CUWAM: New York , A place like no other

Day One: reflections being post from Williamsburg, Brooklyn on what is day two

And a sound track to read to accompany the words below….

PM Dawn…with their mid 1990’s classic : Moving on Up

Alicia Keys…New York

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New York, you are making me feel guilty….I no longer pine for Paris or parts of Denmark…I just love you…..Today I feel back in love with the city I last visited 6 years ago with my good friend Rhonda…and it is the kind of love that has me wishing I lived here, that I could relocate my life, relocate Flora and set up residence in Brooklyn…is that too much to ask?

I arrived in NYC late Friday night ( 16th September) and I reflected on the shuttle bus ride to my hotel on how much ground I had travelled in 1 day. I had breakfast in Copenhagen, lunch in London and peanut butter M & M’s for supper in NYC….An epic day which saw me pass out at my hotel / hostel The Bowery House, Bowery, NY as soon as I arrived.

The Bowery House is interesting to say the least. It is located in a fantastic part of Manhattan Island, near China Town and Little Italy….the building was originally use was as a hospice for war veterans to recover after the Second World War.

I have my own room, and it would be no more that 2m by 2m…It is super tiny, and I remember when I booked this place, questioning whether or not I would fit into the bed on offer ( the bed measurements were online as I’d say it has been an issue in the past)…I fit, just….my feet hang of the edge….but you do not come to NYC to sleep and I could not be happier with my cell!!  Yes, the Bowery House reminds me of the flat I love and live in Clovelly…only 10 times smaller!!

So on day one I took to the streets…..Wondering aimlessly at first in the hope of finding an internet café…..Feeling the need to embrace all things American, my first stop was Starbucks…I really just wanted to walk around with the coffee in my hand…It would help me fit in…It is what EVERY New Yorker seems to carry….I stood in line, and reached into my bag for my wallet…only to find it missing….Was is stolen? Had I packed it into my handbag that morning?

I walked back to my hotel, concerned that if it was stolen, the next 5 days would be spent without money, making insurance claims and talking to the NYPD…..Thankfully it was safe and sound in my room….And feeling relieved I then took to the streets with a purpose….I would go to Brooklyn, the NYC place of coolness…

But before Brooklyn…an aside : Anyone who knows me, knows that I love food, and I have always had a fascination for supermarkets….and today I found a market place that ticks every box: Whole Food Market, NYC….AMAZING….I was in heaven, and an everything bagel, grapes, apple and banana later I left the store heading for East Village…in the full knowledge that I would be back again ( probably too many times to mention in this blog!!)

Brooklyn Flea Markets are held every Saturday in a school yard. It was a market great for sourcing vintage clothes and collectables for the home…For me, I was more interested in people watching….For the people of Brooklyn seemed to be seriously cool…Very edgy, aloof even…and I felt slightly out of place, but not enough so that I would leave…there was lunch to be had.

Not that I was hungry but I felt it would be a disservice not to eat with the locals, so from the stall with the longest queue, I acquired a South American dish called Pupusa’s….with picked cabbage, jalapeno, and chill sauce….interesting and very filling.After leaving the markets I decided to resort to a favourite pass time…walking…in no particular direction….but the desire to find an internet café was high…After passing a seriously cool farmers market, internet access was made possible at the Brooklyn post office on the net….very entertaining as I also got to listen in on customer conversations as I typed away…The trials and tribulations of a Brooklyn local….You do know that the postal service has gone to the dogs, don’t you?! ( the very words of one unhappy customer)

To the streets, discovering a great café, Pedlar Cafe, and having a very NYC moment, the kind I had in Paris on my first day, feeling happy and sad at the same time, was it jet lag?…who can say…but then and there I decided that NYC, in particular Brooklyn, the East Village, would hold a special place in my heart.

And more strolling, this time along Smith Street were every shop window caught my attention…Window shopping and the type that you part with your cash was never more appealing!!

With the sun beginning to fade, the Subway took me back to Bowery, and I emerged from the underground….perfectly placed in front of my new favourite supermarket: Whole Food Market.

And to market, to market I went, purchasing numerous salads from their self-serve salad bar along with a garlic bagel for good measure….and this was consumed upstairs at the market….in a communal dining hall…heaven.

I now sit in my tiny, tiny room, typing away, conscious of the fact that I have written so many words about my current destination…more so that any other part of  the trip thus far….but for that I will not make excuses….Like a baseball player, aiming to hit a full run and get back to home base, New York has the same pull for me…It is a place, after a few more visits, I could see myself calling my home away from home….

So good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite…I am overly full on bagels and salad and am eager for the sun to rise tomorrow so that my daytime affair with NY can continue….

Quote of day 1: When I asked the waitress at McDonalds if the suburb I was in was Brooklyn she replied, not with a simple yes, but’ You in Downtown Brooklyn baby…woo wee’ Gotta love that enthusiasm!!

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