Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Empire State of Mind'

[Chorus: Alicia Keys]
New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

Well the song's got a nice ring to it and it was exactly how I felt once the NYC skyline from our boltbus rambled into sight - I love it after being in 'quieter' Dallas and even historic Philadelphia.. I miss the bright lights, the hustle and bustle of city life, sidewalks swarmed with people having coffee at all times of the day (Orchard Road coffeehouses and void-deck kopitiams alike) and of course, being able to grab groceries and snacks just minutes away from where we stay..  

While I was expecting women dressed up in designer garb similar to what I saw in Gossip Girl and Sex and the city, I was swooning to see alot more bag ladies in NY than I have experienced in the months in Dallas, even in more upmarket areas of Highland Park & Preston. Just seeing the multitude of yellow cab and hearing the sounds of police sirens at all times of the day in NYC gave me a lil buzz.. I love it!

Kaylen was a dream as we hammered the pavements of NYC together for more than 6 hours each day - from lower east side, Soho, to the iconic Times Square and enjoying an ice-cream at Madison Square Gardens. Our revived Peg Perego Pliko P3 was also extremely handy as K happily sits and sleeps in it at all times of the day. We were happy to even grab on to the railings of the doggie run in the Gardens as the dogs roam free and smell each other out. At nearly 3 years of age, travelling with her didn't require a luggage full of diapers, snacks and milk powder. What we needed, we bought from Walgreens and the likes.

Here are some pictures of the lovely city! First off, with K with her handy backpack (from a lovely Aunt Marian), containing snacks and water bottle.

 Off to the apartment in Gramercy Park. A classic stairs on the facade, with potted plants, butterflies and birds chirping from the nearby entry-by-key-only Gramercy Park.
 Once we had met the host and finished all the arrangements with checking in and out & directions to the nearest grocer's and laundromat, we got ready to walk out the city.
How to resist taking this huge poster of Carrie Bradshaw? Paul couldn't and didn't as he knew that I really liked her. And I bet he did too. Her shades were a tad too MIB for my taste but who else can pull that off? ;)
 Leave it to K to spot a window display of little duckies in a beautiful concoction in the sea of pingpong balls.
 We strolled by Madison Central Park to check out the resident squirrels. Did u know squirrels are considered pests to young shrubs and trees as they gnaw on them for food esp in the early spring when their acorns have sprouted and new food sources are still not available? As a last resort, they will even eat birds' eggs. Interesting snippet as I can no longer look at them as the impersonators to Alvin & the Chipmunks! ;p
Then we chanced upon a quirky Gershwin hotel a street away from the throbbing pulse of the Theatre district.
And finally I see a milliner!

Music in the city. Seemed like they had plonked a colorful piano within every couple hundred of meters.
Such randomness. Seats plonked between 2 busy streets just outside Macy's.

We stopped to sample every single cupcake shop wherever we went. I remembered it to be mildly exorbitant with prices ranging from USD5 -9 for a single one, but we are on holiday and they were heavenly.A great pick-me-up for all the walking we were doing.

Dinner at a family restaurant a few streets from our apartment - Friend of a Farmer' - the place had a great vibe, lovely candlelit audience plus it was starting to drizzle so we weren't too particular. It had great reviews but perhaps we didn't order quite the right thing (oh yes, my iphone went flat before I could source for food recommendations) but a hearty meal nonetheless. A gin tonic for me to end the dinner. It was heaven enough for me.
Back to the apartment where we got once again, impressed by how homely it felt, complete with a fresh vase of my favourite hydrangeas. More pictures once I have finished sorting out the huge album from the trip.
A fantastic place to wind down after the long road travelled thus far.
An after-dinner snack from yet another cupcake bakery. ;)