The first four months in New York

…have been quite an experience. We arrived in February, and even though I am no stranger to the cold and snow (having grown up in Germany) this really was something else. It was a whole new weather experience, that’s for sure. And it was also interesting to see what it feels like when you think your head will crack from the icy wind. Of course, as I’m writing this now it’s so hot and humid you can barely breathe and the city feels like a sauna. New York goes from one extreme to the other – with everything in between. However, whilst you need to adjust to both the cold and the heat, it’s great to have defined seasons. And each season brings out a different kind of beauty in the city.

I want to share a few pictures of the first few months here, a snapshot of my experiences around the city so far. But before I do that, here are five things I have learned since moving here:

1) You need to speak up if you want to be heard and a bold approach will serve you well. This is not the place for dithering or mumbling – people are straightforward. I remember my first shopping trip to Fairway. It was very busy, and in exemplary British fashion I let everybody else in front of me. Paranoid of pushing into the flow of ‘trolley traffic’ and offending people, I was waiting for somebody to say ‘after you’ and allow me to ease into the gap in front of them. Ten minutes in I was still standing by the broccoli, which is the first product in the store. A bemused employee finally took pity and said these wise words to me: ‘This is New York. You just need to go for it.” Yep, that’s exactly it.

2) New Yorkers are nice. Yes, really. I have found people to be open and helpful. I see displays of kindness and people smiling at each other. Being direct is not the same as being rude. Yes, to an English person ‘What do you want?’ might sound a lot more abrasive than ‘What would you like?’ but it’s just a case of New Yorkers not being flowery with their language and cutting to the chase. At the beginning I found it strange that people in restaurants would place their order by saying ‘I will take the steak’ rather than ‘I would like to order the steak’ and I was thinking, ‘Wow, that’s rude.’ But it’s not. That’s just how people order and it’s fine.

3) It’s impossible to get a seat in a coffee shop and if you want brunch on a weekend be prepared to queue for a couple of hours. Actually, just be prepared to queue anywhere. Because everywhere is packed. You thought going to WholeFoods late in the evening might avoid the crowds? Hundreds of other people had the same idea.

4) It pays to invest in the right gear: the down filled coat, the waterproof Wellies, the warm boots, the sunscreen and the umbrella that can withstand a cataclysmic downpour. There is a lot of walking to be done (one of the great things about this city), so comfortable shoes are essential. Yes, there are women who can skip across town in their stilettos and that’s great, but for the life of me I haven’t worked out how to do that.

5) If it’s green for pedestrians to cross, chances are a taxi will come screeching around the corner and almost plough them over. Now this really needed some getting used to. I used to live under the assumption that ‘green’ meant it was safe for me to cross, and it really doesn’t mean that at all. It just means I ‘can’ cross, as in ‘allowed to cross’. Safety doesn’t really come into it. When we first arrived, I got caught out so many times and almost ended up under the wheels of some car. I was convinced that drivers kept running red lights. However, it is perfectly within their right to turn into your path. True, pedestrians have the right of way and chances are the cars will stop, but it pays to have your wits about you. Some pedestrians make a point by mouthing off at the driver and stepping in front of cars that clearly don’t want to stop, but I feel like some battles are not worth fighting. Especially the battles that can end up with me stretched out in a hospital bed.

And now the pictures. Enjoy 🙂

The frozen Hudson, on our first walk along Riverside Park in February.

The frozen Hudson from Riverside Park. I feel cold just looking at this!

I feel cold just looking at this!

Central Park in the snow. It has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the city in any season.

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The St Patrick’s Day Parade along 5th Avenue on the 17th March.

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…and the Greek Independence Parade on the 30th March, also 5th Avenue

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The Fabergé egg hunt in April was great fun and such a good way of exploring the city. We logged miles and miles hunting down those egg-shaped pieces of art. Here are four of my favorites:

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A trip to Hoboken and the view of lower Manhattan from there

 

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The stunning orchid exhibition at the Bronx Botanical Gardens

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My first baseball game – yay! I bought my husband tickets for his birthday and we had hod dogs and a blast. Even though it wasn’t really busy, the atmosphere was great. Most memorable was the lady next to me who kept screaming ‘Jeeeeeter’ over and over and over.

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And this is beautiful Central Park once the weather started to warm up

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And, finally, Central Park in the sunny weather

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The Rockefeller all dressed up for Memorial Day

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Coney Island

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And this is just a small part of it all. Gotta love this place.

love, lou x

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