When I’m drinking my morning cup of coffee, reading through my favourite New York lifestyle blogs, I sometimes forget that I’ve actually walked along those same busy streets, devoured cupcakes at Crumbs Bake Shop, swallowed the frosty air high upon the Empire State Building whilst peering down at the beautiful, Lego-like city beneath my feet, drank bitter beer and picked the straw off of my boots at McSorley’s Old Ale House, had an early morning stroll along the Brooklyn Bridge armed with an extra large gingerbread latte from Starbucks, enjoyed chocolate pancakes and chai latte for breakfast at Chocolate by the Bald Man, followed by cheesecake for starters, main and dessert at The Cheesecake Factory, got that lovely, fuzzy feeling in my stomach on the Staten Island Ferry when I past the Statue of Liberty, felt like Carrie Bradshaw at the Yankee Stadium, as I was “far too dressed up to be going here” [what can I say, I like my heels], experienced super-sized proportions at Harold’s Restaurant, and got to live my Kerouac(ish) dream on an incredible road trip to Philadelphia, Buffalo, Binghamton, Niagara Falls and Toronto.
Although I remember quite a lot about this trip, there are a few days where everything is an over-excited, sugary overloaded, exhausted, ecstatic ‘am I really here?’ kind of blur. You know, the ones where you’re so insanely happy that every minute feels like twenty-four hours, because your brain is so overwhelmed by everything it sees, hears, smells, and it doesn’t quite know what to do with this new discovered exhilaration. I remember it was a freezing cold January, the kind that bites the back of your throat with every inhale of the winter air. But, when a city is so vibrant and so alive, you quickly forget about the frost, and absorb yourself in the warm hearted streets. My boyfriend at the time studied American History for a year in New York, so was fortunate enough to have a bunch of friends to stay with, whenever he felt like going over for a couple of weeks. I, however, had just received two student loans that winter, so was able to book myself a flight, eat for two weeks, and have enough left over to browse the sales, stay out all night and eat pizza when the sun came up. Like every twenty-something year old girl who loves Sex & The City, thrift stores, coffee, hustle and bustle, creativity, Home Alone, weird shit on the subway, it was, well… a dream to be sat on that American Airline flight at 7:45am, eating a bagel, watching The September Issue [Anna Wintour is a God], knowing that in a few hours, I’d be a part of it – breathing in the smoky air, walking into Bucks and pronouncing mocha – ‘mooooowcaa’ instead of ‘mokaaaaa’ and then getting into a conversation about my Britishness [all things afternoon tea], throwing my suitcase into some tiny apartment in Manhattan that smells of Chinese take-out, then peering out of the window and thinking ‘I need to exist here’, staying a few nights with my boyfriend’s best friend on Staten Island [in the biggest house I’ve ever seen], with Tony Soprano for a dad – who wakes up every morning and brews you fresh coffee, toasts bagels with salmon and cream cheese, and wraps you up a cream doughnut to take on the subway, getting ask if I wanted a job in Hollister whilst browsing the new massive store – “I’m sorry, I live in England. But, if you find me an apartment and give me 60 hours a week, I’ll be more than happy to walk around in tiny shorts and flip-flops, saying “hey” to everybody who walks through the door!” [unfortunately, they declined my offer, but gave me a free perfume sample], strolling around Central Park on one of those crisp winter mornings and desperately wanting Tom Hanks to appear with a Labrador, walking past Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, wishing she was sat on her stoop with a cigarette in one hand and a shoe in the other, finding black cowboy boots with studs on for $5 in a thrift store and wearing them the entire trip [even though the pain kicked in after half an hour, they were just far too cool to not strut around in], waking up to masses of snow so deep that I was forced to abandon said cowboy boots and opt for wellies, and that memorable night in Manhattan with a crowd of twenty, maybe even thirty, where we all played beer pong in some rustic bar, danced in the streets with one another without our shoes on, ate pizza until our stomachs ached and then fell asleep on the morning ferry, floating across the city of dreams.
It really is everything you hope it to be. I wanted my New York to be a romantic Meg Ryan movie, a playground for my inner Kevin McAllister, and a Big, beautiful Bradshaw love affair. New York to me is like that fling you’ll never forget – that exhilarating moment of your life that will stay with you forever, where those tingles still tickle your spine whenever you so much as hear a song, walk past a bakery and get a whiff of fresh bread, or discover an old photograph of the city in all of its glory. It’s a place where you don’t belong, but only hope you might, fourteen freezing cold days where you felt your warmest, a fleeting encounter documented with a camera to capture those bitter-sweet memories – such as that long wintry walk in the park, where the crimson sky and cotton wool clouds were slowly swallowed up by the darkness, which induced a romantic rendezvous beneath the stars, followed by 4am cups of coffee. But, when the sunshine crept in and a new day had begun, my bags were packed and you were gone.
After all of this reminiscing, I loaded up my old netbook to try and find the photographs. Annoyingly, I could only find a handful of them. I’ve already done a post on my trip to Philadelphia, but for some unknown reason, I can’t seem to find my Niagara & Toronto photographs. I’ll have to try and remember my old Facebook password, because I’m sure they will be safe in an album somewhere.
Here are a few still memories [first year student circa January 2010 = no swish camera. Apologies].
CRUMBS OREO CUPCAKE!
Quite possibly the best breakfast of my life – Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes….
^^^^My dear boots on the Brooklyn bridge ^^^^
The best jam on toast I have ever tasted [discovered in some hole in the wall next to a laundrette]
Where the portions are the size of a small child
Because it truly is a playground…