May 23, 2015

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.  The existing apartments that line the walk are in immaculate condition.  Art galleries occupy office blocks.  There's a sense of community and zest for life in the air and on the well kept footpaths.

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.


  1. Oh that high line walk looks incredible! What a great idea, I like that they've invested so much to improve on it :)

    Kinda got all excited over the shake shack doggy menu though, haha! Had to turn and tell hubby all about that. Next time my sister is in the US I'll need to see if she can bring us the 'bag o bones' back for our pup! :)

  2. The High Line is one of my absolute favorite parts of New York these days. And I cannot BELIEVE how much you did in one day!

  3. Fantastic!
    But did you get your jeggings sorted?


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