nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic


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3 hours to sunshine

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.

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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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What you need to know about Fire Island

  1. Confirm that it is indeed an island, but it is not on fire.
  2. Prepare for your journey using Google Maps which says it is supposed to be 1 hour and 15 minutes by car from the Upper East Side. That is a lie, it is at least 2 hours (see below for exception).
  3. Choose one of the many beaches (Robert Moses Beach); you have to park in a ‘Field’, which has no grass and is actually a car park.
  4. Accept that it is unbelievably busy on a Sunday in August but at 28 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, you just don’t care.
  5. Queue for a very long time to get a cold drink to supplement your fabulous home made picnic lunch and wonder at the woman in front of you who returns soon after receiving her fries and chicken wings to complain they are so salty, they are inedible.
  6. Remember quite quickly that taking a nearly 3 year old to the beach is hard work and quite frankly the risk of losing him is pretty high, so dress him in the brightest rash top possible and hope for the best.
  7. Marvel at the water which is lovely and almost warm, but becomes a bit full on later in the day as the tide changes.
  8. Fail to find your Zip Car because it is black and nondescript and you haven’t remembered to find a reference point in the enormous car park, so wander for quite a while trying to manhandle your toddler before he ends up under a car.
  9. Locate the car and exit with half the beach in the boot (err, trunk), drive off in search of pizza at the other end of the island having smugly looked up on Yelp and other sites for the best pizza. Grind to a halt as there is an accident on the only bridge to and from the island and sit there for an hour waiting for the emergency services to leave.
  10. Drive gleefully in the opposite direction to the hideous amounts of traffic that have built up since the crash on the bridge and then find that the road on Google Maps stops half way and you can’t go any further because there’s some kind of nature reserve or whatever and the ROAD DOES NOT EXIST.
  11. Glumly join the end of the traffic that you could have avoided and spend the next hour waiting to get back on that bridge and drive home.
  12. Count the number of men peeing into the bushes on the side of the road because the traffic jam lasted so long.
  13. Attack what’s left of that fabulous picnic, because there’s nowhere to eat dinner and everyone’s starving.
  14. Arrive home nearly 4 hours after leaving the beach. Humph.