nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic


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2 weeks to go

So we’ve done 2 years, 2 months and we have 2 weeks left. There is so much to do, but we have done loads; it feels OK so far. Here’s a glimpse of what it’s like near the end of our expat life in New York.

  1. You suddenly realise that living way up high in the sky is amazing and that living in a fabulous apartment building with lovely, friendly staff is just the best. You wonder how you will ever cope with opening the door yourself and consider installing a concierge desk and doorman in your new house.
  2. You know everything is ‘the last’, so you make the most of it. You max out on babysitters to go out at much as possible, going to bars and restaurants that you’ve always fancied but never quite managed. You regret not going out more, but hey, that’s OK, there has to be some time to watch the Good Wife and The Blacklist.
  3. You remember all the logistics that got you here from London and reverse them. You feel like a pro when dealing with the relocation agents, the shipping people and know all the pitfalls. It’s a nice feeling.
  4. You feel complete relief at having sorted housing and schools back in London and feel excited to be going back to what you know, the people you know and that wonderful familiarity.
  5. You make sure you can get rid of all those things you can’t take with you and because you have a thing about recycling, find people who will love them after you are done with them. Still can’t find a home for the iron, but you keep on looking.
  6. You make time to see all the people you have come to know and go out with them to talk about how great it has been but it’s over, it was always a short gig and yes, you’re happy to go home. This may mask some more emotional feelings, but being British, best kept inside. Ahem.
  7. You try to work out how to tell your toddler they are leaving the only home they know and the school they love. Focus on what’s important: the number of the house you are moving to. It’s very important when you are only 3.
  8. You help your nearly 9 year old think through the move, what it will be like to go back to her old school, to where she remembers, knows people and feels happy. Enjoy the excitement she feels.
  9. You make a mental list of all the nice New York food that you want to take back, just to ease the transition. You hanker after a trip to Sainsbury’s but know secretly you will miss the inconsistent world of Fairway’s. A bit.
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5pointz

After the excitement of a month long Banksy residency, New York now has to settle for its own graffiti artists and go over to Long Island City in Queens to get its fix. There’s an empty warehouse opposite MOMA PS1, the Long Island City outpost of the Museum of Modern Art, and it’s covered in graffiti. At first glance you may think it’s all a bit of a mess and says something about how much people care about this area, but actually it’s all very organised and the graffiti artists have been using this building as a canvas for decades. The 5pointz website tells us:

“5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc. is an outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti Mecca,” where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building.”

Constantly under the threat of demolition, 5pointz continues to argue (even in the courts with some help from Banksy himself) that this is art, this is somewhere that should be protected. Unfortunately the gentrification of Long Island City is creeping and with the enormous Citi building nearby and the renovated Court Square subway station making this a surprisingly accessible stop on the 7 line, the price of real estate is growing. Putting up an apartment building to replace the graffiti strewn building is going to make someone a lot of cash and there’ll come a point soon when the fight will be over.

So here are some of my pictures so that you can see what the fuss is all about. Make the most of them, they may be some of the last to adorn the building.

graffiti 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

graffiti 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

graffiti 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

graffiti 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

graffiti 3


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Where’s Winnie?

He’s here, well, in the New York Public Library. The original toys owned by Christopher Robin that inspired A.A Milne to write the Winnie the Pooh stories live in a glass box in the children’s library on 42nd Street. I was not expecting that! Have to say they do look a bit forlorn and unhappy in their box stuck behind the librarians and surrounded by over excited children.

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