Saturday, November 27, 2010

Red & Gold...

The Empire State Building has been looking very Thanksgivingy these past few days with golden and red lights lighting up the tower. It looked beautiful on our way home from shopping today...

(The shopping bags are deliberately out of shot so none of you can guess what you're getting!)

Let It Snow...

I've been seeing pictures of the snow back at home... I hope you're all keeping safe and warm - it looks like there's been quite a bit. We've had no such luck over here, this is as close as it's got to snowing in Brooklyn...

I've got my fingers crossed for some snow over here - it's blummin' cold enough to snow! I'll keep you posted...

Black Friday...

After saying I was going to spend the day hiding in the apartment (or better still, the pub) - I caved and went into town with Abi to brave the Black Friday shoppers...

Luckily, Abi didn't want to go in for the 4am 'door-buster' deals (although there was talk about staying up all night and going into town at 3.30am!), so we went into town at a far more sociable time - lunchtime. Although, it was still HEAVING with shoppers as all the stores had special deals on. The night before, on the news it said it was likely to be the most successful shopping day America's seen for a looooong time - seems the recession's fully over over here.

The shops were looking lovely and Christmassy with all their decorations up, Macy's expecially looked incredibly festive. I know that not all the shops have got their decorations up yet, so it's going to get even more sparkley in the coming weeks... so expect plenty more photos too!

We shopped till we dropped (nearly) and came home with bags a plenty. I Black Friday marked the end of calm days shopping in town now, it was a massive test of our patients and our elbow strength yesterday... I hope we manage to finish our Christmas shopping without losing our cool in the queues!

Festive Feeling...

We had a lovely Thanksgiving day on Thursday, it felt very festive - so we're in a very Christmassy mood now.

We got up and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on telly (it was a bit cold and grey outside, so it's just as well we didn't get up at 6am to get a good spot on the street), it was a totally different experience seeing it on telly. They have loads of performances out infront of Macy's while they're waiting for all the floats to reach 34th Street.

They had performances from a lot of the new Broadway shows, like Elf and Million Dollar Quartet, and lots of marching bands and the ROCKETTES! I have to say, the Rockettes were the best bit, but it was nothing compared to seeing them at Radio City!

Then all the floats starting coming down outside Macy's, they had some big celebrities on the floats this year, Kanye West, Gladys Night and Kylie! Although I don't think they really knew who Kylie was... the best bit of the whole parade had to be the finalé with Father Christmas. He looked just like Mr. Attenborough on Miracle on 34th Street, he had a lovely bushy white beard and a very well kept moustache and a big jiggly belly that he held when he said 'Ho, ho, ho!'... it was lovely and magical.

Then, after the parade we spent the whole day prepping and cooking our big feast! We had the lot, turkey, sausages wrapped in bacon, stuffing, roast vegetables, roast potatoes, sweet potato mash, roasted parsnips (we even had brocoli!)... and it worked, we actually managed to time it all right and eat at tea time... it was a mighty fine feast.

We cooked the turkey in an oven bag, which was a great success, it made the meat just fall off the bone - and it kept it moist... I think we'll be doing that again, maybe with something smaller though, like a chicken.

We watched Christmassy films on telly and fell asleep - just like Christmas! It was a really lovely day, it was just nice to be with each other and take our time cooking and have fun while we were doing it, we listened to the Rockettes's Christmas album and wished for snow, it felt like a little trail run for Christmas, and now neither of can wait for the real thing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it's not really a British holiday - and I don't fully understand what it's all about, but I do know that I'm incredibly thankful for having such a loving and supporting family and I'm thankful for the opportunity to live and work in New York. I'm thankful for being able to share this amazing experience with the beautiful Miss Turner, and for being able to share this bloody massive turkey with her too! I think we'll be eating turkey until Valentines Day now.

I hope you're all having a lovely Thanksgiving/Thursday too.

Not long til Christmas now!

Getting Ready...

Turkey - check.
Mountain of vegetables - check.
Little Sausages - check.
Stuffing ingredients - check.
Eggs and bacon - check.
Booze - check.

I think we're ready for Thanksgiving!

Flying The Flag...

The flag in Union Square looked rather dramatic and beautiful on Thursday morning on the way to work.

Wafels and Delicious Dinges...

Christmas must be just around the corner because the Union Square Christmas market is in full swing just around the corner from work. Just like last year it's full of lovely little stalls selling all sorts of different things that make brilliant Christmas present ideas... there's almost too much choice.

As well as beautiful jewellery, paintings, ornaments, gadgets, hats, ponchos, toothbrush holders and cuddly toys there are also some delicious food stalls in the market. Last year Tom, Fay and I had some mighty fine crepes, which Abi and I have sampled again this year but we've also discovered the Wafels and Dinges stall...

They are, without a doubt, the most scrumptiously tasty and more-ish wafels I have EVER had, they're even better than the ones I had in Belgium... they were incredible. 'Dinges' is apparently the Belgian word for 'whatchamacallit' so they're the toppings - you can have strawberries, bananas, chocolate fudge, nutella, dulce de leche, spekulees, walnuts, maple syrup or just butter... any combination you like... we had nutella and dulce de leche, I can still taste it now - it was sooooooo good!

I have a feeling we'll be having a fair few more wafels before flying home in a couple of weeks, if only I could keep them warm while we fly home - I'd bring some home with me.

Unstoppable...

Last weekend we went to go and see Unstoppable at the cinema - it's the new film with Denzel Washington in it and it's directed by the person who directed Man On Fire... I don't know if it's out at home yet, but once it comes out GO AND SEE IT! It's great.

It's based on a true story about an unmanned run-away train that was carrying highly explosive cargo and headed for a densly populated town. Once the story got going we were both properly on the edge of our seats. Denzell's great (as always) in it and Chris Pine (the grump looking bloke on the poster) was good too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mr. Ian Wright...

Over the past few weeks I've been working on the Elmwood Christmas card and one of the ideas I had was to work with Ian Wright, the artist we went to go and see talk a couple of months ago.

Unfortunately the idea wasn't really liked by the big cheeses at work, and the whole Christmas card project became a complete mess and the idea that was approved was later canned, a week before it was supposed to be artworked... anyway - that's boring...

The good thing to have come out of this whole messy project is that I was able to get in contact with Ian Wright a bit, and despite not working with him I was able to meet up with him for lunch last Thursday.

It was great to finally meet him as we'd been emailing backwards and forward over the weeks and it was even better to go and see his studio down near China Town and see some of his pieces and see one new piece in progress. He was working on a picture of a dog made completely out of bark which he was hoping to sell at the Miami Art Fair this week.

He was an incredibly nice man and I felt we hit it off straight away, he said we should meet up again and he'd introduce me to some of his other designery contacts/friends in the city - so hopefully I'll get to meet some more inspiring people.

Who knows - we might be able to do a collaboration soon?!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kings of Leon...

On Tuesday night, after a little smackeral at the Tick Tock Diner, we went to go and see Kings of Leon play at Madison Square Garden! It was absolutely AMAZING!

The crowd was building up all night, it was quite empty while the support band The Manchester Orchestra (not from Manchester, not an orchestra!) were playing, but by the time Kings of Leon were on stage there wasn't an empty seat in the whole building. It was a massive sell-out crowd.

video

They started off playing a few songs from their new album, which sounded even better live than they do on the record, and then they played lots of the best songs off all their albums.

I think we both enjoyed the gig a bit more than last time we saw them, last summer in New Jersey - that time Abi had literally just arrived and was a wee bit jetlagged... but this time we were both wide-awake and had a great view - it was brilliant (all except the idiot standing next to me who kept bashing into me... nevermind).

video

Madison Square Garden is such an exciting venue to go and see gigs in and it's felt completely different each time I've been. With Leonard Cohen it felt very relaxed and amazingly intimate, for Jack Johnson it felt like a big party and then the Kings of Leon made it feel like we were at a proper arena or festival concert.

I have a feeling that might have been our last gig of the year, but what a way to finish - one of our famous bands at one of the world's most famous venues!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moody Night...

Thank You!


It was so so fantastic to see you again Mops and Pops, thank you so much for coming to see me and make my birthday so special. Abi and I absolutely LOVED the Rockettes and we'll never forget the amazing treat of our delicious brunch at River Café. It was a perfect little long-weekend break for us, I hope it was for you two too.

Not long til Christmas now!

Gay Old Time...

In a city full of very straight roads, Gay Street is unusually, but very fittingly, not.

Vibrant Village...

On Monday we took ourselves on a short walking tour that Pops had found in a book. The walk started off at the bottom of 5th Avenue in Washington Square Park and meandered through the West Village towards the river.

Washington Square Park was a fantastic place to start, it's such a beautiful and peaceful little park round the corner(ish) from work at the bottom of 5th Avenue. It wasn't the sunniest of days, but the colours of the trees and flower beds looked beautiful and autumnal.

The Park always seems to be a hive of activity, with people playing chess, lots of holiday makers, travellers, street performers and buskers - and on Monday, film crews! We saw two different sets of people filming...

From the park we walked up a couple of blocks on 5th Avenue until we got to West 10th street, where we took a left and walked further into the village, passing lots of beautiful little town houses, some of which used to be home to folks like Mark Twain and e.e.cummings...

The colours were absolutely amazing - some people had even gone to the trouble of colour co-ordinating their houses and scooters...

We continued to walk through the village, onto Greenwich Avenue and passed lots of beautiful hosues and little shops, the whole village felt very peaceful and quiet on that Monday morning, and everything looked stunning with all the bold colours...

In the middle of the little tour was the area where the Gay Right Riots kicked off, (very close to Gay Street!) - so there were a few statue figures in a small park to commemorate/celebrate the event...

There are quite a few very upmarket shops around the Perry Street and Greenwich Avenue area, a lot of big names with very small boutique style shops, there's Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren - all sorts, some of them look lovely and Christmassy already...

Along our walk we found the Spotted Pig restaurant. I've read about Spotted Pig a lot, it's run by some famous chef and is supposed to do amazing burgers, but apparently it's quite hard to get in to - there's even a secret private dining room for celebrities! The outside of the restaurant looked very autumnal...

There were two very friendly looking people sitting on the bench outside the restaurant...

After Greenwich Village, the walk carried on towards the Hudson River, so we strolled along there for a few blocks and then headed back inland towards the Meatpacking District, passing some more fancy restaurants and great looking shops, like the Vitra shop.

We stopped off at the Chelsea Market for some delicious milkshakes and coke floats before making our way back to the hotel. It was such a perfect relaxing way to spend the day, and such a brilliant way to see a new part of Manhattan. There are some other walks in the little guide book, so I think we'll be doing some more of them in the future - it was brilliant.

Skating in the Plaza...

The Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza has been put up and is currently under hoarding, being decorated with thousands of twinkly lights ready for the big lighting event after Thanksgiving.

The Ice Rink has also just been set up, and on Monday there were a few people trying it out...

Maybe this year we'll try and have a go - once the trees been lit, I'd love to go skating in the park this year too...

Loadsa Lego...

On Monday morning, after another slap-up breakfast at Oscars (5 sausages!) we made our way down to the Rockefeller Plaza and had a look around the new Lego shop.

The shop was just opening when Tom was here in the summer, he was able to contribute in the building of a massive red apple made entirely of lego, so it was lovely for us to be able to and see the shop too.

It was full of fantastic models of statues and sculptures that are around the Rockefeller Plaza, like the made holding up the globe and this stone carving that arches of the main entrance to the Rockefeller Tower...

The rest of the shop was a bit like the M&M Store, with pic and mix sections each full of different coloured and different shaped lego bricks, it was so bright and cheery.

It was a great shop, it's lovely to know that toys like lego don't go out of fashion or become out-dated with all the computer games and stuff... it reminded me of Tom playing with his lego and me playing with my playmobile - I wonder if there's a playmobile shop somewhere?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The RiveR Café...

For a very special birthday treat, we went for lunch at the River Café, right under the Brooklyn Bridge. Abi and I had been to the River Café a wee while ago as a treat from work and we thought at the time how much Mops and Pops and Abi's parents would love it.

The restaurant's not very big, and has a lovely little drive-way and garden out at the front, with flower pots and pumpkins decorating the doorway. Inside it feels quite Jerseyish, it's rather fancy but it's not pretentious, the staff are all very friendly and smiley - the food is amazing and the view... well, the view is just fantastic!

This was the view from my chair - we must have had the best table in the place, we could see everything, the Brooklyn Bridge, the amazing skyline, even the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

The sun was shining through the windows, filling the restaurant with warm light - it was so lovely and relaxing, with the amazing food and drink - it made it hard to leave. Mops and I had a seafood trio to start, with shrimps, raw ahi tuna and little lobster dumplings, and Abi and Pops had a crab and coconut soup, then Mops, Pops and Abi all had an amazing looking steak and I had the most deliciously crispy duck... Mmmmmmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

We were pretty stuffed after that, but somehow managed to find room to share some pudding, so Abi and I shared a sticky chocolate pudding and Mops and Pops had some pumpkin pie to get into the Thanksgiving mood... it was all amazing.

It was great being right infront of the window, we could see all the little boats going by and the massive ships sailing passed, the jet skis whizzing along and the tug boats pushing the heavy loads down the river, even the police we out in their little boats...

We were there at the ideal time too, as the sun was beginning to set the water got more and more sparkly and the sky got more colourful. After our amazing lunch we went from the tranquil and beautiful setting of the restaurant to the not so beautiful setting of Bedstuy for a cup of tea and some homemade cheesecake (which we managed to find some room for before falling asleep!).

It was the most wonderful day, walking across the bridge and having such a delicious meal.
It was all just perfect.

Polite Graffiti...

Over The Bridge...

On a beauitfully sunny Sunday we all met up outside the City Hall, at the beginning of the Brooklyn Bridge, ready to make our way over the river.

I always love walking across the bridge, and it was even lovelier that the four of us could walk over together in the sunshine.

Once we got to the other side, we stood on the waters edge, looking back over at Manhattan before heading to somewhere rather special for our lunch...

A Christmas Extravaganza...

On Saturday night we went to see the Radio City Rockettes in the Christmas Extravaganza and it was absolutely BRILLIANT!

Radio City was looking lovely and festive on the outside, and it was even more glitzy and sparkling on the inside...

The foyer was buzzing with excitement, with the Christmas music blasting out and all the glowing wreaths and tree lights winding up the staircase, it felt incredibly Christmassy, and the festive feel continued into the music hall...

We sat down, with our novelty souvenir drinks, complete with glowing swizzle sticks and waited for the show to being - and once it did, it was fantastic from beginning to end.

There was a fantastic 3D video in during act two, where Father Christmas travelled from the North Pole to New York, flying through the arch in Washington Square Park and up 5th Avenue, swirling passed the Empire State Building and finally arriving outside Radio City Hall, then through the doors came... FATHER CHRISTMAS!

The singing and dancing was so much fun - and the Rockettes looking amazing dancing in formation, perfectly synchronised and in time with each other. Each act had a different theme, from a sight-seeing bus in New York, to the Father Christmas's toy factory, from the Nutcracker to the Nativity scene (with real life camels!), they were all as entertaining as the next...

There were two acts that had been in the Christmas Extravaganza since the show began, they were the Nativity scene, which has quite dramatic and funny at the same time, and the Parade of the Toy Soldiers, which was my favourite - I can't seem to embed this video, but if you go to think link (here) you can see just a little of what the Rockettes can do...

The whole show was absolutely brilliant and I would have watched it all over again immediately - it was a perfect birthday treat, and it really put us in the Christmas mood, we can't wait to decorate our flat and start Christmas shopping now.