So we’ve been in New York for exactly one year now. I didn’t quite get to 200 posts, but close at 187. I’m conscious that the blog has become fairly obsessed with food and art with a smattering of politics. I don’t think I really intended this, but it’s just the way it’s turned out.
I think I’ve probably said most of what can be said about the people here. I’ve got used to the language and cultural differences. It still bugs me when people don’t say ‘thanks’ when you give way to them on the pavement, but I try not to let it bother me too much. But I have got used to the fact that no one gives a toss that I’m British. And I am so pleased that New Yorkers are as obsessed with the weather as us Brits.
It’s nice to feel almost a sense of community after one year. Cities are lonely places, but when you come here with small children, they kind of open up for you. I bump into people I know via the school in the street and at the lovely playground near us. It’s nice when the butcher knows your name and baffling that the dry cleaner is excited to see your toddler and knows his name but can’t remember mine despite the fact I go there every week.
I have staked out my favourite food places and have become a creature of habit in what I buy in each. I spend a fortune in Fairway; I treat myself from Dean and Deluca; and am selective in the lovely Agatha and Valentina. I thought I’d cook a lot more, but I don’t. In fact the food here is so easy to buy all done for you, that really there’s no point in doing lots of it yourself. And of course everything can be delivered, so you don’t even have to leave your home. I’d been concerned about portion size, worried about becoming larger than when I arrived. Perversely I have lost weight since being here, but I put that down to the miles I walk with J and the running in Central Park.
And the weather? I love the fact that summer starts in May and pretty much goes on until late October. Basking in the beautiful northern parts of Central Park on 2 November was a real highlight and a huge contrast to NW3. The colours of the trees changed throughout October and some are still hanging on now. When we arrived last year I hated the greyness of the city, how drab it all looked with bare trees and brutal architecture. Now that I’ve seen New York through its four seasons, I don’t mind so much, knowing it won’t last too long.
I have felt hugely privileged to see as much art as I have this last year. I am blown away by the range and choice of places to visit. Visiting the Bronx to see the Gramsci Monument earlier in the summer was a real highlight and I was pleased we got to see 5pointz before it was painted over last week. There’s still so much more to see and I have a long list of where to go next, with strategic public transport planning to minimise the number of steps to drag my buggy being key to all visits.
So here’s to another year. I’m excited to continue to discover the more obscure parts of New York, including the recently refurbished Queens Museum. I plan to spend lots more time in Central Park, visiting every one of its 21 playgrounds with J, having been to about half of them so far. We must go to Long Island and visit the Hamptons, just to see what it’s like. And of course I will be following the travails of the new Mayor of New York. I have just loved learning about New York politics.
And most importantly, I am looking forward to the arrival of Whole Foods on the Upper East Side. This is hugely exciting for us (err, me). Perhaps I should get a job and stop fretting about food?