Thursday, June 30, 2011

Billy... again...

This is become a regular site now - well, not quite like this, but we saw Billy Connolly again yesterday lunch time, he walked down East 17th Street and bought him and (I'm guessing) Pamela some sandwiches at Pret and then walked back home.

Before the end of the year, I WILL have a picture of Abi and I with Billy!

Biiiiiig BBQ...

On Tuesday night, we went on an office night out the Hill Country BBQ up near the Flat Iron Building, for the biggest amount of meat I've ever seen.

The walk up from work was lovely, it was that beautiful warm evening sunlight that casts crisp shadows on all the buildings, and the Empire State Building and Flat Iron Building looked fantastic - as ever...

As soon as we walked into the BBQ place we were hit by a wall of meaty smells and BBQ, and as we walked to our table we could see the mounds of meat of people's tables and the serving area where the BBQ Butchers cut your meat to order. I was so hungry (I had a tiny lunch to make sure I had room for the meat feast!), so I was tempted to hop over the counter and just start eating everything there and then!

We ended up ordering two of the 'Everything's Bigger in Texas' platters - which said they were for 4 people each, but just like with the Chinese Takeaway platters, they were huge!

We had two whole chickens, 8 HUGE beef ribs, 8 pork ribs, some pulled pork off the whole hog roast and a HUGE pile of brisket, along with 8 delicious sides of mac and cheese, collard greens, coleslaw, beans in a mushroomy sauce and cornbread... it was delicious...

We had our picture taken, but I was more interested in my rib!

Look at it!
Beautiful!


After eating nearly all the meat on the table, we managed to lift our new heavier bodies from our chairs and make our way downstairs to the karaoke bar, where there was a live band playing as the backing tracks.

Luckily, Andrew managed to control himself and not sing this time, but we enjoyed watching all the other people singing along to Dolly Parton and Neil Diamond, some of them were actually good!

It was a great place, and definitely somewhere I'd go again - the food was fantastic and there was a great atmosphere downstairs at the bar.

The best part of the night was that Abi and I got to take home a WHOLE CHICKEN in a doggy bag! Which we enjoyed for tea last night, Mmmm mmmm mmmmm!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Sunset...

Hopefully this stunning sunset is a sign of a good week ahead for all of us.
(The view from the roof's not too shabby is it?)

One Way...

Em-pride State Building...

The other day, the people of New York voted 'yes' to gay marraige and to celebrate the Empire State Building was lit up like a rainbow...

We tried to get a photo of the Rainbow Tower yesterday evening but we were a bit too far away for it to come out. I love how the Empire State Building has different lights for different occassions... I wonder what the next one will be?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bloody Billy Connolly!

This, believe it or not, is Billy Connolly - spotted once again right round the corner from work.

Except this time, I was there to witness him in the flesh (thanks for Abi, who pointed him out as he walked passed us in the rain) and I was then able to run after him, follow him round the corner, tap him on the shoulder, say 'Hello' and shake his hand.

He was very smiley (and very tanned).

I think I may have taken him a little by surprise. I don't think he could fully see through his rain splattered spectacles. Next time I'll get a photo of us with him!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Towering Towers...

Food Trucks-a-plenty...

The food trucks have all started queueing up in the evenings, just round the corner from work... It's an incredible temptation. Burgers, Pizza, Dutch Fries, Frozen Yogurt... so much choice.

(One of them's a UPS van though - they weren't serving food!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fine Flat Iron...

I strolled up to the Flat Iron this afternoon - sometimes I forget it's so close to work.

It's such an amazing building.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quick Trip to Cuba...

This afternoon Abi and I took a quick trip to Cuba, we hopped on the G Train, got off at Fulton Street and found ourselves in Havana!

We went for lunch at the Habana Outpost - on the corner of Fulton Street in Brooklyn - and it was fantastic...

I'd seen this place over a year ago, when there was some event going on and I thought it looked so fun and colourful and had wanted to know what it was, so today was the perfect time to explore further and go in.

Outside, there's a load of tables and chairs set up underneath big rainbow coloured parasols, there's an area to get drinks to the left and the red hut at the back is the kitchen...

As you walk to the back you see the beautiful big wooden arched door with wrought-iron patterning on it, which looks like it was saved from a delipodated Cuban town house or something (that's what I made up anyway!).

Inside, there's not much other than the desk to place your orders and pay, a couple more tables and a graffittied cash machine, but there's not need for much else inside because everyone just wants to sit outside and enjoy the amazing sunshine and listen to the great music...

The DJ was playing some very summery and relaxing tunes - a lot of Bob Marley, and a brilliant version of Adele's Rolling In The Deep (I Shazamed it, it was apparently the Jamie XX Remix if you're interested!).

The menu was fantastic - you can build you own meal, so you pick you meat (pulled pork, steak, catfish...) and then choose whether you want it in a sandwich, in a burrito or just as a meal with rice, then you can pick your extra sauces. They also do Quesadillas and Tacos, which looked delicious, but what we were after was corn! We can't seem to eat enough corn on the cob at the moment.

Once you've ordered your food inside and got your drinks, you then go and sit outside in the sun, listen to Bob Marley and wait for the guy in the kitchen to come to his little window and shout your name out.

The food was absolutely DELICIOUS! We both had sandwiches, Abi had steak and guacamole and I had the catfish and we both, of course, had corn, which was so sweet and perfectly grilled, with just the right amount of charred bits (when we do corn in our oven, we charr it on the hobs before eating, to make it look like it's been BBQed).

Another thing that I loved about the Habana Outpost is how green they seem to be. They had a whole roof full of solar panels outside (it's a real sun-trap so it's perfect for it). Also, rather than just have one big bin for everything, they had different sections for people to seperate their rubbish into, so plates and cutlery into one, glass into another, food into another. They also had great little napkins, made out of recycled paper, that had their branding on and the line 'Save some trees, use you sleeves!'

The whole place was brilliant, from the atmosphere, to the food, to the colourful decoration, to the people working there. It was great and it really made us feel like we were back on our holidays again. I have no doubt that we'll be going back before the summer's over (which by the way, according to the telly, it's still spring!?!).

Shop Fronts...

A while ago I said that I wanted to go out and take some photos of the different shop fronts around our neighbourhood - well I still really want to (I'm not sure why I haven't yet), and I'm even more inspired to after finding a book on Amazon called 'Brooklyn Storefronts' by Paul Lacy.

It's a little book full of the kind of shops we have right near our apartment - lots of funny looking signs, old hand painted signs, strange versions of the English language, great typography examples - all sorts.

I pass this shop every day and always think how great the signs are...

I love the red and yellow and the hand painted typo on the Diamonds, the awful 'We Pay Top Dollar's' bit, and all the repetion - just incase it wasn't clear what they sold.

So, I think it's about time I got out and started taking some of these shop front photos and collecting them together. Perhaps by the end of the year I could have a nice collection to show you all?

Piano in the Park...

After waking up early and not being able to get to sleep (bloody jetlag) I went for a walk this morning, down the road to Fort Greene Park and back again.

When I got to the edge of the park, I spotted a bright red piano!

It was about this time last year that pianos started popping up in various places around New York, in McCarren Park and in Times Square - so I wonder if it's going to become an annual event?

Maybe if it's still there one morning I might have a little play myself - I can't sound worse than whatever it was that this lady was trying to play!

Happy Father's Day...

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY POPS!!!

I hope you're having a lovely, restful (and sunny) Sunday so far.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A VERY Happy Holiday...

Well, we're back in New York now, hot and sticky New York and we've got a bad case of the Holiday Blues now.

It was SO wonderful to be able to come home for a little summer holiday, to be able to come back for Pop's 60th Birthday Party, to be able to come back and meet little Harry and Maisie, to be able to come back and see everyone and for us all to have such a lovely little break all together.

It was all fantastic...

What a lot of lovely memories we'll all have now.

Now we're back on this side of the water, it's time to start planning other things to look forward to and keep us busy. We've already come up with a pretty long list of things to do in the rest of this year, so hopefully the next 6 months will be just as busy and exciting as the last...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

HOME TIME!

It's been a looooooooooooooooooooooooong 6 months, but this time tomorrow we'll be on that plane flying home!



I CAN'T WAIT!

Cornershop Conscience...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Evening Sun...

The setting sun was making our street at work look beautiful this evening...

It looked like the sun had lined itself up perfectly with 17h street!

I was reading the other day that there's something called Manhattenge (or some cross between Manhattan and Stonehenge) when the sunset is perfectly aligned with a certain cross-street in town... I think we've missed the 'official' occassion, but I think this was it really.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ray LaMontagne...

Last night, to finish off our longer than usual long weekend, we went to see Ray LaMontagne play in Central Park!

It was the perfect way to end the holiday and end the day, arriving at the Rumsey Playfield in the evening sunlight, walking up through the park from 59th Street, seeing the Plaza Hotel through the trees and seeing everyone still out enjoying the sun.

Rumsey Playfield is where they hold all the Summer Stage concerts during the summer, it's a bandshell in the middle of the park and is surrounded by trees, making it all feel far more intimate than being in a field. We arrived just as the sun was going down, and just as the second support act was finishing, so we got ourselves a drink and found a good spot to enjoy the music...

Then he came on, Mister Ray LaMontagne quietly came to the stage with a feather in his cap, followed by his band the Prarie Dogs...

One of the first songs was the beeeeeautiful Hold You In My Arms...

video

During which two people got engaged! We didn't see the whole down on one knee thing happen, but we heard the cheers coming from the crowd to the right of the stage. It would have been a bit embarrassing if she'd said no infront of all those people though!

Because he was playing with his band, he changed some of his songs a bit, making some of the more intimate songs he sings on his own a bit bigger and bandy, and making some of the bluesier ones more countryfied. One of the ones he changed was You Can Bring Me Flowers, which is usually quite dark and bluesy but Mr. Mountain invited the Secret Sisters (one of the support bands) out on stage to sing a country version of the song...

video

We were both a bit surprised at how many people were chit-chatting through the gig, especially the two people infront of us. We came to the conclusion that they were on a date, maybe their first date, and felt the need to make conversation with each other (and therefore missing the amazing music). So as the date goes on, the guy runs out of things to talk about so he improvises and whips out his iPhone to start talking his date through ANGRY BIRDS?!?!?!

"So there are these pigs here, and you've got these birds here..."
Annoying.

Towards the end of the gig Ray and the Prairie Dogs did an amazing version of Henry Nearly Killed Me - it was the stompiest, boomiest country song, with wailing harmonicas and amazing drumming, it really got everyone going...

video

The contrast between the songs was fantastic, he was able to make the whole park feel amazingly intimate with some songs, just him and his guitar, then with others he made it feel like a big old party with him and his band rocking out. It was absolutely fantastic.

Everyone seemed to be having a great time, the atmosphere was brilliant and Abi and I were absolutely amazed and how powerful his voice is - he sounds just as good, if not better than his albums.

I've been wanting to see Ray LaMontagne play for AGES, so I'm so so so pleased I was able to see him with Abi in such a beautiful setting. Arriving at the playing field was the sun was beginning to set and then hearing him play until it got dark in Central Park was just incredible.

video

What also made the whole thing feel so nice was that Mr. Ray seemed genuinely thankful for everyone coming to see him - as he finished the gig he kept quietly (he seems pretty shy) saying thank you, and thank you for being patient with the sound, and thank you for all coming to see him, and for making it so special... then he took his hat off, took a little bow and then slipped off into the shadows on the stage.