It was weird going back to NYC after an 11 year hiatus. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the place. Love in that I admire that the Big Apple is full of diverse people from around the world, you can more or less be what you want here, New Yorkers are out there doing there thing and everything seems to happen here. Hate in that it is cramped, entering the subway is like going into a dark pit (Michael Bloomberg sort it out please) and you need to be a zillionaire to be able to afford a property in Manhattan.
I planned to visit Ground Zero on September 11 for obvious reason but as we were staying in a hotel in Newark and the Path train took me right to the World Trade Centre I decided to do a pre-emptive and check it out earlier. Ground Zero is the right word for it because what was once the World Trade Centre is now empty space undergoing construction.
There are two museums, one that commemorates those who died on that fatal day and one that goes into depth about the new plans for the site. I decided to pay my respective to the victims of 9/11 and go the Tribute WTC Visitor Centre. The venue holds videos, images and artifacts that document the events of 9/11. Visiting the centre was a truly sad occasion and really hit home what a pure and utter tragedy it was. I cried and I don’t do crying.
I have heard so much about this place in magazines such as Nylon and Elle so I needed to check it out. Apparently it is the place where the young and trendy hipsters who cannot afford Manhattan now live. So I trekked down to Brooklyn to have a nosey. You could have knocked me down with a feather, it is exactly how they described it. This area is all hipsters galore and full of retro cafes that serve organic cuisine, bagel shops, trendy boutiques and indie record shops. As I browsed by I spotted various PYTs sitting in cafes tapping away on their Macbooks. Yup you got the drift.
Otherwise known as Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overseas; this area in Brooklyn has been touted as an urban space with exciting galleries, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Yippee I thought to myself and headed down there on the A train in anticipation. Sadly I was left disappointed, aside from one trying to be arty bookshop and a few restaurants, DUMBO has nothing to say for itself and it is just full of warehouses. Frankly it has a long way to go before it is Hoxton. I felt like a dumbo for wasting my time.
Fashion’s Night Out
I saw the posters for this New York’s Fashion Night Out during the day while I was browsing though the shops but I had no idea how huge it was. Later that night as we wandered out for dinner, the place was manic. It looked like the whole of New York had come out to shop and party.
Ok rewind and let me give you some background, Fashion’s Night Out is a global celebration of fashion with the aim of boosting the shopping experience and getting people to part with their pounds or dollars in this instance. It took place on 10th September and is put together by Vogue, the CFDA and NYC.
The shops stayed open till 11pm and most of them had DJs performing and were offering complimentary wine and champagne. A whole range of celebrities and fashionistas were on board such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Anna Wintour, P Diddy, Diane von Furstenberg and Donna Karan. That night had a real buzz about it and that was the moment when I thought, yes I really am in New York.
So that was my trip to NYC, short and sweet. If I had more time I would have checked out Harlem, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Lower East Side in Manhattan and Red Hook and Park Slope in Brooklyn. It was rainy and windy when we left NYC and as we were in the Shuttle bus heading towards La Guardia, I turned and looked at my travel buddy and said “I think we are leaving New York at the right time.”
I leave you with a clip from a new film called New York, I Love You. I saw the trailer when I went to see The September Issue. It is a collection of 11 short films at 10 minutes long and stars a huge stellar cast. It made it’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be released in October in the US. I have searched for a UK release date but cannot find one.