nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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Patriotic all over

We’ve experienced two patriotic holidays in the last week. 1 July was Canada Day, not an event I can ever remember noticing before but as we were in Toronto then it was hard to escape. It’s a national holiday and the Canadian Flag was everywhere! We were on one of Toronto’s islands, making the most of the beautiful sunny day and felt positively dull compared with our fellow holiday makers, clad in red and white with ‘Canada’ emblazoned wherever they could. We now have a small Canadian flag, courtesy of the tour guide who took us to Niagara Falls; he used it to pacify J as he bawled his eyes out on the bus – it didn’t work, he clearly knew he wasn’t Canadian.

And of course 4 July is Independence Day and a day of great celebration in the US. We were stuck in Toronto, having failed to get back to La Guardia airport on 3 July due to thunderstorms in NY, so we only got back at lunchtime on 4 July. I like this holiday as there’s no one about! Bizarrely everyone decamps from New York and leaves the non-US residents to enjoy the queue free Fairway, quiet streets and empty playgrounds. Great to see the fireworks in the evening. This was mostly on the TV but slightly through the mass of buildings to the south of our apartment as the Macy’s firework display was off the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges this year. There were patriotic songs to accompany the display which was a riot of red, white and blue. Happy birthday America!

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If you want to get ahead, get a hat

It is hot here in New York today. After two days of rain, it’s now officially summer. I am in downtown Brooklyn, which is a world apart from the Upper East Side. It is busy, there’s a lot of flesh on show and not in a good way. The pavements of Fulton Street are lined with all sorts of stalls selling hats, jewellery and clothing.  Music blares out, competing with noise from stalls nearby. There are crowds of people in Macy’s (Brooklyn branch). I listen to harassed mothers who yell at their small children to ‘shut the f*** up’. I buy a hat in Macy’s:  I am gratified that my head is not large in Brooklyn. I queue in the equally crowded Gap Outlet next door and am barked at by the cashier, ‘next guest!’. I know now that means next in the queue. I don’t feel much like a guest as I’ve queued for 20 minutes and put up with the horror of the outlet experience. I buy E a hat too and hope that head size isn’t hereditary. I walk back to the subway and find I am the only one wearing a hat. I will set a new trend. Alone.