It was the weekend before the Fourth of July in 2018 and I was finally going on a much-needed vacation with my family. We had plans to embark on a cruise to Bermuda, which meant sailing out of New York. Landing at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning was brutal, and we were met with 95 degree Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) weather. It’s times like this I appreciate Los Angeles.
After n̶a̶p̶p̶i̶n̶g̶ sleeping through 2 p.m., I forced my brother to go bike-riding through Central Park. Best decision of my life. This was pure joy, until we were out of breath and not even halfway through.
I realized I should slow down on the smoking, as evidenced by the burn in my throat. I also couldn’t help but notice the lack of marijuana smoke in the area. Given that Central Park is a target for tourists, a park like this in Cali would have at least one person smoking weed.
I remember back in San Francisco’s Dolores Park, people were smoking joints all over the park. New York was clearly not hip to marijuana legalization yet. While the first medical marijuana dispensary in New York opened in 2016, two years in, finding weed with the ease we have in Cali isn’t an easy task. And the weed regulations in New York are different, too.
After that, we hit the Turnstyle Underground Market — Dylan’s Candy Bar, Panda Bubble Tea, Chick’n Cone — all of which would have been so much more lit with munchies involved.
Then we took the subway to Harlem and went to the Apollo Theater, but found it was closed. This part of town has so much culture. A$AP Ferg, Teyana Taylor (signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music), A$AP Rocky, and so many more artists are from here. We then walked to Teyana’s nail salon, which was a good 20 minutes in the blazing sun. By the end of the day, we realized Harlem is the only city where we saw a group of men smoking up all day.
Afterward, we ended up at Sirius XM because my friend Emilio works at Shade 45, the music channel that Eminem started. I loved this entire experience. It was major studio vibes, and it was dope to compare the studio scenes and Los Angeles and New York. I couldn’t help but notice they were all sipping Patron and orange juice, which was so New York to me! The same gathering in L.A. would be full of joints, blunts, or Backwoods.
And then we walked to Times Square and hit Halal Guys. We were beat. This is a city where no one drives and everyone walks to takes the subway.
It turns out the approximate 25 licensed dispensaries in New York are not allowed to sell smokable marijuana, meaning no flowers in the shop. Patients with medical cards are limited to oils, topicals, edibles and tinctures. Not sure I could survive in this city.