Monday, May 30, 2011

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

 Brooklyn Bound

One of my favourite things in NYC is Brooklyn Bridge. I don't think I'll ever tire of its views, its stature, the fact that it is so unmistakeably New York. I love the twin gothic towering arches, the web-like suspension wires and the wooden rickety walkway with the rushing city traffic zooming over the East River underfoot.

Caught in a web 

One of my favourite things to do in the whole world is walk across Brooklyn Bridge, on a sunny day, end up at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and laze in the sun with this stunning bridge as a backdrop. Perhaps a little stroll up to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade for some more spectacular views of the city.

Showing the bridge a little love. Some say too much.

In the summer, Brooklyn Bridge Park plays host to one of my favourite things - its one of the sites in the city that has a free movie summer screening programme. There is nothing better than making the journey to the park after a long days work, kicking back on a picnic blanket with a hot dog and a classic movie. The screen is set up so the bridge is in the background and as night falls, you bask in the city lights and truly feel that there is nowhere else on earth you'd rather be.

Aw at the random cute couple.

Sadly, on this trip, it was too early in the year to catch one of those screenings, and too overcast and windy a day to do much walking. But even to wander to the centre of the bridge, and get inspired by the architecture. I have about a bajillion photos of this bridge but every single time I come I always find something new to catch my eye. It's so romantic, so breathtaking and so completely New York.

Which makes it so me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Up Town, Down Town, Turn the Beat Around Town

Railtrack gardens 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yada, yada, yada. So you went to NY. WE KNOW. But what did you actually DO there?

That's what I imagine you (dear reader) to be saying right now. If not saying, thinking. And if you weren't actively thinking it, you probably secretly were deep down but you just didn't KNOW you were thinking it. So now you know, that I know, that WE ALL KNOW.

Capiche? Good.

 Diagram of bell sounds

 So here be some of the highlights of the stuff and ting I got up to this time round. One of the top things on my to-do list (that didn't involve eating) was to go and see the High Line Gardens. These hadn't been opened by the time I left and I'd always found the concept intriguing so was keen to visit in person.

It was quite a chilly and windy whilst I was up there, but the gardens were really pretty. One part that was particularly interesting was one of the Public Art installations on the 14 St Walkway (for that is where I entered the park). Here, Stephen Vitiello's 'A Bell for Every Minute' chimes the sound of a different bell recorded from somewhere in the New York City each minute, with a chorus of all the bells at the top of the hour. The above photo is the map of where each recorded bell sound is located physically. There were famous bells such as the Stock Exchange bell, the United Nations Peace bell, but also more everyday bells such as diner bells, bike bells etc.

It was really pretty to listen to and the sounds fill the space and echo out into the city. Definitely worth a visit.


I ate a loooot of food this trip, despite having (I think) contracted tonsillitis which flaired up for the duration of my trip. But, true to form and trooper that I am, I didn't let it hold me back from literally eating my way around Manhattan. The above photo was taken by my friend at the height of the tonsillitis pain, and I was eating the only thing that could possibly have soothed my throat at that time.

Rice pudding.

I don't normally like rice pudding but the only place IN THE WORLD that I will eat it is at Rice to Riches. On this occasion I chowed down on the cheesecake flavour with an Oreo cookie topping. Divine.

My fave 

No trip to NYC would be complete without a snap of my favourite building in the world, naturally. Our hotel was only a few blocks from the art-deco masterpiece that is the Chrysler, and we had a pretty awesome view of it out the window of our room. Bonus.

I wanna dance! 

 I also really really wanted to see another show on Broadway. While I was living out there I saw many shows (including one memorable occasion when I stalked Mario Lopez at the stage door and he completely blanked me. BAD Mario Lopez.) and they are always wonderful. This time I saw Billy Elliot. The storyline was so moving, BOY can those kids dance and of course, I loved the Elton John-penned score. My only gripe is that sadly, Americans just CAN NOT do a Geordie accent. Hell, I can't even do one and I'm British. I mean, they tried their best, but I couldn't understand what the heezy they were trying to say half the time.

Shame, as it was otherwise awesome. Think I'll try and catch it in the West End and see if the British version is better. (I think, probably, with the natural accent advantage)

Cheese? CAKE?

And of course, no evening at a Broadway show is complete without dessert at Junior's after the show. Junior's cheesecake is a New York institution. When I lived over there, whenever my boss and I wanted to sweet talk someone into doing something for us at work, we would run across the street to Junior's in Grand Central, buy a brick-like slab of their gorgeous cheesecake and use it as bargaining collateral. Worked every time.

Their slices are the size of my face, this was a chocolate mousse cheesecake and though there was willing (dear god was there willing), try as I might, I just could not finish it. SO GOOD.

When can I go back?

Sunday, May 22, 2011


 It's been a looong looong time. Too long.

About a week before I was due to fly out to NYC, the first time I'd been back since I lived there, I started getting really anxious. What if I went back, and it wasn't as good? Or it had changed? My time there was so completely life-changing, and I truly feel that I've never felt like I belonged, that I fitted in, that I was anywhere else but there. It's the most amazing, beautiful city and I love it like I've never thought I could love a place before.

True dat.

On the plane, as the captain announced we were about to start making our descent into Newark, I practically had my nose pressed up against the glass, my heart was thumping in my chest, just waiting for that view. As we broke through the clouds and the plane brought is in to land, I had to swallow the lump in my throat as the relief rushed over me that I was BACK. Back back back back!

Bright lights bigger city

I needn't have worried. Of course there are bits that are new, and slight things that have changed (pedestrianisation of Times Square being one of them - brilliant idea) but from the moment I landed I felt the same as I ever did. I felt right back at home, with a spring in my step and a lift in my heart. I got that magical buzz back that I just can't get anywhere else.


It was an amazing trip, I caught up with old friends, visiting some old favourite places and some new places along the way. There is a lot more for me to show here on the blog. But I just wanted to kick off by saying that it seems that although I've been away for three years, I feel like I will always belong there. And that is such a relief.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roaming Georgetown

All neighbourhoods should have a pink bike on the sidewalk

I'm back! I came back. Call off the search party. I didn't go to America, elope to Vegas with a New York waiter and settle down. Mores the pity.

So here begins the first of many posts about my travels Stateside.

I asked the owner if I could live here. He slammed the door. There endeth the lesson. 

My first stop was DC to visit a great friend of mine. She was a fellow intern on the same exchange programme as me in New York, and we have been friends ever since. She is currently studying at Georgetown University at the moment, and I am jealous as all hell.

Pretty pavement posies 

Georgetown is a gorgeous part of DC, one of the most historic parts of America, with dollhouse architecture, and my friend lives in one of the cosy leafy little back streets off the main street. She gets to wander through streets such as these EVERY DAY. Whilst I am off at boring WORK in stupid LONDON, she gets to study and learn and have things such as KEG PARTIES. For the sake of balance: I SUPPOSE she also has things such as finals, but I'll conveniently gloss over those, much like I tried to do while I was at uni.

My point is, noone has keg parties in London. I wouldn't even know where to go to get any red cups. PFFFT.

 Brass accents

(Can you tell I had a little trouble coming home?)