New York, New York
And so, I am no longer a New York virgin, and I confess there was much pleasure to be had in allowing that virginity to be taken.
I love New York, it’s my kind of place. So many things to see, bright lights, fun and kind of crazy.
I wanted New York to take me on a journey, and I wanted it to embrace me. People asked me beforehand, what do you want to do/see in New York, and I replied “I just want to feel it”. Our timing was perfect – there were Christmas preparations everywhere. Just like the movies, people were carrying Christmas trees, decorating hotel awnings and lights were up.
So here are my New York observations……
Things I loved:
People beep their horns a lot – just like the movies. I liked the noise, there was a comfort in it, hearing people’s frustrations. After the cleanliness and politeness of Maryland, it was amusing to witness some attitude NYC style!
Yellow cabs – this is an iconic sight I wished to see. My only disappointment was that some of the yellow cabs are now yellow people carriers – nooooo! Keep the saloon cars, they have to be just like in Tax Driver, please.
There were lots of blacked out hire cars and private limo type things, which I assumed were carrying celebrities so I waved at each one, just in case it was Johnny Depp waving back.
Police / traffic cops – I loved the police a lot. They had a gentle, protective presence and they were very accommodating….as you can see :). I told them what I great deal of respect we had for them after 9/11. I think they understood me, even after six vodkas.
New York charm – it’s not as full of grumpy New Yorkers as people make out. Most people were pretty friendly, especially the couple who bought us a bottle of champagne. If you do go to New York, stay here at the Bryant Park Hotel. You must, you will love it!
Food – we ate pretty cheaply, given NYC’s reputation for expense, and I confess that the best meal was from the iconic sidewalk food joint. What’s not to love about a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich wrapped in foil, dripping down your gloves?!
Times Square – okay, not everyone’s cup of tea, but most definitely mine. I loved the rush, the buzz, the lights, the characters dressed up. It was like being part of one big party. Times Square is ace. Who cannot be impressed by the Naked Cowboy, and someone being honest about their need for weed?
42nd St and Broadway – a while back this was the sleezey part of New York, I am led to believe. Not now. It all seemed perfect for theatre and families. The Mayors of NYC have done a great job in revamping this part of the city. It is a theatre-goers dream.
Meatpacker district – I couldn’t get my head round the name for this place, and kept calling it the Meatmarket or Fudgepacker district. It was super, gay fun. What’s not to like about singing show tunes around a piano?!
Trendy types – I love the super trendiness of people in NYC. Even wrapped up against the biting cold, they look sleek and smart and have their own trend thing going on. Respect to the fashions of NYC. How can you not be impressed with a real live ballerina dressed in her proper get up, points and everything, enduring the cold to have a snog with her boyfriend? I love that people in NYC can dress how they like – it’s refreshing, even if your outfit of choice is Winnie the Pooh.
Chelsea Market – a little bit of coolness in the warmth.
The view – how about this from the Rockefeller Tower? I just love that Empire State Building, it is part of the perfect landscape of New York. Disappointed not to have seen King Kong climbing up it, though.
The ice-skating – now, I’m not a skater (it’s the cold thing), but it is pretty awesome to watch people skating round under the Rockefeller Christmas tree to the sound of Christmas tunes. Lush. Also worth a mention is the little Salvation Army man dinging his bell furiously to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. How Simon Cowell has not found him yet, I do not know.
Things I didn’t like so much
Jazz bars – I have an issue with jazz, in that it is a little bit pretentious, as are some of the people who listen to it. I was proved right, when a woman we were talking to at a jazz bar said she no longer wanted to talk and just wished to listen to the music. We weren’t that boring, really.
The cold – NYC in December is about as cold as I can take it. I really need to invest in some thermal socks if I am to survive an East Coast winter.
Metro – whilst this is fast and pretty easy to navigate, it’s a darn site dirtier than the London Underground. A little bit of a scrub is in order for my next visit, please 🙂
I will be returning to New York. In only two days it was impossible to live the movie-dream that New York was for me, and see all the historic bits and visit the museums and all the other bits and bobs. New York, I will be back 🙂
General stuff back home
Paper boy myth – it is with great disappointment that I have to report that the newspapers that are thrown on to our drive way every other day are no longer delivered by a newspaper boy on a bike – you know that image that we have all seen in the movies. They are delivered by a man in a van who lobs them out the van window and they are wrapped in plastic to stop them getting wet. A movie image destroyed in one fell lob.
Christmas tree – we are getting our Christmas tree today. I have given in, and it will be decorated. The real ones are the way it’s done, and so let it be done here too.
Dear Desperate, my dear English friend Sally has been forwarding your blog to me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your observations. I’m a New Yorker, born and raised but have chosen to live in the southeast to avoid the cold north in wintertime. I visit my home town of New York once a month as my children still live there and I must admit I get a thrill, even though I’m on the same JetBlue flight each visit to come home. Maryland is very nice but, New York is great and I frankly I didn’t realize how great and how much I missed it til I moved away.
Please come back again and again as the city has so much to offer and not enough time to see it all in a few days. I’m so glad that you as a visitor love New York as much as the New Yorkers do. It’s a very special place. Sally will tell you that because she came to the states for a temporary living arrangement, my family and hers have become lifelong friends.
Keep writing. I enjoy reading your blog very, very much!
Diane, it is so lovely to get your comment – warmed me cockles, as we say!
You are very lucky to be from such a great city – and I will return many times, for sure.
So super to hear from you 🙂
I LOVE NEW YORK TOO! haha I’ve only been there once, but it was amazing. Time Square was really cool and I loved all of the unique stores hidden all over the place. I also thought the Barnes and Noble was pretty sweet, and Fifth Avenue was awesome. Central Park was amazing…oh I could go on. You’ve brought back so many memories of my trip which I think was two years ago! Thanks for the awesome post!
Another great blog.xxx. Love the pictures…
As a native NYCer, can I just tell you how much I love this post? Nothing is ever quite as interesting as seeing your hometown through the eyes of a first time visitor.
“There were lots of blacked out hire cars and private limo type things, which I assumed were carrying celebrities so I waved at each one, just in case it was Johnny Depp waving back.”
Funny. Many of them are filled with low/mid level bankers and lawyers who need to move boxes of files from one office to the other. That was me on far too many an occasion.
“Times Square”: I get it. It’s the epicenter for the lights/traffic and an iconic location. It is also, however, only for tourists.
“42nd St and Broadway”: Actually all of 42nd street was a cesspool until the mid 90’s. I used to have to walk it every day to get to my office and was constantly harassed by dealers/hookers and beggars.
“Jazz bars”: agree %100!
“The cold – NYC in December is about as cold as I can take it. I really need to invest in some thermal socks if I am to survive an East Coast winter.”
Umm…you better buckle up girl because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This is the mildest start of winter I can remember for a long time.
I have a list as long as my arm of suggestions for your return visit.
Did you find yourself crying with laughter when carded at a nightclub to prove yourself over 21 (I think it is the law now in NY)? I tried to get into an eighties club called Pac Man last time I was there and alas I didn’t have my drivers licence on me so did not gain entry but we went to an all night bar instead. It is a relief to go to Manhattan sometimes as here in Baltimore the clubs/bars mostly close at about 2am no seriously…not that I go all that much. Yeah NY in December you will freeze your nuts off although I’m sure you don’t have any!
As a former Manhattanite (but mostly Houstonian…now living in Oxfordshire), I thoroughly enjoyed your blog entry. However, I feel compelled to comment on two of your dislikes:
1. The cold. NYC’s “winter” beats that of the midwest hands down…as at least in NYC it’s often sunny when bitterly cold. I can take that. What I don’t handle well is bitter cold and gloom…like the midwest. I found NYC winters — and I had 7 of them — easier to take because of the gorgeous blue skies that would accompany them most of the time.
2. Jazz clubs. I miss them tremendously. I saw so many jazz greats in clubs in The City, and I sat incredibly close to many of them. And if you had been trying to talk to me during a performance, I would have said the very same thing to you — politely, though, as I’m polite. Most of the people there are present for the musical experience, NOT to be chatted with. Serious NYC jazz clubs aren’t “nightclubs”.
Just my two cents/pence worth!
I think I need to get me some winter stuff! It was only waiting for the bus back to Baltimore which was an hour late that made my feet freeze!!
I hear you about jazz but it’s not my bag! Give me gays and a piano bar any time!!
Thanks for reading 🙂
Oh Claire, I have been missing so much… I must confess I haven’t been reading all of your blogs, but this made me chuckle so much! You look fab too btw x
Thanks lovely little HB xx
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