Tag Archives: new york

Acclaimed Albums – New York by Lou Reed

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 332/1000
Title: New York
Artist: Lou Reed
Year: 1989

The expansion of the music list meant the inclusion of two more Lou Reed albums, this solo album and another album with The Velvet Underground. Honestly, to see him here with an album from 1989 was a bit of a surprise to me as I figured he hit a high in the seventies and then, much like David Bowie, went on a critical decline to the point they became more known for their peak than their current body of work. Obviously Bowie came back in the 2010s, but you get the idea.

Well, turns out Lou Reed still had New York in him which really does not feel like an album you would see getting massive acclaim in 1989. Ignoring the lyrics for now, New York is a very simple type of rock album. It’s not unlike something you would expect to see Bob Dylan release in the early 1970s, but with someone who can sing well and it sometimes breaks into a more hard rock mode. In one way it makes it both a bit timeless as well as, for the time, a bit of a throwback.

The music itself is purposely simple as, again like Dylan, New York is meant to be all about the lyrics. I mean, it’s like Lou Reed went back to what worked with Transformer except now he is older and angrier. The fact that a 1989 Donald Trump is mentioned as part of the lyrical venting shows how things change slower than you’d like, although in the case of New York, it’s a good thing as it’s Lou Reed building on what was good about his earlier music.

Again, there is so much in here that is still relatable to where things are now. At the moment of writing this, America is beginning to boil over after more police shootings have occurred and rather than AIDS we are still being ravaged by Covid-19 with some countries like India faring worse than others. Guess that’s how this can still strike a chord 32 years later.


I🖤NY – Day 6: Leaving New York’s Never Easy

I think we can all agree that the last day of a holiday is a strange one. Since there is a train to catch, plane to check in to or a motorway to hit before traffic begins to snarl we always end up with one eye on the clock.

On this, our last day in New York, we had a pretty good chunk of the day to do some final moseying around below Central. Of course we had to start our day with our final diner breakfast (it would be rude not to) and that set us up until a Panda Express dinner at JFK airport.


First off it was a return trip to Macy’s to take a final bask in their Christmas department. Truly this is so much better (and less sad) than some of the year-round Christmas stores we have been seeing around town. If you are in New York when Macy’s has their Christmas stuff out it really is worth the detour.


The next port of call was 5th Avenue itself. It’s just one of those streets you need to walk down, sashay in and out of shops and take in the general feel. We would have popped into Saks to say hello but we spent way too long looking at all the books in Barnes & Noble.

Since we had the time and were in the general vicinity – there was one more place I wanted to visit:


Okay don’t judge me too harshly, but how can you not gravitate towards a candy store with three floors? Exactly! That’s the charm of Dylan’s Candy Bar. With it’s sweet themed playlist (think ‘Sweet Escape’ by Gwen Stefani rather than ‘Sugar, Sugar’ by The Archies on repeat). If it was not for the fact that we had already bought sweets for work and our own personal supply of peanut butter M&Ms (R.I.P.) we would have spent more in here than just a present for our good friend.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 57/100 (repeat visit)
img_3780Sight: Times Square
Location: New York City, USA
Position: #208

Sadly this was it for our time. So after being separated on the subway for the second time (the doors closed between us because of how long it took four people with strollers to got off) we explored Time Square one final time and endured a 2 hour ride in an airport shuttle to JFK and then an overnight flight home.

So here I am back in the UK. Since I did not get a chance to sleep on the plane (thank you restless 18 month old and their parents who just let them make noises for the majority of the overnight flight as they slept) I already started planning some items for the itinerary once I am back in New York.

I’m thinking of going back to the Cloisters, taking in the view from the top of One World Trade Center, seeing art at the Frick Collection and maybe heading out to Coney Island for a ride on the Ferris Wheel to see if I can find where the Cloverfield monster crashed into the sea.

Do you have any ideas for something I need to do when I am next in New York? Please let me know in the comments.

Thanks again New York. It’s been great.

I🖤NY – Day 5: High Line and Michelin Stars

One thing that everyone should do when they come to New York is explore some of the neighbourhoods on foot. It’s really great to visit all the museums (and honestly I wish I could have fitted in the Cloisters museum… maybe next time), but sometimes you want to spend a day completely outdoors.

It was a light breakfast of an everything bagel with cream cheese and peach Snapple before we made for the High Line. Now, this attraction was not open when I was last in New York. I missed it by a few months, but would have likely not heard of it anyway. Still, I was keen to visit this since this has become increasingly popular.

This is something I cannot see happening in London. What you have on the High Line is a disused raised railway line that has been re-purposed into a nearly 2 mile long garden/walkway over the streets of Manhattan. At times it felt almost peaceful (not always since the High Line was spurred on a lot of property redevelopment), but this is a place where wildflowers can grow and you can actually hear birds singing above 26th Street.

It also functions as a space for art. Some of them are a bit odd (think a concrete ball shaped like a watermelon hidden in the grass) and others were weird in a fun way (like this realistic sculpture of a sleepwalker in his underwear.

When we descended back onto solid ground we walked through our first neighbourhood of the day: Greenwich Village aka the home of TV’s Friends. When you go through the village it becomes incredibly obvious that this is very much a lived in city. I made sure we walked down Bleecker because, you know, it’s one of those well known streets.

img_3761List Item: Eat in a Michelin starred restaurant
Progress: Completed

A bit of a diverted walking route later and we arrived at our destination for lunch. The idea of eating at Michelin starred restaurant was a very early thing to be included on my bucket list. It has taken a few years for me to get around to crossing this off because these restaurants are on the pricier side. Enter 15 East.

I am not going to say this was a cheap meal. Heavens no. We ended up having 9 pieces of sushi each (so 18 in total) and the bill came to almost exactly $100 for two people. For the experience and the sheer “hell yea I can be fancy” it was worth it. Also for the forced and restrained politeness from the server. She was very much looking down on us… and I don’t think it helped when I asked for a replacement ice water because the one she poured had a fly in it.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
img_3762Food item: Seki Aji

We started out with a sushi omakase (1 piece not pictured as it was eaten) and this chefs choice plate was absolutely gorgeous. Both the sweet prawn (whose tail cut my lip) and the citrus scallop were especially delicious. It was only after finishing these, and checking out the a la carte menu, that I realised that there was a list fish on this plate. Just a shame that I didn’t know until it was too late and was not able to note down anything.

Progress: 567/751img_3763Food item: Kanpachi and Arctic Char

Since the omakase didn’t fill us we ordered some more off of the a la carte menu. This meant we were able to cross two more fish off the list. The first we tried (the white one) was the kanpachi – a type of amberjack. It had a very subtle flavour and reminded me a bit of the kingfish that I had back in Hiroshima. The texture and freshness of the fish felt like the most important thing here.

The second one here was the Arctic char. It is a fatty salmon (fattiness makes sense seeing how it swims in arctic waters) that looked beautifully striped when sat on the plate. The fatty nature of the salmon gave this fish a richer taste than I am used to with salmon.

The remaining daylight hours were spent wandering through Little Italy and Chinatown before being chased into the subway and lack to the hotel by a bout of rain that the Weather Channel didn’t predict. Honestly, There isn’t too much to write about this aside from my glee when hearing Italian Americans talking just like they do on TV.

The evening was, once again, spent at the UCB Theatre in Chelsea. This time it was a double bill of shows (about 20-30 minutes each I think) put on by members of the Upright Citizens Brigade. The first wasn’t all that, but the second half (a weird adult mash-up of Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues) had me in stitches.

I… actually cannot believe that this is my final evening in New York. After spending six months looking forward to being back here and it is over already. I guess I just need to plan my next New York trip.

I🖤NY – Day 4: Lady Liberty and Broadway

After so many days of constantly being on our feet and pacing the streets of Manhattan this day was originally put together in the itinerary to be that little bit kinder to our souls. Whilst I can say, yes this would be the lowest step-count of the trip so far it is still miles more than a regular day back in London.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 57/100img_3698 Sight: Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Location: New York City, USA
Position: #144

Starting off, it was ever so rude of us to not pay a visit to the First Lady of New York City. For some reason I forgot to cross her off the Lonely Planet list when I added it to the blog, but alls well that ends well.

That’s right it’s Day 4 and after a few spots from the top of the Empire State and 30 Rock we actually went to see her in person. It has been 13 years since I last made the trip on the ferry and this time it was in much clearer weather. Plus I knew where to stand on the ferry to take a good picture.


I kinda like this happy accident of weather as it looks like Lady Liberty is parting the clouds with her torch. Pretty much what the sculptor’s intent was. We know this as we managed to reserve a place to go inside the pedestal and so see the museum (at no extra cost).

Back in 2003 the interior to the statue wasn’t open because of 9/11, but now everything feels just that little bit more relaxed. Maybe it’s because there are two airport style scanning machines and a locker before they even let you into the statue. I mean, who can say for sure.

As pretty as the statue is (apparently the face is based on the designers mum, make of that what you will) there is only so long that you can stand and stare at it. So it was onwards to Ellis Island where we only just snuck on the ferry as one of the final handfuls of passengers. It helped that we were told to fill the space in which allowed me to legally jump the queue with gleeful abandon. Revenge for years of London tourism is sweet!

In these troubling times of mass immigration through Europe and the Trump presidential campaign (oh please say he didn’t win) the visit to Ellis Island was simultaneously sobering and enraging. The fact that millions upon millions of migrants flooded into the United States and very few were turned away is astonishing. Like you had to be incurable dying, insane or a criminal to not be admitted. Those feel like pretty decent criteria.

Anyway, we were getting hungry and the feel were already starting to ache so we headed back to Manhattan proper in search of lunch before our next visit.

The night before myself and the hub had discussed what truly American foods we still needed to try. We have a little list and were able to cross off one of these during a visit to one of the many delis near Battery Park. The humble Philadelphia Cheesesteak is something you regularly see and hear in American media so I’m happy to have finally had one. It was good and something I can see myself making at home now that I have tried it.


Bellies filled and pineapple Fanta in hand we headed up Broadway to our next destination – another place I haven’t visited since 2003 when it was still very much in a state of demolition.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 58/100img_3722Sight: National September 11 Museum & Memorial
Location: New York City, USA
Position: #263

Having visited the memorial to the victims of 9/11 all I can say is how impressed with how peaceful it is. It felt understated in an American way (not a dig, but this was never going to be the same as the memorial to the victims of the Hiroshima bombing) and I have to say that the two water features standing where the towers previously stood felt like a perfect tribute.

One thing that gave me a lump in my throat was a sign stating that a rose planted in the name of a victim means it would have been their birthday today. Next to it was a white rose carefully placed in the dot of one of the victim’s initials. Similarly, the listing if unborn children as part of the victim list was also incredibly sobering.

So. After both Ellis Island and the 9/11 memorial we needed something a bit lighter, which meant we went to check out Grand Central Station. I swear that walking through this station really made Charing Cross look like a steaming pile of crap. It just feels like stepping back in time or like how a train station in the world of Bioshock.

Another major plus point of this station is the awesome food market with everything a wannabe gourmet would want to try. This leads me to…

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 564/751
img_3731Food item: Smokey Blue

Right so this is a food item that I was actively seeking out for this trip to New York. When I first got the 1001 food book this smokey blue cheese has been within my internal top 10 most wanted. Why? Because who wouldn’t want to try a cheese that is both blue and smoked?

Originally I was just going to stick with a sample (which they did offer), but after one taste I just had to buy some. We went by a Duane Reade to get some saltines to go with the cheese as it would be weird to eat a wedge of cheese by itself and we needed a pre-theatre snack.

The cheese was gorgeous. Like I am feeling sad knowing that I can not get this cheese in the UK. Hats off to the people at the Rogue Creamery as this is an idea that feels like it shouldn’t work. But it does. It’s essentially a cheese that combines the creamy blueness of a dolcelatte with the light smokiness of smoked salmon. The sweetness of the smoking completely removes any bitterness you get from the blue parts of the cheese.

I could just keep eating and eating this cheese, but it’s probably for the best that I only bought $6 worth.

What is a trip to New York without taking in a show on Broadway? Well, this time it was possible one of the less orthodox things I have seen for a while. Now I love Nick Kroll and his creations on Kroll Show, which means that it was fortuitous that we were in town for him taking On, Hello onto the stage. Let alone having tickets for the first week of the official Broadway run! I don’t think I can explain exactly what this show was, but I can easily say that I spent more time laughing than not. It was fantastic.

To finish off we had a late night dinner in a diner and I tried a Monte Cristo sandwich for the first time. It was weird having a hot sandwich on sweet fried fluffy bread. I probably wouldn’t have it again, but I am glad for trying it.

Tomorrow is the last full day in New York. I’m feeling really sad about this, but since I know that I will be coming back it isn’t so bad. Right?

I🖤NY – Day 3: Top of the Rock

There is a line in some movie or TV show (please someone help me out here) about living in the state of California. It says that the great thing about living there is that you can go surfing in the morning and then skiing in the afternoon. Now, whilst I would not say New York City is able to both of activities in their natural habitats, I have to say this has been one of the most varied days I have spent here.


We start off at Rockefeller Plaza. This is one of THE iconic areas in terms of film and TV. You have the likes everything from Saturday Night Live to 30 Rock, Futurama and Project Runway that have used this setting. Aside from the fact that I knew it was built by the wealthy (as in makes Scrooge McDuck look like a pauper) Rockefeller family, I knew nothing about this place.

Enter the first activity of the day: a 70 minute tour looking at the art and architecture of Rockefeller Plaza. Usually I don’t go in for these things, but I figured it would be s nice way to learn a bit more.

All I can say is: do this tour. The guide was funny and so incredibly knowledgeable and the stories of this area are far more interesting that I would have expected. Little tidbits about the statues and murals just helped put the whole thing into a greater context.  A definite must if you have an extra hour or so.

Now, this lead into the second activity of the day which was going to the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Having done both this and the Empire State on previous trips I realise that the best way to do it is Empire State at night and 30 Rock in the daylight.
I mean, how else are you going to get such a great birds eye view of Central Park? Also, the contrast between the view at night and during the day are essential to a good trip to New York.

I have to say that we were incredibly fortunate in how clear the weather was. Truly , you could see for miles. It was actually enlightening to see what New Jersey looked like from up there. Not exactly the best looking from the sky, but I’m sure there are places that are beautiful.


After leaving this view behind (and breaking my heart in the process) we hopped on a subway to the American Museum of Natural History. Unlike the first wet day in New York there was not a queue that would have taken hours to go down, which is a result no matter how slice it.

In total we were there for about 4 hours. We might have been there for longer if mine and hub’s collective feet and knees were not so sore from all the walking we’ve been doing.

Still, in that time we managed to see most of the big attractions including the Blue Whale, the Easter Island head, that massive sequoia slice and the gigantic meteorite on display near the minerals section.

One thing that I found particularly interesting when comparing this museum to the Natural History Museum back home is the extensive use of diorama. There were so many scenes set up to visually accompany the information, which isn’t something I am necessarily used to. Especially, the sections talking about indigenous peoples and their traditions.

Something we had to see was the exhibition on evolution. Having taught in a Catholic school and knowing all the creationist issues they have in the U.S. I was interested to see how this museum took on the battle. The fact that the entire room was about evolution and the only mention was of scientist saying that you can be a Christian and agree with evolution really warmed my heart.

An unsuccessful sweep through the gift shop and 40 blocks of walking later we managed to find ourselves a good spot for dinner. Since I did the itinerary for this trip I think I have been taking the finding of food places way too personally. Then again I know how I am when disappointed by food.

We effectively stumbled this Thai place called Yum Yum Too on the way back to the hotel. Figuring it would make for a nice punctuation to all the American cuisine we thought it was worth a go. Especially since they had a fixed price menu that was incredibly customisable and had a soup featuring a list ingredient

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 563/751
Food item: Galangal

The food at Yum Yum Too was exactly what we were after. Tasty, filling and some of the more unusual tastes compared to the pancakes and hot dogs we had been having. The pork with garlic and black pepper sauce was fantastic and worked well after the spotting galangal and coconut soup.

Now the final activity of the day was something that hub was really desperate to do because he listens to a lot of comedy podcasts. He wanted to see an improv show at one of the Upright Citizens Brigade theatres. Honestly I was skeptical after seeing some atrocious improv comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, but I needn’t have worried. Sure, there were times where I was thinking ‘meh’ but then there would be bits where I was crying with laughter. It just depended on the group. I think it was Doctor Snakes that really made me giggle the most.

So there you go. Architectural tour, high rise view, Natural History museum, Thai food and an improv comedy night. That’s what I call a rich and varied day in New York (he says staying up to 1 am to write this with a finished slice of cheesecake gestating in his belly.)

I🖤NY – Day 2: Anniversary At The Met

I think we are setting a dangerous precedent by having our first wedding anniversary here in New York. I mean, of all the places I have been to there is none that has made such a huge impact on me. I mean, this is one of many re-visits and we are already talking about a future visit.

So how do you start of an anniversary in New York? Why, by having a late breakfast at a highly rated diner on TripAdvisor. Obviously. Now, what I love most about these diners is the sheer amount of choice on their menus. Half the battle is choosing from the many options. Whilst the hub went conventional and had pancakes with bacon I opted for an Eggs Benedict with corned beef hash instead of bacon. I was very happy with this choice. You really don’t see much in the way of corned beef hash back in the UK.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 55/100 (repeat visit)img_3583Sight: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Location: New York City, USA
Position: #80

The main thing on the agenda was a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Truly this is one of the best museums I have ever been to. Hub thought I was having a stroke or something as I started to tear up as we entered the hallowed halls of The Met.

The entire visit (4-5 hours) was a continued sense of déjà vu. This is my third or fourth time there which means I have seen pretty much everything in there by now. But, of course, there are still things that take my breath away. I mean it’s not everyday you find yourself in a museum that contains an actual Egyptian temple building. We made a beeline for this because I wanted to see if it was just as gorgeous as I remembered. It was.


After all the walking of yesterday and the walk to the Met itself our legs were killing us, but we wouldn’t let that beat us as we ventured through exhibitions of American art, armour, Oceanic art, African art and so many other things. We even came across some specialist tours (including a Jehovah’s Witnesses tour and a tour that just tarred all Egyptian records as a pack of lies because they contradict the Bible… make of that what you will).

On all visits to the Met I always make two mistakes. Firstly, I don’t go to the bathroom until I am desperate. Secondly, I always leave the Asian art to the end. Are these mistakes somehow linked? If you know the layout of the museums second floor then yes these are weirdly linked.

It’s a pity that the Indian, Chinese and South East Asian art are on the second floor as these are rooms that really don’t get the love that they should. You get beautiful statues of celestials, learn about Ganesha’s love of sweets and can even relax in a facsimile of a courtyard garden with actual koi swimming.

With a heavy heart and throbbing legs we left the Met and fulfilled one of the hub’s ambitions of this trip to New York: a street vendor hot dog. It’s weird goals like this which make me love him even more. How could I begrudge him a hot dog when we skipped lunch to look at Assyrian sculptures? Of course I had one. We’re in New York after all.


We were fairly leisurely on our way back to the hotel and took in Central Park during glorious sunshine. What a difference a day makes. In one minute we probably saw as many people in the park as we did all of the day before. We even saw a pair of trash pandas! That was cool.

A quick rest in the hotel and it was off to Morton’s for a steak dinner. We even had a reservation because we wanted to be all fancy like. Of course I managed to stain the table cloth within the first few minutes because the nerves of pretending to be fancy meant it was chutney-stain o’clock.


Walking in we had no intention of getting an entree, but with it being an anniversary dinner (and since we were sat in a comfortable booth) we indulged. I had a tuna tower which was part tuna tartar, part pico de gallo and part mango. It was ruddy gorgeous and made me think this is what Mexican fusion sushi would taste like.

The big deal was to get steak. After our adventure at the Hawksmoor we know what our meat limit is and asked to have a 22oz Ribeye split between us. Honestly, I have no idea how someone can manage one of these massive steaks to themselves and still have room for side orders. The steak itself was tender and mouth-melty. Hub wanted to have it “Oscar style” which meant there was asparagus and crab leg meat on top of the steak as well as a Bearnaise sauce. Nosh!

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 562/751
img_3618Food item: Key Lime

A fancy meal isn’t complete without pudding and ever since watching Dexter I have wanted to try key lime pie. The fact that key lime is a food list item was just s happy coincidence. I wanted to split a slice, hub wanted his own slice. You can guess what happened. It was sour yet refreshing, but way too much pie and cream after this meal. We needed to walk it off!

Our anniversary night, however, was not complete. Oh no. It was time for us to walk along to the Empire State Building and take in a view of the city at night. With our trusty NY Pass we managed to skip even more queuing today, not that it was that busy at 9:30 pm on a Monday.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 55/100 (repeat visit)img_3623Sight: Empire State Building
Location: New York City, USA
Position: #109

The night was completely clear which meant you could see for miles and miles. Looking down at Time Square, Madison Square Gardens and other landmarks from up here made everything seem like it was part of the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. It’s magical up there and I could easily pull up a chair and watch the few for hours. Alas, we have many more days to go and I can’t stand there until 1 am as we have plans to visit the Rockefeller Center tomorrow.

I don’t think this is an anniversary day that can easily be beaten, but I am more than happy to give it my best shot!

I🖤NY – Day 1: Modern Art and My Drowned Passport

Pre- Day 1

Right, let’s get one thing straight. It should not take well over an hour to go through passport control when you arrive at one of the most famous airports in the world. We landed at about 7pm and got to the baggage carousel at around 8:45. Keeping in mind the 5 hour time difference I think it’s easy to see how we were asleep by the time our heads hit the pillow at 11pm.

Still this is what we do to get to one of the best cities on Earth.

Day 1

Right so for a first day the weather was pretty crap. Hurricane Matthew was making its way from the U.S. mainland to the wider ocean and causing rainstorms all along the eastern seaboard. It was constant (and sometimes horizontal) rain until 3pm.

It was enough time to for the rain to claim a hugely inconvenient victim: my passport. As I write this up in our hotel room, my passport is sat open with plastic bag shreds separating out the pages. There is water damage and some of the ink has run… so there is a part of me that wonders if this will be a problem at the airport. Hey ho, nothing I can do really.


So we set out on this sodden morning and, on the way to Central Park, stop into a diner to have breakfast. Literally just picked the first diner we walked across that looked half decent. We were not disappointed by our experience.


We were sat right at the counter, which meant a lot of fun interaction, and ordered ourselves a pair of pastrami Rueban sandwiches. They were massive, greasy and incredibly delicious. I promised the hub a pastrami sandwich and by glob that’s what he got. You really don’t get things like this back in London.


After a very filling sandwich we whiz through the Wholefoods on Columbus Circle (more on those purchases later) and enter a rather deserted Central Park.

I have never seen Central Park so empty. I guess that is what happens when it is absolutely tipping it down. You can’t visit New York without a stroll or seven through Central Park. It’s just not done.img_3539


Even in the strange rainy twilight I know that hub could see why this was such a fantastic park to visit. I mean, there are reasons that it has been featured in so many TV shows and movies. You could easily just lose yourself in the park for hours if you had the time, but time isn’t your friend on holiday.


So after showing hub the Bethseda Terrace and the beautiful statue of Alice in Wonderland we made a beeline for our first attraction: the Guggenheim museum. Of course, being a rainy Sunday we were not the only people who figured that a museum was a good way to get out of the rain.

Luckily for us we did a build your own NY Pass before flying over which meant that we could skip the queue and head on in. Lucky, because otherwise the Guggenheim would have been more disappointing.


Architecturally you can not fault the Guggenheim. On the outside it looks interesting, but on the inside it is truly something else. The alabaster white spiralling ramp makes for a unique and impressive way to display art. I know this from many years ago when I had the privilege to see a Kandinsky retrospective. This time the artist was Agnes Martin and that was nowhere near the same.


For one thing all her paintings are white and with lines. Some are slightly different, but for the most part they are pretty homogeneous. It doesn’t help that most of the paintings are untitled.

The best part of the visit was the small section devoted to the permanent collection. There was a Picasso and some Kandinsky work to be seen… but on the whole this visit wasn’t the best.

After this we set out for the Museum of Natural History. We never made it in, however, as the line was horrendous. Instead we made our first trip on the subway (where a machine swallowed $20 and now we have to phone up for a refund) to get to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
img_3553Food item: Bialy

Before entering we tried out the bialy that I bought in Wholefoods. At first glance it looks a lot like a bagel where the hole didn’t get made all the way through. At first bite that’s pretty much what you have. Nice enough, just a bit doughy and could do with a bit of a topping to go with the hint of onion.


Thanks to our pass we managed to dodge another hour of queuing and were immediately being taken up into the world of MoMA. As much as I enjoy the Tate Modern, I really think MoMA is head and shoulders above it. Why? Because it has some truly top name paintings – including two of my favourite modern art pieces.

We must have spent 2-3 hours walking around taking in both the famous and the unusual pieces. One such unusual piece being a rather evocative 1994 piece called Lovers which involved a tower of projectors putting moving images on the way of naked people walking, standing and not quite embracing. Hard to describe, but weirdly compelling.

img_3559 img_3558
img_3563 img_3562
img_3560 img_3564

The first artwork we saw in MoMA, a series of videos showing refugees drawing their routes on a map of Europe, was infinitely more interesting than a few coloured in lines. When you consider you have pieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Lictenstein and Monet on show then it’s obvious which is the better afternoon out.


Needless to say we were all modern arted out and got ourselves a good old slice of New York pizza at a place I have been to every time I have been to New York. Man, how I love the thin crisp crust of a New York pizza. I know I need to try a Chicago pizza one day. For that, I’ll need to visit Chicago.

img_3570Food item: Red Banana 

Back at the hotel (we were tired and probably a bit jet lagged) we tried the other item I bought from Wholefoods: red bananas. Now, what can I say about red bananas other than a quote from Red Dwarf’s own Kryten, “it’s a banana”. Aside from the red skin, the taste that is less bananery and the slightly softer texture this is still a banana. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it, but I just expected something less obvious with the taste.


After this quick pit stop we were back on out to visit THE New York department store – Macy’s. This is another of my regular places to visit because of their awesome Christmas section on Floor 9.


Since I have only been to New York in the autumn, I have never been to Macy’s when their Christmas section was not up and running. It just made me so gleeful to romp around the Christmas decorations and listen to Christmas music. I could never work in a Christmas store as the sheer force of repetition would make me want to tear my skin off, but it makes for a nice half hour to spend on holiday when it’s about 7:30 in the evening.

Rather than eat out we opted for takeaway. More delicious New York pizza and… the first slice of New York cheesecake of the trip. It’s proof that you don’t need any toppings or extra gubbins if you just have the basics of a good cheesecake. New York I salute you and your delicious down to earth cheesecake.

Today probably wasn’t the best day to show hub the wonders of New York due to the bad weather and the missing $20, but I know that tomorrow will be different. It’s our wedding anniversary after all and we are going to be seeing some great sights.

I’ll Always Love You New York

I am very lucky to have been to New York a number of times in my teens. The last time that I visited was in 2009 which is when I sent the postcards in the photo to my partner. It’s a good thing he kept them too, because there aren’t many photos of me in New York.

The only photos that I still have are from that 2009 trip, a time where we had already done most of the touristy things, the things that were on this bucket list.
Still, if proof were needed that I made the trip. This was taken at ‘The Top of the Rock’ on September 30th 2009 (for some reason I was very exact with the labelling of these folders). I don’t really like having my photograph taken… but I assure you I was having a great time in New York. Honestly.

So, let’s run through the things I have actually done, the first two were done on my first trip to New York back in October 2003. The third one on my second visit the very next year.

List item: Visit the Statue of Liberty
Progress: Completed

Being that this was about two years after 9/11 we were not able to actually go inside the statue itself. A shame that I hope to one day be able to rectify on a future visit with by partner, who will by then be my husband. The statue itself is beautiful and it is big… but it is shorter than you would expect.Thing is, when you are a large statue in a city where some of the tallest buildings in the world have been built a sense of perspective begins to kick in.

After visiting the statue we did the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, something that I probably would get a lot more now I am older (the temptation was to say “now that I am grown up” but who am I actually kidding).

List item: Stand at the top of the Empire State Building
Progress: Completed

Okay, so I have done this three times now. The second time we went was during the day when there was a man in a King Kong suit with people swarming to get their pictures taken with him. The view is breathtaking when it is clear. You really can see the whole island and beyond, truly a sight to behold.

Even better than this, however, is when you are there at night. A big city usually looks better at night and New York is no exception to this rule. Sure it’s harder to make out the Hudson and you are not able to see as far… but it’s a whole lot prettier.

List item: Take in a Broadway Show
Progress: Completed

I’ve been lucky enough to do this twice on two different visits to New York. The first time was when I saw Avenue Q and on my third visit I went to see Hairspray. Like watching a show on the West End there is something special about seeing a show on these hallowed theatres.