but on a New York street, it's not that often (at least I thought so at the time) that you run into a face from the past, so I stopped him and said his name. He looked at me like I was familiar but as I expected could not place me. After some chit chat "What are you doing here", "how long have you been here" on either side another person walks up that I also recognize. He is here to meet Jeremy. This face I recognize from my time at another school - Mount Scopus, and I had actually heard that he was here but, again, my association with Gavin Kolt at school was rather tenuous, not enough for me to make the effort out of the blue to contact him. Again, he recognized my face but struggled to place me. After the same old introductions and pleasantries that go along with seeing someone from your past in a foreign city, they invited me to dinner and I joined them. If you know me at all, or at least from this blog, you will know that I am really not a fan of Indian food, and they were going to eat Indian. Well, I figured it was worth suffering through it considering the amazing coincidence! It was a fun night.
  2. Almost a week after I moved into my new apartment in Chelsea/Flatiron, I still had no internet or tv so I went down to the common lounge area to connect to the internet and watch some tv. There was a group of guys in there playing some poker and after a while I started chatting to them. One guy said that he had family in Melbourne, and as he looked distinctly Jewish, I figured there might be a good chance that I knew them. He told me there names - "Harry & Gloria Lew". I said, "Yeah, they lived in the street next to me" - and they did, when I was still at home with my parents in Hawthorn. Small world.
  3. Last week, as I walked out of a club in the MeatPacking District (I was hanging out there with my new employers), I heard someone say "Oi!" It was David Harris, a friend from Australia. He was visiting from Australia with two other friends and in the bar next door (which I had been at earlier in the night). Then, that weekend, entirely by coincidence, I run into him again on the Saturday night at a bar out there. Freaky.
  4. This morning: I decided to take advantage of the slow pace of NYC on a long weekend and went for breakfast in my favourite street in Gramercy Park - Irving Place. Not long after I sat down a group of 4 people sat near me with an accent that I recognized - Australian of course. Now, this is not the first time I have heard random Australian accents around the city, but then I overheard from their conversation that they were Jewish and from Sydney, and I was a bit bored on my own so I spoke up and started talking to them. It turns out one of the guys is a good friend of some people I know from Sydney, so we name swapped for a few minutes and then I discovered that the guy and his girlfriend were visiting from LA and he works for Westfield. They plan on returning to the city once a month so his girlfriend and I swapped numbers and we agreed to stay in contact - who knows?

And there are a few more organised Australian connections happening:

  1. I have joined the Manhattan International Netball Club. It's made up of Aussies, New Zealanders, British and a few others. Of course when I mention to Americans that I'm going to play netball, all they hear is "nipple". For this reason, when I say netball now, I am forced to elongate my vowels to avoid the confusion. Anyway, I train with them for an hour and a half every Monday night and this Saturday I'm playing in a tournament in Brooklyn, no doubt against some Jamaicans and Trinidad and Tobegans that can jump much higher than I can.
  2. Next Friday night, Bryfy (David Bryfman) has organised a Jewish Australian gathering at an Australian establishment in Nolita, "Eight Mile Creek". I'm sure I'll run into countless people there that I didn't even know lived here.

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