Thursday, 30 October 2014

Letters From America: A Day in Central Park

Hello Everyone, 

Sunday was a day of ups and downs (as well as many, many, many TV and film references). I accomplished some childhood dreams, and it was a beautiful fall day. However, I had to say goodbye to the family and New York. It was a weekend of dreams, and it flew by.

The morning was spent with some pictures on the roof overlooking Central Park. Funnily enough, I was better with being on the roof than on the balcony. I'm not sure why. It might have been the beautiful view of Central Park that calmed me. Afterwards, we headed to the nicest little deli across the road where I had a cinnamon bun and a white hot chocolate with caramel. Sugar overload or what?

Although we had already had breakfast, it was time to head to Tiffany's for me. Although it took us a while to find it as Fifth Avenue is a rather long street. It did take quite some doing for me not to go in and ask them to engrave something for me, just like Holly Golightly. This was partially aided by the face that I didn't have anything for them to engrave. I can't wait to go back to Fifth Avenue and explore a little more, it looked like a really nice street, with so much to see.

And, we were onto Central Park, passing by the Apple Store on our way. We didn't go in, but it's pretty cool, this huge clear glass box surrounded by this mix-match of old and new skyscraper buildings. Passing by the zoo, the parents reminiscing about the times where they would not have been able to pass by a zoo without us craiking to go inside, I was more interested in another childhood memory that I have carried into adulthood. Balto. I remembered seeing the animated film of Balto where they visited the statue in Central Park and wanting to visit. My Mum, Gran and Auntie then went to New York, where they visited the statue of Balto and took a picture for me. My sister and I had this photo stuck on our wall for a good nine years I think, give or take a few years. I knew that if I ever visited New York, I would go and visit that statue. I have tried to recreate the photo that my Auntie took for me below (its the one without my sister and I in it). I hope I did it justice to that original photo. So that was another childhood dream completed.

Now, Central Park was just one of the coolest places I have ever been (taking the rest of New York out of the equation). So many movies have been filmed there, or based there. It is pretty difficult to meet someone who hasn't seen a film that was filmed there. So it was pretty difficult to get me to shut up with quotes (or heaven forbid for my sister, song lyrics) from movies and TV shows. Enchanted, West Side Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Annie, An American Tail, Oliver And Company, A Troll In Central Park, the Avengers,The Amazing Spiderman, Captain America and Captain America 2 are just some that went through my head. But none more so than the famous Friends. I may or may not had to recreate some scenes from the show. I also may or may not did a Phoebe run down one one of the paths. I'm not even embarrassed about it.

Just walking down the paths, we found so many things. Like the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. It was pretty unexpected to me, we just turned a corner and there it was. I could have stood and taken pictures at one of the ponds all day. And speaking of Ponds...

My Dad had mentioned we were going to see something and he expected me to recognise it. However, when we finally found it, I don't think he expected the words 'Doctor Who! The Angels Take Manhattan!' to come out of my mouth. Of course, it was Bethesda Fountain, a beautiful fountain depicting the Angel of the Waters, used in many films, and to you Whovians, where Amy and Rory had their last afternoon with the Doctor. I am not going to explain  the plot of that particular episode, you can find it online. When I realised this, I may have fangirled a little bit and insisted of a photo with me sitting underneath it, and also taken a picture of a rock which was where they shot another scene of that particular episode. This was one of the highlights of the stroll around Central Park. Another was visiting the Bow Bridge, which looks like it has been taken straight out of a romantic movie (which it probably has been).

Lunch was spent at a traditional American diner before we walked back to the apartment to get ready for the flight back to our different locations, me to Albuquerque, and Mum, Dad and Lil back to Glasgow. I had such an amazing weekend, and I definitely didn't want it to end. I love Albuquerque, but it's no New York, and seeing my family was amazing. I do miss them, and saying goodbye doesn't get any easier the more I do it. Love you lots guys, and thank you for being there for the best weekend of my life so far. I wish I could do it all over again. We did so much in those two days, and we barely scratched the surface of all the things to do there. I can't wait to go back and explore some more.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Where's Grace? 

We were in the biggest Apple store of them all. The Big Apple!!!!

Did I do good Auntie Gail?

Alice in Wonderland

Curiouser and Curiouser 

Argghhh! It's the Weeping Angels!

Matt Smith sat here!

And he sat there too!

I may have done a Phoebe run there! 

The Bow Bridge

Literary Walk

Sir Walter Scott

The Bard, Rabbie Burns

Christopher Columbus

The first and last view of New York I had

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Letters From America: New York New York

Hello Everyone, 

I am so excited for this post. It's been in my plans for so long, and then it finally came, and I get to write about it. I went for a weekend to New York, where I met my Mum, Dad and Sister. So this was set up to be a pretty perfect weekend. 

I stumbled off the plane at about 6.00am Saturday morning, with just over 4 hours of sleep, and headed to the subway. It was all going swimmingly until I got off a couple of stops early for my change and had to find my way back again. Luckily, I managed that (and those who know me, that sounds like a miracle), and got out at Columbus Circle just in time to see the sun rise over Central Park, and my parents smiling at me from across the road. After a quick stop to pick up my sister, we went for a breakfast at Donut Shack, and then a shopping trip to Macy's. Although, pointing out to myself how I poor I was is not as fun as it sounds. 

I will have to point out here that I am a huge Friends fan. So naturally, when you go for a walk around Greenwich Village, you stop to see Bedford and Grove St. And have lunch right next door as well. I loved this area of town, it went from very high street to completely residential in just one street. It was lovely. If I was going to live anywhere in New York, that would probably be the sort of place I would choose.

So on with the light speed tour of the Big Apple. We passed by the World Trade Centre, and went straight onto a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved it. It allowed me to see a little more of the New York from the movies. I can just imagine Spider-man swinging through the urban jungle. It was like a wondrous dream. Everything was so new and exciting, but also really familiar from all the movies and TV shows. Although, it was much busier than you would expect from the movies. As we were walking it felt like we were running against the tide. I was a little worried about being jostled and dropping my phone down one of the cracks, never to be seen again. But the views were worth it.

It just got better as we walked around Brooklyn and had a glance in some of the shops there. I liked Brooklyn, it was a bit like Manhattan's older, grungier, edgier sibling. It was just as pretty as Manhattan, but in a different way. I really want to go back and explore it more. But, the best part was finding this little spot by the river where I could take photos of both the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge to my heart's content. It wasn't a clear day. The light of the sun through the clouds created a more dramatic skyline for photo taking. Of course, passing a ice cream shop meant my sister and I just had to buy each other an ice cream and have a sit down to eat it.

Grand Central Station was next, with its infamous 'Whispering Corners'. You stand in one corner of this square, someone else stands in the diagonally opposite corner, you whisper to one another and the other person can hear it perfectly. It is one of the weirdest things ever. You can hear each other perfectly, like they're behind you, but there still is all the hustle and bustle around you. It is a bit like being on a bad telephone line, they're slightly disconnected and quiet, and still sound like they are right next to you.

If you like train stations and amazing architecture, then Grand Central is for you. A beautiful atrium with lots of platforms and shops and corridors and stairwells leading off it. It is so much bigger than you would expect. Much bigger than Central Station back home in Glasgow. 

After a quick tour of Times Square, where my mum and I got separated from my sister and my dad, we had a short pit stop back at the apartment where we were staying (thanks Uncle Dave!) before heading back out again. Ignoring the exhaustion slipping into my system at this point, we went to visit a lit up Lincoln Centre, watching all the people in their finery attend a ballet or opera. For dinner we went to the Hell's Kitchen district, and had Cajun food. I had a seafood gumbo, which was amazing. Finally, we headed back to the apartment to sleep, ready for it all again the next day. 

Good Morning New York

Just the Empire State


That famous view, all you can hear is 'I'll be there for you'

Me and Lil, not even trying to act cool

A little political message for you

Pumpkins in October

Ice Cream in New York

The View from the 35th Floor