Sunday, July 5, 2015

Escape to New York

Up at the crack to dawn for a last Metro trip to the national rail station and a pleasant rail trip to NYC over the course of four hours or so.

The trains are just alright with stuttery onboard wifi and the un-usual mix of people. Arriving a tiny bit late, we grabbed NY Subway Metrocards and made our way to 8th Avenue to meet with Mio, our Airbnb host.

Mio is a bilingual guy who works as a translator but has a wonderful eclectic music collection and a cluttered bed-sitting room with carefully chosen arty pieces. The place has an amazing bathroom with a jacuzzi with aromatherapy vapours and underwater lights, a small but functional kitchen and a nice view of 8th Avenue.

Surprising for this town, the apartment shares a spacious courtyard and a number of areas to enjoy the sun. Ground floor tenants have their own partitioned areas and the remainder is common space. There is a laundry room on each floor, and a 24-hour doorman to keep us safe.

Once Mio has shown us around and headed off on his own holiday, we have to decide what to do first. My preference is to head to Chelsea Market nearby - a favourite from our last visit - and pick up a lobster roll from The Lobster Place. Yep, it was as good as I remembered and with a glass or two of Californian Zinfandel inspired rest and relaxation.

This part of the city is neither one thing or the other - Chelsea is an older neighbourhood sprawled over a large area and apartment building over the decades has been both monumental and cheap, now either well-renovated or run-down; and while ridiculously expensive overall, still has some cheap accommodation.

Come morning, it's time to find new haunts. First stop is Mio's recommended diner, Good Stuff, which has an arty Mexican theme and the usual groaning plates.

Corned beef hash, smashed potatoes and two eggs sunny side up.
With fast very much broken, we head down to the new Whitney Museum of American Art in its new home on Gansevoort Street but the line stretches forever. We're members so can jump the queue, but nonetheless we decide to try again after the holiday weekend as we don't want the crush around the new exhibits. A lunch on Thursday at the fabulous new Untitled restaurant will provide another opportunity.

This year's fashion item is the Utility Kilt - a man's kilt with pockets, room for a utility belt and serves as a leather apron for all sorts of craftwork.

On the way back we check out the new Gansevoort Markets - a very hipster food hall - and sidle past a film shoot.

That sorted, we stumble a la Venezia towards the general direction of the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street for more of their famous cupcakes and banana pudding. There is a queue, of course, but they're well organised and have a guy on the door making sure there are just enough customers moving through the store.

Cupcakes under command, and with some groceries for a home-cooked meal we return for an early night and plan the next few days' activities. And sort the photos and start this blog.

View from our front door left

View from our front door right

The Yarn Store with a textile display

Food carts next to the HighLine

Loft penthouse on 8th Avenue

Gansevoort Street

One last expedition - a trip to K-Mart in Astor Place for a steam iron. It cost $16, thanks China. As we walk the streets, sometimes we ask for directions and sometimes we give them to others even more disoriented than ourselves, It's a mild evening and good walking anyway.

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