Saturday, October 29, 2011

New York - concrete jungle where dreams are made of

We've been here for ten days, but tomorrow we hop on a plane to head to another city. And just in time - snow
is forecast for NY tomorrow.

I'm really sad to leave. We'll miss Simone, our favourite server at our local cafe on Malcolm X Boulevarde, who is always intrigued by which pie we're going to order (answer: usually cherry). Tonight she kissed us when we said good bye. But I reckon we'll pop in for some key lime pie before we leave tomorrow and say goodbye again.

I'll miss the 2 and 3 subway and the filthy platform under 116th St. I'll miss the quiet street of Brownstones we've been living in. We'll miss the random diners where you can get a hot cup of coffee and waffles with bacon and strawberries. Scott will miss the pizza-by-the-slice joints, especially the one next door to Magnolia Bakery on Columbus.

I'll miss Magnolia Bakery.

But a new city, new adventures, and a friend to catch up with are next, and that's a lot to look forward to.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Since I made it here I can make it anywhere

We ride the subway several times each day, in all directions. The crocheters are everywhere on the subway.

Even I've had a go. On Sunday we took the subway out to Coney Island, which is over an hour from Harlem. And almost an hour back to Soho where we went next. I managed to get quite a lot done on the shawl I'm currently crocheting.

Quilting shops and yarn stores have been visited and money spent at all of them. The friendliness and kindness that has been shown to both of us is astounding, and the "husband chairs" are comfortable. We have a lot to learn in Australia ...

I'll be able to show what I purchased when I get back to Canberra. Unless I send it by sea mail because it doesn't fit in my port.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In the footprints

Before we left Australia, and just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I applied for visitor passes to the newly opened
9/11 Memorial.

10 years ago, a few days after the attacks, two young men created the United in Memory Quilt Project. All over the world, quilters each selected a person who had died in the attacks and made a 12 inch block in memory of that person. The blocks were made into many quilt panels which were then displayed. There is a website that shows the blocks made.

I participated and ended up making 7 blocks as the need arose. I found out as much as I could about each person, mainly from the tribute websites that were set up at the time. I felt it was important to know about the person I was making the block for. I have never forgotten their names in the time since.

Yesterday, at a stunning memorial site which included two levels of waterfalls in the footprints of the former south and north towers, I found 6 of 'my' 7 people. The 7th, William Erwin was on a very wet, windy side of the north pool, so there was no chance for a photo.

We could imagine no other type of memorial to such an awful day in history. It was respectful, and very, very beautiful. Photos and words will never do it justice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making it work

A few months ago when I was home recovering from my surgery, a friend loaned me all 8 seasons of Project Runway on DVD. Each night Scott and I would watch a couple of episodes. I think it helped me in my recovery - the thought if being well enough to sew clothes again was something to strive for.

One episode, while the contestants were shopping at Mood Fabrics (as they did every episode) Scott turned to me and said "You know, maybe we could go back to New York, and you could go shopping at Mood and I could pat Swatch (the store's resident dog).

And that's why we're currently in New York, and part of the reason I worked so hard to get fit and healthy again (the subway stairs are killing me though).

(In case you're wondering about the Red Lobster photo, fans of season two will know that's where Tim Gunn took Andrae on their pretend date according to Santino).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We've got some beans and some good cornbread

We're staying in a ground floor apartment in an old Brownstone in Harlem while here in New York City. We'd never been to this part of Manhattan before, but I am falling in love with Harlem already.

And why?

For one it's a lot quieter than the rest of the city. And safe. The subways are close by. People here sing out loud, all the time. Last night a guy in our street was singing Peter, Paul and Mary. Guys I walk past on Malcolm X Boulevard on my way to get coffee in the morning rap. Even when they speak to each other, they sound so lyrical.

And despite being two of the whitest people treading God's earth - which makes us the minority here - we are politely ignored and mostly anonymous.

Probably the best reason for loving Harlem is the food. The other night we experienced soul food at Amy Ruth's for the first time, and tonight we went back.

Cornbread before every meal. I love this stuff and I'm going to make it when I go home. And collard greens - how delicious you are!

This meal - The Ludacris - was a true test for someone who doesn't usually eat chicken and no longer has a gallbladder to process all that deep fried badness. But it was lovely and homely ( although not as stunning as the jerked shrimp I had the other night) and while I didn't eat it all I did feel very loved through the food.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Slow down, you move too fast

It hit me this morning, as we sailed under the 59th Street Bridge and I sang that song under my breath, that since we came to New York City our holidaying life has slowed down considerably.

How can this be when we are in one of the fastest cities on earth?

We are so relaxed. So. Relaxed. I love this city. It's been 15 years since we were last here, and so much has changed, and yet so much hasn't.

Don't ever change, New York.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Private lawns, public parks

Yesterday morning we walked down Astor, which is the street behind where we are staying. Beautiful, genteel houses and apartment buildings with no gardens to speak of but a patch on the sidewalk.

The bigger houses in this post (I have no say as to their order, thanks to the crappy Blogger app) were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and are situated in Oak Park not far from Chicago. We spent half a day there - so interesting and just a little surreal to see the Prairie School in the flesh.

No Chicago post would be complete without a photo of the bean in Millenium Park.

We are leaving Chicago in a few hours and we are very sad to go. I don't care what Doris Day says - I'll take Illinois over Deadwood City any day.

A long train ride to another city awaits us, and there are more adventures to be had.