Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My New York Holiday : Chapter Three

I cant believe I'm up to Chapter Three and I haven't even got to the end of day four!  Lets see, when I last left you I'd had another fabulous day at The Met and had found The Naked Cowboy on my way to meet Joy...

Joy is the owner and designer of a great Aussie fashion label Hot Couture.  She had been staying with her daughter in LA and flew in to New York the day before the tour arrived so we could have some fun.  This is the outfit I chose to wear that night.

I know this looks like a dress, but its actually a jumpsuit!  AND its vintage from the 1950s!!

Joy wanted to check out my hotel, so we started the night there.

With shots!

Its ok, we only had one

From there, we went to the most amazing mexican restaurant I have EVER been to!  It is called Toloache, and I would describe it by saying that it was fine dining mexican.  It was DELICIOUS!

This is the view of the restaurant from the balcony

Joy and I ate way too much quacamole and then shared two mains and were thoroughly stuffed by the time we left!

I dropped Joy back to her hotel and finally saw Times Square at night - I can't quite decide if I prefer it at night or during the day.  It is equally hypnotic either way...

After a good nights sleep, Joy and I were ready for another adventure!  We caught a taxi to Soho and let Joy's rule guide us to breakfast.  Joy is a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and with this in mind, every time we got to an intersection, we would follow the green light (the walking man).  And in this way we found ourselves at a french bakery for breakfast!

I had a divine cup of tea, a soft boiled egg and some salmon.  Joy got some freshly baked bread with her breakfast, but due to my coeliacs disease, I got some cardboard flavoured biscuits that I took one bite of and didn't bother with.

On our wanderings we had seen a couple of shops we wanted to return to.  One was Kate Spade, and the other was Miz Mooz.  Lets start with Kate Spade.

Joy and I both knew that stepping across the threshold would mean we would be parting with cash.  Kate Spade makes the most wonderful high quality novelty handbags, and lovely jewellery and accessories too.  And clothes - though they are a bit modern for my tastes.  Here are two things Joy and I desperately wanted but couldn't quite bring ourselves to buy.

A noodle box and a bird cage!!!

We did buy a bag each though - we bought these ones!

We like to call this photo the Red Head Fan Club
If you want to see a clearer image of the bag, follow this link.

From Kate Spade we headed to Miz Mooz.  What girl doesn't like shoes!

Lots of shoes!!

We both tried on lots of pairs of shoes.  I bought *cough* three pairs *cough*, which isn't that bad really when you consider I tried on ten pairs...  Everyone in the shop was so lovely, and the girl at the counter told us our next stop - Onieals Grant Street Bar.

So off we wandered!

 Apparently, they used to film bits of Sex In The City here...

Not that I would know - I never really got into that show.

Regardless it was the perfect next stop.  The whole front of the restaurant that faced the street opened up with french windows, and a gorgeous cool breeze was wafting in.  We ordered our cocktails and set about relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

After a silly photo, of course!

After a good time off our feet, we wandered on, heading in the direction of Hannah's shop Dusty Buttons once more.  You see I had left a dress there and I was pretty sure I wanted it, and I knew Joy would give me good advice.

So we wandered again... through Chinatown

No, I didn't buy any vegetables.  I didn't buy any of the seafood either - It was sitting on the pavement in the heat!  Ugh!!  On we wandered to Dusty Buttons...

Where I showed Joy the dress I hasn't been able to stop thinking about - and she told me that if I didn't buy it, she wouldn't talk to me again.  Here it is.

Sadly, I don't have a clear photo of me wearing it on the trip because I wore it at night... this photo on my dress form will have to do.  It is a heavy novelty print covered in sequins, still with its original belt.  I also purchased the shoes and the necklace.

From there, we caught a taxi back to our hotels, got our things, and caught a taxi back to our new hotel - The Roosevelt.  I don't have wonderful things to say about The Roosevelt.  The trouble really started when I arrived and there was not a soul there to help with my two suitcases and 10 shopping bags.  Luckily the taxi driver helped me get my cases out of the boot and into the gutter, but then he drove off.  Luckily there was a gold trolley not too far away so I grabbed it and I loaded it with my shopping bags, and a lovely passer by lifted my suitcases on, and I pushed it inside, up the lift and into the lobby.

The bellhops were horrified!  I wish I could have taken a photo of his face when I pushed my trolley out of the lift!  Hahaha!!

Anyway - I checked into the room I would be sharing with Kim (the lovely lady who runs the tour I was on) and went to find Joy to work out our next move.  Kim and the other girls were landing at around 9pm, so we decided to go to dinner and be back at The Roosevelt by about 10.30pm.

We maaaaaay have gone back to Toloache and ordered the exact same thing as the previous night....  But to change it up a bit we then went to Lillie's Victorian Bar for a drink.

Oh god, this place was perfect for me - a victorian themed bar furnished with actual victorian bits and pieces shipped from Ireland.  And its called Lillie's because its in homage to Lillie Langtry, who was a renowned beauty, a notorious socialite, and a woman far ahead of her time by all accounts.  Anyway, the most impressive bit of the fit-out was the air-conditioning system.  Only I would notice something like this - I'm a details person, what can I say!  The pipes which hang below the ceiling had been wrapped in pressed metal so that they weren't jarring against the beautiful ceiling.

After a drink we realised what the time was and hightailed it back to The Roosevelt.  Where we waited, and waited, and waited.  And just before midnight, we gave up and went to bed.

But before I got to sleep, Kim arrived and filled me in.  The airline took an hour to get their bags onto the carousels, then the bus that was booked was at the wrong terminal, so it took him a while to get to where they were.  Then they got stuck in roadworks.  And finally when they arrived at the hotel, the hotel had sold their rooms.  Rooms that had been booked for 6 months.

To say Kim was angry was an understatement.  But she was also exhausted.  She got everyone a room and then crashed asleep.

And thats where I will leave it for now.  Chapter Four will be the start of the tour!

So, do you love mexican food?  Do you have a weakness for Kate Spade?  Have you bought fish on the side of the road?  Do you notice small details?  Have you ever turned up to a hotel only to find you have no room?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

My New York Holiday : Chapter Two

At the end of Chapter One, I had spent two days in New York, had met some new friends and had gotten a massive tattoo!  Lets continue...

In the morning I got up, unwrapped my leg (which had been wrapped in glad wrap post tattoo) and got ready for another big day out! 

I don't think this photo needs much of a caption.....

Today was my big day out with Daffny WITHOUT the kiddies!!!  I had some time to kill before I caught a taxi to Daffny's place, so I went and sat in Time Square and let myself get hypnotised by the lights.

Then I caught a taxi.  Lets just say that heat + no air conditioning + bad taxi driving + motion sickness does not make a healthy combination and I may have lost my breakfast.  No matter!  I was ushered into Daffny's house and given a spot in front of the airconditioner and plenty of water until I felt better, then it was off out for us!

Here is Daffny and I in front of her house.... well her neighbours house actually... but you get the idea!

After I confessed to Daffny that I was having trouble getting a decent breakfast (fruit doesn't last in your stomach for long...and when the next thing you can readily find to eat is McDonalds fries you know you have a problem!) our first stop for the day was Trader Joe's.  Oh my goodness how awesome is that place!!!  And so many gluten free options!  I basically cleared the shelves of a few types of fruit bars, and cookie bars, and I bought a box of chocolate chip cookies!  So good!!

Then it was on to Coney Island and the Boardwalk!

An important stop for anyone visiting Coney Island is Nathan's Famous - they have been selling hotdogs since forever (1916), and its also where they have that revolting hot dog eating competition every year.  This years winner ate 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes.  Ugh!

As a side note, did you know there is an International Federation of Competitive Eating???  I didn't.  And I'm not sure my life is any richer knowing that exists...  Anyway!

Daffny and her husband Andreas lined up for a hot dog each.  I could only look on as my coeliacs disease prevented me from trying them.  No matter, it definitely looked like they were tasty!!!

We also had a look at the rides.  But Daffny's fear of heights and my motion sickness meant that we didn't actually go on them...

This crazy looking thing is the Coney Island Cyclone, which is a roller coaster made mostly out of wood.  It shakes!!  No thank you!

And then we went for a walk on The Boardwalk!

Then the heat started to get to us, so we moved on to our next location - Brooklyn Farmacy, for a late lunch.

Can I just say, that if you are in New York or are going to New York you should go to this place.  Its an old pharmacy that has been renovated and turned into a Soda Fountain, and they have decorated it with vintage and antique pharmacy bits and bobs!  Its fabulous.

I love posing with a telephone!

I had the most delicious potato salad and a soda, while Daffny and Andreas enjoyed some fabulous looking sandwiches!

After a long and relaxing sit and a chat, we headed to East Village to visit Hannah in the store where she was working - a vintage shop called Dusty Buttons!  Its a little store, but wow did they have some amazing stock!  I maaaaaaaay have bought several dresses and a pair of shoes.....

It was such a wonderful day - good friends, good food, sunshine and shopping!  I slept well that night I can tell you!!!

The next day I headed back to The Met, but this time I had Hannah as a tour guide!

Yay Hannah!!!!!

I am completely in love with this painting.  Renaissance is my favourite artistic movement and I could have looked at this painting for days.  I mean, just look at that horse! 

After we looked at the art that I loved, Hannah took me to the armoury.  The Met has an amazing collection of armour - my favourite things were the european pieces.  Most of these things were worn into battle by the upper class, so were really decorative.  Or they were only used for ceremonial purposes.

This helmet was INSANE!

Ahem.  So you will notice that the statue in the next photo is missing an.... important bit.  Well, the story goes that when the Christians saw all the Roman statues they were so offended that they chiseled off all the penises and replaced them with plaster fig leaves!

Hannah says she likes to think that somewhere in the Vatican is a room full of marble penises... HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! 

After Hannah had gone to work (sad!), I went back to wander around the art.  I still didn't see all of it, but I did find this painting, and I decided that she was a lady after my own heart - wrapped in leopard fur.

Day four is not quite over yet.  The amazing Joy from Hot Couture arrived on the night of day four - but we had such an amazing time that I will have to save that for my next installment!

But wait!  On the way back to the hotel to meet Joy, I found The Naked Cowboy!!

So - have any of you been to Coney Island?  Have you entered a hot dog eating contest?  Enjoyed the delights of a Soda Fountain?  Got sick in a taxi?  Found the Naked Cowboy?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My New York Holiday : Chapter One

Well!  Didn't I have a magnificent holiday!!!

It wasn't smooth sailing to make it to New York however.  My flight from Sydney was delayed for some reason so was late getting into LA, then I wasn't allowed to have an express pass to get through Immigration (and the queue was looooong!) so I made it on to my connecting flight with 10 minutes to spare!

But that wasn't the end of it!  My luggage took a while to come out of the carousel at JFK Airport, and then the car I had booked I was late...

So even though my plane had landed at the airport at 10pm, it was after midnight before I got dropped off at my hotel.

And I was dropped off at the wrong one....

This may have been my fault...  I'm not sure.  But imagine being dropped off at a hotel in the middle of a city you don't know, and you've paid your driver and he's gone, and they tell you you are at the wrong hotel.  I'd been travelling for about 30 hours at this point and I may have briefly considered bursting into tears... but I didn't!  Instead I got the hotel to give me a security guard, and they walked me and my luggage the two blocks to the hotel I should have been at - The Night Hotel.

And this was my room:

I think I need congratulations for having the presence of mind to take a photo of my bed before I laid down and slept on it!

And by crikey that bed was comfortable!!!

And I slept well, and it was a good thing I did because I got right into it the next day!  My first morning in New York was to be spent with my online friend Daffny from A Vintage Nerd, and her family!

We had a picnic in Central Park in front of Belvedere Castle!

With gluten free cupcakes!!!

It was so lovely!  The weather was amazing (especially for someone coming from winter), Daffny's kids loved the presents I gave them, and it was wonderful to talk to Daffny and her husband Andreas IN PERSON!!!

Once we had had our fill, we packed up the picnic and moved into The MET!

Wow, is that place incredible!  Even with three small children in tow which meant I was distracted, I was blown away by the things that they had there!!!  The exhibit I was most impressed by was the Egyptian Exhibit. They had moved a temple block by block and reassembled it in this giant modern glassed room... INCREDIBLE!!!

What I loved most, I think, was the graffiti... see the 1820 carved into the rock there.  People have been graffiti-ing for longer than I ever imagined!

There was even a sphinx that Daffny and I took a selfie with!

A proper sphinx!!!

It had been a big morning for Daffny and her family, so they headed on home... and I headed to a Broadway show!

Yes, I took myself to my favourite play on Broadway - Les Miserables.  I'm not ashamed to say that I sobbed when the music swelled at the start, and I cried like a baby when Jean Valjean died at the end.  What an amazing experience!  I'm so glad I did it!

And that wasn't all for the day.  I also met another online friend, Hannah, after dinner.  We talked and talked and talked until we both realised it was after midnight and she needed to go home and I needed to go to sleep!  We were so distracted that I forgot to take a photo.  Its ok, Hannah will feature again a little later.  I needed a good nights sleep because I had big plans for the next day....

Yes, thats my leg getting tattooed!  I had made an appointment in the months prior to my arrival to get a tattoo from the gorgeous Erica Flannes, who works at Red Rocket Tattoo.  If you like tattoos you should do yourself a favour and check out her Instagram (she posts under @ericaflannes), and if you are in New York, get a tattoo from her.  Her work is amazing.

Now that my tattoo is healed I can show you a really good photo of it.

Yes, I got a magnificent sewing themed tattoo.  That is my scissors and my tape measure, and Erica added the spool of thread and the strawberry pincushion into the mix, and came up with the design.  Isn't it beautiful???  The most common question people have asked me since is 'Did it hurt?' and the answer to that is Yes.  It was 4 hours of agony.  But I didn't die, I was fine the next day, and I have a wonderful permanent reminder of my holiday!

So that is my first two days in New York - I sure crammed a lot in!

Have you been to The MET?  Did you know that people have been grafitti-ing things since forever?  Is Les Miserables your flavourite musical too?  What do you think of my tattoo?