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Wednesday, 25 March 2015


" ...they must see this, these lights, the river - I love New York, even though it isn't mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway that belongs to me because I belong to it... "
Throwback to a month ago, when I was nosily listening into local New Yorkers conversation in order to soak up the dialect on our last full day in the city. Here we walked the New York Highline on a morning when the sun was just hitting the rooftops but was not, unfortunately enough to warm the streets.  

( ^ View from the New York Highline in the process of losing circulation in my fingers xoxo )

Once our fingers had turned to ice-cubes, we were ready to wrap our hands around a cup of hot char, so we headed to Chelsea Market in an area known as "the Meatpacking District". The brownstone boasts nothing intense here; from the gentle flow of people in and out of the stalls to the cream fairy lights illuminating the dark hallways. There is a rustic ambience - the feeling you've discovered a hidden humdinger you can spend your Sunday's tucked away in. Unfortunately, it is one of the most known about markets in NYC, so there's no keeping this one a secret. (P.S. The hot chocolate from Sarabeth's Bakery is to die for...)
Our next stop was a look at the Flat Iron Building, just as the sun decided to make an appearance again, although we didn't stop here for long. As lunchtime approached, we headed to Grand Central Station to explore the market, shops and the general premises. It is immaculately kept with light reflecting into the pearly cream building from above angles. 
I could people watch here all day; how fascinating it was to watch loved ones greet or depart from one another. After all, it is often said that New York is a lonely city lacking in love or friendship - but by taking a trip down here it was easy to remind oneself that it's still prominent, even in a city as big as this.

After our lunch at the Shake Shack in the food court downstairs, we were lucky enough to witness a couple getting married at the top of the station steps - how joyous they looked (even when everyone was crowding around taking photos!). Their photos and story later appeared on the "Humans of New York" page on Facebook.

In the afternoon, we were set free onto Fifth Avenue for the much awaited shopping trip. I resisted temptation in many of the shops until I arrived at Tiffany's, but more about that and Fifth Avenue in a later post (one paragraph just won't cut it!).

Feeling giddy at the though of my new purchases, I practically skipped back to the hotel, numerous shopping bags in hand, before getting ready to watch the musical "Wicked" on our last night. 

New York, you have my heart and although it might be a while before I return, you leave a numinous effect on me. Is it the sweet waft of men's cologne passing me on the subway that entices me? Or in-fact, how you can be the most elegantly dressed woman one evening to the most excessively casual gal the following morning? Perhaps, it's just the association to Breakfast at Tiffany's that does it for me...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

New York

' Some time in February, Holly had gone on a winter trip with Rusty, Mag and José Ybarra-Jaegar. '

" Evening Upper East-Siders "...
As I sit typing this weeks (belated) blogpost, I am transported back to the bustling avenues boasting concrete skyscrapers; brought to life with splashes of yellow from traffic lights and taxis galore, the occasional puffs of steam rising from the manholes and the varying wafts of street food mingling, as the people do.

3 glorious days in NYC:
Upon arrival at JFK airport on valentines day itself, the tiredness from our travels was not enough to bring myself down, nor the other 45 students and teachers from my school. (Sadly, I did not feel like Serena Van der Woodsen stepping off her private jet, but the hype of being in New York was enough to keep spirits high.)

Having been to New York twice before with my family, I feared the cosmopolitan city would not overwhelm me with fascination like it once did. Instead, as I stood in the middle of Times Square, a pang of belonging and excitement hit me. There's a distinctive atmosphere about this city whereby nothing is inevitable - I was just waiting for a flashmob to break out around me like in the film "Friends with Benefits" (see here). After a Thai meal in an area called Hell's Kitchen, we headed back to the hotel to get some rest before the action packed day ahead...
Sundays in NY:

There's a pleasant serenity that fills the city on Sundays. As my friends and I headed out for our bowl of maple syrup (accompanied by a couple of pancakes and bacon), the streets were lacking in locals and cabs, which were instead replaced by tourists like us ready to cram as much into their days as possible.
Our day started with a Ferry trip to Ellis Island with beautiful views of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. 

Later was a time of reflection for many devastating losses as we visited the Vietnam Memorial wall, the Ground Zero Memorial Fountains and St Paul's Church. Personally, I found the 9/11 tragedy was best reflected in the Church as it demonstrated through children's drawings and memorabilia how it affected locals, families and the emergency services.   
After grabbing some lunch, we then headed to an area called DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Here we admired Brooklyn Bridge in the freezing - literally, at -8 degrees - conditions!

Now onto my favourite part of the whole trip: The Top of the Rock...

At 5p.m, we headed to the Rockefeller Centre and within a matter of seconds in the lift, we were 67 floors high and towering over the toy cars and stick people 259 metres below us. As the sun began creeping below the rooftops, an orange haze was projected over the skyline. From one of the balconies was the view of a snowy Central Park and the other was an unmissable Empire State and Chrysler Building.

We were at the Top of the Rock for about an hour and a half, which was just long enough to see the city darken and witness the city that never sleeps. We couldn't have gone at a better time!

Our evening concluded with tea in Little Italy before heading back to the hotel via subway.

(More about Tuesday in New York to follow) 

xoxo - Holl