Over on the West Side.

Where has the last week gone?

Sailed through JFK earlier today, past the temptations of a Dermalogica vending machine.

Fulfilled my chocolate and gelati quota on the plane whilst watching 'Dior and I'.  Which is a must see, by the way.  11/10.

And now I'm in LAX with some good wifi and a fancy actual keyboard with which to while away the time between the flight home.

I have so, so many photos from this trip and I thank you for your understanding about the spamming here on the blog and on Instagram.  There has been so much to write about from my time here as well.  Future posts will be very NYC-centric and possibly out of time sequence, I'm afraid.  But I'll try and break things up a bit for you.  With all the stuff you so love reading about - toddler rearing, mountains out of molehills…..

I spent the morning before leaving for the airport packing (no photos of the mess) and walking up past central park to visit The Met for a few hours.  So many beautiful things, so many beautiful spaces.  They will all be the subject of an upcoming post.  And yes, I did get to see the 'Through the Looking Glass' exhibition curated by one Anna Wintour and sponsored by one Iris Apfel among many others.  It was stunning, stunning, stunning.

From the gym on the fifth floor.  In between the sixth treadmill and the glass, to be precise..

But back to my photo backlog.

Nooooooo!!!!!  Just.  No.

It wouldn't be an SSG in North America trip without a shopping related drama, would it?  I think this photo is pretty self explanatory.  The duality of finding the perfect black skinny jeans, for $21 and in a size you're rather relieved to see after a week of solid eating… coupled with the tag the sales assistant forgot to remove.  

It was almost too easy.  Find a GAP on 5th Avenue and ask for tag to be removed after showing them my receipt with a flourish.  No dice.  It's not that easy.  Apparently GAP outlets have a different tag from non outlets and non outlets cannot offer refunds or exchanges for outlet goods.  You might want to store those facts for your next trip over here.  

By this point, I was googling Youtube videos about how to remove clothing tags from items you've not stolen (as the Youtubers took great pains to point out).  Then I found out that Woodbury Common wasn't the only outlet in New York and that there were a couple in the local area.

So off we went on a subway enabled jaunt that took us further up the island of Manhattan than any concierge map actually covers.  We started in Harlem where I got my jeans exchanged (they had different tags but being outlet, the sales assistant kindly gave me a straight exchange) and then branched out to Chelsea.

Where our first stop was the Chelsea Market.  Just a walk through, really because we'd eaten a massive breakfast and it was too early for lunch.  That was a bit of an oversight, really.

The market is located in the Meatpacking District and is home to 60 food purveyors.

 A barista at the Chelsea Market.

The market has an industrial garage feel to its interior.

The interior of this bakery provided a visual contrast of precision and sleek, polished surfaces to the exposed brick and pipes of the rest of the market.

All the Big Names love the High Line, DVF, J Crew….

What we were in the area for was to walk The High Line,  a section of disused railway line in the West Side whose renewal and ongoing maintenance is funded by both the community (Friends of the Highline) and the New York City Deparment of Parks & Recreation.  The High Line actually was used to transport meat from the Chelsea Market / Meatpacking District back in the day.

A series of stall of funky, west side type gifts and artisan foods are important fund raisers.  They are located at the start of the walk.

Volunteers assist in the maintenance of the lush greenery that lines the walk.

The walk is about 5km and a pleasant one at that.  Parts are shaded and parts allow you to feel that glorious New York spring sun on your face.

Part of the rail line that remains visible on the high line.
The last train ran along these tracks in the 1980s.  I think it carried frozen chickens.

New York City obviously knows me too well.

Art installations dot the gardens of the High Line and they all invite you to look up and outward across the West Side.

The area seems to now be a highly desirable place to live.  New apartments along the High Line are expected to fetch 2 - 2- million dollars a piece.

Views across the city from the High Line.

A very hip reworking of the humble water bubbler.  It's thirsty work walking the High Line on a sunny spring day.

A recurrent theme along the High Line is the juxtaposition of nature against infrastructure.

In addition to parts of the track being integrated into the gardens, there are platforms at which you can sit and look down at the streets with their endless streams of taxis, buses, vans and humans on the move.

Every once in a while along your walk, iconic landmarks peep out in the far distance above the more modest skyline of the West Side.

But it's not going to be staying too modest for much longer.  The parts of the High Line not already lined by apartments have become construction sites that will become apartments.  Which will sell for for 2 to 20 million dollars.

I always get a kick out of seeing urban renewal projects in progress.  It's life affirming seeing communities working together with their local government and developers to create spaces that people want to live, work and play in.  And that these transformations are also occurring in a manner that is harmonious with existing architectures as well as with the environment.

It was just as well I wore my trusty hiking shoes for the walk.

Because there was plenty more walking to be done after it.

Here, there and everywhere Downtown.

We found ourselves outside Madison Square Garden across from Penn Station

Which in turn was across from this stately Post Office with its manifesto to deliver parcels and letters no matter what the prevailing weather conditions carved above its pillars.

Our last stop for the day was over in Brooklyn.  The change in pace from Manhattan was palpable from about the time I saw this pink elephant in Dumbo.  Looking back now, I've made the connection between the two.  Everyone and everything in Brooklyn seems more relaxed than on the island.

I crossed paths with Shake Shack again.  This time for a vegetarian Shroom Stack of perfectly crumbed mushrooms with melted cheese, lettuce and Shack Sauce.

Shake Shack treats for your dog so he or she will never miss out when you hit the shack for a meal.

Fortified by the burger, I watched the sun set over the Brooklyn Bridge.

As well as on the Manhattan skyline across the way.

A day on your feet sight seeing can be very hungry work indeed.  Which was all the excuse I needed to have my second dinner back at the hotel.

The Halal Guys are something of an institution.  Their food carts operate for lunch and dinner 7 days a week at the intersection of 7th and W53rd.  And there's a (fast moving) line stretching up the block around the clock.  The local police stop their cars in the traffic to get their fix.  Town car drivers pull over for theirs.

And everyone else eats their's on the run or sitting on the benches across from the carts.

A bank of white sauce, chilli and barbecue sauces allow you to DIY with abandon.

Up to six people man each cart, preparing the gyro and chicken, taking orders and co-ordinating supply top ups from their van.  It's a well oiled machine that's fascinating to watch.

And here's my chicken over rice.  Moist, lean chicken over a briyani like rice heady with spices and a bed of crisp lettuce.  Topped off with flat bread and a liberal dousing with the Halal Guys own white sauce, barbecue sauce and possibly a little too much hot sauce.  Best eaten kerbside the moment your friendly Halal Guy hands you over your foil tray.

SSG Shops.... NYC.

It's been one blog post a while since we talked about New York and shopping, hasn't it?

One of my favourite scenes of this city.  Lanes full of yellow taxis cruising along the backdrop of tone on tone greys.

No really.  Okay, maybe it just feels that way to me.  Living on New York City time means that your days are packed with so many places and and things achieved that it's like living a week of my Sydney life (which I thought was pretty hectic) in a day over here.

My work here is done.  Ticked off the rest of the shoppes on my 'to buy' list with two days to spare on this trip.

I'm taking the blog back to its roots (again) today with a traditional SSG Shops *Insert Name Of A North American City* post.

I came, I saw and I got terribly lost at the Uniqlo flagship store on Fifth.  I'm sure an avant garde architect designed the store but for this tourist, something got lost in translation.  It's all split levels with the elevators leading to some floors, the stairs leading to others and the cashiers hidden away somewhere in between.

It does look pretty speccy thought.  All light, glass, colour and red flashing ticker tape message lighting details.

All was not lost, though, I did manage to find the instore Starbucks.

As well as finding the limited edition kids Ts.  These Star Wars Ts are based on the winning designs from Uniqlo's 2015 Star Wars UTGP Global T shirt design competition.  Toddler SSG scored the ewok camo T on the left.

And me?  Ever adventurous me found exactly the same things as what I buy in Sydney.  An AIRism scoop neck top and a puffer vest at $10 off.

Which I roadtested for warmth today with my GAP jeggings and Coach flats.  Those GAP jeggings are the bomb dot com, by the way.  Comfy, with a mummy friendly highish waist and a flattering fit.  What's not to love for $25?

On a 15C windy morning at the corner of 7th and W 50th, I'm happy to report that the puffer vest and top kept me toasty warm.  Well played, Uniqlo.  And my barista at Starbucks for getting my Starbucks name first try.

The Time Warner building offers the most spectacular shopping centre view of the city ever.  This photo was taken from the second floor, overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park.

And this was the main drawcard for me in a mall that also featured Williams Sonoma and J Crew...

My most expensive meal on the trip so far... but worth every dollar.

$20 USD worth of steamed vegetables and lean meat.

Featuring a little Chicken Tikka from New Windsor, NY.

The organic tofu looked good

but the comfort food desserts won out in the end.

Deciding what to eat was an achievement in itself.  Lining up to pay was the next test of our endurance.  I got to see a fair bit of the store as I waited in line.

Cookies and cupcakes.

The fresh roast and charcuterie area.

And the salad stations.

I reckon if you go to the gym every day on holiday, you get a leave pass on having to eat salad for the duration.

Getting to the head of the line was a bit stressful.  The colour coded, number sorted 32 register check out gave me severe performance anxiety but I got there in the end, people.  Got to the right check out and paid without a hitch.

I can confirm from the aisles of Sephora, Colombus Circle that Louboutin nail polish is an actual thing.  I can also say that as a non beauty blogger, I walked straight past the display without even doing a price check.  But here's a photo all the same, FYI.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Replica fragrances are a Sephora release that we won't be getting in Sydney.  They're a beautiful and unique range of fragrances from Maison Martin Margiela that are olfactory interpretations of those Instagram worthy moments of your life.  Or someone who's life you'd be quite happy to borrow for a moment or two.

Beach Walk was my Replica moment of choice.  It smells of summer but would definitely work for a Sydney winter.  Confession time - I got the rollerball and full sized versions.  The travel range of fragrances at Sephora are a good size and so much less fiddly and frustrating than the vials you often get as samples.  For those of us who don't travel with scented candles, there are a great alternative.

After all that fragrance extravagance, I dug deep and exercised restraint with my makeup purchases.  A back up of Sephora's Contour Eye Pencil in #13 Tiramisu (aka my lucky 13 eyeliner) and, stop the press, Sephora's version of a matte black eyeliner in #1 Black Lace.

As a big fan of the nude shadow in pencil form, I also bought this in the racy shade of Secret Boudoir.  Have you tried this before?  Thoughts?

But, enough about me and my endless shopping.

Let's close out with a few hellos from the keepers of this city.

 The Empire State Building.

Grand Central.

The Chrysler Building.

And more yellow taxis and people walking with purpose.


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