nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic


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Where did all the pregnant ladies come from?

Phew it’s hot today, around 30 degrees and the streets of New York are melting in the heat (almost). I don’t know if it’s because people are wearing less, or walking slower, but there seems to be an inordinate number of heavily pregnant women around the place. I feel for them in the heat, it must be awful. They looked pained and uncomfortable. One theory for all the pregnant ladies is the Hurricane Sandy impact: no electricity, nothing to do so why not get cosy with your loved one? Makes sense. Not a new phenomenon. The New York Times on Monday (a bank holiday here too and a slow news day, I think) focused on this and referred to various studies that failed to show a direct link between events like Sandy and increase in birth rates 9 months later. I’m no scientist, but I can tell you this, in my bit of New York, it’s baby belly central, so something went on around that time!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/nyregion/preparing-for-hurricane-babies.html?_r=0

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Unwanted conduct

Heard on the subway earlier today “Ladies and gentlemen. A crowded subway is no defence to unlawful sexual conduct. If you believe that you have been the victim of a crime, or witness to a crime, notify an MTA employee or police officer.” That’s a new one on me, but I looked it up and it’s been around since 2011, part of the MTA’s “If you see something, say something,” campaign. Not sure I’ve ever heard anything similar on the London Underground.


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Bloomberg’s bikes

Launched today, New York now has its own bike hire scheme. London has had one for a number of years and despite it being sponsored by Barclays and the bikes having their logo emblazoned on them, every Londoner calls them Boris Bikes after the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. The New York bikes look super smart all lined up and a very similar blue to the London ones. They are sponsored by Citibank, so are called Citi Bikes. Whether they will be called Bloomberg Bikes it is too early to tell, and given he’s off later this year, it might be one good way to remember him.

Read more about it on the New York Times website:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/nyregion/bike-share-program-opens-in-new-york-city-after-long-delay.html?_r=0


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It pays to tip well in New York

Every weekend I loyally go to Fairways for my weekly shop. It’s not quite as good as driving to Sainsbury’s, but I’ve got used to it. I started off by being really friendly to the staff, expecting them to comment on my accent and be nice back. But no, it doesn’t work like that, so I stopped bothering. The staff are helpful but not friendly, they all speak Spanish to each other and pretty much ignore you. On a more positive note they do pack your bags and offer a delivery service.

Today it was raining and cold. I did my thing, wandered around my usual circuit and expected no interaction. I was stunned when the guy who served me on the deli counter asked me if I was Australian or English. He must have served me dozens of times before and now he decides to be friendly and ask a question. The cheese guy corrects my pronunciation of Comte cheese and smiles. What is going on?

At the checkout I witness the woman at the checkout next to me having to justify the type of beans she has bought because the cashier won’t let her use her coupon. She says chick peas are not beans. Come on, give her a break, she wants to save 50 cents or something like that and they are giving her a hard time because it doesn’t say beans on the tin and she has six tins to get the discount. They are mean to her. Then my cashier starts giving me grief because my food is perishable they don’t want to risk delivering it. What? It’s cold outside and raining; they aren’t busy, they usually deliver pretty quick and I’m prepared to take the risk that my milk might go off. It won’t!  Urgh. My unusually pleasant experience is blighted by the perishable policy being invoked. I threaten to use Fresh Direct but they don’t seem to care. They take $85k a week in this store so my dollars are insignificant. I recognise the delivery guy and explain my plight. He says I tip the best in my building, so he’ll take my delivery straight away. It pays to tip well in New York.


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Dogiverse

I have made up a new word to honour the dogs of New York. The Dogiverse. After six months of living here I have concluded that there may be as many dogs as New Yorkers. Every day we walk by Groomingdales, a small doggie grooming parlour full of froo froo white fluffy things that look longingly out of the window to see their owners return. It’s cute and the name is great. Then there’s Biscuits and Bath, the doggie daycare centre. You can’t get your kid into a nursery here, it’s cut throat the day after Labour Day to get your kid in (more about that in a later post) but you can get your dog into daycare. There’s a  Biscuits and Bath on First Avenue, where people hang over the railings on the pavement looking at the dozens of dogs roaming around, mostly looking bored in their glass fronted room. It does look a bit sad and even a bit cruel, but maybe they are happy with their doggie buddies. Little dogs and medium dogs are separated from the big beasts. I bet it really smells.

And my favourite? Star Paws on the Upper West Side. Catering for behaviour management for your trickier pet.

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Only in New York. The home of neuroses.


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They’re not Phil and Kirstie

Ah yes, Location, Location, Location, the UK property show that promised you a predictable hour of entertainment. British couples who want a property, can’t decide what they really want, look to Phil and Kirstie to guide them on their way. They see a terrible property, a not so terrible one and after a few more ups and downs and the mandatory flirting between the two hosts, they find the home of their dreams. Safe, predictable evening TV from Channel 4.

And do we have that here? Err, no. we have Million Dollar Listing: New York. A fabulous catty programme that focuses on three different real estate agents as they try to make as much commission as possible by selling incredible multi million dollar apartments. The agents all hate each other and do whatever they can make the deal and there’s high camp drama all round. I love seeing the seeing amazing properties that look like they came straight out of a magazine and of course seeing all the streets of New York. It’s mostly focused down town in areas like Chelsea and Tribeca, with occasional trips uptown. It’s brilliant. It’s great entertainment. Watch it on-line and become addicted.

http://www.bravotv.com/million-dollar-listing-new-york

 


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The age of the $95 million apartment in New York

Yes, it’s true. 432 Park Avenue, currently under construction, will have a penthouse which is already under contract, for $95 million. Wow.  6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms. You can see here how completely enormous the building is in comparison to everything else in Manhattan. Claims it will be the largest building in the Western Hemisphere when it’s done.

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Highlighted on the front page of this morning’s New York Times, the 84 storey building will be part time home for the international billionaire set, adding it to their property portfolio.Their housekeeper can live in a studio apartment in the same building for a mere $3.9 million.

For those of you as obsessed by property porn as me and who are as unlikely as me to be able to get hold of the Vogue-style brochure for the building, check out the website: http://www.432parkavenue.com.


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Biscuit abuse

I can cope with Americans calling biscuits ‘cookies’. I can deal with the fact that they mostly have too much salt in and way too many calories and are way too big to be good for anybody. But to take an Oreo biscuit, err, cookie and slather it in batter and plunge it into hot fat for a few minutes so that it emerges looking like this:

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Well, it’s just plain wrong. Or is it. Looks a bit like a doughnut now, don’t you think? So, in the interests of research and cross Atlantic bonding, I tried one, which after just one bite looks like this:

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Yep, that’s an Oreo, deep fried in batter and it’s lovely. Artery hardening, loaded with sugar and fat and utterly addictive. Beware. And yes, I am on about food again.

 


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Why are all the women wearing Toms?

Toms what, you may ask. But where is the apostrophe, surely it should be Tom’s. Are there lots of Toms? Err, anyway, all the women, well lots of women here in New York, with its newly warm days are wearing these canvas shoes with a very thin rubber sole. They come in lots of jaunty colours and patterns but would be useless in the rain.

And they look like this. Like them? Then visit: http://www.toms.com/.  I will not be buying any, look like they make your feet way too sweaty and smelly for my liking…

 

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