I had an interesting experience in New York not so long ago. Arriving late at night I went straight to sleep and woke early to make my way to a bar that I had already made certain was showing the Wigan game. There is always an enjoyable culture shock when first arriving in NY but making my way to see Arsenal and seeing people in Arsenal shirts walking towards 2nd Avenue at 10 in the morning made it even more surreal than usual.
The best way I can explain my feelings on entering the bar, which is called Nevada Smith’s by the way, is to compare it to an experience of going on the Ghost Train when I was a child: you sit on a carriage and move very slowly towards a door and than suddenly you go though and everything is very dark except for flashes of strange light, you feel a bit scared by the unfamiliar surroundings. But, then you start to focus and the first thing I saw was a huge flag on the wall with the words “New York Gunners” and then I noticed the bar was full of people wearing Arsenal shirts which naturally put me at ease.
The game started the goals started flowing and this bar started singing, in fact, they started singing after half an hour and didn’t stop until the end of the game. Being a cynical old bastard I was thinking that of course we should be beating Wigan but these people were celebrating with a happy innocence that made me feel slightly envious. There were little groups of girls there in their Arsenal shirts and when someone made a tackle they went started jumping up and down (an interception in American football is a big deal) The thought also crossed my mind that I have heard that it is hard to find a single heterosexual man in New York but I didn’t realise that girls had to go to that extreme, I jest of course.
I found myself sitting there, and the place was packed with gooners by the way, when I realised I could overhear two New Yorkers talking about the team, yet again feeling superior in my knowledge of all thing Arsenal I was humbled by how I found myself agreeing with them, they were expressing the need for a new goal keeper and another centre forward; although, this was not said in the cynical kind of way we are familiar in blogsphere this was said with a helpful innocence. I was a good win and a great experience but I will leave you with this…..when it comes to surreal thoughts can you imagine a bar full of gooners singing “There is only one Arsène Wenger”……. IN AMERICAN ACCENTS!