Friday, September 30, 2011

Star Wars Lifts...

The lifts in the Marriot Marque are amazing! They look like something straight out of Star Wars...

Before leaving the hotel for the night, we rode the lifts from the very bottom to the very top... twice. They go super fast and there's one point, just before you reach the ground floor, it looks like your going to go crashing into the ground... 

It was one of the highlights of the night!

The Pentawards...

On Thursday Night, all the designers from work went along to the Marriot Marque Hotel in Times Square for the 2011 Pentawards.

We were up for 3 of the packaging awards, for projects that the UK teams did and we were the lucky ones who went to go and pick up the awards.
It was a long ceremony, 3 hours long and many many categories - but it was great to see the designers who had created some of the years best packaging. There some very prolific designers there, like Stan Church from Wallace Church and Mary Lewis from Lewis Moberly (they do some amazing stuff for Waitrose), and some people from Turner Duckworth (they do lots of great stuff for people like Coca Cola) and some people from Stranger and Stranger (who do some AMAZING booze bottles).

During the evening there was a special award honouring 125 years of the Coca Cola bottle - and as a special gift Turner Duckworth had produced a limited edition (only 200 of them made!) bottle just for the Pentawards, and we all got one in a goody bag.

After the awards were handed out we went and enjoyed the free bar and nibbles out in the hotel. Moet were using the event to launch their new product, a deeeeeeeeeeeeelicious new champagne in a white bottle, served in fantastic big white glass glasses...
It was a really fun night, and hopefully next year it'll be even better because we'll be winning awards for work that the NY studio have done ourselves...

I managed to come home with some trophies of my own... kind of...

It seemed not everyone wanted their Coca Cola bottles, and I'm not entirely sure if we were supposed to take the Moet glasses home with us, but the fit so nicely in our goody bags!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Sensational Sausage Sandwich...

A few weeks ago Abi and I stumbled across Sausage Inc, not too far away from work and we've been meaning to try it out ever since. Well, you'll be glad to know that this lunch time we went to sample their fare...

There are sausage sandwiches, and there are sausage sandwiches - and these were sausage sandwiches!
I had a Thanksgiving Sausage, a little early, but I couldn't resist a turkey and stuffing sausage with cranberry - it tasted incredible! With the fried onions on top and the sage and onion seasoning, aaaah it was wonderful!

Abi had a Blanco - soft pork and sage and added some garlic aoli on top, that was equally as delicious!

The other week I had the best chicken sandwich of my life, and I think this is up there with the best sausage sandwiches I've ever had. Bravo Sausage Inc. Bravo!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Post Number...

This is my 800th blog entry! Although I suppose doing a blog entry about a blog entry doesn't really count... but still, 800! Bloody 'ell!

Foo Fighters #16

Last night we went to the IZOD Center in New Jersey to see Foooooooooooooooooooooo Fighters!!!!!

It was our second time seeing them this year (!) and my 16th time seeing them play live, and it was just as good as the other 15 times!

The IZOD Center was packed (I don't think it was quite sold out though, I still don't understand how the Foos can sell out 2 nights at Wembley and then not sell out a 18,000 seat arena in New Jersey) - they'd even opened up the seats behind the stage, so they were almost playing in the round... not quite though.

They said at the beginning of the gig that they were going to be playing for a loooooong time, and they weren't joking - they played for 2 hours 45 minutes! With a 7 song encore!!!

They played loads of amazing songs, including this cover of Pink Floyd's In The Flesh...


The sounded absolutely amazing, with their old songs sounding just a good as their newer stuff.

At one point Kris Novoselic (the bass player in Nirvana) came on to play accordion on One Of These Days, and Dave mentioned the anniversary of Nevermind being released, so it was a pretty big thing to have the two of them on stage together again... although Kris looks more like an accountant than a rock star these days.

It's always a bit funny being at a big rock gig and being so high up, sitting down (although we stood up for a lot of it), but somehow they made it feel like we were right down at the front jumping up and down, the energy and the atmosphere was great.

Here's a little video for Tom - I always think of this as being 'our song' when we see Foos together and I always think of us jumping up and down at the festivals together to this one. Abi and I were jumping up and down and singing along for the three of us...


It was, as ever, an absolutely amazing gig - I can't wait to see them again... I won't have to wait long either, I've got tickets to see them at Madison Square Garden in November!!!!

9/11 Memorial...

On Sunday afternoon Abi and I went down to Ground Zero to visit the 9/11 Memorial and the new World Trade Center site.


After going through the security checks and navigating the path leading all the way around the building sites, we entered the 9/11 Memorial gardens and were instantly hit with the peaceful and calm feeling that surrounds the area.

The memorial garden has been so beautifully put together. The trees, the benches, the walkways, the grass, it's all incredibly tasteful done and the memorials themselves, the two pools are quite incredible. The footprints of the two World Trade Centers have been transformed into beautiful pools, lined with black stone and with waterfalls running along each edge.

The water, although fairly loud itself, manages to completely drown out the noise of Manhattan, the building sites and the nearby busy roads, you feel like there's nothing surrounding you at all - which was clearly the intention. After a while you become used to the sound of water and the whole area just feels silent, a rare and striking thing for the middle of New York.

Running around each of the two pools are the names of each of the victims of the three plane crashes and the earlier attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993...

Each name has been cut out of the copper plates, the intention was to create something tactile, so people could run their fingers through the letters of the names. There were some people taking rubbings of the names of their family members, others were leaving flags of flowers in the names.

We watched the documentaries about the designing of the memorial and the new World Trade Centers and they talked about the reasoning behind the placement of the names. The names aren't arranged in alphabetical order, each name is placed next to the name of a friend, or a work colleague, someone they travelled to work with, or someone they would spend their lunch times with. It makes the whole arrangement far more personal, it's such a beautiful touch.

It's an incredibly moving place to be, it's essentially a cemetary for a lot of families, somewhere they can come and visit the final resting place of their loved ones. There were people having a quite moment alone by the water, there were people sitting on the benches with their families, there were people there proudly telling the stories of their brave relative, or of the bravery of the firefighters, telling stories of survivors, or those who weren't so lucky - trying to spread the memory of those who died.

There were a lot of Firemen walking around, paying the respects to the many many firefighters who lost their lives trying to save others. All of the firefighters visiting the memorial we either wearing their uniforms or a commemorative t-shirt representing their team.

As well as it being a place to reflect, it also feels very much like a place to look to the future. With the ever on-going building work surrounding the gardens and the amazing and stunning architecture of the new structures around...

 The new World Trade Center is only two thirds of the way completed and already is a truly awesome looking building shadowing over the surrounding skyscrapers...

We were saying that it's quite a monumental thing to be in New York while the construction of the new tower's taking place. Just as people talked about the previous World Trade Centers and being able to remember them going up, we'll be able to look back on this time and remember seeing the new buildings going up.

 Come 2014, when all the different buildings are finished, including the amazing Transportation Hub (I've only seen the concept renderings, but they look incredible!) I think the whole area will have a totally different feeling. It will still be a place of remembrance, but also a place of transformation and strength.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fleet Foxes...

On Saturday night I went to see the Fleet Foxes play at the Williamsburg Waterfront. Last year we went to see Grizzly Bear and Band of Horses play, and this year was just as good!

The gigs down at the Waterfront run through-out the summer, so I suppose now they've stopped it's the start of Autumn, but it felt like a summer's evening, it was close and warm and everyone was wearing summery clothes.

The view from the Williamsburg Waterfront is incredible, those lucky bands playing get to look at this all night...

I'd missed the support act, and arrived just as the Fleet Foxes came on stage, and they sounded incredible! They played some stuff off their first album and a few off their latest album. Their harmonies were just incredible.

There was something about being outside that made the songs sound extra special, I think it's knowing that they outdoorsy people, their songs sound like they belong out in the woods or something, but on the Brooklyn waterfront will do nicely for now!




 They sounded amazing, and I loved their simple little animations in the background. This next video's a long one, but it's a good'un - they did White Winter Hymnal and Ragged Wood back to back, it was fantastic...


 Unfortunately it seemed like quite a few people left after they played these two songs, they're their more well known songs, but they played so many brilliant songs after those too.

It'd be fantastic to see them play again either in another outdoor venue (somewhere like Canada would be nice, or somewhere where you can actually see the stars!), but I think seeing in them in an old theatre or somewhere like the Royal Albert Hall would be incredible. Their voices sound like they'd fill any space without the need for microphones.

It was a really beautiful evening and being able to turn around while the Fleet Foxes were playing and see the Manhattan Skyline made it a very magical gig.

Myrtle Sunset...

After a horrible, grey and muggy day, the sun decided to make an appearance yesterday evening and put on a magnificent display before it said goodnight to Brooklyn.

Meet Me Down Town...

On our way back from Brooklyn Fare a we spotted some big lettering on a walkway overpass down the road from the subway station...

As we walked a bit closer we realised that the whole building was covered in messages...

We couldn't really work out what it was about, or what is was for, whether it was for an advert, or some art, or what... I'm still trying to google it and find out...

It was similar to some of the stuff that Pentagram do, they've done a car park in Manhattan, but it's a very different style to this...

Whatever it's for, I love it!

I'll keep investigating and try and find out what's all about.

Those Inconvenient Brits...

 The Brooklyn Fare are now selling products from home - some pricey hula hoops and galaxy chocolate!

The funniest thing was the little message appologising for the inconvenience with the dates being backwards!! I think we've got it the RIGHT way round, thank you very much.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Manhattan Monsoon...

video

There was a Manhattan Monsoon this afternoon...
We got trapped in the pub across the road from work!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Come Hell Or High Water...

The New York Surf Film Festival has been running for the passed 3 days. We really wanted to go to the film festival last year but weren't able to get tickets, so I was very pleased when we managed to get tickets to see Come Hell Or High Water last night...


Come Hell Or High Water is directed by Keith Malloy, who's directed and been in a lot of the surf films that I've got, he's part of the Woodshed films collective that he set up with his brothers and Jack Johnson. 

The film was all about body surfers, going around the world the Hawaii, California, the Philippines and Tahiti to some amazing places and capturing some great characters and their stories...


It was a stunning film, the shots were amazing, the places they were surfing in were beautiful and some of the stories were really moving. There was a father who was with his autistic son - he had taken his son swimming from a very early age, and it acted as therapy for him. When his son was in the water he had a constant smile from ear to ear - apparently he was incredibly gifted in the water and had a natural connection with the waves.


Keith Malloy and Scott Soens (the director of cinematography on the film, and an amazing photographer - he's done loads of beautiful music photography and album covers for people like Jack Johnson and Ben Harper) were there at the film - it was actually the film's premiere. Apparently the brought the final edit of the film with them to the cinema, they were still filming just a few days ago! They did a little questions and answers after the film - it was great to hear them talk about the film.

There was an after party next door at Stand Burger, so after the film we went in for some free nibbles and free bar! There were loads of people in there, including the films makers, but rather than the pretentious atmosphere that I could imagine some film festival parties might have, this was really nice and relaxed and fun.

As well as free chicken wings and drinks, we also bagged ourselves some free sunglasses, surfboard wax (we're never going to use it, but it smells like nougat!). We hung around for a bit, waiting from them to bring the burgers out, but we got too hungry so we went for a little evening stroll and got some proper food round the corner.

It was a great night and the film was really inspiring and the music was fantastic too. It was a really great night.

The Lion King...

On Friday night went to Times Square to see the Lion King in 3D!!!!

It's only out for two weeks, so the cinema was packed! There was a fantastic atmosphere in the cinema too, people were clapping and cheering at the opening sequence when Rafiki lifts Simba up in the air on Pride Rock.

People were laughing and singing and clapping along to all the songs all the way through, cheering when Simba defeated Scar and crying with Mufasa died.

It was wonderful seeing the Lion King again too, it's been AGES since I've watched it all the way through, I'd forgotten just how good it is. No-one can do childrens films quite like Disney, they stay as magical as the first time you see them.

It was funny thinking that there would be children in the cinema seeing it for the first time, and people like us who remembered it coming out the first time and enjoying it so much both times around...

If it comes out at home definitely go and see it - it was so much fun seeing it again!

After the film Kelly showed us a balcony at the cinema that looks over some of Times Square. It was great seeing all the tops of the buildings that we're used to seeing from the ground - like the Paramount Pictures building that the Hard Rock Cafes in, or the big spire that changes colour...

It was a bit funny looking down at all the traffic and people crossing the roads, I was getting a bit of vertigo...


But it was worth it. The view was great.

Harbour Lights...

On Thursday evening Abi and I went for an adventure on the river!

Abi had got some tickets for us through Living Social, for a night time dinner cruise along the East River. So we walked across from work to the river, heading down some streets we'd never been down before (it always nice going down new streets for the first time) to the river.

It'd been a horribly gloomy day, and raining too, so we were a little worried the weather would be rubbish for the cruise, we had already postponed our dinner date because of the weather a couple of weeks before. Luckily, someone was looking after us up there, and there was a beautiful sunset just as got to the boat...
Our tickets included food and two drinks each, and as we got on the boat people were already queueing and getting their dinner from the buffet!

At the beginning of the evening we were sort of regretting going on the cruise, the buffet wasn't great and was a carb-fest (pasta, pasta, potatoes, pasta, salad and bread!), we had to share a table with another couple and there was Guns n' Roses blaring out of the speakers before we set sail.

Luckily though things got a lot better, as the lights got turned off the views out the window were spectacular and the DJ started playing some James Brown instead, so things were looking up...

As people started dancing things got really fun, it was great for people watching, we even had a little dance ourselves. There was such a mix of people on the boat too, there were people of all ages - there was one couple who must have been in their early 70's who were dancing for nearly the whole evening, to every song, it didn't matter if it was Guns n' Roses or Frank Sinatra, they were there.

The boat went down the East River, under the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, down by the Financial District out out the see the Statue of Liberty where we stopped for a little while. It was great being able to go on the top deck of the boat, outside and see the Statue all lit up...


The view of Manhattan from the Statue was pretty amazing too...

The new World Trade Center Tower looks fantastic all lit up, they'd lit the bulbs in red, white and blue on the construction site. It was visible from the opposite side of the island - and when we were right at the bottom of Manhattan, by the Financial District is was amazing to see just how huge it's going to be. It was really quite awesome.

It was so wonderful to be able to stand on the back of the boat, away from the dance floor, and just stand and watch all the beautiful twinkly lights shining.

Just before the cruise ended, the boat was turning around just by the old Pepsi advert. We've seen this from the other side of the river, when we've been getting taxi's back to Brooklyn and I've always wanted to get up close to it - so it was fantastic to get this close to it in the boat.

I think New York at night is one of my favourite ways to see the city. Just seeing the skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park is breath-taking, but seeing the whole city at night by boat is just incredible.

Corny disco boat, or not, it was an absolutely fantastic night.

Sing Sing!

On Wednesday we had a big work night out as we had a couple of people from Leeds over and Kelly and Eliot were in town. So we all went for hot dogs at Crif Dogs and then a little pie next door at the Tuck Shop (where they do the most delicious sage and onion sausage rolls!).

We then went to a place called Sing Sing, which was one of the more scary places I've been to in New York since I got here. It's a karaoke bar.

We reluctantly went into our Private Room, which felt like something out of a horror film and smelt like the basement in our house in the third year at Uni. It was very gloomy and the walls were badly painted and everything felt a bit sticky... including the song books.

After being told how to use the machine people got started with their songs... it was all horribly awkward, I don't think anyone had really had enough to drink to make fools of ourselves. Luckily Andrew's used to making a fool of himself everyday so he started things off with a George Michael track (speaks volumes I think!).

As the night went on things got a bit better, I think everyone loosened up a bit and we were having more fun watching the funny home-made music videos for the songs and reading the really bad translations on the screens ('Sweetest Dream' was translated as 'Sweet Stream'!).

Unfortunately I could escape the singing, and my 26 year streak of never doing karaoke was broken... with Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire (I was inspired by Tom!). Luckily there's no video of photographic evidence of the event.

It ended up to be loads of fun, and I think secretly we all wanted to keep going. Hopefully if we have to karaoke again, we won't pick somewhere so scary, maybe somewhere with some proper light bulbs and somewhere a little less sticky.

Boogyin' and a Buskin'...




The violinist looks like he might snap in half if he keeps dancing like that!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Woah Nelly!

There was fantastic new sculpture going up by Union Square this afternoon...

It's great fun!

9/11

Yesterday there was a definite sombre atmosphere hanging over New York.

We woke up and watched the service from the amazing Memorial Gardens at the new World Trade Center. We watched as much as we could, but after a while it got a little too intense when the victim's family members were reading out the names of all the 3,000 people who lost their lives 10 years ago.

In the evening we watched a couple of documentaries about how things happened on September 11th. It feels the longer we're out here, the stranger it is watching programmes reliving the events. Seeing places we know, places we go to frequently surrounded by panic and chaos and covered in dust and debris. Although it doesn't matter how much footage we see, we can never imagine how it must have felt that morning.

Just before bed we went up on the roof to look at the two beams of light shooting up out of Ground Zero. It was a cloudy night, but you could still see them shining up to the skies. It's odd to think that we would have been able to see the towers from our roof.

I can't wait until we can see the new tower from our roof. The new buildings that are going up look amazing from the pictures I've seen. It's going to be a stunning place when it's all finished.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Is This Seat Taken...?

Someone was saving their seat with a Rubix Cube!

The BEST Chicken Sandwich...

On Friday evening after work we went for a walk up 5th Avenue to de-work before heading back to Brooklyn. We didn't really know where we were going to walk to, and we ended up going to the Ace Hotel for a drink in their veeeeeeeeeery stylish lobby.

It's always busy in the lobby and it's usually impossible to find somewhere to sit, but luckily we managed to find ourselves a comfy sofa with a furry rug on it.

Next to the Ace Hotel is a rather lovely looking restaurant and bar called the Breslin, we've wanted to go there for a while because they do scotch eggs but it's always so busy. The Breslin also does the bar food for the Ace Hotel Lobby bar, so we were able to get a little smackeral, unfortunately not a scotch egg, but it was something pretty pretty special....

We had the best chicken sandwich I have ever had in my life!

It was roast chicken in a sage and onion sauce, in crispy bread... the sage and onion sauce had soaked into the bread (but not enough to make the whole thing soggy) and tasted just like stuffing, and the chicken was so juicy and tender and there were generous chunks in each sandwich... it was amazing!

We ordered one to share, but had to order another one straight away because we didn't want it to end.

I think it might actually be one of the best overall sandwiches I've ever had... maybe.

Mmmmm... maybe we'll go again on Friday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Fashionable Night Out...

Last night was the start of New York Fashion Week, and to kick it off there was the  Fashion's Night Out event.
I had no idea what it was all about, I didn't even know it was Fashion Week but the very fashionable Miss Turner informed me that it was a bit of a big deal and that there was LOTS going on all over Manhattan.

During Fashion's Night Out lots of shops (not just clothes shops) had special events going on, there were parties in the shops with DJs playing, goodie bag give-aways, celebrity signings and special offers on certain items. There are also a load of Pop-Up shops that appear for the night, selling special items in unusual places.
After work we headed to the Meatpacking District (Fashion Central) to find the Milano Blanick (? Ask Abi) shop where Sarah Jessica Parker (from Sex & The City) was going to be signing shoes... Admittedly it's not the first thing I would have thought of doing on a Thursday Night, but the buzz in the Meatpacking was amazing.

There were lots of Fashionable types strutting around, a lot of people who wanted to be looked at. Apparently a lot of modelling scouts and important fashion people go to all the events to find the next big thing and the next big person (or skinny person)... so it was a bit of a massive catwalk really.

Unfortunately for Abi we didn't find the Milano Doodar shop, but we DID find a rather special Taco Truck run by Gap?! It's part of a new promotion they're doing, the truck goes round promoting their 1969 jeans - and last night they were selling 2 Tacos for $1.69, with a free drink and then you got a $20 voucher for Gap! Brilliant.



They were delicious - even more delicious knowing that they were such a bargain.

We had a walk around to see what else was going on in the area, all the shops were buzzing and all felt very exclusive, lots of red ropes over the doors and stuff and bouncers on the doors, music blaring out, there were even DJs in the street.

Right in the middle of the Meat Packing District was an Armani Pop-Up Shop, selling sunglasses and doing little photoshoots with people...

There were lots of food trucks and promotion cars and limos driving around too, I loved these Jack Wills Land Rover Discoveries...


The food truck behind the second Discover is usually a posh ice-cream and tea truck, but last night it had been transformed into a little Pop-Up shop selling ridiculously over priced tshirts and necklaces ($200!!!)...

There was all sorts going on, there was even a fashion photo shoot happening in the Apple Store...

As we walked back to the subway station we went and had a look at the Pop Chip Pop-Up section, it was like a mini funfair in the middle of the street, with a bouncy castle and funny mirrors and mini big-tops. The real reason we went over there was they were giving out free packets of crisps and Abi needed a little rest...

Just as we were leaving we spotted someone famous... although I can't quite remember her name, it's Vannessa Hudgens I think, but she was in High School The Musical and some other films...

We also saw some big fashion designer lady called Diane Von Furstenberg (?) milling around her fancy shop being snapped by lots of people with their camera phones. I think she's pretty important in the fashion world.

It was a really fun evening - I wasn't expecting to enjoy myself too much, but it felt like a whole nother side to New York that I hadn't experienced, the whole fashion side. I did however feel rather out of place in my jeans and tshirt with my laptop bag, but it didn't matter, we had fun people watching.