Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Day 2: Hot and Steamy



Fifth Avenue by Central Park


Lewis the Cyclist, Fifth Avenue


Primaries Campaign poster


Willie G, the Poet of NYC, Central Park


Sheep Meadow, Central Park


Central Park


Central Park


Singing Family, Central Park


Newlyweds by Bethesda Fountain, Central Park


Bethesda Fountain, Central Park


Central Park


Hans Christian Andersen statue, Central Park


Detail from Hans Christian Andersen statue, Central Park


Conservatory Pond, Central Park


Inbetween Fifth and Madison Avenues


Peter, Amy and me, Oscar and Mimi with backs to camera (thanks P for the photo!)



It's 79 degrees farenheit in New York, with 50% humidity, so decided on a dress and sandals to be prepared to face the day, which started early as I awoke at 6.30, but felt pretty well rested so all good. Lay around in bed reading and drinking tea, before eventually testing out the shower (a bit like standing under a bag of water with holes in it, could best be described as a 'sprinkle' rather than a shower) followed by the hairdrier (bad, will have to buy another one).

Hoped to have boiled egg for breakfast, but no eggcup, teaspoons or salt, so had to give up on that idea and had grapes instead. Emailed Cecilia (her preferred method of communication) and asked to borrow missing items, which she duly brought up for me (C resides in basement apartment, although rather incommunicado since the elevator doesn't go there), although no egg cup, a small coffee cup was the closest thing that she had.

Eventually headed off with camera late morning, after a lazy morning in the apartment getting my head together, catching up on emails (meeting up with Peter [who I was at St. Martin's with] and his wife Amy tonight, they have invited me round for supper at their place in the East Village), reading guide books and making notes. Central Park is one block away, so walked there and was contemplating finding a way in, whilst gazing in an admittedly vacant fashion at a sign on the opposite side of the road, therefore completely failing to notice a cyclist who was approaching and saying something about me taking a photo of him because when "the opportunity was gone, it was gone." Anyway, he stopped for a chat, introduced himself as Lewis, posed for a photo when asked, then said to me "put your sunglasses back on, you look like a movie star" - aww shucks, thanks L!

Rest of day spent wandering in Central Park, with brief shopping interlude for hairdrier, also bubbly to take to friends tonight (found a wonderful cavern of alcohol called Garnet Wines and Liquors on Lexington and 68th), enjoying the warm sun and observing/photographing lots of other people enjoying it too. Met Willie G, the Poet of NYC, listened to large African American family singing madrigals (or something of that ilk) underneath the tunnel near the beautiful, angelic Bethesda Fountain, observed a man blowing enormous rainbow swirling bubbles the size of beachballs, which wibbled away on the breeze before bursting fatly (usually in the faces of small children), and photographed a photographer who was taking shots of a just married couple, both looking radiantly happy.

Back at the apartment, caught up with some reading over a cup of EG. Fact of the Day: "North of 59th Street between 5th and Park Avenues, the Upper East Side is home to more millionaires than any other part of the city. Historic-district designation has kept the tony mansions and apartment buildings intact and largely uninterrupted by 'plebeian' structures" [Fodor's]. Since I am slap bang in the centre of this monied hotspot, my apartment block being on Madison/66th, perhaps there is the chance that I will casually bump into a handsome millionaire who will totally fall for my Cute English Ways and will want to Take Me Away From All This - perhaps not, but a girl can dream ;-)

At 6pm, tarted self up a bit, by some miracle remembered bubbly in fridge, then hailed a cab downtown to Peter and Amy's for supper. Traffic appalling, driver very handy with the horn, thought I was going to be majorly late and was about to call to say so, when we hit FDR Drive and were suddenly flying along, past a disturbing number of runners all huffing by (no one, but no one was walking - is it compulsory to proceed at minimum of jogging speed on FDR?), and before I knew it we had arrived. Was thrilled to see the red neon sign "psychic" over a tiny shop front, with warm coloured lighting, draped scarves and two armchairs, in one of which sat a glum-looking woman (presumably the psychic) waiting for someone to enlighten, as a toddler played by her feet. Wished I could have taken a photo, it was quite a poignant sight.

Had to phone Peter to get him to come down and open the door, as the doorbell quite obviously wasn't working, and after he had schleped down four flights of stairs there he was, a bit greyer but still unmistakably the same Peter that I was at art school with. So good to see him again, we worked out it must've been at least 1997 that we last met when he was in London waiting for his green card to be sorted. Back up the stairs, no elevator (I would get fit very quickly if I lived there), and then a guided tour of the apartment, which contained only one door (the bathroom), everything else being open plan and on multiple levels, with a roof terrace on top. The walls were covered with Peter's work (he's a graphic artist/illustrator), it looked terrific, and the cats Mimi and Oscar were running around being very vital in a way that only cats can. Amy wasn't home yet, so we cracked open the bubbly, started nibbling some bread, cheese and olives and began the big catch up of what we've been up to over the last twelve years. Poor Amy got home eventually, frazzled and tired after a terrible day at work and having not been able to get a cab downtown (I was obviously quite lucky then), but slowly unwound as we sat and chatted. She is a freelance editor and writer for various publications including Elle, Seventeen, The New Yorker, Vogue and The New York Times, and she was heavily involved in the planning of a party on Wednesday night (tomorrow) to which 'slebs were invited, and had additionally meant that she had received 200 emails in a relatively short space of time. Poor Amy!

We had a lovely evening though, Peter had cooked salmon with ginger and rice, followed by a very superior and delicious vanilla icecream with fresh blueberries, v.g. and the first proper meal I had eaten since my arrival here so made the most of it. After supper P and A showed me their office, which is the apartment nextdoor and a mirror image of their own, and I was given a copy of Amy's book "Red: Teenage Girls in America Write on What Fires Up Their Lives Today", a back issue of "Peter Arkle News" that I had missed, and a Bumble and Bumble t-shirt that P had designed. Would've been given a pair of Converse All Stars too, again designed by Peter, except he didn't have any left in my size, but was more than happy with the goody bag that I had :) Said goodbye, made plans to hopefully meet again for lunch on Thursday, then P hailed me a cab and I headed back uptown. A great day in NYC.



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