Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Big Apple - One Bite Is Not Enough!

No matter how many times I've visited
this incredible
 city that doesn't sleep,
I'm still as excited as the
very first visit.
As the plane makes it's approach,
skyline comes into view,
you sit almost breathless,
staring in awe at the
 concrete & steel towers
reaching up to the clouds.
My recent visit was no different.

This city of
five boroughs,
with a population close to
9 million,
attracts almost
49 million tourists
 each year.
My first sojourn was 19 years ago.
That was a different period,
where safety was a serious issue.
Over the years,
the city has changed.
Perhaps due to
 proper governance
stronger ownership by it's inhabitants,
New York City
is now as safe as any other city in the world.
As the figures show,
the world comes to play,
so who needs to sleep?

Founded as a trading post in
by the Dutch,
there's always something happening
in this very
"happening" city.
I find the people
everyone has an opinion!
If you like to explore...
well, this urban metropolis
with a total of
786 sq kilometers,
should be enough to
keep you very, very busy.
While I was there,
it was
"Restaurant Week".
A couple of hundred
restaurants participated
with special prices
for a three course
lunch or dinner.
It was a great way to sample
some of the best
the city has to offer.
Remember, competition is tough.
And like Liza sang,
"...if you can make it here,
you can make it anywhere!"

Oh by the way...
did you know that
Times Square
is the most visited place on this planet?
39 million
people go through this
neon-lit wonderment
 each year.
Hate it or love it,
you cannot deny that it's
simply fascinating to see
all that electricity
put into
intelligent application!

food to shopping to museums to parks to theatre...
it's all here.
Laid out
The great thing is, they've made it wonderfully
Take the subway for instance,
in my opinion,
it's one of the best in the world.
1.6 billion rides in 2011,
serves 468 stations,
almost all operates 24 hours.
You've seen it in the movies
it's just as raw.
One thing that grabs my attention is
that with all these out-of-this planet figures.
this city is very clean.
A place such as this.
with so much on offer,
you need time.
There's constantly
urban renewal projects everywhere.
Thinking and re-thinking,
must keep Mayor Bloomberg busy.
This city is made for walking.
West to East
North to South,
you'll find surprises in store at almost every corner.
And don't be shy to take the bus.
A great way to see it
up close & personal.
Life is all around.
It's the people that makes a place go
beyond special.
This city embraces you.
No !
Make that engulfs you.
The moment you step out from your hotel,
everything seems limitless.
Packed in.
Rises up.
Full blown.
From a design perspective,
it does not get better than here.
And competition does just that.
Pushing us to awesome greatness.
The city appears to reject mediocrity.
Standards are high.
Service is good.
Exceptional is often.

"They say life's what happens when you're
busy making other plans.
But sometimes in New York,
life is what happens when you're
waiting for a table!"

Carrie Bradshaw

I wasn't waiting for a table when I came across
this fashion shoot.
I politely asked the photographer if I could take a few shots
the reply was a very enthusiastic "Yes".
Dare I say,
"I Love New York?"

Many say this place is like a Village.
Come to think of true.
From Chelsea to Soho to West Village to the Upper East Side,
from East Village to NoLita to Brooklyn,
each distinct from the other.
With it's own
look & feel.
And it's green too.
Whether it's
Central Park or Jefferson Market Garden,
patches of grass & foliage abound.
Have I mentioned that the shopping
is beyond fabulous?
Which restaurant?
It's at Chez Alina & Tuck & Leah.
Longtime friends & one of our rituals
when I'm in town is to cook up a storm at
their charming home on the
Upper West Side.
A trip to Whole Foods
a couple of glasses of wine later...
On the left is expertly executed by Tuck
on the right is my humble contribution.

New York City is serviced by
three major airports.
No matter which you arrive into,
you'll get there in time for something!
The buzz here is non-stop.

This is after all the capital of
everything & anything.
If you can't find it here,
it probably does not exist!

"There's no question there is an unseen world.
The problem is, how far is it from midtown
how late is it open?"

Woody Allen

"Catch a show or a brunch,
either way you'll feel at home.
But never, ever dress as a tourist!"

Peter Hoe
 must-see, must-do
must-eat are all a must.
And you'll still find plenty left on your
to-do list.
Joydeep, Nicolas, Kay & Blaine.
One Sunday,
we did a must-eat in Chinatown
(lobster noodles etc...yumm!)
then a must-wander around Soho,
followed by a must-stop for coffee & cupcakes
a must-browse at J Crew
a must-enquire at the Apple store
a must-shop for a bottle of wine
and ended up here for
must-tapas & red wine.
What a day indeed!
And I still have a must-attend
dinner party at
Luis & Michael's!!!

All the things you've ever
read, heard or seen about this city is true.
Life does imitate art.
Or is it the other way around?
That's why everything seems to be so
"The city was different back then-
poor and crumbling- kept alive only by the gritty
determination and steely cynicism of it's
But underneath the dirt was the apple-cheeked
optimism of possibility,and while she
worked, the whole city seem to
throb along with her."

Candace Bushnell
Lipstick Jungle
If you like taking photos,
as I do,
you'll exhaust yourself.
One thing you'll notice over and again
are the echoes of car horns
sirens though the canyons of
All this amidst the multitude of photo-ops
you'll encounter.

See what I mean?

Walking around,
I get a sense of
community spirit,
that comes from a time when neighbours
 kind and caring.

It's easy to see why this city is
it is made up by the
sum of it's
the ever changing dynamic energy
that's hypnotic.

Jaded savvy traveller
first-time rookie,
you'll feel the excitement sure enough.

By March 2013,
Citi Bike
 will be launched.
All 7000 of them at 420 stations.
Providing easy access to getting around the city.
It's a self-funded enterprise,
sponsored initially by the
bank of the same first name!?!
7 day pass at USD25 anyone?
These photos were taken at the
New York Public Library.
Ms Johnson was manning the security entrance
& has such a charming personality,
that I had to feature her!!!
Another Big Apple wonder.

The hum of
creative energy & arty expressions
is loud and clear,
all around.
As reputations go,
New York has been through most.
Somehow, she's kept her
"cool factor".
And New Yorkers are
hard to impress.
This city is constantly renewing itself
day or night.
It's now as fashionable to be downtown as uptown,
 has got it's groove back.
The co-founders of The High Line,
Joshua David & Robert Hammond,
was bestowed an award for
"creating new ways of seeing & understanding
New York City."
This remarkable story of one of the most
innovative urban reclamation projects in recent history,
is truly motivating.
It demonstrates the
power of
vision, persuasion
& determination.
And also that of never giving up if you believe in yourself! there another unused rail track somewhere, that I could use?

You don't require
super human powers
nor leap
 tall buildings in a single bound.
Just bring lots of
cash & a credit card.

Sometimes you wonder,when
they'll run out of neighbourhoods
to "discover"?
After all, the city is not infinite.
Do you know that the first European settlers who brought seeds to
New York,
introduced apples in the 1600s?

This city has an
insatiable appetite for the new,
yet the old is somehow finding it's way back.

Central Park 
takes up 
843 acres
of prime real estate.
4 km long & 0.8 km wide.
This stretch of green acreage,
is widely used by the inhabitants of
Another Keith Haring in the making?
Be prepared.
Do your homework.
Pack well
you'll have a
swell time!

As with all holidays,
you know you have to leave.
This visit was no different from my last.
I had a blast!
As the black town car drove me to JFK 
I glanced back at this amazing city,
with the equally amazing
thinking how 9 million people can
live & work on top
of each other & still come up smiling?
One word came to mind...
My flight was delayed for 3 hours,
giving me,
in some way,
more time in the city.
I've visited many places
in many parts of the world.
But there's no other spot on earth
I would return in a
blink of an eye!
Embrace New York
she'll show you a great time.
An open heart & an open mind
will bring forth many surprises.
Don't "start spreading the news...",
that's a waste of precious time,
just come !!!

"...The city's bustle cannot destroy
the dreams of a girl and boy,
I'll turn Manhattan into an
isle of joy!"

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Nice of you to write!