1. Brussels Sprouts, which you can find almost everywhere. Ever since I was a child I've loved this maligned vegetable. Turns out they love them in NYC too. They use them to their potential there and I ate them all the time.
2. I love the way daylight looks there. Their morning feels like our dusk. It's magical. Did you ever realise how bright the sun is in Australia? Not complaining, just observing, but it's so bright here that the world literally looks slightly faded at times. Sunglasses aren't optional down under, that's for sure.
3. It's noisy and it's busy and the whole of Manhattan is literally city. Outside your front door will be plenty of passers-by. That makes me feel so safe.
4. Theatre! Art! Music! Fashion! Architecture! It's a culture vulture's paradise. Actually, no. You don't need to even be a snob to enjoy NYC. Whatever style of entertainment you like to consume, you'll find it there before you find it anywhere else (mostly).
5. The daily reality check. The world is a big place and it's a tough place. It takes all sorts of people to make the world go around - kind people, nasty people; introverts, extroverts; the narrow and the broad-minded; people who've had it easy, people for whom life has been a struggle since the get-go. And of course, everyone in between. You'll find them all in NYC. It's a fantastic place to learn about the world.
6. Bacon. Need I say more? You know I will!!! I love smoked, streaky bacon. The more fat on it, the better. Sometimes the Americans cook it too crispy for my liking, but I'm not going to lose the plot over it. Want to know the best bacon I have ever had here in Australia? It was the morning after our wedding and we had our breakfast in the hotel at the Park Hyatt. I went back for seconds, it was so good. And by seconds, I mean I filled my plate just with bacon twice. I think I'm going to need to find out who their supplier is.
If you've been to NYC, what did you love most of all? Another thing I loved was the restaurants and cafes. Not only do they do food well, they also nail the ambience like nowhere else. Despite the fact that Loeb Boathouse may be a bit of a tourist magnet, it doesn't feel that way. You know when there's places you just don't want to go because of the very fact they only cater to tourists? And I'm not saying that as a slight against tourists at all. I'm having a dig about whoever owns a restaurant where they think just because they're serving tourists, they don't need to try. The focus is on turning over as many tables as possible, they don't care about being polite or cooking decent food because they aren't aiming for repeat business? Well, the Boathouse is the exact opposite of that.
We made a booking for 12.00pm, which is when it opens for lunch. Little did I know, it was a genius move because a serious queue for tables forms right about then. As soon as we arrived, we were ushered to our table and were met with this glorious scene:
Yes, Central Park was still very green, and continued to be right up til we left.
As you can see, the meal was lovely. We won't kid ourselves and say we then commenced to walk it all off, but we did see some of Central Park that day. I wish I didn't take such awful videos and I would have shared the incredible musicians we saw busking after we left the Boathouse. There are many and varied buskers and live music acts in NYC, even on subway platforms. It's pure magic. I'll tell you all about the concerts we saw in another blog post, for now: some of the times we spent at Central Park.
My favourite part of Central Park was Strawberry Fields, the memorial dedicated to John Lennon. It just so happened that we were there on what would have been John Lennon's birthday. On special occasions like this, a large crowd gathers to sing Beatles/Lennon songs and generally pay tribute. It's very moving and quite reassuring, in the sense that in the internet age, celebrating people who have passed (particularly well-loved public figures) is a bit half-arsed and lasts a few days at best. Is that a huge generalisation on my part? Or perhaps the reason we see these kind of scenes is because John Lennon and the Beatles in general, impacted our culture in such a hugely significant way that it's impossible to forget or become indifferent?
Even this guy showed up:
I think it's time for another NYC photo scramble!
So... who's coming back there with me?! Stay tuned for part three.