Every non-Boston-born, vaguely interested in basket sports, red-blooded dude living within a 3,000-mile radius of New York City caught a little bit of Linsanity (Linztamania) over the past week after Harvard-educated point guard Jeremy Lin emerged from the Siberia section of the bench to lead the New York Knicks to four straight victories, including a 38-point career-high against Kobe Bryant at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
I watched that game at a friend’s apartment, which was fine but not really in the spirit of Linsanity. Linsanity needs to be experienced with other Linphomaniacs. I woke up on Saturday morning with a mission—to figure out where the real Lin supporters watch the games in New York City. To find a place to watch the away game where the read Lin-heads hang. And also maybe eat some good Chinese food in the process. (Yes, if not obvious, Jeremy Lin is a Chinese dude and has been a particular sensation within the Asian-American community.) So I figured Manhattan’s Chinatown was the spot. But, where?
Eddie, a couple of my dudes and I want to watch Lin downtown tonight — with food. In Chinatown. Where would you suggest?
45 seconds later…
Matt, go to Hong Kong station. That’s where all the kids watch.
My friend and I head to Hong Kong Station 30 minutes before the 8 p.m. tip off. My hopes are high. There are a couple giant TVs there. There’s a fast food-styled noodle bar too, where you can load up your rice/egg noodles with chicken gizzard, pig’s ear and curry squid. And we walk in and…nobody is there. WTF? Upon further review, we went to the wrong location—the one on Bayard (45 Bayard St., NYC, 212.233.0288) is open later. Rats. Classic rookie mistake.
BUT, we’re industrious folk.
We’re also really hungry, and at this point and walk over to Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
They do dim sum all day and night, so we went crazy with the ticking of boxes: spare rib rice roll, shrimp dumplings, Shanghai-styled soup dumplings. We ordered the deep-fried bacon and shrimp roll, which read like a 1950s housewife appetizer. Oh man, what a dish. We ordered another and almost a third.
And did I mention that they had the game on a large LCD television screen—with sound? Oh man! As people began to file in to their reserved banquettes (they take reservations, which could be clutch come playoff time; this Lin thing is NOT going away), the first quarter began. Lin scored some points. Kevin Love threw some elbows. And the Knicks were down to the Twolves 33-30.
It was time for a change of venue. And some good Kentucky bourbon. Whiskey Tavern is, by all accounts, a pretty fratty kind of place. A real dude zone. But when we got there halfway through the second quarter, it was pure Linsanity. Cheering when Jeremy drove to the hoop. Groans when Love or Nikola Pekovic sliced and diced for a combined 55.
As I drained a couple fingers (OK, a fist) of Black Maple Hill, it got really intense. Steve Novak played minor hero and nailed a late three-pointer to tie it and Lin sealed the victory with a free throw. YES, the Knicks won. Pure Linsanity. I could be down with eating chow fun for the four months.
To be continued…