Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New York- Part Four

I'm finally bringing you the last instalment of my New York series (although that's kind of a lie because I will be writing a dedicated post about all of the places where we ate while we were there). I wasn't going to even post these photos because they're from my phone but the last two days we went to two museums and I loved both of them so I wanted to share the experiences with you all. 

Our last full day got off to a terrible start because it absolutely lashed rain for half of the day. So much so that there was no way we could have left the apartment to walk to the subway station. We had an umbrella but sadly we weren't equipped for such heavy rain so we decided to take it easy and then go get lunch in Astoria before heading into Manhattan to visit the Met. Entry to the Met was part of our City Pass so we just went up to the desk and got stickers to go in. I didn't actually realise that you can pay what you want to gain entry to the Met. The recommended price is $25 though which is something that kind of annoys me, I feel like they should either charge or just say pay what you want because from what I've heard if you pay less than $25 they don't like it. It is a good idea for those living in New York who want to go a few times a year because I guess you could just pay whatever you wanted so that it doesn't cost you $25 each time. It's such a big museum that I know if I lived there I'd want to go a few times to see more of the exhibits. 

In fact we only ended up seeing two exhibits, the Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between which actually opened while we were there ( I watched The First Monday in May on the plane so I was even more excited to go to the museum). The second was the Irving Penn: Centennial exhibition which blew me away, it was incredible to see such iconic photographs all in one place. It's actually closing soon so if you happen to be in New York and interested in photography it's a must!

I adored the Rei Kawakubo exhibit too, it was amazing to finally see one of the Costume Institute exhibitions in person, it's something I've wanted to do for years. I was conscious of the fact that I dragged Simon along to see this and I knew he wouldn't be hugely interested and it was quite crowded so we didn't stay that long, we tried to just see everything and not linger, although I could have stayed longer. We went on a Friday when the museum is open until 9pm as it is on Saturdays too, every other day it's only open until 5.30 so bear that in mind if you're planning to visit. It was the perfect activity for such a rainy day when walking around the city would have been difficult. 

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After a few hours in the museum we decided to get an uber to Fifth Avenue to do some shopping because we wanted to get a few presents for our nieces and nephew. We actually got a carpool again which only ended up costing $4 for both of us which saved us the 30 minute walk or trying to find the nearest subway and our 7 day subway pass had run out anyway so it made sense.

Thankfully all the shops were open late because it was about 8pm by the time we got there so we dashed around looking for presents and I made a quick final trip to Sephora to get a few things for myself and my sister. We then decided to walk around Times Square before getting the subway home because we hadn't seen it at night yet. We got some Cold Stone Creamery ice cream (which was amazing!) and just people watched for a bit before going home. It was our last night and also happened to be Cinco de Mayo so we went out for some tacos and $5 margaritas and had the perfect last night in New York.

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Our flight wasn't until 10pm on the Saturday so we had the most of the day to do a few more things before we left. We packed up and cleaned the apartment and our kind hostess let us leave our bags there until we had to go to the airport. Instead of going back into Manhattan we decided to explore a bit more of Queens. We had read about the Museum of Moving Image which is beside Kaufman Studios. Kaufman Studios was opened in 1920 and was home to Paramount Pictures for about 20 years before most of the film industry moved to Hollywood. Films and tv shows made there include Goodfellas, Sesame Street, Orange is the New Black, First Wives Club, The Wiz, Carlito's Way, The Affair, The OA, Birdman, Angels in America and many films during the Silent and Talkies eras of cinema. Being a huge film fan and having studied it in college it was so cool to be in the place where they filmed so many amazing films and tv shows. 

We both loved the Museum of Moving Image, it was $15 entry which we thought was reasonable however there is usually an bigger exhibition on as well as the usual museum exhibits that are there all year round. We had just missed the Martin Scorsese one and I was devastated to learn they were about to open their Jim Henson exhibition (which actually opens this Saturday) and has been in the works for years. I was so sad because they're apparently going to have lots of props, costumes and memorabilia from Labyrinth (which is one of my favourite films!), The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Sesame Street. It's basically my dream exhibition. It's supposed to be a permanent fixture so I'll definitely be going to see it when/if we go back to New York. 

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The actual Chewbacca head from of the the original Star Wars films, I can't remember which one!

Marlon Brando's prosthetic teeth from The Godfather

Makeup used in one of the Sex and the City films, not exactly cinematic greatness but interesting to any beauty fans reading this!

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Sketches and models of the sets from Silence of the Lambs which is one of my favourite films

Robin Williams Mork costume from Mork and Mindy

Robin William's costumes from Mrs Doubtfire

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Part of the miniature model that was used as the Tyrell Skyscraper from Blade Runner

The head turning animatronic Linda Blair from The Exorcist

Props from A Nightmare on Elm Street

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I loved the museum despite missing out on those other two exhibitions. It had props, sketches and memorabilia from lots of film and television including film and tv cameras from throughout the years. There was also interactive rooms which would be great for kids (we loved them too). The staff were so friendly and helpful too. I'd highly recommend visiting this museum if you're in the area. I'm so glad we got to do something like this that was a bit different than the usual New York touristy museums. 

Afterwards we went and got our last New York brunch and then our last coffee in our favourite café Astoria Coffee and went and collected our bags and got an uber to the airport. I thought JFK was a great airport, as airports go. It's kind of like a shopping centre, there's plenty of shops and places to eat. We got our last Shake Shack which was amazing and everything was pretty straight forward with travelling home which hugely helped with my travel anxiety. The only thing I would have changed is I wouldn't fly overnight again because I didn't sleep at all and therefore was awake for about 24 hours so I had to have a few hours nap when I got home. I didn't really know what to expect with the jet lag. Going over was fine because it was just like we were staying up late which I tend to do anyway. But the week after coming home I was all over the place. Thankfully I had the good sense to book a few extra days of work so that I could readjust to life after New York without jumping back into work straight away. 

So that's it (almost) for our New York adventure. Like I said already I'm going to put together a post with all of the places we ate as a sort of guide for anyone who is planning a trip to NY. I found these kinds of posts really helpful when we were planning our trip and I have lots to say about eating out and food in New York so I'm hoping some of you will find it helpful and insightful. 

To sum it all up, New York exceeded my expectations. I'm so happy we went for the length of time we did and that we stayed where we did. I don't think we'd go for as long the next time but I'd definitely stay in Queens again or perhaps Brooklyn. If you're looking to do New York on a budget there are definitely ways to do it such as staying outside of Manhattan (air bnb is the only way to go), combination tickets, finding the right places to eat, doing lots of free activities like the High Line, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge etc. Most museums have an afternoon per week where admission is free so if you time things right you can see a lot without paying anything. 

We're both dying to go back again, there's still so much I want to see and do. We did fit a lot into our trip but not too much that we were exhausted. I also think late April/ early May is a great time of year to go. I think next time I'd like to go in October. 

There's so much more I could say but I think four long blog posts with close to 200 photos is more than enough. If you haven't been to New York, then I hope reading my series of posts about it has convinced you that you need to go. I think about our trip at least a few times a days and I'm constantly looking at the photos on my phone. It was the trip of a lifetime!

If you have any questions at all please ask away and I'll help if I can. Let me know if you've been to New York and what you thought and what the best place you've ever visited is. 

Emma x

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New York- Part Three

You may or may not have noticed that I inadvertently took a two week break from blogging. I've still been interacting on social media and reading blogs but I just haven't felt inspired to write anything. I had also run out of the stockpile of posts I had been writing in advance so I just ended up taking a break which I think was the best thing for me and has allowed me to get some inspiration back. Since April I've been posting twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays which I found has worked perfectly for me and I intend to keep that up so here I am back with the third instalment in my New York travel diary series.

I can't believe ten weeks have passed since we got back from our trip. I'm still constantly thinking about it and reminded of New York. Just last night I was watching a new Netflix series called Friends From College and there was a scene where two of the characters are playing tennis in Astoria Park and it made me feel all sentimental.

On Tuesday May 2nd we ventured down to Brooklyn again. When I say down I mean into Manhattan and then down because it was a bit awkward getting from our area of Queens to Brooklyn on the subway considering the boroughs are right beside each other. Simon wanted to visit Prospect Park (being a huge Paul Auster fan) so we went and got bagels and sat and had a picnic in the park in the sun. It was another beautifully sunny and hot day so it was perfect for getting away from the city and wandering around the park. I didn't realise how big Prospect Park is, we only explored a fraction of it. We walked around the pathways for a while following chipmunks and squirrels and then came across the zoo. We had no intentions of going in at first (I'm not a big fan of zoos) but it was only $8 and was quite small and we hadn't gotten to visit the Central Park Zoo so we thought this would be a good alternative. 

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We took our time in the zoo and I took lots of photos of the animals because it's something I've never done before. We also got to see a red panda which is one of the best animals of all time! Afterwards we were quite tired so we got the subway home. I wish we'd had more time to go to the Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum but I guess we'll just have to go next time. 

That evening we took outfit photos beside Astoria Park along the East River which you can see here. We watched the sun go down and then went back to the apartment and ordered a giant pizza.

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The next day we decided to go back to Soho/Greenwich Village for brunch because we loved those areas so much the first time. I may have dragged Simon back to the Glossier showroom on the way there. We had brunch in a place called Egg Shop which as you can probably guess is a place that serves different kinds of egg dishes. We then wandered around Greenwich Village and sort of did our own mini Bob Dylan walking tour before stopping off in Washington Square Park to rest our weary legs. We fancied some refreshments so he headed to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop and got soft serve ice creams with sprinkles and sat in Christopher Park and ate them in the sun. We got the subway home and that evening we went to a restaurant called Vesta in Astoria which was delicious but again I'll go into more detail in my dedicated food post. 

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Jones Street where the album cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was shot. 

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The following day we had a late start again and got breakfast in a bagel place in Astoria. The weather was great so we thought it was a good day to go to the Empire State Building as it was due to rain the next day. I was so excited to finally see the Empire State in person. Luckily we had our City Pass so we didn't have to wait around or queue for tickets. There's a level that you come out at first that has a whole series of photographs and facts about the building of the Empire State so we had a look at that first.

Like with Top of the Rock I had that breathtaking moment when we got to the top and saw the views. I'm so glad we got to experience the views of the city during the day as well as from TOTR at night. It really is a completely different view in the light of day. Of course all I could think about the whole time was Sleepless in Seattle, but sadly there was no Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan. We spent a while looking at the views from each angle and trying to spot places we recognised. 

We had to leave eventually and afterwards we walked around the area for a bit and looked in the shops. Our stomachs started to rumble so we went in search of a restaurant recommended by my brother called Spoon Table and Bar. We both loved our food and it's really close to the Empire State but a bit smaller and not touristy so its a great option if you're in that area looking for dinner.

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I was hoping this would be the last post in my travel series but when I was editing the photos I realised I had a lot of photos from our last two days so I figured rather than cram them all in together I'd just write another post. I'm also trying to prolong writing about the trip because I've bene loving reminiscing about it so much. So part four will be up next week!

I hope you've been enjoying my NY Travel Diary as much as I've been enjoying writing it. Once again if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Emma x

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