Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeen!


Saturday Film Fest...

On Saturday we went to have lunch at Sea in Brooklyn, we've decided that it's our favourite restaurant - the food is delicious and very reasonable, you can get an amazing crunchy seafood salad for $6! When we go we usually get a load of starters, they're all about $6 each and if you get a few of them it's enough for a meal each and you've only spent $15 each... perfect!

After Sea we got the train into town to go to the cinema to see The Social Network.

We'd heard a lot of good reviews about it and it was the Number 1 film in America for ages, even on at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon the cinema was almost full. It's still very popular.

It was a great film, the acting and the script were great and some of the cinematography was beautiful. The story is fascintating - all about the creation of facebook and the scandal surrounding it, I had no idea about Mark Zuckerman (the creator) and how he came to be the worlds youngest BILLIONAIRE! So if you get the chance, I can highly recommend it.

After the Social Network had finished Abi went along to Astor Place to get her hair cut, so I thought I'd go and see Saw 3D - after all, it's Halloween weekend.

I was actually pretty scared before going to see it, usually I have Tom with me to take my mind off it, or make me laugh before the film starts - but this time I was on my own, so I had to get a hotdog to take my mind off things!

It was a good Halloweeny film, a bit silly, very gory and gruesome, but not as bad as the past 6 films! The cinema was pretty full and everyone was screaming out in shock towards the end... it's great when people interact with the films.

Then to finish off the night, when we both got home we watched Top Gun - I'd never seen it before so Abi made sure that I experienced Tom Cruise in all his annoying little-man glory.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be... it was quite good I suppose.

Sad Clown...

We spotted this forlorn looking fellow on the other side of the tracks as we got on the train into town yesterday afternoon (all the splats and dots are because it was a photo through the train window).

We've seen lots of people casually riding the subways all dressed up ready for halloween. The thing is in New York, it's hard to tell if they're in fancy dress or not!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins...

Union Square Market was chocked full of pumpkins this morning as I walked to work, all ready for the weekend. All shapes and sizes, ready to be carved into any number of things and placed on peoples stoops and window ledges.

Luckily we got our pumpkins at Walmart when we had the truck, and last night we put the finishing touches to our entry for the annual Elmwood Pumpkin Carving Competition, we wanted to do something New York inspired and it didn't take Miss Turner very long to think of something. So here it is...

A genuine pumpkin burger!

Everything's real... the burger was the biggest burger we've ever made, a whole pound of cheap mince, the gherkin's actually a courgette!

Unfortunately we didn't win, because it wasn't halloweeny enough (no-one mentioned that in the brief! Last year the winner was a PacMan pumpkin - that's not Halloweeny), but it doesn't matter because we had so much fun doing it.

We've still got a pumpkin left (a BIG one) so we're thinking of what to do for that, but I think it'll be a wee bit simpler, I'll post a picture of that one on Sunday.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow...

This was the view from my desk on a rather wet Wednesday afternoon...


It's been blummin' strange weather recently - it's been really grey and miserable but it's been BOILING hot too, well, boiling for this time of year... it's felt very tropical. It was 20 degrees at 7.30am the other day and when I went outside it smelt just like Florida smelt after it rained. I've been walking around in my t-shirt for the last couple of days (... and my jeans of course!), but I don't think it's set to stay warm (phew!) it's going to get back to being nice and chilly this weekend.

Off t' Chippy...

Just over a week into his time here, Ben was already missing home and British food (so was I) so on Tuesday night we went to the Chip Shop in Park Slope in Brooklyn.

A few months ago I had gone to the other Chip Shop in Brooklyn with Will and Ting, this was the original of the two - and I think the better. It seemed to be popular, nearly every table was taken and all the Americans were enjoying (and exclaiming at the size of) the fish and chips.

I don't think they were any bigger than at home, and Americans are the last people I'd think would be surprised at portion sizes!

It didn't feel quite as genuine of as cozy as Tea & Sympathy, I don't know if it was owned by ex-pats or not, but it was being run by a very camp American man - so it certainly felt New Yorky rather than British. But they did have some great memorabilia on the walls and the loos (which were sign posted 'Loos), had UK newspapers as wall paper and an old Blue Peter annual on the wall.

We had some fish and chips, a cup of tea, and how could we resist...

As we left I bought some extortionately priced Wagon Wheels for Abi and got a scotch egg to go (for Abi, not me!). I also got an Aero for my journey back... Mmmmm... Aeros.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Twinkies...

Yesterday was Tet's first day in the office and he very kindly brought in some Dunkin Donut holes for us (off to a very good start), then we all went out for lunch and were talking about American food and stuff and the conversation came round to Twinkies.

Ben and I said we'd never tried one which was met with horrified faces from the Americans around the table, so Tet put a stop to that and this morning he brought in a box of Twinkies.

I have to say, that for once, they are as bad as they look. I could only stomach one mouth-full... the plasticy spongey cakey substance instanly just stuck to every bit of my mouth and sapped me of any saliva... luckily we had a cup of tea to hand to wash it down with.

I'm hoping Tet will bring in some vanilla slices tomorrow - I miss them, I thought I saw them in a shop the other day but under closer inspection (my nose pressed up against the glass counter), I realised with much disappointmen that they just looked the same.

I miss British cakes, I miss Friday cakes.


Sunday Shake Shack...

Sorry I've not posted much up on the blog recently, unfortunately work's been incredibly busy and we've been blummin' pooped at the weekends so we've not been up to a great deal... it'll change though soon.

On Friday night we went out with everyone from work and on Saturday Ben came round for tea (and ended up staying until nearly 4am!), so on Sunday we were all worked-out and wanted a lazy day. So we went into Manhattan and went to the pictures.

Before going to the cinema we stopped off at the Shake Shack - but not the Shake Shack we're used to going to, it was the Times Square Shack Shack that we didn't even know existed until a couple of weeks ago!

It's not a huge place, and is a little off the main strip of Times Square, but it's still brilliant - the atmosphere's the same and all the signage and interior design is great! Our table has a little stamp on it that said it was handmade in Brooklyn and was made out of a reclaimed bowling alley!

The most important question was obviously - did the burgers taste as good? YES! They were just as delicious as the Shack in Madison Square Park and Shake Shack remains at the top of our NY Burger Chart... Phew!

After our delicious burgers we went down the road to the cinema to see Life As We Know It. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon film, it was a bit sad in parts but lovely and funny in others.

Hopefully we'll have some time to get out and do some more exploring soon and have some more bloggy bits for you...

Friday, October 22, 2010

In The Key of G...

This man is by far my favourite busker in New York.

Every now and then he'll get onto the G train as we're going home, heavily laden with his guitar, his mini amp, his microphone, a bag and of course his signature hat. He stands in the middle of the carraige strumming away, uneffected by the bumps and bends in the tracks and although sometimes the guitars a bit iffy, he always sings brilliantly.

The two songs he seems to sing are Knocking On Heavens Door and Words, and after I've heard him sing them they're stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

video

Sorry about the bumpy video, and he wasn't standing that close to me, the camera automatically zooms in - I think he realised I was filming but I gave him a couple of dollars for his performance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For Duck's Sake...

On Tuesday evening we all went out for a big work doo to welcome Laura (a new account manager that's joining in a week or so, we also had Alex and Kelly in town from Arkansas and Ben from Leeds, so there was a big crowd of us and for once we felt like a proper office-team.

We all went to the Peking Duck House in China Town for a huuuuuuge meal (too huge). Amelia and Malvina had raved about the Duck House ever since they both went, and they stunk out the office eating left-overs for the three days following. So we thought we'd all go.

If you order the duck, they bring the whole duck to your table, show it to you and then start carving it on a trolley at the table. Then they make your pancakes for you... now, I wasn't too happy about this bit - making the pancakes is half the fun!

As there was 11 of us, we ordered rather a lot of food - our banquet consisted of (in order)...

Soup,
Fried Prawns,
Spring Rolls,
Dumplings,
Lettuce Wraps,
Duck Pancakes,
Lobster,
Thick Noodles and Vegetables,
Thin Noodles and Vegetables,
Orangey Chicken,
Crispy Spicy Beef,
Steak and Pak Choi,
Garlic Shrimp,
and finally Fried Bananas.

Needless to say there was a fair bit left over, so Abi and decided not to waste it and we took it home and had it for tea last night.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ta Ta Tawny...

It was the most perfect and special Bank Holiday, we felt like we'd jumped on a plane and escaped to another country. The whole Bear Mountain area was so beautiful and we were both so so happy we'd made the trip, but I think we were both a wee bit sad to leave (we're certainly going to miss Tawny!)

Knowing that places like Bear Mountain are so close and so easy to drive to, we're hoping to go on a few more driving adventures over the next few months. Canada's only a 6 hour drive away!

Lake Tiorati...

Our last stop at Beaver Mountain before heading back to Manhattan was Lake Tiorati..

A biiiiiiiiiig, beautiful blue lake surrounded by forests and campsites, it was easy to image how busy it must get during the summer months. There was a little beach which was infortunately blocked off for the autmumn/winter, but there were a couple of people rowing and canoeing.

It was another quiet and peaceful place, although there were a few cars in the carpark and people having their packed lunches in the picnic area, it still felt deserted... in a good way.

Lake Nawahunta...

When we got back down to the bottom of the mountain we decided to go and explore some of the exploring area before heading back to Manhattan, we could see lots of lovely lakes as we drove up the mountain and we wanted to find some of them.

All the lakes and ponds in the surrounding area have great native American names, like Lake Nawahunta ('He once was a gatherer, but he's nawahunta'... I'm making that up, I don't know how you're supposed to pronounce it).

We cam across this little lake by accident really, we were heading for a larger lake up the road but we slammed on the breaks when we saw this through the trees...

It was absolutely stunning.

It felt like we were should have been in Canada, not 50 miles from Brooklyn. It was so peaceful, so quite and the colours in the trees, the sky and the water were just so incredible. We just wanted to go swimming, or jump in a canoe and paddle around.

After soaking in the beautiful scenery we jumped back into Tawny and carried on down the road....


Amazing Colours...


Down the Mountain...

On the way down the mountain we decided to follow the road down to another view point. Another narrow, bendy road through the amazingly coloured trees, then as we turned a corner - there was an opening in the trees, giving way to show this view...

This was Bear Mountain Bridge, on crossing over to another National Park area.
There were quite a few cars parked along the road side, people with telephoto lenses snapping away, people soaking in the views, enjoying the beautiful sun and the beautiful scenery...

The leaves on the trees were such amazing colours, there was one particular tree that quite a few people were taking photos of - including us, it was such a vivid orange colour - it looked like it was on fire...

There were some lots of beautiful colours on the drive and up the mountain, in the forest and covering the hills, it was absolutely beautiful.

Bear Mountain...

Once we got to the top, the view was amazing...



It was pretty busy up at the top as it was a Bank Holiday Monday, there were lots of families, Japanese tourists and bikers all at the top enjoying the views and the fresh air. It was so peaceful up there, the air felt really crisp and although it was a big nippy, it was lovely and warm in the sun (especially on the rocks).

There was an observation tower on top of the mountain, which we were going to go up but it was a bit busy in there and the views were good enough without going a little higher...

It felt a million miles away from the noise and busyness of New York, it felt like were were back home - or in Canada or something, it was absolutely beautiful...

There were quite a lot of people coming up the moutain through the woods in full-on hiking gear, they'd obvoiusly not been lazy like us and walked instead of driving. We heard some people talking about the Apalation Trail, so Bear Mountain must be on the route of that massive trek - it would certainly have paid off walking all the way up for the view.

We decided that we'd go for a little trek of our own, so we started to walk down into the woods a bit, along the marked path. We were hoping to see some wildlife, preferably a bear and it wasn't long before we came into contact with this impressive chap...

It's a real life stick insect - in the wild! I'd never seen one before, we probably looked a bit funny, getting excited over something that looks like a twig, but it was so strange seeing one in real life. They look just like a stick! Clever little creatures.

Before long, we realised that we weren't really in the appropraite attire to trek through the forest, and we were keen to drive on to another area, so our trusty navigator turner sherpa showed us the way back to Tawny...

We got back in the truck and carried on our adventure...

Road Trip!

After a hearty breakfast at Maggie Brown's - we set off with Tawny and headed upstate towards Bear Mountain.

Once we'd navigated the annoying one-way roads in Brooklyn, we were onto the big main express-way roads heading up through the boroughs with a great view of the Manhattan skyline in the mirrors...

We drove up from Brooklyn through the Bronx, passed the Yankee Stadium and towards the interstate roads...

Then before too long, the views went from this...

To this...

As we got further upstate, the scenery became more and more beautiful, the concrete started to disappear and more and more green crept in to view, before long it wasn't skyscrapers in the mirror, it was a sea of trees...

After nearly 2 hours, we found our selves at the bottom of Bear Mountain, then the roads became pretty narrow and very bendy as we climbed higher and higher towards the top...

Zip-a-dee-doo-car...

Last week we signed up and joinged Zipcar ... we'd been looking into hiring a car for a little while, but Zipcar is a bit different from Avis or Hertz. It's more of a car sharing thing than car hiring - you pay a small yearly fee, then you're able to hire cars for half an hour to four days at a time.

They have cars dotted around all over New York in designated car park spaces - we have a car park just round the corner from our apartment that we can us, but we were after a specific car so we had to go to a different car park just a couple of stops away on the subway.

You unlock the car using a member's card, and once you've got the car you can use an app on your phone to lock and unlock it and even honk the horn incase you lose the car! It's all incredibly clever and we have been so impressed with the idea and how easy it all is.

As I said, we were after a specific kind of car, a car that's suitable for the adventure we had planned, so we hired Tawny for the day, a big, shiny red pick-up truck!

I think it might have been the same kind of truck that Top Gear modified to go to the North Pole in...? Regardless, it was a beautiful machine and had plenty of cup holders.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rolly Polly...

This very lovely Rolls Royce was parked outside BAM on Sunday afternoon...

Time To Go...

Our bus back to New York was at 9pm, so we had some time in the evening to enjoy Philly by night. We had a scrumptious tea at a place called Marathon (we had swordfish!) and then walked around looking at the impressive buildings all lit up.

and of course, oversized clothes pegs lit up too...

We had an absolutely BRILLIANT day in Philadelphia - we saw everything we wanted to see (although, as we left we realised that we completely forgot that the Love sculpture is in Philly too and we missed that), and we had a great time exploring and wandering around.

With it being so close and being so affordable and convenient to get there, we'll definitely be going back soon, maybe in the spring or something (or for Christmas shopping?!).