New York, New York! Part 1

Felix was my travelling companion in the Big Apple and we got on fine, both being the rather annoying sort of people who wait till the very last minute before boarding the plane. We are perfectly happy to bring up the rear, no queuing, no stress. We set off a few days early so there'd be plenty of time to do the tourist stuff and have a chance to have a leisurely mooch around the city - turned out to be a good plan as Felix had never been before and it's at least ten years since I last visited.

We arrived at our Chelsea B&B in a yellow cab from Central Station after getting the bus from JFK and immediately felt at home as there was a spinning wheel on the wall! Slightly weird we thought, but welcoming! There were also a lot of quirky objets d'art. A wooden garden rake and carpet beater also adorned the bare brick walls, one of the easy chairs sported a colourful crocheted blanket of granny squares, the bathroom was hand-stencilled and the task lighting over the sink could have come out of a fairy grotto.
The shampoo, soap, conditioners and body lotion were tidily stowed away in a small raffia basket adorned with flowers on top of the loo cistern.
When we entered the room I was a little taken aback by there being only one Queen-sized bed. I quickly mentioned to our host that we had asked for twin beds and he said reassuringly that he would get someone to pull down the Murphy bed. This was duly done and the bed was lowered out of a cupboard between the bathroom and the wall, et voilà... later Felix reported that it felt like sleeping in a caravan and it did look a teeny bit makeshift. At this point we realised that this was definitely not your standard boring B&B.

Not what you'd expect in the city of cool, but none the less interesting. The decor kept us in stitches while we unpacked and settled in - in fact at times we were practically rolling on the floor!  If anyone can tell us what a vintage Sleep Sound machine is I'd be very grateful. It's shaped like a sort of upturned cupcake but neither of us had any idea what it was for, presumably though it produces sounds to get insomniac guests to sleep? Please don't misinterpret my account as a series of complaints, nothing could be further from the truth. We grew to love it. Our hosts were very friendly, welcoming and helpful and by the time we left we felt the decor was a bonus. 

On our first day we were hellbent on staying up with definitely no sleep before bedtime which of course was five hours later for us.  So, having researched places to eat and listen to live music on a great little phone app called Time Out NewYork, we set off for a Greek meal in the East Village. Pylos was everything it claimed to be, authentic and scrummy food, just what we needed after the flight, where we'd ordered veggie food and were then told on board the cabin crew hadn't been notified... arrrrrghhhh, American Airlines please try harder next time. Thinking about it, it was like ordering food before you go to a restaurant, paying for it in advance, then being told when you get there that they don't serve veggie food.  Same thing on the way back too.

After Pylos, we crossed the road  to the Sidewalk Café where there was live music all evening, sort of acoustic open mike with each act doing about three songs. This was completely chokka and as we had to stand we decided we couldn't hack it for longer than twenty minutes before retiring to the bar outside, but what we did hear was excellent. Sleep was sweet when it eventually came, we both went out like a light.
Up early next morning to find the coup de grace when we opened the blinds  -  a life-size owl on the ledge outside the window. We had missed breakfast so we quickly got ourselves together and set off to get the boat down at Battery Park bound for the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Governors Island. Freezing cold on the water, but we were well wrapped up in our woollies and braved the weather to be on deck getting the photos.
A kind fellow passenger was responsible for the 
Statue of Liberty emerging out of Felix's head!!
Under Brooklyn Bridge
On afterwards for lunch at the Winter Garden, a fabulous space overlooking the water, restored now after much of it was destroyed by the  9/11 attack on the Twin Towers.
In front of the Winter Garden
Lighting installation
People enjoying lunch inside the Winter Garden
Warmed and restored we decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Suffice it say that nothing can prepare you for the strength of feeling that hits you when you come face to face with the gaping holes of the two memorials, each engraved with the names of all the people who died there. Just too tragic for words.

Wandering back through the busy streets we came across several utility vehicles which just seemed to be begging to be photographed.
Friendly school bus driver
Eddie's Pizza Truck
Souvlaki truck
Also looked up and saw this poster...  Just in case you can't see the writing it says I'd rather go naked than wear fur
My sentiments entirely!
And finally, had to get the pic when I saw this restaurant. Gigi is what my grandchildren call  me  and I'm glad to see the Gigi brand has now crossed the pond!

Would you believe this is only our first couple of days in NY?  More anon when I've sorted through a few more photos...


  1. thanks for sharing, looks like you're having a wonderful time!

  2. Keep up the wonderful work , I read few articles on this web site and I conceive that your blog is very interesting and has circles of fantastic information.

  3. What a quirky place you found to stay! It all looks fantastic Jean. Sorry Felix, couldn't help a snigger at your 'Lady with the Torch' hat!Thanks for the Blog and brilliant photos.


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