nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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Happy St Patrick’s Day

It’s very popular here, with so many people claiming Irish roots, that it’s hard to escape as you walk around town. We avoided the parade today as it’s just too busy with young children, but we saw plenty of escapees in green outfits and shamrocks galore. One reveller gave E a balloon hat in the three colours of the Irish flag, which went down very well.

The mayor, Bill de Blasio, boycotted the parade saying, “I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city.” Seems to be focused on anti-gay sentiments of the event. So he’s having a bit of a do at Gracie Mansion and hanging out at a Catholic church or two instead.

The Irish pubs were full at 230 in the afternoon, when we walked home from the subway. Fairway was full of green food but was lacking imagination in the cup cake decorations that we loved last year. I think my favourite was the woman wearing black jeans with long socks to her knees so that she looked like she was wearing leprechaun trousers. She looked about as Irish as I am.

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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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Financing the election

The New York Times produces a fascinating table of how much each candidate for the New York Mayor has raised and spent.

I predicted in an earlier post that Speaker Christine Quinn would get the Democrat nomination, which concludes on 10 September. The golden number is 40, she needs 40 per cent of registered Democrats to vote for her to get the nomination. The papers here are predicting she is pretty close based on various polls. So far she has raised over $6.5 million, nearly double her closest rival, Bill de Blasio. Interestingly they have both spent about the same so far, around $1.1 million.

Unfortunately I can’t get it to look fancy here on this page, but the interactive map is at:


It’s great though, when the best the New York Post can do is print a photo of Christine Quinn walking to work in her business wear and be critical about the fact she is wearing trainers, like that’s news.