After visiting the big bad apple in the slushy grey winter in 2006 I vowed to return in the summer. Despite it being late September / early October summer seems to still be in full effect with a heatwave. It was so amazing to arrive to a ‘welcome to America’ sign in arrivals, my beautiful friend Mel met us at the airport and hosted us in Brooklyn, she is an absolute superstar. We crammed as much into a week in NYC as humanly possible, so here is a very brief 7 day rundown.
We started the trip with a bang in Coney Island visiting the faded seaside glamour of the boardwalk. We had a proper authentic hotdog after feeling belittled by the 4th July eating competitions, 69 hotdogs is just wrong! We then ventured to Brooklyn Park to see the views of the city but stumbled upon a pop up photography exhibition called photoville. I was transfixed going from one container to another checking out the best of the worlds talent. Later on upon leaving for a night in Manhattan we stumbled upon a house party across the road and decided to wander in. Knowing absolutely noone we felt a bit bad but quickly realised that no one in the house knew anyone else either. The crowning glory of the soiree was the cake centrepiece with GTFO on top, nice and welcoming! Saturday was spent visiting Aria in Times Square, again amazing to see more of the Rishikesh crew. Sadly we missed a free concert in Central Park but there was no way we would have got our hands on tickets so Kings of Leon were off the cards. We spent most of Sunday in the sun in the Park after brunch in Hells Kitchen, with an amazing take on eggs benedict, blue cheese hollandaise and portabello mushroom with red pepper potatoes, scrum! We had a wander around the flea market, its so nice to be in central Manhattan and find somewhere so quiet and peaceful. On the way home we decided to check out my favourite of all buildings, the Chrysler and decided very last minute to go up the Empire State. We were only 15 minutes away from sunset and facing an hour long queue so we played the honeymoon card to get express passes to get straight in the lift and beat the queue. It was worth it, we made it just in time to see the sun setting and hung around to see the night light up as you can see from the skyline…
Monday was spent trekking our hearts out for 7 hours around Bear Mountain in Peekskill, NY it was completely worth the wait as we could see 4 different states from the top. With such perfect visibility you could see Manhattan in the distance. We headed in to Williamsburg for the evening to recover to eat amazing bagels before heading to Juliet’s a lovely rooftop restaurant for tea. Tuesday should have been a muscle recovery day but we powered right through, grabbing a pretzel and marching over the Brooklyn Bridge into Chinatown. We ate banh mi in the park, watching all the old people play chess and doing tai chi, it was just like being back in Chengdu again. We headec south and caught the Staten Island ferry, due to the government shutdown, the Statue of Liberty was closed so we thought we should at least try and see it from the water. Something needs to happen soon to resolve this crisis, not only because we want to get in to the national parks, but because its utterly ridiculous that this huge nation is functioning with only a partial government.
Wednesday was spent in a complete daze with Seb’s Swiss friends in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is hands down the best museum I have ever been to in my life, I have never seen a more impressive collection of artefacts from around the world. The only thing that rivals it is the national museum in Cairo but that was only Egyptian material. There are vast wings at the Met dedicated to single nations or eras let alone continents. It was brilliant seeing things from all corners of the globe having visited some of these places in person now. One of the most impressive things I saw was in the Japanese section, a taxidermy deer covered in beautiful blown glass. I could have stared at it in bewilderment for hours if there hadn’t been the need to see the spectacular roof terrace overlooking the park and skyline. We then headed to Chelsea to meet Zane, it has been imcredible meeting familiar faces so far from home, and is a nice reminder that the world isn’t that big after all. He gave us a great tip to head to the meat packing district to walk the highline, a disused subway line that has been turned into an urban jungle with amazing artwork for 20 or so blocks a gorgeous way to enjoy the late sun yet again.
Thursday was time to jump on a plane to San Francisco, due to the construction work at JFK we very nearly missed it. It was sad saying goodbye in Brooklyn, we just got in to our stride in the city. It is an incredible place and I’m quite pleased with how much we got to see in such a short time yet there is still so much to explore.