Monday, 8 May 2017

In Art Deco Heaven

Well I didn't think it would take me quite this long to post about New York! Life since I have been back has been absolutely mental, but more of that another time!

New York was all I hoped it would be, it's been over 25 years since I was last there and since then my passion for Art Deco has grown 10 fold. This time I spent pretty much the whole time I was outside looking up, mostly with the slack jaw of awe, at this amazing city. It's going to be damn hard to narrow my choice of pictures down......

We arrived and proceeded to take 2 hours to clear security!?! dear lord JFK is a shit airport. They had 2 desks open at passport control, 2 freaking desks!! The queue was endless as you can imagine. This after having to have my hands and the laptop work had loaned me swabbed at Heathrow as well as the usual luggage and body scans.
Coming home was no better, chaotic systems and deeply obnoxious staff did not make that an any more pleasant experience. JFK flagship airport it is not!
I learnt that jumpers with lurex metal thread in them send the full body scanner into meltdown and lead to a full body search, won't make that mistake again! It was quite amusing to see the picture of myself standing arms up, legs akimbo with my whole upper body lit up like a Christmas tree lol.

The hotel, when we finally got there, was in the garment district and terrible chi-chi industrial chic darling. Not my cup of tea if I'm honest, too stark and far too up it's own arse. I  didn't feel particularly relaxed, mind that might just have been the 24 hour jazz, god I hate modern jazz.

I had travelled with my colleague Charlotte and we went straight out for a walk as soon as we had checked in and dumped our bags, first on my to see list was the Chrysler Building

we walked until we got hungry, me taking 15 million pictures, and walked some more until we found somewhere we thought looked good to eat. Then back to the hotel for a shower and bed.

The one crap thing about my room was the shower, no power there what so ever sadly, maybe it was deliberate, having a gentle trickle, maybe it's meant to be more relaxing or something. Personally I prefer a shower with some oomph.
New York also has soft water, Oxfordshire does not. I put my usual generous squish of shampoo on my head and genuinely started to panic that I would end up in there all night as it would just not wash out. Lesson learned and after that I was a lot more economical with the shampoo!

Next day we had a full day left to our own devices so we decided to just walk as this is pretty much the best way to see the city.
Look at all those yellow cabs, could you get any more New York?

We started with the High Line which is the old rail line to the meat packing district. It has been planted up and turned into a walkway.
It gives you some great views.

I just loved all the outside staircases they just shout New York to me.
I think we got in a good mix of the classic touristy stuff like the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building

and some more off the beaten track areas.

We even chanced upon a farmer's market which was fun to amble about. Of course it was grey and freezing cold all day, bah.

Next day up bright and early, suited and booted for work, it was what I was there for after all!
None too shabby a place to work if you have too.

The first day was not so busy and went very well.

I also managed to make a trip to Bath & Body Works, a place I love, as there was one about 10 minutes from the office. I had a blissful half hour smelling new smells and stocking up.

That evening I had arranged to meet up with an old friend Shannon who lives in New York. We went for dinner in a teeny tiny little Italian place, ate huge bowls of pasta and talked and talked. She recommended going to see the Morgan Museum & Library which has free entry on Friday evenings. I had another friend Jennifer coming to stay with me Friday & Saturday night but she was up for it too so we added it to the itinerary.

Second day of work was also great, bloody busy and we didn't get out until 6pm, so a quick zip back to the hotel to hook up with Jennifer, change and then out to the museum. It's a beautiful place. Weirdly, even though it's been 6 years since I worked at the Bodleian it still feels like a bit of a bus man's holiday to look at old manuscripts!

We mooched in the shop and then grabbed some dinner. Jennifer and I reminisced and entertained Charlotte with some of our escapades. We have known each other for almost 30 years and used to travel a lot together, so there a many stories to tell that's for sure.

Saturday Jennifer had kindly got us tickets from the water taxi through her friend. It was grey, freezing cold and pretty soon the rain came and didn't go for the rest of the day, but other than not walking the Brooklyn Bridge because it was hammering down at that point we did the whole excursion anyway. If you stay on the boat it's a 90 minute round trip but you can hop on & hop off at various points which is what we did.
It's a great way to see the city from a different side so to speak. First stop was the 9/11 memorial and the church of St Paul's which amazingly suffered only one cracked pane of glass and became such a symbol of hope and place of sanctuary in all the difficult months that followed the tragedy.
I must confess the incredible feeling of peace you find at the memorial is not what I thought you would feel. It is so busy there now and also such a recent and shocking event but there is such a feeling of serenity at the pools.It's not normally the kind of thing I would think of visiting because I would expect it to be morbid and sad but I'm glad I did.

 Of course I braved the rain and the choppy waters to takes some pictures of the Statue of Liberty!

Once back on dry land we grabbed a late lunch at Macy's and did a little shopping as you do.

Charlotte headed off to change, she had a ticket for the opera, Jennifer and I headed to Time Square to wander about and grab some amazing pizza at another place that had been recommended to us John's Pizza, it was well worth the wait. delicious.

Sunday we had to be up and check out. Typically the weather turned and it was absolutely glorious so we sat out in Bryant Park with our breakfast before walking to the Rockefella Centre. We scooted back to the hotel to check out and see Jennifer into a taxi to the bus station. Charlotte and I then decided to leave our cases and go to Central Park as we were going to be sitting on our arses for many hours on the plane home so a walk seemed a good idea.

It was glorious.

Full of people enjoying the sunshine and yet you could still find quite spots, we even did a bit of bird spotting
Amazing what you see!

Finally it was time to head back, collect our bags and take a white knuckle taxi ride back to the airport. Sometimes my job is pretty damn great.


  1. JFK isn't the worst airport I've been through, but it is pretty high on the list. I always joke that I could work a customs desk there as my dream job as I'm surly and slow moving.

    I'm glad you had a good time and were able to meet up with friends and see the city. You were there at the best time of year-a few weeks later and it will be sweltering.

    Those fire escapes are scary. I'm glad I've never needed to use one.

  2. That sounds like a marvellous work trip, Gisela. I've never been to NY and would love to go.

    You managed to pack a lot in - and work too! It's also great that you met up with old friends; what a small world it is when you think about it.

    I loved your photos -especially that rare species of yellow bird sitting on a park bench!

  3. Arriving at an American airport was never a pleasant experience in my opinion...and I've not been there for almost twenty years so it's obviously not improved. However, the rest of your trip sounds fabulous and you certainly crammed a lot in. Lovely that you could meet up with your old friends.

  4. Your ordeal at JFK would have played havoc with my nerves! That said, and never having been to NY, I enjoyed walking around the city with you. They say that everything is bigger in the States, and they definitely have bigger birds! xxx

  5. What a fab tour you've given us and lovely that you got to meet up with an old friend, too.
    I remember being excited about seeing fire hydrants when I went to Boston, they seemed so American! xxx

  6. Wow, you did a LOT of walking. I shall make sure I avoid the industrial district if ever I go there. I'm envious of you seeing those amazing buildings.

  7. Lovely post! That is a ton of walking but so much to see.xx

  8. Glad you had a good trip, and packed so much in! I've been to NY several times but this was PV (pre-vintage) so I was more excited about Bloomingdales and bagels than Art Deco at the time. I'll have to return at some point! X

  9. Lovely photos of NY. I've never been there, but who knows where I might call by one day? :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed your trip there.