Another few weeks has passed and I'm still here in New York. Thankfully over the last week things have begun to pick up, starting with the weather.
After a long, hot week spent sunbathing in Central Park, my parents arrived for their four day visit to the city. Meeting them on Friday in their hotel lobby next to Times Square, I lead them on their own personally guided tour of the city. Taking in all the usual, first-time tourist sights we ended up late afternoon in the Financial District and decided to hop onto the subway over to Brooklyn to walk over the Bridge.
Having been redirected, misdirected and generally lost all direction we found ourselves waiting for the R train over to Brooklyn when a blonde American lady started to ask my dad for directions, I turned round and low and behold, I knew her! She happened to be Sydney, the girl who gave me my first ever internship at Patrick Cox in London. Crazy, small world. Even crazier when we ended up on a platform deep into Brooklyn, having been re directed again, this time by Sydney herself, who claimed to be a Brooklyn resident!
To make matters worse, after setting off across Brooklyn towards our destination, getting a few strange looks from residents along the way (thus confirming our suspicions that we were probably very lost), the sky was looking frightfully black. Open spaces, Metal scaffolding and umbrella's really don't mix with thunderstorms, and neither does my hair and the rain so after much pleading on my part we took shelter in the form of a bar. Luckily, and quite fittingly for us as it turns out, it was an alehouse (recommended by Lonely Planet at that), selling some of the brands we have back home, and even cider (shock!). As you can imagine, I was pretty happy.
Things went from better to awesome after the storm passed. We set off again for the Bridge under the light of a beautiful, post thunderstorm, evening glow. That glow turned into what I can only describe as one of the most epic sunsets I have ever seen. Add that to the fact that we were on the Brooklyn Bridge with the backdrop of Brooklyn behind us and a silhouted Manhattan Skyline in front. It was a photographers fantasy, with the contrast of colours creating an almost dreamlike scene. Deep purple storm clouds acted as a back drop behind us, while a blazing intensity of 'golden hour' rays shone over the skyscrapers onto the rugged looking tower blocks of Brooklyn behind us, immersing them in a blaze of orangey hues. With the risk of sounding horribly cheesy, it was possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, especially as the clouds, having been thrown around by the storm, had formed into the strangest of clustered patterns above us.
That sight is definitely going to be difficult to beat, but alas on we must go. So the next few days were, to my delight, filled with a hell of a lot of good food (courtesy of my parents) and some pretty good company. I even attended a Broadway show of Westside Story, which was quite fitting given the city. When Tuesday came I was quite sad to see them go, having been alone for such a long time and once again being thurst back into it. Fortunately though for me, my very lovely friend Melodie had put me in touch with her friend Eren who, she mentioned, was flying out on the 1st with no plans, other than to travel America for the next 3 months.
I met up with Eren on Wednesday and in true Brit style, yes, we got smashed. I can't really remember a lot of it but, hey its good to have a fellow traveller and (finally!) another Englishman to hang out with.
So since that alcohol fueled night we've been on a bit of a cultural excursion around the sights of Central Park and to The American Museum of Natural History, where Eren continuously took photos of Elephants, Dinasours and scale models of Myan temples which, weirdly, I remembered climbing up last year (the real ones, not the scale ones). Friday night I took a chance on an open air, free gig I saw on Time Out New York. So off we went down to a very picturesque South Street Sea Port to watch 'Bachelorette' and some other crazy band. I think possibly the best part of that night was that we found proper Irish CIDER!! And along came Chelsea and her friend Lydia to join in with the consumption of copious amounts of Magners and, of course, to watch the Kiwi play her beats. Unfortunately we all hit a wall and being strangely knackered, went home at the pitiful hour of half past midnight.
Yesterday was July 4th, American Independence and if I've learnt anything from that it's to not vocalise your Englishness whilst in America on that particular date. It gets you in to trouble, trust me I'm living proof. But, that aside, I had a great time. I spent the afternoon in sunny Central Park with Eren, Chelsea and her other friend, also aptly named, Chelsea (we're in America, having that name is as unfortunately common as being called Samantha in England). Later on I ventured off into the deepest, darkest depths of Brooklyn to a place many may have heard of but few will venture to go (including my Chinese housemate): Bushwick. Yes, it was rather a 'new' experience, one may describe it as a 'movie moment', in a rather different sense to those which occur in Manhattan. Picture walking along a completely deserted row of streets until you come across the odd group of black men sitting on their 'stoops', hip hop beats blazing from their cars and ribs blazing on the bbq (makeshift ones at that). Add in for good measure some thoroughly unsafe firecrackers set off in close proximity to, well everything else, and you've pretty much got it. Strangely though, it was Eren who was rather more worried about imminent attack, having been mistakenly hit on by many men in the past, I think he was a little worried that his appearance didn't quite fit with the surroundings.
Luckily we all survived and witnessed a rather distant, yet excellent view of the 4th of July fireworks, which had this year been relocated to the Hudson, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who explored the river whilst sailing for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. After the display we escaped from the rather lovely roof top party onto a bar where, once again we copped out around one 'o clock due to tiredness (not really doing too well on that front lately).
And last but not least, Today was spent at the beach! Yes, a beach in New York City! Strange but true. I ventured off with Chelsea & Chelsea to an aptly named 'Far Rockaway', which, as it happens is pretty damn far. Past JFK airport infact. But despite the distance it was a nice, relaxing and rather peaceful excursion, although the 'first beach day of the year' sun burn wasn't so much fun.
So that is the latest from New York City. I'm off to Boston with Eren tomorrow for a few days so I'll write again after that.
Peace out and God Bless America (but with priority on saving the Queen)