Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My first overseas trip: a year on- New York Pt 1

05/07/2010  New York  Pt 1

Seven to eight hours after leaving the U.K. I arrive at JFK airport in New York. After a very LONG delay through customs and trying to organise my prepaid transfer from the airport to my hotel... I ended up in bed at 1.30am. Which was about 6.30am UK time (i.e. I had been up for almost 24 hours) so my first visit to New York (and the USA), saw me tired and cranky with New Yorkers!!

I had just come from spending a relaxing and most enjoyable few days with my mate D in Portslade. He booked me in to see a dentist who is an ex-pat from QLD. The dentist looked at my infected tooth and told me that the temp filling had come off sometime in Paris! Funny, because now that he mentions it…. I did notice that my tooth was very sensitive and I could not eat on it. I guess all that was between the outside world and the nerves in my tooth was some cotton wool. Yikes! Anyway, he cleaned it all out and gave me a new stronger temp filling- 75 pounds later!! Still, the temp filling meant that I can eat on the tooth, so D and I promptly went off to celebrate his birthday… with a lovely dinner out and some wine….

But that was days ago and now I am in New York.  Where unfortunately, I have arrived at the start of a heatwave. Still, this has not stopped me from walking about and enjoying Manhattan. I am staying 2 blocks from the Empire State building, which is lit up red, blue and white for 4th of July celebrations. I walked past the Empire State, down 5th Avenue, down Madison Avenue (during which I couldn't help but sing Kirsty MacColl's 'walking down madison'- to myself of course!!  )... to Grand central station, which is huge and beautiful! I realized that New York is full of lovely buildings and it also has heaps of public libraries! Some of them in said beautiful buildings.  Despite New York's many public libraries, it has so many more health clubs! I guess these New Yorkers have a thing about fitness!!! Being inspired by all of this I decided to keep walking!! So I walked over to Rockefeller Plaza, in the Rockefeller building and up to 'Top of the ROCK' (which is a lookout about 70 floors up). The lift takes less than a minute to go up 70 floors and as you go up the lift  roof becomes transparent!

Top of the Rock, what an amazing view!!!  I looked out over Central park and the Manhattan Skyline. I took photos and just soaked it all in. After this I walked off to MOMA (museum of modern art) and OMG !!! I entered a room and saw that they had a piece by Gilbert and George!!! Whilst not a great piece, still!! My first ever Gilbert and George 'in the flesh' experience!!! (I did think about stalking them in the UK, but that might be a holiday for another time). I quickly asked some stranger to  take my photo next to their art. YAY !!! I have since discovered via MOMA’s website that they have a few better pieces by Gilbert and George but for some insane reason, they are not on display!!!!! I also saw some more Vincent van Gogh.. his lovely 'The Starry night'. I think I have now accidentally seen all of Vincents most well known works !! At MOMA there was also a large and brilliant photographic exhibition by female photographers which I spent some time looking at. After all of this art, I took a stroll through the heat to Central park and walked about for a bit, before taking a seat and just watching people pass by..... wow, what a day !!!

Partly because it was a public holiday and partly because it is very hot, the streets were pretty quiet. I popped the walkman on and listed to a new cd I had brought in the UK by a group called 'The Drums', who just happen to be from BROOKLYN!!!! Their rhythms suited my walking the quiet streets of New York and soon I  headed down Lexington, across 59th west street, all the way back to my hotel on East 31st street...

The next day was about 40 degrees (in fact, I think it was about this hot everyday I was New York), but still I pushed on. I walked a lot, shopped at JC Pennys (YAY!!!.. just like 'Target' at home but in N.Y.  LOL). I took a tourist bus down town. I saw wall st, the docks, where the Twin towers once were and we passed Christopher Street, where the tour guide pointed out a significant bar The 'Stonewall Inn'. Some say birthplace of gay politics (where we took a stand against being persecuted). Later that evening I decided to take a cab to the Stonewall Inn for a peek and a drink. I must say I was a bit disappointed, I didn't know what to expect, but it was like most gay bars I have been to...quiet. It was a large-ish place and only had about 10 people in it. However, there was a very cute man that caught my eye as I entered. He was with a friend and unlike others I had seen in N.Y. that seemed fake in their happiness, he talked, gestured and expressed a whole gamit of emotions. In short, he seemed honest. I downed a drink to boost my confidence and after checking him out some more, I  busted some of the famous Matthew Magic moves... The famous moves that make men like putty in my palm (well not quite... now the moves are rusty through lack of use and with encroaching age). Despite my nervousness, I thought- I have nothing to lose, besides I am used to men not being interested.... so I went over and asked some inane question and we chatted, he was lovely. He worked with ill children as a medical practitioner and despite my thinking he was Jewish, was instead of Puerto Rican descent. ‘C’ was interesting and had a quiet deepness...I left him my details and invited him out for dinner the next night...I went back to the hotel and suspected that I wouldn’t hear from C again, but still it was lovely meeting him.

To be continued…….. 

 Amongst it:

The Iconic Library Lion:

Grand Central:

The View From Top of the Rock:

Everywhere you go,  the Empire State looms large:

Something I loved about New York was that everywhere you went there seemed to be a Library!


OMG!!!!  One of my highlights!!!!:

Terrible picture of me in front of Gilbert and George's piece. Even though It is not a great piece of theirs, I just had to get my photo taken in front of it!:

Of course I had to go here:

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