On 34th Street is where we start this tale… all about a girl and a boy and a big shiny city called New York.
Now, they’d come here before – last time during a hurricane – and that hadn’t felt quite enough.
So they returned to do a re-do. But not for oh so terrifying Halloween this time… they came for Christmas instead, surely the weather would be less scary she said!
And oh New York, you did not disappoint. Yes, it was colder, the days were shorter, and our cheeks were pink from the biting wind… but it was all rather wonderful all the same. Especially as we were treated to a glorious coral-pink-orange sunset every evening.
And then there was this guy… now as much as I love Halloween, well, Christmas is Christmas. So there was Santa spotting to be done.
Turn a corner and all of a sudden, and you’ll find the red suited dude on motorbikes (NYC Santas have upgraded from reindeer). With Santa Claus is Coming to Town blasting out from somewhere. Obviously.
But we couldn’t come all the way without meeting the real deal. Now watching Miracle on 34th Street had led me to believe that the actual big guy is to be found at Macy’s department store. So grinning – like the dweebs we are – we joined the queue to meet Santa…
What we’d expected was a big queue of kids that we could sneak past and get a quick snap – from afar. Instead, we turned a corner and an elf told us to ‘go this way’… and suddenly we were in a room – alone, well, us and elves – with Santa.
Still holding hands, we pressed ourselves against the back wall, possibly terrified, and had to be beckoned towards him.
Which resulted in this awkward photo with the ‘real’ Santa… who clearly might not be the real Santa as…
… as when the legends Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart met Santa at Macy’s too, that’s definitely another Santa. Shock. Horror! (Also they seem a whole lot more onboard with getting their picture taken than us it has to be said. Cooler than us!)
That said, give me the Yeti from the Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas window… and I am this happy. (Yeah, I know I am soooo logical!)
Essentially the window at Saks told the story of a Yeti who makes snow… who travels to New York. So far, so Elf.
It was such a popular window that you had to queue to see it. Yes, queue to see a window! (We may have cheated and just taken these pictures over people’s heads!)
As well as Santa (and Yeti) stalking, there was Christmas tree hunting to be done… so we went to see the Rockefeller Tree. Along with almost everyone else in New York. Nothing more festive that being crushed in a crowd of hundreds while looking at a big tree. Humans are weird when you think about it!
And it is BIG… but then when you look at it next to the Rockefeller Center, it’s pretty teeny really.
Instead my favourite Christmas tree of all was the one at the American Museum of National History with its origami decorations!
Complete with origami dinosaurs… really, really, really wished they had ones to take away!
I can’t have been the only one hoping for an extra huge tree though as these HUGE baubles prove.
Imagine the size of the tree that would go with these lights! (I was a little happy to find these!)
And when we weren’t tracking down all the Christmassy things… we were hanging out in Greenpoint and Brooklyn eating ALL the things.
Like vegan hot dogs from the indoor version of the Williamsburg Smorgasburg… London can we have have some vegan hot dog places, please?
Insanely sized and tasting pancakes that came with honeycomb butter (yes, honeycomb butter!) from Five Leaves…
Crazy good ramen burgers for him… so good he went back twice. Really wished they had a veggie version!
And Cheese Pops for me… yes, a cheese plate on a stick. Still confused? See below.
Choux pastry with amazing cheeses and mouth-watering toppings. Each one was better than the last.
I had to run back to the guy who sold me this and tell him just how fricking amazing it was.
Then I didn’t want to eat anything else in case it spoiled the memory of those cheese pops!
And when we weren’t eating ALL the things… there was street art to spot and walls to rock.
You know you’re in an area that’s cool with street art when you can do it when the police are so close by.
Ok. Not entirely sure why ok = rarr in my book but apparently it does. Ok?
A future record cover for a single that has not yet been recorded?
Not a future record cover perhaps… but I get points for being exuberant. I may have just had a strong coffee. (Perhaps we can blame my new crazy ‘getting my photo taken’ style on my recent take-up of coffee?)
And of course no trip to New York is complete without the following:
… a trip to the wonderful High Line. I’ve been now on sunny days and on crazy cold days, and it’s beautiful whichever way.
… some theatre… and my second mention of the legends Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. We were lucky enough to see them in one of my favourite plays. As they’d you expect they were legen… wait for it… dary.
… doing something totally random… and for us, this was going to a spelling bee. Yes, an actual spelling bee.
I have never felt so stupid in all my life. I knew two words out of everything from the whole night. (And one of them was a Scottish word ‘Strathspey’ so that was cheating!) However, it was very funny though – so many characters!
… and doing something else really random… like driving a NYC bus…
… and did I mention the random… isn’t this the best Christmas decoration ever? Love you NYC!
So ah New York… you were big, you were shiny, you were busy, you were crazy…
You were colourful, you were exhausting, you were sparkly, you were full of calories…
And oh gosh you were rather damn lovely. So until next time…
Have a merry Christmas everyone… and if you see Santa, say hi from me. I know him. (Even if I am slightly scared of him!)