Doing a little housekeeping on the blog I came across the recap of my first trip to New York City just sitting there in draft mode. I wrote this exactly one year ago. Although I’m not exactly sure why I never published the post I do remember falling deeply in love with the city, its energy, the boroughs, the sights and of course style.
I had read so many things about New York City, seen the photos, heard the stories yet never got myself there until just
a few weeks ago! last year. A couple months after Tofino, the group decided waiting another year before getting together would be far too long, some of us needing the trip more than others myself included. New York was at the top of the list and when I admitted I had never actually been to NYC, it became quite clear it was time to go to NYC. I agreed to go but as we got closer and people started dropping out I held back on buying a ticket. I talked about my anxiety leading up to the trip in week 17.
I didn’t know what to expect. I thought the city would be too much for me with its noise, unidentifiable smells and claustrophobic burroughs. I imagined I would lose my sense of direction and wind up riding the subway curled up in a ball. Happy to report that my trip couldn’t have been better. People were nice, turns out I don’t mind the smell of curry at 9am and I had two wonderful guides who only lost me once and I was just fine.
Arriving at the newly constructed Jet Blue terminal, I begin to peel the layers, winter, coat, scarf, cashmere sweater. Yikes. I belly up to the charging bar and I watch as a family of 5, three of them young boys with their travel pillows clutching Legoland bags. What a cute New York family I thought to myself. The mom looked young, no make up, curly hair pulled back, JCREW sweater wrapped around her neck. She was shuffling the boys to the bathroom one by one when all of the sudden another women, this one taller, blonder and louder slams a stack of files on the counter across from me and begins to berate her husband all of two feet from me. He hangs up and she continues with the insults. “WHY WASN’T THIS STUFF DONE!?!?” ‘WHO WAS IN CHARGE!!! AM I THE ONLY ONE CAPABLE OF MAKING SURE IT GETS DONE!?!?” He tries to interject only to get blasted with GET OUT OF MY FACE ! … JUST GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!!!! I look right at her hoping she would return the glance so I wouldn’t have to clear my throat to make it clear that she was making EVERYONE miserable. Turns out the other woman was the nanny and apparently next on the chopping block. I sat there and watched as she tried to placate the wet hornet. I spin myself away and catch the eye of another traveller. She peers above her glasses and smiles at me. I return the smile. She asks what part of the city I am visiting. I smile and tell her “honestly I don’t know, but I think Tribeca?” “Great” she says I am going to Brooklyn “we can share a cab” And just like I have a new friend. We agree to meet once we are back on terra firma at JFK.
Come fly with me.
I grab my stuff and take my window seat and no sooner my seat mate leans over and warns me that she is deathly afraid of flying and if its OK with me, she prefers we hold hands on take off. I’m perfectly OK with that. I guess. She was with a group on their annual sabbatical to stay a friends loft in SoHo. Turns out her niece and my son have known each other since kindergarten. Small world always. I overhear something about the movie Wolf of Wall Street, something along the lines of foul and filthy and so many fbombs I guess it set some sort of record. I tilt my iPad towards me embarrassed its the movie I downloaded for my flight.
We land and its warm, unseasonably warm and windy just like home. I peel away the layers. I find my luggage and my taxi partner and we head into the city. We drop her off first, I don’t think the van even came to a complete stop. He lunges into the next intersection, horns fire in every direction. We duck down a one way and then back onto a well lit street, I think we are in SoHo.
I text Megan, “On my way” followed with “I think I just saw Lindsey Lohan’s place.”
I get to the hotel and find my gals awaiting my arrival. I love those first hugs. We catch up over an extra large pizza reviewing our plans for the weekend, I have to say it was purely food and photo op driven, with a Polaroid walk sandwiched in. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect guides. Both had been trolling the foodies of Instagram for months making their lists of HAVE TO eateries. One of them of course was Buvette, a gastroteque in West Village, research had paid off.
I sat and played around with the camera settings, I decided to leave my big girl camera at home and just shoot with a Fuji X100 S.
Perhaps not the smartest decision, but my body was not up for lugging around what would otherwise feel like like a bag of rocks. Each day I brought one Polaroid, one Instax and the small Fuji and it was perfect. I shot over 50 film pictures and a little over 1000 photos with the Fuji, not counting the iPhone stuff, this was plenty.
Next stop Highline via Chelsea and Meatpacking district where the art is nothing short of ah-mazing.
My favorite Graffiti Girl
We created a little bit of interest in what we were doing with our cameras all lined up crouched on the sidewalk pulling apart Instant Film like the one above. Someone may have muttered tourists out of the corner of their mouth, funny I don’t here you complaining when you visit our beaches in Southern California Brooklynite. Seriously though that was THE ONLY negative comment overheard during my entire stay.
Highline is beautiful with its tree lined path above Chelsea.
From the highline you can see West 25th St. which has Eduardo Kobra’s rendition of the iconic 1945 photograph V-J Day by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
Next stop Fifth Avenue for a prosciutto board, prosecco and a little shopping at Mario Batali’s EATALY.
Exit Eataly and you’re right at the The Flatiron Building.
Meghan met up with a friend who specializes in 8X10 Instant portraits.
We swing buy Marimekko and bought the bag below, its like the Cash & Carry bag but larger, a year its still my go to bag.
Jump into a cab, face forward, eyes on the horizon. I-will-not-get-car-sick. Repeat, I-will-not-get-car-sick.
Back to hotel to review the photos and regroup before heading out to Ngam for dinner
Next day we are off to find more street art, more food and we pick up another travel partner Mae! (Mae and I were roomies at Oasis)
See that angel shaped geode behind Meghan? I wish I could have stuffed that in my suitcase.
We track down Bradley Theodore’s Anna & Karl which sadly is no longer there at L’asso on Kenmare. It was spectacular. The colors are amazing. I see now it’s been updated to a pair of angel wings from Kelsey Montague.
We had brunch at the Fat Radish, vegetarian British inspired menu aaaand very photogenic.
We got back on the subway and headed to the Bill Cunningham’s Facade exhibit. This is what you will find if you get off at the Museum stop, Monarchs!
We met up will another friend Christy, you may know her as Urbanmuser, we made our way across the street and I had my first glimpse of a sliver of Central Park.
We stopped for a “snack” at shake shack and tried not to over do it, that was so hard because we had reservations later at Peasant another great find (thank you Meghan.)
Our last day we headed to Brooklyn by way of Nolita to check out more street art. We were on the hunt for Audrey by Tristan Eeaton specifically.
Train over to Brooklyn for a little Pola walk with some (new to me) friends and lunch at Smorgasburg (highly recommend.) I think I was most excited about seeing the bridges.
And then there it was …. THE bridge.
I wanted all those Brooklyn bridge photos I have seen, under, over, on top all of them, however I didn’t see the infamous Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (below). All New York bridges are just synonymous with Saturday Night Fever, one of my all time favorite movies and the record my dad bought me when I was 9 that began my obsession with soundtracks. As cliche as it sounds, all I could think about was Tony Manero walking, paint can in hand down the streets of Brooklyn.
We happily stumbled upon a wedding shoot and began to take photos of the photographer taking photos of them of course.
Yes! by Stefan Sagmeister and painter Coby Kennedy
mural by Shepard Fairey famous for the 2008 Obama Hope Poster.
Headed back towards SoHo and stopped in a Back Forty farm-to-table. had the best squash hummus and rosemary fries.
Checked in the Polaroid haul. Not bad.
Last night out we headed to Navy in SoHo … we got cozy around a tiny bar table and ordered the (highly raved about) mussel toast and cocktails, I had Guinness and champagne together which was surprising really good!
Out of the three of us I was the last to depart which was kinda said but also kinda necessary since I discovered that I left Debra’s cosmetic bag in the loo at Navy. I had to hightail it over to grab it before my flight which gave me another opp to take an Instax of the place.
Walking back I just happened to come across the famous Parisian pasterie Ladurée. Oh darn.
I have to say NYC you surprised me. I gave too much credit to stories read over the years that most New Yorkers were a bunch of brash people living in cramped spaces always in a rush and not afraid to tell you how they felt about it. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. If I paused for more than a second at the top of the subway stairs or in front of map someone would immediately offer help in finding my way. I was met with smiles and thank yous up and down the Avenues. Streets were clean and trash was very tidy, I’ve never seen to many tied up garbage bags neatly stacked. People seemed genuinely happy to be there, of course warmer temps probably helped after winters’ unkind polar vortex. I forget that in the way way back I am an east coaster too, I was born in the tiny state of Rhode Island and lived in Massachusetts south of Boston until I was 6. I often visit the cape when I can. People often tell me that I have the east coast (or San Fran) vibe. In fact I was approached by a woman looking for directions on 5th Avenue, my friend text me that was the “ultimate compliment.”
Good bye New York.
As I settled in for the 5 and a half hour ride back, I thumbed through my Polaroids and jotted down some notes about places I had seen. I scrolled through the channels and guess what came on?
My Mio, basically an Instax with a Polaroid logo. Mini Film (affiliate link) best deal price can vary but I wait until its around 35.00 for 5 boxes = .76 a photo.
Impossible Project Film its pretty finicky and I wouldn’t suggest it for newcomers to the instant world but the silver frame (below) was glorious!
Moleskine accordion file for Instant photos and a journal for notes.
Street Art / GPS location
Graffiti Girl (Nic Walker) 40.739444, -74.007500 Google Map
Skeleton (Bunny M) 40.739167, -74.006667 (almost next to Graffiti girl) Google Map
Titanic 40.719444, -73.996944 Google Map
the kiss (Kobra) The Highline 40.749041, -74.003563 Google Map
Karl and Anna (Bradley Theodore) now Angel Wings) 40.720833, -73.995556 Google Map
Audrey (Tristan Eaton) 40.7201735,-73.9968322 Google Map
Liberty (Tristan Eaton) 40.717500, -73.998333 Google Map
YES! Octopus (Yuko Shimizu and Coby Kennedy) 40°42’3″ N 73°59’15” W Google Map