Saturday, 30 April 2016

Oatmeal Cookie Day

A break from our New York adventures to mark Oatmeal cookie day.
I like these days of the year connected to baking, it makes me look through all the recipes I've collected and bake something.

These are Spiced Oat Cookies and are made by creaming 4oz butter and 3oz soft brown sugar. Gradually add 1 beaten egg. Stir in 7oz self raising flour, 1tsp mixed spice, 6oz oats, 4oz dried fruit and 1tbsp milk. Make a fairly stiff dough and roll into balls. Flatten balls to about 6cm on baking trays and bake at 160c for approx 15 mins.

I baked these once we were home after a short walk around the park.
Whilst there we were joined, briefly, by this pair of ducks who waddled together in front of us in perfect unison.

S was off as soon as she spotted a fallen log which acted as a bridge and gave her access to go exploring 

The most perfect sight were the bluebells, there weren't many, but they were so pretty.

A walk in the park, spring flowers, tea and biscuits, a good Saturday.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Brooklyn Bridge

After our walk along the High Line refreshment was needed and mine came in the shape of a raspberry and lemonade freeze.


After both liquid nourishment and a cake were consumed we headed off in the direction of...

Here we have G and those famous arches, it was difficult getting a photo without too many other people in it as it was incredibly busy.

And with great views like this it's really no surprise.

Despite the authorities not wanting couples to leave their love locks on the structure the bridge is littered with padlocks.

Once in Brooklyn we sat basking in the sunshine at Cadman Plaza Park for a short while before carrying on towards the Brooklyn Heights Promenade which gives the most amazing views of the bridge, the East river and the Manhattan skyline. 

The residential roads leading up the promenade were just chock full of houses
I would (again) have been happy to call home and I particularly liked the names of the three streets named after fruit, Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple. I'd love to give my address as Pineapple Street!

After a meander along the promenade it was time to look for somewhere to have lunch and then we made our way back over the bridge.

We made sure the route back to the hotel took us through Little Italy as this was another part of the City G was keen to see

before our final stop which was Stuyvesant Park and this is where my camera battery packed up just as I managed to snap one of this friendly squirrel. 
There were lots of things I wanted to take photos of here, maybe next time!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The High Line

After a good night's sleep and a breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup and bacon we were ready to start our first full day in New York.
The High Line is the genius idea of turning a disused elevated rail track into a public park and walk way which winds it's way through Manhattan's West Side.
There was a huge amount of construction going on as we made our way to the start 

and seeing as we had come all the way from Southampton, from where the Mayflower set sail, we smiled when we saw this truck to our left.

And our smile broadened as we enjoyed this wonderful view out over the Hudson to our right.

One thing which struck us was that no matter where we were in the City there was a huge amount of bird chirruping, when the the horns of the traffic were silent that is. This chap was very vocal and paused long enough for me to get a quick snap.

Just to prove we were there I snapped a photo of G strolling along

and he took one of me, looking a bit tired and saggy, but heigh ho, the blossom is looking fresh and lovely!

There are lots of benches and resting points along the way which give the most spectacular views.

All of a sudden as we were nearing the end of the walk way we spotted the Statue of Liberty in the distance. G had researched the High Line before we went but he didn't realise we would be able to see her from the here. What a burst of pure excitement we felt when we spied her. Beautiful.

It really is hard to top that view.

There is a lot of art to be seen and enjoyed along the way too,

of which this statue of a man sleepwalking in his underwear has to be the most striking.
He is so incredibly life like, from a distance we thought he was a street performer and it was only as we got much, much closer we realised he wasn't real.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Where Sally Dropped Off Harry

The movie When Harry Met Sally has a special place in our hearts and so making a trip to Washington Square where the couple shake hands and say farewell after the long drive from Chicago, as seen here, was a must.
It was baking hot and another chance to sit down watch the world go by and replay the scene from the movie in our minds was very welcome. 
It was whilst we were sat down G took out his copy of the novel Washington Square. Because I have neater writing than him G asked me to write a short note inside to say that the book had been bought all the way from Southampton, England and left for someone else to pick up, read and then leave for someone else, as in the spirit of book crossing.
Who knows if someone took it, or whether it was just left to curl in the sun but then we were off again, this time in search of a vinyl record store G had found out about.

Of course there were a few stops on the way to admire buildings such as this one, labelled Fire Patrol, which has been converted in apartments.

No records were purchased and so we wandered on for a few more blocks before we turned around and headed back the way we had come because on the way to Where Harry had said goodbye to Sally we had spotted somewhere we wanted to investigate a little further.
Just before you reach Washington Square there are a cluster of buildings which belong to the New York University along with a small courtyard and very well maintained garden which contains a very regal statue of Cervantes.

Just look at that face, he'd be quite the hipster these days with that natty little beard.

As pretty as the garden was it was Washington Mews we wanted to stroll down. This article tells you all you need to know about the historic row of houses and it also contains better photos which really capture the European feel of the street.
It doesn't matter where I am I can't resist a handsome front door photo opportunity. The colour, the knocker, the letterbox, all perfection.

By now the travelling was starting to catch up with us and so we made our way back to the hotel, passing through an area called Gramercy Park. It was here I found the first house I fancied living in. What do you think?

We then rounded the corner and I quickly changed my mind and decided I'd like one of these townhouses which were built in the mid 19th century for the richer inhabitants of New York.

And so ended our first day.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Flat Iron

Like I mentioned yesterday this trip to New York was my treat to G and the agenda was all his, but thankfully there were things on his wish list which I was also desperate to see. The Flat Iron building was one of them.
And here I am, posing oh so casually with a tub of daffodils next to me and the Flat Iron building behind me.

I am totally in love with this tall, slender, curvy slice of architecture. 

We were so incredibly lucky with the weather and the blue sky was the perfect photographic backdrop.

Here is G, with the building behind him, enjoying the first of many iced coffee drinks which he consumed during our visit. Frequent re-fuelling in the heat was necessary.

And here is the detail which appears just to the right of his head in the above picture. Gorgeous.

Walking towards the back you can see how the Flat Iron broadens out into it's round edged triangular shape.

Near to where the daffodil tubs stood were a collection of tables, chairs and parasols which we made full use of. Drinking in the sunshine and the view of the Flat Iron to our left but also the one to our right.
I do not have a head for heights and so take my (hard) hat off to people who can work in these cradles

 so high up on tall buildings.

As if the Flat Iron on one side wasn't enough to feast your eyes on then you could always look further down the street to the Empire State.

From here we went to find the place where a scene from our favourite movie was filmed. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

So Good They Named It Twice

When I surprised G in October last year with plans for a trip to New York to celebrate his 50th birthday this year it seemed such a long way off.
Well time, as it has a habit of doing, has ticked by and last Tuesday we got on a practically empty plane and flew to Newark airport.

I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to the long flight but it passed relatively quickly, there was a good deal of snoozing which helped! 
Because there were so many empty seats we were invited to move if we wanted and G took the opportunity to sit in the row in front of me during the flight. This meant he could stretch out to his full 6ft 5in and so feel more comfortable by the time we arrived.

Once we had made our way to our hotel room and unpacked we went in search of food. On a recommendation we took ourselves off to the dining concourse at Grand Station Central where we enjoyed a combination of sesame chicken, chicken in black bean sauce, sweet and sour chicken and fried rice which really hit the spot.

New York has been G's number one place to visit for the longest time and so our agenda was always going to be doing and seeing the things he wanted. Seeing Grand Central station was high on my wish list too. 
It is truly every bit as elegant as I thought it would be.

This was the image of Grand Central station I had in my head and standing on the stairway and taking in this scene was just magical.

Of course the whole building is beautiful but looking up is absolutely stunning.
The brilliant chandeliers 

and the astronomical ceiling is breath taking.

In the centre of the main concourse is the famous clock. 
Seeing this from our spot on the stairs made me realise, spine tinglingly so, we were actually there.
I know that sounds daft but I had that feeling so many times during our few days there.
Some images were so familiar having seen them in movies or TV programmes and it felt unreal to be there and among them, but it was always exciting and totally fascinating.

Unfortunately this photo is slightly out of focus but I loved the simple elegance of this traveller, how she is stood, how the pattern of her dress echoes the scrollwork around her and the colour reflects that of the ceiling.

I'm going to be posting lots more snippets from our trip and so I apologise if you get a bit of New York boredom but I want to record as much of our time there as I can.