So, I did something crazy last week (crazier than confessing my love for ginger beer): I went to New York for the weekend without having planned the trip in advance! John found out on Wednesday that he would be there for work and asked if I wanted to tag along ... I originally said "no" because a) I was sick and b) that's just crazy to jet off to New York for the weekend. But then a little voice in my head screamed, "You're crazy for turning this opportunity down!" So, on Thursday morning, with a slightly shaking hand, I booked my flights on British Airways with one click of the mouse (thanks for the Avios points, John!) and, with the permission of my boss, left work early on Friday to fly that evening.
I arrived to JFK airport at 9:30 p.m. and couldn't help the smile spreading across my face as I directed the cab driver to Midtown Manhattan, where John was staying at Langham Place on Fifth Avenue.
I was so excited. I hadn't been to New York in years! And, Fifth Avenue - shopping heaven!
Here's a photo diary of the things we did, if you're interested:
1. Wandered to the Flatiron district, where we grabbed a donut and coffee from a stand and had breakfast in Madison Square Park.
It was a little cloudy on Saturday (we got drenched on our way back to the hotel in the afternoon!), but the air was warm and lovely.
2. Had dinner at Spring Street Natural with friends from college and walked back to the hotel via Times Square.
Views like this (with the Chrysler Building jutting out from between buildings or the Empire State Building suddenly looming over you in close proximity!) are what make New York a fantastic city.
3. Went for an early morning stroll through The High Line - a long stretch of park formed from a disused rail line between the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.
4. Had breakfast at The Standard Grill at The Standard Hotel (which was so amazing, it deserves its own blog post!), then brunch at my friend Justine's Brooklyn Heights apartment (the first photo in this post was taken from her building's rooftop terrace!). We also had a waterside walk along the Hudson, next to Brooklyn Bridge where we picked up the tastiest, thirst-quenching maple syrup lemonades at Smorgasburg - a Brooklyn-based street food "flea food market". Everything looked and smelled ah-mazing, but we were so full!
Earlier in the day, John and I had been walking through the park trying to stay awake, when I heard the amazing sound of a violinist coming from the opposite direction. Normally, I just walk straight past buskers, but this time, I turned to John and asked if we could go sit and listen to her for a while. Her tone was so beautiful and her intonation so incredibly perfect, she had to be a professional violinist. After dropping some money into her collection box, I thanked her and asked if she played professionally (of course she did!). "You must be a musician!" she said, after I complimented her on her bow technique. I told her that I played in an amateur orchestra in London, to which she exclaimed: "Oh, now, that's the dream. London! To live in Europe must be amazing. So much more cultured than America." I protested at her dismissiveness, gesturing to the small audience she had gathered, saying, "But look at how many people you've touched with your beautiful music this afternoon!"
The sunset in Central Park was beautiful. It cast a rose-gold sheen over everything and there was a gentle hush throughout the park even though plenty of people were out.
6. Dropped into The New York Public Library to have a peek at the incredible reading rooms, where I bought a New Yorker card for John and left it on his pillow to discover after a long day of meetings.
7. Went shopping on Fifth Avenue and lusted over the Christian Louboutin nail colors at Sephora. I got my nails done earlier that day since New York is known for their cheap (a manicure starts at $8!) and ubiquitous nail bars. I also bought these snazzy new shoes at Lord & Taylor, which were just what I'd been looking for - something between a loafer and ballerina flat with just a little bit of heel and a whole lot of detail.
On Monday, I dropped into our US offices and had lunch with one of my American colleagues, which was so much fun. A downside: I hadn't anticipated how many friends would be free at such short notice, so I wish I had the chance to meet up with more people. Oh! I also had a coffee date with Rebecca Tuite, author of Seven Sisters Style and she was lovely. We talked about all things Seven Sisters and US vs UK living, since she's a Brit living in New York.
I felt like Cinderella after the clock struck midnight when it was time to go. I bid farewell to our amazing room at Langham Place (where the bathroom mirror has a built-in TV ... call me a hick, but I'd never seen that before and was fascinated!) and headed off to find the A train to the airport.
New York, I had an amazing time - and I think I love you.