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New York, November 2002

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New York is such a great city (for Salsa and for everything else) that we can't seem to keep away. This was the third holiday in New York within a year for Nicky myself, and the second in a year for Emma, Kate, Mo, Mushi and Olu. The rest of our group was Franschene, Julian and Mel. Here is a brief description of our visit together with some photos. If you want a more detailed description of what the New York on2 scene is like, check out my two earlier articles about our visits. If you are looking for details about the New York (on2) Salsa scene (clubs, lessons, etc.), visit www.salsanewyork.com.

We flew into New York on Wednesday 27th November. We arrived quite early in the day, giving us plenty of time to settle into the apartment (the same place we stayed at last time, the excellent Second Home on Second Avenue). The downside of arriving early was that it made our day so much longer (an early start, hanging out during the day and then a late night of Salsa). We went to our "regular" Wednesday night club, Nells. To be honest, I didn't have a brilliant time at Nells because the place gets so crowded. But we got a lot of dancing in and it was a good start to our holiday.

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Thursday was Thanksgiving so our plan was to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Some people (the early risers) managed to do this, but most of us woke up after the parade had finished! We all went off and did our own thing during the day (shopping, hanging out at Veselka's - our "regular" diner) and got back together for the evening to go to Babalu (one of my favourite clubs). At Babalu, we met up with Tammam and Sarah from London, who were out in New York for three months. We were also really lucky that the Spanish Harlem Orquestra were playing at Babalu that night. They played excellent music all night and we had a great time.

I won't say any more about the non-Salsa stuff we did, because it was pretty much the same stuff from day to day and mainly involved buying (way too much) and eating (way too much). So on to Friday evening, where we went to a social called Friday Nights for Mambo Dancers. It was fairly quiet, but I think it had only started a couple of weeks earlier, so word wasn't out properly yet. It was in a dance studio, so there was a good music and a good atmosphere.

Saturday was a great day thanks to Mario B from New Jersey. We'd first met him when we went to New York in March. Then he came to the UK for Salsa International in Manchester and was one of the big hits of the weekender. He was really friendly to us when we came back to New York in December and is a genuinely nice guy. Emma and I had told him that we wanted to buy CDs in New York. He suggested we come over to New Jersey (Hoboken) and buy them there from one of his local CD stores. Not only did he pick us up from the subway and drive us around, he got us a great deal at the CD shop and then took us out for a meal afterwards. Like I said, he's a top bloke.

Sunday night was the night that we were all looking forward to, Jimmy Anton's Social. I've said before how great this is. Not really much more I can say about it apart from great music, great floor, great dancers and great atmosphere!

Monday night we went to Henry Knowle's club El Flamingo. This was a big thing for us for two reasons. Firstly, Jimmy Bosch was playing live. Secondly (and more importantly) it was to be Emma's DJ-ing debut in New York City. Well, Jimmy Bosch was excellent to dance to (although the band did manage to misplace their bassist and have to get another one in at short notice). And those of you who have heard Emma DJ, will have been in no doubt that she was going to play an excellent set. Sure enough, she showed that she can cut it in New York as well as anybody else.

Tuesday night we decided to give Salsa a rest. So everyone spent the evening doing their own thing. Me, Julian and Kate decided that we had to see a Broadway show, so we went to see Chicago. Afterwards, Julian went off to check out the newly-reopened Copacabana club. Unfortunately, it was just what we'd been warned about. A fantastic venue, but short on dancers and short on Salsa.

Wednesday evening, we took a "body movement" class with Frankie Martinez. This was an excellent lesson and I'd recommend it to everyone, whatever style you dance and whatever level you are. It's all about getting every part of your body to do exactly what you want it to. After the class, we weren't sure what to do. Nells was the obvious place to go, but after the previous week nobody was too keen on it. Frankie suggested Lansky Lounge where he often goes after class on a Wednesday. It's a small venue, but very nice. It doesn't attract loads of dancers, but there were enough of us to make it worthwhile. So we went there, together with Frankie and his dance partner Lori. I personally enjoyed the evening, although most of our group were feeling tired and left pretty quickly. After a short time, there was only myself, Nicky, Mo, Frankie and Lori there. I thought the music was the best of the week, there (loads of classic NY tracks) and I liked the atmosphere too. After the club closed, Frankie took us to a diner called Sidewalk where we got some great food and Frankie told us all about his philosophy of Salsa. All in all, a fantastic evening.

Thursday morning brought snow ...
 
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... lots of snow ...
 
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... lots and lots and lots of snow
 
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New York seemed to come to a halt because of the snow. Usually you couldn't move for all the people on the streets or in the stores or on the subway. Today you hardly saw anyone. I went into Macy's and apparently loads of their staff couldn't get in because of the snow. And much more importantly for us, Babalu didn't open. So our evening's plans were totally disrupted. Instead we all went out for a meal together at Sidewalk.

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Friday was our last day in New York. We'd been trying to fix up a lesson with Nelson Flores, but his classes didn't fit into our schedule. So, he agreed to run a class just for us. A sort of group private lesson. It was an excellent lesson. Those of you who have taken his lesson will already know his style and he was another really friendly person. No ego and no attitude. The lesson was on 105th street, so afterwards me, Franschene and Mel took advantage of all the Latino restaurants in the area and had a great meal. We then went to a social for our final night.

So, I had yet another great week in New York. I always find the people to be friendly and I really enjoy the clubs. I'd also like to thank everyone for giving me a great birthday present of some on2 gear and a load of CDs.

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Shopped out
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Mo showing off his moves
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At Sidewalk
 
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Nicky with Milton Cobo
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DJ Frisco at El Flamingo
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Laydeez
 
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Julian tries out for the NYPD
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After the Social
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Outside our Apartment
 
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Julian and his Fans
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Mo with Nicky and
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After our Private with Nelson
 
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With Frankie and Lori
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Olu and Ade
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Mushi
 
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Franschene and Ian

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