nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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The ire of the Upper East Side

It’s been pretty cold again. So cold today that after spending 45 minutes in the local park watching E sledge down the hill I couldn’t feel my nose any more. J wasn’t best pleased either as his hands were frozen, despite his gloves but when you’re 2 years old and getting to grips with the English language, it’s hard to vocalise that, apart from crying that it is.

Unlike my fellow Upper East Siders, who took no time at all yesterday to complain bitterly to the press that the new Mayor was ignoring them. The snow ploughs (plows here) were nowhere to be seen in my bit of the Upper East Side and looking out from our high floor apartment, the avenues near us remained white and the traffic very slow late into the night.

“Getting back at us” screamed the headline in the New York Post yesterday. Mayor de Blasio was not a fan of the Upper East Side and the voters were squarely against him, particularly as he supported the development of a new waste transfer station in the neighbourhood. And the maps that showed where the snow ploughs were nowhere to be seen were pretty similar to the lack of de Blasio votes from 5 November. However today de Blasio turned up on 86 street and Lexington Avenue to reassure Upper East Siders that he was ‘for all the boroughs’ and that the plough maps were missing GPS data, where some of the snow ploughs were faulty. Apparently. Who would dispute that, eh?

Tonight, the roads are clear. It is still bitterly cold, but not even the Upper East Siders could blame that on the Mayor, could they?


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Nelson Mandela slept there

So in the cold wastes of New York, I find myself in the same bedroom that once saw Nelson Mandela and other dignitaries who visited the Mayor of New York. The official residence of the Mayor is called Gracie Mansion and it’s only a few blocks from our apartment. It was built in 1799 but has only been the home the Mayors of New York since 1945; prior to that was mostly in private hands.It’s pretty fancy inside, having been lovingly restored under Bloomberg’s watch, but he never lived there, preferring his much fancier town house on 79th Street by Central Park. The new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, is moving in soon, so the tour that I went on today is unlikely to continue much longer. Good timing from me, then.

I did wonder why de Blasio would want to move from super trendy Park Slope in Brooklyn to Gracie Mansion. It’s right next to the FDR, which is a really busy road running down the east side of Manhattan. It does have great views of the East River, but then so does our apartment and we don’t have to look at cars racing by all day. It’s basically a creaky floored old museum, stuffed to rafters with old furniture and fittings either on loan or given by previous residents.

It’s amusing to see the graffiti in the glass made by the children of previous Mayors, when everything else looks so perfect. Good job de Blasio’s kids are in their late teens, because I wouldn’t put a toddler anywhere near that place. Even the tour guides made us cling to the bannister when going up the grand staircase, as health and safety went safely mad in there. Not sure it would be a comfy place to chill out and watch the telly, but then again, if you’re the Mayor of New York, maybe you’re just a bit too busy.

Take a look for yourself at the Gracie Mansion website.

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And the winner is…

Bill de Blasio. He will be the 109th Mayor of New York on 1 January 2014. He won by a landslide, with his Republican opponent only scraping a small percentage of the overall vote. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d have even known about the election yesterday, it was so low key around here. R said it was because the Democrat was so likely to get in that it would have been a waste of money to plaster the place with posters. There are 4.3 million voters in New York; 700,000 of them are registered Democrats, so I suppose that makes sense, but even so, there hasn’t been a Democrat mayor in 20 years.

I saw a lonely de Blasio poster out in Queens on Monday and a lot of City Councillor posters locally and that was about it. Public school kids got the day off as their buildings got used as polling stations. R shook hands with Joe Lhota and Rudy Guliani (Mayor before Bloomberg) who were hanging around the subway station in the morning, which was about as exciting as it got.

Here’s today’s newspapers, just to prove it actually happened.


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Got that wrong, then

So, Christine Quinn didn’t win the Democratic primary yesterday. There’s a great map on the New York Times website showing the blast of blue for Bill de Blasio, who won the primary, just, with a smidgen over the required 40 per cent to take the nomination. I am slightly surprised how scattered Quinn’s support is. I am not in the least bit surprised that in the Yorkville area of the Upper East Side she got nowhere as locals vociferously campaigned against her support of the proposed local waste transfer station. And as for Anthony Weiner, he made no friends during his campaign, with just a tiny smattering of pink showing the precincts that didn’t mind his sexting history. Here’s hoping he takes the hint and gives up the idea of public office now.

It’s Bill de Blasio versus Joe Lhota in the elections for New York Mayor on November 5th. Given there are very few Republicans in New York, de Blasio is going to have a nice new job come January. But what will ex Mayor Bloomberg do? Maybe his $27bn fortune will keep him company.