Time Out Magazine

One of my first pieces to be published was a "Dispatches New York" column that ran in the London version of Time Out magazine in the early 1990s. I had complete freedom to write about whatever I wanted, provided it was squeezed into 600 words or less. The column ran sporadically-very sporadically-for several years. It's interesting looking back and seeing how much the city has changed in the proceeding decade and a half.

*!@* YOU MOTHER8!@*ER!

Time Out Dispatches by Ben Gibberd

Illustration: Arnhel De Serra

Taking a cab in New York is rarely a pleasant experience. The roads look as if they’ve been pounded by B52s, the drivers are surly (often in Bangladeshi or Croatian) and the aggression palpable, as everyone jostles for a little crack of space. And should you hapen to live in Brooklyn—forgeddaboudit. I was recently treated to an Oscar-winning performance by a driver whose car mysteriously ‘broke down’ at the sight of heavy traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Continue reading

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Celebrating, New York-style

Time Out Celebrating New York Style by Ben Gibberd

Illustration: Barry J Holmes

In this city you know July 4 is approaching at least a month before it arrives. The first tell-tale signs are the nerve-shattering booms, then the squawking of every car alarm in the vicinity, as kids begin to check out what is available beneath the corner of their local candy store (fireworks are illegal here, even sparklers.) Continue reading

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Close Shave

Getting my hair cut has always been an interesting business in New York. For a while, I sued to go to Sal, the local barber, whose customers—gossiping in the thickest Brooklynese—would fill me in on the neighborhood’s latest. The problem with Sal was that no matter how I asked him to cut my hair, it always came out the same: a brutal buzz cut that made me look like I worked in a pizza parlour. Then there was the lovely Sylvie. Sylvie was great, a six-foot curvaceous blonde whose breasts occasionally rested on my shoulders as she snipped and spritzed away. Despite these undeniable benefits, Sylvie was really too far from where I lived and too expensive. And anyway, my wife objected. Then someone told me about Al. Continue reading

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