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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Mets to The Met

'Onward: across the park and out into Fifth Avenue: stampeding against the noonday traffic, taxis, buses that screechingly swerved...'

As promised, this second post about our remaining time in New York arrives in rapid succession after my first. (In very un-like Holly style, who procrastinates her blogposts for months!)
Our next couple of days were as glorious as the first, albeit somewhat less crammed. Having said that, in the space of just 2 days my Dad was told he looked like Sting three times and I was stopped in the street to be informed "you're the white BeyoncĂ©" (I was pretty chuffed). 

48 hours into our food infused trip, I somehow found myself at the hotel gym on Tuesday morning, in a meek attempt to burn off the huge American portions. Sadly, due to weak will power and the alluring aroma of greasy diner grub, I was stuffing my face with french toast, poached eggs and streaky bacon at Blooms Diner just an hour later... no regrets.
Upon persistent requests from my family to find unconventional activities, I had discovered Roosevelt Tram. The ski-bubble-like lift glides above the New York streets and across the East river until it arrives at Roosevelt Island. Although the cheap as chips ride uncovers panoramic views, I didn't get the "wow, that was great!" reaction I had been hoping for. 34 degrees, no air conditioning and a claustrophobic bubble made me realise perhaps it's an activity better suited to the cooler months.

To avoid the grumbles of the unimpressed (slightly sweaty) boys, Mum and I departed from them to do our own thing. By our 'own thing', we meant stepping into Blair Waldorf's louboutins and claiming New York as our own... 
We sashayed across to Central Park, perched in the shade and cursed not bringing bread to feed the ducks with (where's Dorota when you need her?). Without Chuck Bass to escort us via personal chauffeur, we hailed a taxi to take us to the Met Art Museum. The long building overwhelms visitors with her maze of artefacts, and gloats in her superiority to the many other galleries around the city. 

We attempted a look round a section but were defeated by the copious pieces of art, so we booked onto a museum highlights tour. Although I do love art galleries, I can only hack exploring them for so long before I get the 'ugh get-me-outta-here' feeling. However, I would happily spend my Sunday mornings sauntering around the Met with the added bonus of light pervading atriums to give your thoughts space.
After our tour, we caught some rays on the Met steps whilst working out how to get the metro to our next stop. (Embodying Blair's hierarchical tactics, I made my minion sit on the step below me...! Amongst our metro riding and getting a little lost, we also called at The Museum of the City of New York - or to those familiar with Gossip Girl, Constance Billard School. 
Reunited with the boys, our evening was spent watching the New York Mets baseball! I had been sceptical about watching a sport I know nothing about, but the four of us agreed it was a holiday highlight. Like a bunch of keen beans, we all purchased an official Mets cap, a foam finger and a tasty tea from inside the arena. To those of you reading, you may think this is a little extreme, but the arena is brimming with many families getting into the sporting spirit. Unlike the football hooligans in the UK, there's a friendly, competitive vibe, and we gathered that for many Americans it was a chance for a good ol' catch up with colleagues and chums. (Sadly the Mets got their asses whooped by the Chicago Cubs!)

Encouraged by the sport we had watched the night before, we kickstarted Wednesday morning with a run around Central Park. The sun was intense and I developed an unfriendly relationship with my trainers that decided to rub me, but the feeling of being a local throughout the tranquil park compensated for any misery. 

Afterwards we chomped down a well deserved healthy breakie at Bread and Honey - a 'food bar and urban market'. Salmon, avocado and egg (in a less healthy) croissant was to die for!

As it was our last day in New York, we opted for a more relaxed schedule as we ambled in and out of shops and department stores. None of us were bothered about going crazy and spending loads of money - damn you exchange rate! - but my tired running legs were glad of a gentler itinerary.

Our last evening in New York was concluded with a meal booked at Patsy's Italian - a popular spot for celebs and a family fave from last time we went! Whilst the rich ravioli satisfied my love for Italian cuisine, my taste buds tingled with eagerness for the next part of our trip...

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

A slice of The Big Apple...

'...while she, glittery voyager of secure destination, steamed down the harbour with whistles whistling and confetti in the air.'

Well, what a wonderful whirlwind the past few weeks have been! A celebratory family holiday, to a girly city break, to more fabby celebrations at my brother's graduation, have left me nostalgic and a little glum now it's all over.
Just as my skin had adapted to those intense pangs of heat, and my ears to the rapid Spanish dialect, my Dad snapped his fingers and brought me back to reality - "you need another job!".

Sadly, this jazzy, jam-packed schedule has plummeted to new lows as I have a solid seven weeks with no more plans, and a mere 62p in my bank. (Admittedly, I shouldn't have bought that coffee and cake with my last fiver...)

Yes, Hols has post-hol blues and now my skin is craving one last bask in those golden hues. Instead, I'm going to have to rely on my blog to transport me back to those fierce few weeks.

However, as I began blathering on about New York in this blogpost my mind scootered off to the bustling streets of Barcelona (I have awful concentration), so I've decided to split my jollies into separate posts for you. Hopefully that way you can catch the hop-on, hop-off bus with me as I guide you round the USA, before we zip through Barcelona's narrower streets via scooter.

Our first destination is New York, my favourite part of the whole family holiday. I anticipated the struggle of writing about NY through fresh eyes as I have already blogged about our school trip there. However, we had planned a range of 'off the beaten track activities' for our visit (literally – Dad had ensured that I had prepped a spreadsheet itinerary), making our whistle-stop tour unique.
Arriving late into Sunday afternoon, a yellow cab whizzed us across the city that was acclimatising to the heat wave (very hot). Despite feeling a little travel weary, our stomachs surpassed the temptation to tuck ourselves into bed, and we headed to a delightful Italian restaurant just off Times Square.

"Now onto the Tkts steps!" - I practically bullied my sleepy family into the heart of a vibrant Times Square. It is in this core of the Apple that one can elevate themselves above the fast paced New York. Just a few steps up and you become an observer of the sights and sounds of this cosmopolitan city, but securing a spot at the top ensures a superior status...

Okay, so onto our first full day - and by far my fave! Where does one go for breakfast to avoid the Monday morning diner rush? My research landed us in the revitalised Chelsea Market. I wish I could say I cherished every last mouthful of those banana pancakes, but my greedy gut gobbled them down in point 3 seconds before my eyes were perusing the bookshop. Yeah, Chelsea Market is kinda cool and the 'Artists & Fleas' section is fun to check out.
Acknowledging my potential to give birth to 3 banana pancakes at any moment, we embarked upon our next part of the spreadsheet (or 'spready' as it became known as)... The Highline! It's located above the streets in a serene setting where locals and tourists alike immerse themselves in the green space. This linear park provides unseen skylines, quirky art and a more relaxed pace of life. There was no denying that this was a highlight! 

After 45 minutes of walking from one end of The Highline to the other, we grabbed a 'make your own salad' to tuck into for our next destination - Governors Island. Just a 10 minute ferry ride from Manhattan transports you to what was an abandoned military base and is now open to the public as a recreational space. 

From biking to baseball, the island offers a range of family friendly activities, and our afternoon was spent strolling along the island (mainly looking for some shade!), admiring the views and swinging in the hammocks!

I think it's safe to say our day was packed with greenery, so our evening was broken up with a more glamorous venture... To the top of the Empire State Building! Hitting the viewing deck at 8:30, we were just in time to catch the last rays of sun setting over the concrete jungle. As the night ticked on and darkness swept across the city, the warm glow of office lights flicked on in domino effect... This really is the city that never sleeps, and one day I want to be a part of it.

Upon my request for a slight detour back to the hotel, we were able to stop off at Bryant Park... (It's almost as if I were seeking these green spaces amongst the lively city!) A park that is encircled by skyscrapers and lit by the office lights, I consider this hidden gem a perfect spot for a first date. 

As couples snuggle together on picnic blankets and clink plastic champagne flutes, it got me thinking - who said Mondays have to be the worst day of the week? 
More to follow about Tuesday and Wednesday in New York...!