New York!

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img_1011September 2016 heralded a year of significant life events in our family – my man’s 50th, my girl’s graduation from secondary school, her 18th, our 25th wedding anniversary, and my boy’s 21st. Phew! To celebrate all of this – and maybe that this could be our last family holiday – we decided to spend two weeks in New York for our ‘summer’ holiday. We were all quite excited! We spent five nights there just over five years ago so we’d done the big ticket touristy items – Top of the Rock, Empire State, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial. This time round we were looking forward to exploring the different neighbourhoods, seeing some different galleries and having the opportunity to go to the theatre (me and the girl) and the basketball and ice hockey (the males in the family). Gosh, that last bit sounds like a traditional gender split, doesn’t it? Anyhoo…here are the highlights!

  1. Snow! I know some of you northern hemisphere folk must be thinking that’s a bit crazy with all the shovelling and plowing and general brushing off of snowy clothing and shoes, but it’s a novelty for us. Sure, we can drive to the ski fields and toboggan runs for a bit of snow play, but snow in the streets? On rooftops? In the park? Very beautiful!
  2. Art – in galleries and on the street. Last time we scratched the surface at The Met. This time we scratched a little more, and made it to the Guggenheim and MoMA but, really, you could spend weeks just looking at art museums. And I loved keeping my eye out for street art and loved looking at the artwork in the subway.
  3. The subway! Love it! Where we live, we do have great access to public transport but gosh, I love a proper subway! Frequent, interconnecting. Big ticks from me! And there was some pretty cool busking happening down there too!
  4. Sharing a subway ride with Mandy Patinkin. He was texting with the big type face and had on New Balance runners. There were a few other Broadway types my girl spotted roaming the streets and in audiences. She was excited!
  5. Architecture. Maybe NY isn’t as uniformly, romantically beautiful as Paris but I love the mixture of European inspired buildings, the cast iron district, Art Deco, and modern architecture.  And with the grid plan of Manhattan, there are great sight lines. The High Line is a fantastic way to view the rooftops and to peer behind buildings.
  6. Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple. Phenomenal! We cried! (Actually, we cried in all the shows we went to see!) I could feel my girl shuddering next to me! And then when we left at the end of the show we wound up in the front row for signings at the stage door – got one Playbill signed for the girl and another for one her friends at home. Pretty chuffed with that! And what a fab, enthusiastic audience. Lots of ‘you go, girl!’, ‘that’s right, honey’.
  7. I’m not the sort of person who goes away for the shopping but LOVE AnthropologiePurl Soho and  Paper Source.
  8. The Bryant Park Winter Village. A lovely pop-up market behind the New York Public Library.
  9. Chatting to our neighbouring diners at Bluestone Lane, one of the ‘Melbourne cafes’ in NY, who asked if my brunch of eggs, feta, mushies, spinach and tomatoes was any good. It was delicious, how could it not be? They said they’d try it next time they came in. Oh, and I think they thought my girl and I were friends rather than mother and daughter so had a spring in my step walking out of there!
  10. Buying my groceries in Fairway to the strains of Ol’blue eyes singing ‘New York New York’!

And, of course, when you’re in another country there’s always the differences from home that you notice. No judgement, just observations!

  1. The water level in the toilet bowls is unusually high to my Aussie eyes.
  2. Snow is preferable to rain.
  3. Yale and Columbia are AMAZING campuses. Melbourne and Monash Unis are tiddly by comparison. The photos and names in their bookstores are both awe-inspiring and intimidating.  I didn’t see Rory’s photo at Yale…maybe she needs to write a few more articles for New Yorker!
  4. There are A LOT of theatre nerds! My girl found her people! Eavesdropping on conversations in the theatre and at the stage door there were lots of ‘I’ve seen this ‘x’ times’, ‘I saw…last night/week’. One guy had brought along a birthday present for Cynthia and was coming to the show again four days later!
  5. Ads on TV for some pretty heavy duty medication. We’re talking chemotherapy drugs, Crohn’s, psoriasis, MS, diabetes. ‘Ask your doctor about…’ Why? I’m assuming my doctor would know about these drugs and whether they were an option for me. And then there’s the list of possible side effects warnings! The one we found most perplexing was a cancer treatment drug – ‘This drug is effective in prolonging your life. Side effects may include confusion, diarrhoea, racing heart and death.’ What???!!!
  6. Very tiny power points.
  7. Are there landscapers in the US? On the train from NY to New Haven – cos Gilmore Girls fans! – we noticed the houses didn’t seem to have any gardens, just grass and maybe a couple of shrubs right at the front of the house, maybe a tree. And not much in the way of fences. Was this just a Connecticut thing? We researched further by watching many episodes of Fixer Upper and House Hunters but again, we failed to see much in the way of garden design. So…are home gardens ever landscaped? And how do you keep a dog safe without fences?

And now we’re home – with an extra suitcase! I don’t think the boy will need to buy clothes for the rest of his uni degree, and the girl now has enough casual clothes to wear after spending the last ten years wearing a uniform every school day! If it was our last family holiday, it was a good one. And that’s the best souvenir to bring home.

Have you been away over Christmas and the new year? Have you been to New York? Do you still have lots of family holidays left to enjoy? Next year, we’ll be back at Apollo Bay – with or without the kiddies. We’ll just have to wait and see!

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20 thoughts on “New York!

  1. I love the photo of the Brooklyn Bridge in the snow – fantastic! Your observations are great too, I still feel like a foreigner most of the time, so I can relate. No fancy gardens here, and I also noticed the lack of fences when we moved here, first thing we did was put a fence across the garden! The fact that they call gardens ‘yards’ may explain it, I was very confused about the ‘yard’ thing for a while, if you refer to a ‘garden’ people think you mean somewhere like Versailles!!

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    1. That is an interesting observation about ‘garden’ and ‘yard’. I would feel very exposed without my fence so I completely understand you putting one up! I think, at least in Melbourne, it would be rare to find a house without either a constructed fence or planting that creates some sort of front boundary. The snowy day made for an interesting walk across the bridge – manhattan buildings were all in silouhette!

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  2. Great post, love the bridge photo.

    I went to NY many years ago for my 30th, did all the touristy things but felt it was very impersonal , not the friendly type !

    Yes to the gardens & houses so different towards here but then I thought Australia was very different too. 😉

    Oh yes to the ads on the telly , in fact how do they watch a program with all the bloody ads!!!

    My husband lived there for years so maybe one day we will go ourselves

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    1. No doubt climate differences influence Aussie and Irish homes and gardens!! We had pretty positive interactions with New Yorkers – maybe because we weren’t doing all the touristy stuff. I think when you have such huge crowds perhaps the attitude becomes a bit more brusque just out trying to people manage!

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  3. Looks and sounds like a wonderful holiday for all of you. New York is definitely on my list of places to go, I’ll be asking for tips when we ever get around to that. I hope you’re all feeling refreshed and ready now for 2017.

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  4. I love this, all the things you noticed! I can’t stop thinking about th water level in the toilet bowl!!! And the drug adverts on tv!!!! Omg!
    So many good memories.
    Love xx

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      1. OMG I had this the other night in the pool. I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically. Every so often I would take a huge breath and yell HELP!!! The Doc had to do the treading water in front of me and speaking slowly and calmly 😂😂😂😂

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  5. So many great memories – I love the way you’ve captured it all! Fascinating about the aspects you’ve noticed – I love the fact there are no front fences (so friendly) – lack of landscaping, less so. All your other comments – I’m savouring and wondering about saving up for a family trip into the future – it sounds wonderful!

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  6. What a beautiful last (maybe) family holiday! It’s absolutely on my bucket list to get to New York one day. My husband has been, so it’s not on his. Awkward! I’ll make it happen though. I’m so happy for you all that you got to celebrate all of your big milestones of 2016 doing something so special. So many happy memories. xx PS: I’m sure it won’t be your last family holiday btw. x

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    1. Definitely, Deb! There’s always more for your husband to see! And if your kids like acting then theatre is a must. My daughter and I saw four musicals and there were plays we would have loved to have seen… and then you see the plays/musicals that are coming up…sigh! And to wander around the Lincoln Center, the Julliard Store! And, yep, the kids don’t seem averse to more trips, especially if the carrot is a good one (Scandinavia has been mentioned!)

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