And just before I go to bed, here’s a sign from this evening’s outing that made me stop dead in the street and read twice. A six foot sandwich? Nope. A foot long sandwich that is six dollars. I was so bothered about the fact that it was six foot long that I didn’t even realise until just now that a foot long sandwich is pretty barking too. That’s one way to notice a Blimpie on the way home.
This is what I was doing earlier tonight as I got out of the subway at Wall Street. In the dark it’s very hard to read street signs and there’s no logic to the street layout down town – the logic of the grid system is far north from here. I was squinting like a very old lady and looking as bemused. In a bid to not get mugged, I huddled to look at my phone and work out where I was but that was hopeless too as it was too hard to see such small print. I am getting very old, I must update my contact lenses.
I then stumbled across the New York Stock Exchange building which looked amazing all lit up at night.
So I have decided that the episode of Sex in the City where Carrie gets on the subway because there are no cabs and where she emerges at Wall Street station (not sure which line, but let’s say it’s the 4 5 line) is completely unrealistic. I don’t see how she could have oriented herself and got herself the the Stock Exchange Building to ring the bell in rush hour in her enormous Laboutin or Blahnik heels. No way. I was wearing fur lined Camper boots and I had no idea.
It’s so cold again, that being on the street that marks the original wall of Manhattan where in the 1660s New Amsterdam originally ended, just reminds me of Game of Thrones. But that’s another terrible TV reference that R says I should stop doing. But I can’t; it makes me laugh. Better than wailing.
Yes, that’s how long it takes to get to the Caribbean from New York. Great, isn’t it? And how do I know? Because we just went there from JFK airport direct to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Talk about a contrast: from the brutal, grey and cold city to the laid back, white sandy beaches, turquoise ocean and clear blue sky. It’s all a bit indulgent, really. We only went for 4 days and as this isn’t a travel blog, I won’t bore you about the lovely apartment, the heat, the sand…
But the point I really wanted to make was about proximity. In the UK you might head off to Spain, Italy or some other Mediterranean destination and take about the same time to get there. The Caribbean is a long haul flight away and an expensive one at that. So think of a trip to the Caribbean from the US as the equivalent of a trip from London to one of the Mediterranean countries. Great thing about much of the Caribbean is that the national language is English and for us in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the currency is the US Dollar, so no currency conversion horrors. And even better it’s on Eastern Time, so no jet lag and no time zone changes to mess about with J’s sleep patterns! All in all, a fabulous way to escape New York’s grim winter.
If I didn’t have the pictures, I probably would think it was all a dream.
My advice for the day: if you want to eat Thanksgiving lunch at 1pm make sure you read the instructions on your lazy lunch from Eli’s. When you read the instructions that say ‘heat for 20-25 minutes in a 350 F oven’ (not shown in the photo below) and you think ‘hmm, that doesn’t seem like very long’, then you are probably right. When you take it out after 25 minutes and probe it with a meat thermometer and it says ‘I am 10 C and you cannot eat me because you will contract food poisoning’, then it’s probably right too. Best re-read the smaller but crucial print at the top of the instructions that says ‘make sure you take everything out of the fridge in good time to get them to room temperature otherwise all the timings below will be wrong, you idiot’. Or something like that. Lunch at 230pm anyone?
I’m sure we did something similarly stupid last year.
Today seems to be mostly about Black Friday. Not a concept that exists in the UK, but in the US, Black Friday is huge. It’s a massive selling day where shops offer large discounts to entice shoppers in after a day of stuffing themselves with turkey. I suppose it’s a bit like Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day, in the UK. Although I don’t think Boxing Day is quite the shopping mecca it once was.
In my New York Times this morning, there were 18 separate pieces of advertising making the newspaper bundle on my doorstep super thick. Here’s what it looked like: this is Black Friday on Thanksgiving.
Oh dear, it comes to something when your husband returns from a business trip to London and the thing you are most excited about is the 3 pack of dusters he brought back from Sainsbury’s. And I’m not being in the least bit sarcastic. It really was a highlight as I just can’t find them here. I did ask in Basics Plus (the local homeware shop that sells lots of useful things but at eye watering prices) but they just looked at me quizzically and showed me to a bunch of feather things on sticks. R said they didn’t know that a duster is a soft yellow cloth mostly sewn around the edges in orange thread that you use with polish, something like Pledge, to keep the dust off the furniture. I used one today and it was lovely. I really must get out more.
Continuing with the cold theme from yesterday, E and I went ice skating in Central Park last night. There’s a permanent rink at the south end of Central Park which is re-used in the summer as a small fairground. We went to the fairground in August on a roasting hot day where I sought out shelter at every opportunity and guzzled bottles of water; this time round I’m freezing and gripping a cup of Early Grey tea to try and restore some feeling in my fingers.
The setting is spectacular: the buildings of 59th Street towering over us and the trees of Central Park nearly bare of leaves. It’s kind of spooky walking into Central Park at night; E wasn’t keen and I sort of knew where I was going after an abortive attempt to cut through the Zoo, which was unsurprisingly shut at 630pm. But we survived and it’s well worth it as a proper New York experience, something everyone should try during the winter.
What on earth is the matter with the weather? It was minus 6 celsius this morning. It is clear and bitterly cold, it’s the first proper cold day of the winter. I am feeling rather smug because I bought a new coat at the weekend in anticipation of snow in maybe February and am very pleased to have it today. I have written before about my dislike of padded coats and today they were out in force. My new coat has a secret padded lining so that it feels like a duvet, but looks like a stylish black coat on the outside. Genius.
Everyone was moaning about the cold, reminding me that it’s not just the British who like to constantly talk and complain about the weather. We are similar in some ways, I suppose. I saw a man wearing shorts and a woman in flip flops – her excuse being she’d just had a pedicure (but why? it is winter) but what possible reason could he have had for his lack of layers? Crazy.
I could hardly contain myself in the queue at Fairway this morning. An entire section dedicated to Christmas and an English Christmas at that! There were Maltesers in the shape of Christmas crackers, boxes of jelly babies, selection boxes filled with McVities biscuits and even selection boxes of chocolates like I had when I was a kid.
But most exciting of all was the jars of mincemeat to make mince pies. Mince pies! I didn’t see one here last year and I certainly didn’t see any mincemeat. I was so excited I made some this afternoon. Unfortunately I can’t find any icing sugar here, so they don’t have that lovely dusted with snow look. They were so nice, warm out of the oven with a cup of Darjeeling tea. E said the pastry was a bit bland picked out the mincemeat and left the pastry. Tut, tut, fussy so and so. Here’s the result.
Take a look at this picture. You see a 3D optical illusion on the right (it goes to a point in the middle when you walk down it, but impossible to represent here), a perspex anchor on the left (as you do) and the Manhattan skyline in the background. Where was I? Well, I was at the Socrates Sculpture Park, home of bonkers outside art in Queens. It was a gorgeous day yesterday and we were there to check out this year’s emerging artists installations. As well as these two, there was a wooden dragon thing that J loved walking along, must have been 30 feet long; a pile of wood painted white which was more obstacle course for small children and dogs than art; and a giant spider with an NYPD spy station on top of it – hard to imagine, I know. All a bit crazy, but that just seems to be normal here.