nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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Sassy Tarts?

It’s Halloween and in New York it is taken very seriously. I have just walked home from E’s swimming lesson and the streets are full of adults and children dressed in all manner of crazy costumes. I had to shield J from the man who was wrapped in bandages, holding a severed head with a meat hook and sporting a large grey rat gnawing into the bloody gauze on his head…Yuck.

J and I are hiding indoors, providing sweets to trick or treaters, as he has taken completely against Halloween and will not wear a costume and freaks out when he gets anywhere near anyone in fancy dress. R has taken E out trick or treating resplendent in her huntress outfit inspired by The Hunger Games.

The best named sweets for this year are Sassy Tarts. In the interests of my readers, I ate the one pictured below and it turns out to be a rather disappointing tablet sweet. A bit like a refresher, if you remember those (still around?) but more like some kind of chalky heart burn tablet! I’ll stick with chocolate, even if it is American.


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Get your New York on

This is the strap line for this year’s New York City Marathon. It is everywhere. I was running in Central Park yesterday and ran through the part of the loop road that is the final stretch of the marathon and there’s a vast amount of temporary building being erected for Sunday’s event. The park is looking particularly beautiful with the colours of the leaves changing nicely; it’s almost as if the park is putting on its best for the runners as the world watches them speed down the last part of the race.

Today I went to collect my race number for the 5k ‘dash to the finish’. I will not be dashing, but I will do my best as we start by the UN building on the east side and then run along 42nd street, past Grand Central Station and along to 6th Avenue and  up into the lower part of Central Park to end at the marathon finish line. Pretty cool to do that but not have to run 26.2 miles first!

Number collection was at the Javits Convention Center which is way over on the west side on 11th Avenue at 34th Street. It was so busy, but no surprise gieven there will be 50,000 people pouring through their doors over two days just to collect their race number.

I won’t be running, but I will volunteer like I did last year. This time however I am at the finish and will be one of 150 volunteers guiding runners and members of the public out of the park. Funneling 50,000 runners through the park and out onto the west side is a huge feat of organisation. When I ran yesterday, I followed the route that will funnel the runners and it goes on for 20 blocks! Blimey.

So wish me luck, standing around from about 11am to 6pm on Sunday, hopefully being vaguely useful. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain!

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Not quite how you imagine New York

Coney Island in the cold and at the end of the season. No crowds, no queues to get on rides, pretty much the ideal time to visit. Looking at these photos, you’d never know it was Brooklyn, New York. Great way to spend a Sunday in October.

Along the boardwalk at Coney Island about 2pm.

Along the boardwalk at Coney Island about 2pm.





Just before leaving around 5pm, the view along the beach at Coney Island.

Just before leaving around 5pm, the view along the beach at Coney Island.

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Red hot chili flowers

How’s this for an unusual bunch of flowers for your window sill? $7.99 from Fairway earlier today. And yes, they are chilis, lots of them. We can’t work out if they are coated to stop them from leaking chili on to your hands or if they might even be edible. I don’t think we will eat them, but they look great next to our (now growing mould) pumpkin.




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Sunday best

In our local park today there was a costume contest for the local dogs in celebration of Halloween. The Halloween Howl was packed with dogs of all shapes and sizes dressed up and prancing around in an attempt to win a prize. Crazy stuff, but there was a great atmosphere and you couldn’t help but smile and go ‘aahh’ a lot. Check out some of the entrants:

This one is carrying a replica of the Roosevelt Island Tram. Came second in its class.

This one is carrying a replica of the Roosevelt Island Tram. Came second in its class.











A super hero and winner of its class.

A super hero and winner of its class.










My favourite. Check out the daschund on the right: yes, he's wearing a leather cap!

My favourite. Check out the daschund on the right: yes, he’s wearing a leather cap!


2 years old today

I wrote my first blog post about moving to New York exactly two years ago today. 275 posts later I am still here and still blogging. I love recording my experience and reading it back, I’ve already forgotten so much. Life has changed a lot since we got here, mostly because J is growing up and is three next month. He goes to pre-school five mornings a week now, so our exploring has been curtailed. Even if he hadn’t gone to school, he was reluctant to behave in art galleries and even more reluctant to sleep when I wanted him to. Getting him into and out of the subway now requires a feat of strength with his buggy that is pretty much beyond me these days. This does mean that my blog posts will be different now and may be less frequent. I’ll still try to look for the odd, the amusing and cast a wry eye over it all, recording for me, for my family and for anyone who cares to read my blog. Please continue to enjoy.

Love nyc-newbie.

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Not a bear in sight

Sunday was a beautiful day here in New York. The rest of the week’s weather looks rubbish, so we decided to go on a day trip to Bear Mountain. Turns out we aren’t the only ones who look at weather forecasts and the rest of New York made the 75 mile trek north to share the roads with us. So much so that after a lovely stop off at Welch Lake, with my fabulous Bagel Bob picnic, that the entire road ground to a halt because there was so much traffic.

We carefully made our way to junction 19 only to find that the only road into Bear Mountain was shut. A park ranger, who looked about 12, was fending  off angry motorists who were, unsurprisingly a bit put out that no one had bothered to tell them at junction 18 that they couldn’t get into the park because it was jam packed already. When we got to this point, the woman in the car in front of us was so angry her daughter had to restrain her physically to stop her lamping the poor ranger. Not a great sight for J to see as I took him for a well earned pee in a bush nearby. I wouldn’t have minded not knowing at junction 18 if I could have then turned around at this point, but no, we then had to crawl through another 2 or 3 miles before we could do that. I think the parks department could do with sorting that one out, it can’t be the first time the park got busy on a warm Autumnal day on a holiday weekend (Monday is Columbus Day).

So we consoled ourselves to having driven all the way for nothing, thinking we probably should have left earlier. We got to the roundabout to take us back the way we came and the road to the other entrance to Bear Mountain was clear, so we went round the roundabout again, drove down the road to be confronted with another barrier and another park ranger type, this time not 12 years old. He waved us on, and we drove into the park, thinking that can’t be right, someone’s going to stop us. But we kept going and somehow, despite all the traffic from before, we drove up Bear Mountain with no one else following us. It was quite surreal. We got to the peak, parked and had a bit of a wander and it was fine. Where was everyone? There were certainly people there, but surely all that traffic was coming here? Well, no, actually, it looks like they were all going to the Oktoberfest at the base of the mountain and if it weren’t for people wandering about with huge beer steins, you’d never have known.

It was totally worth it. From the peak you can see the buildings of New York City in the far distance. You can breathe fresh air! It wasn’t quite in its full ‘fall’ glory, but there was  a lot of colour around. And there are deer. Very tame, cute, bambi style deer who let you take their picture. And the only bear I saw was a lady holding a young baby in a furry bear type all in one job who didn’t look very scary at all.

Bear Mountain, look for New York City skyline on horizon on right hand side.

The view from the top of Bear Mountain, look for the New York City skyline on the horizon on right hand side.

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Recognise this?

Yes, it’s the Empire State Building seen from the 39th floor of a building on 32nd and Broadway. Isn’t it beautiful? Bit like a Sin City scene. This is where we had dinner at a Korean BBQ place called Gaonnuri. This isn’t a part of town we generally go to, it’s too near Penn Station and the horror of that area, but it’s also home to a few streets called Korea Town. K Town, as R is now calling it, was a revelation on a Saturday night. It was buzzing with young Koreans out on the town, cigarette in hand, hanging around the bars and restaurants. I liked the look of Bunn which was a tiny cafe with large steel vats in the window which sold pork buns. R liked the fact that if you glance at the name, it looks like bum. Hmm. Anyway, we are going to go back in daylight with E and J and check out Bunn for the buns and maybe some other new foods. I also loved the Korean supermarket, a vast place packed with unpronouncable and unrecognisable foods. Still open near midnight when we stopped by. Only in New York.


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Ageing gracefully

Take a look at this article in today’s New York Times magazine. It’s wonderful. It shows four sisters who have been photographed in the same pose more or less every year for the last 40 years. The online version shows the four sisters ageing every year, but in the hard copy magazine you see just a selection over the years and the impact is much greater. Makes you think about your own ageing.