A NEW BLOG!

Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

Drop by anytime. :)

Jodie
xox

Monday, October 31, 2011

New York - Day 7

Well, I'm sad to write, Hubby and I have come to the end of our last full day here in New York. *sob*

Last night, we headed to Spice Market in the Meatpacking District to meet a friend (and ex-colleague) of Hubby's.

I wish I'd taken a photo inside - it was really fabulous. (The photo on the right is the restaurant without the mood lighting. It looks lovely at night.)

The menu looked so comprehensive - and all so yummy - so we decided to leave it up to the waiter to choose three starters and three mains (or 'entrees' as they're called here - haven't quite worked that one out yet) on our behalf.

He was spot on.

The food was really amazing. We had small dumplings to begin with, followed by spiced chicken samosas with yoghurt, then beef skewers with a Thai basil dipping sauce. For main we had char grilled chicken with a kumquat lemongrass dressing, followed by a noodle dish of some sort (that was delicious, but I can't remember what it was!) and red curried duck. Nom.

Everything was downed with ginger margaritas. They were really yummy. :)

This morning, Hubby and I both woke early, so we decided to hit the road and take a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is something I really wanted to do, and I'm so glad I did. Not only was the bridge - and the view - amazing (even with ice all over it...a little slippery in parts, but that didn't seem to stop the joggers!), but once in Brooklyn, we were quite surprised how gorgeous it was there.

We spent about three hours walking the streets of Brooklyn...


Ice, ice, baby.

View from a bridge.

Slippery...

From the ground up.

Near The River Cafe just underneath the bridge. Gorgeous!





How cool is this apartment block?

A gorgeous tree-lined street. 

We were going to stop for coffee here, however
they only accepted people (or aliens) for brunch.

We found a cafe where we could sit at the 'bar'.
We had apple pie. (Nom. Even though I really hoped for
pumpkin pie - I'd like to try that!)
With whipped cream from a can. (Er, not so nice.)

Just an example of some of the homes. 



My friend Sonia - an interior designer - would go nuts
along this street in Brooklyn. It had heaps of
home wares kind of stores with really funky stuff.

Afterwards, we took the subway to Soho for some lunch and some shopping. I discovered the joy and bargains of Banana Republic that I've heard so much about over the years - with 40% off the whole store today! Woot!

Soho was incredibly cool looking. I wish I'd taken more photos. (Too busy looking in the shop windows.)



We worked up a thirst trying on clothes, so we stopped off at a cafe for a Root Beer - a soft drink I wanted to try because I've heard it mentioned in so many American television shows etc in the past.

Dencorub...I mean, Root Beer.

When I opened it, Hubby said knowingly, "It tastes like Dencorub." (He's had it before.) Which is silly, because you don't drink Dencorub, right?

And guess what? It did! I can't explain it, but when you drink it, it's like there's Dencorub there. Bizarre! (I won't be having it again, I'm afraid.)

Tonight, our last in New York, we decided to dine in. We were too tired to get dressed up yet again and head out to another fancy schmancy dinner, so we cancelled our reservations. They do a great room service here at our hotel, and our package includes drinks and canapes, so we headed out for some of those earlier. Woo hoo! (Oh, and I'm not 100% certain, but when we were having our canapes, one of the Managers was showing a woman around who looked very much like Dawn French. I didn't have my glasses on, so I can't confirm this, but certainly people were looking knowingly at her.)

Tomorrow we plan to head out for a bit before we have to leave New York, so I'll update later in the week. I'm kind of hoping I can finally ride that bike through Central Park, but I doubt it's going to happen. As Hubby says, "You need a reason to come back." Too true.

Even though I've absolutely loved it here - it's such an amazing place - and it's been fantastic spending so much uninterrupted time with Hubby again after almost ten years, I'm really missing my boys and can't wait to see them on our return.

BIG KISS & HUGS, BOYS! xxxxxxx

And I'm looking forward to a coffee with you, Jen, and another catch up with you soon, Mardi. xxx

Thanks for reading, ya'll. See you back in Sydney!!!




Sunday, October 30, 2011

New York - Days 5 & 6

Yesterday, the sun returned to New York City, but boy, was it c-c-c-cold. Brrrr.


DAY FIVE - Friday

When I saw it was going to be 5 degrees yesterday, I couldn't believe what a change that was. And yes - it was really cold first thing.

We started the day with a bit of a disappointment. Our intention was to head to Ellis Island and view the Statue of Liberty up a little closer (we'd already decided we didn't need to go up the SOL or stand right underneath it - the view from the ferry would suffice).

We took the subway, which was fabulous because we finally found Grand Central Station. And WOW! Amazing to be standing in it...

The staircase is not on fire.
The sun was shining brightly thru the windows!





However, after we arrived at Battery Park (where the ferry departs from) we soon had to bail on that plan.

The first ferry leaves at 9.30, and we got there just after 9.15am. You should have seen the line! We just kept walking and walking and walking when trying to find the end of it, following the crowds around one side of Battery Park. It was ridiculous. (And this was with pre-purchased tickets, too.)

We waited in line for around 45 minutes, and then decided not to bother. At the rate we were moving, we calculated our wait before finally boarding a ferry (they leave every half hour) would be close to three hours, and we just didn't want to waste that amount of time in New York standing in a line.

I felt really disappointed at first. I was very keen to visit Ellis Island especially. That's where half of America's population can trace their roots back to, as it was the first port of call for all new immigrants when docking in New York by ship. Sigh. Ah, well. Another time, perhaps.

Even though I wore three layers, jeans and gloves, I was freezing after standing in line for those 45 minutes. Because we were so close to it, we decided to walk towards Wall Street, and then visit The World Trade Centre site.

Being at Wall Street was kind of exciting. I half expected Michael Douglas to walk down there (didn't happen).



There were a lot of barricades in place to keep the protesters out that have been frequenting there as of late. These guys were keeping an eye on things:



We found an upmarket food court and headed inside to the warmth and ordered a hot cup of coffee. It was interesting watching all the different people walk past, and before too long, this guy and a buddy showed up with their placards ready to protest later:



We left the food court with the intention of heading towards The World Trade Centre site, but instead found a shopping centre we've heard a lot about because of it's big value: Century 21. (Not the real estate company, Aussies.) We thought we'd head on in and check out the shoe section first, and oh my...the shoes on sale there!!!

Carrie from SITC's fave shoes less than
half the original price.

That's right. Badgley Mischka heels down to $90 from $200!


Hubby and I may have bought a few pairs. May I present Exhibit A:



But with Nike sneakers being only $30....who wouldn't, huh?! Amazing prices.

With a few too many bags to carry (as you can imagine), we had to head back to the hotel, deciding that we'd return later in the day and see the World Trade Centre site then, and do a little more shopping at Century 21. (No more shoes, though!)

On the subway on the way back, three guys jumped on to the train and one whipped out his guitar and they sang 'No Woman Don't Cry'. It was so good. If I could have gotten to my purse quickly enough, I would have given them some money, but I was cramped on the train, clutching two shoe bags!

I had a lovely chat with a woman on the subway, actually, and Hubby and I discussed later how friendly everyone has been. He said that when he first started visiting New York years ago for work, people were mostly cranky-pants (he didn't use those exact words, admittedly). They've been nothing but pleasant, I have to say, and I haven't felt threatened once. But I guess we've also been sticking to fairly nice areas on our travels too.

After some lunch at the hotel (we sat at Dustin's table ;) ), we had a quick rest before heading out again.

Once again, we hopped on the Subway and made our way Downtown to the World Trade Centre Site.

Unfortunately, if you want to see the site, you have to pre-book a pass online. We hadn't done this, and they weren't giving out any further passes that day, so instead we decided to just look at the construction and take in where the buildings would have stood. (Hubby, on past business trips to NYC, had been inside the World Trade Centre.) Then we headed across the road to a sort of museum set up for the WTC. It was very, very moving there.




This replica of the Statue of Liberty stood near a FDNY
station where many left tributes to those who died.

A model of what the site will look like when completed.

Afterwards, it was nice to walk and then indulge in something trivial...shopping.

My intention was to buy mostly clothes, and maybe some cosmetics. I use Clinique powder, and it was much cheaper at C21, AND they gave me a $10 coupon to spend in-store!

I really wanted a black overcoat, and I got one at half the usual price. There were heaps to choose from. I didn't buy any other clothes though, but I did pick up a new handbag. Or two. (I'm a sucker for the things, okay?)

By the time we got home, it was almost ready to head out to dinner.

We went to Nobu Next Door. Nobu is the restaurant part owned by Robert De Niro, situated in Tribeca. Nobu Next Door is an extension of that, if you like. It's...next door. ;)

Although the food was very good, I'm obviously getting old because I found it very dark and noisy there. It was like sitting in the middle of a nightclub. Lots of doof-doof-doof music. So, if you're looking for a nice place for a chat, this is not the place for you.

See what I mean by dark?!

Still, my Champagne 95 cocktail was DIVINE, and the food was really good. Pricey, but good. (For Salmon Sushimi you pay $5 per piece.) AND, I got to see a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge on the way in the cab. I fear we're running out of time (and good weather) to walk over it! :(

Seeing our booking was 9.45pm (yep - living like rock stars over here), it was a late night for us old folk. ;)

*     *     *     *     *

DAY SIX - Saturday

All the full-on activity and late night dinners obviously caught up with us. We woke up around 10am this morning!

We quickly raced down to breakfast. Boy, was it busy. It was raining again outside today, so we decided to head to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).

When we got back to the hotel room though, we still felt tired, so decided to take our time getting ready. Suddenly, I looked out the window and realised...it was SNOWING! Snowing, I tell you!



Wow. What are the chances?

Eventually, around lunch time, we headed to MoMA.

Fortunately for us, we had pre-purchased tickets, because the cue for tickets was huge. The cue for the coat room was also massive, so we avoided it by removing our jumpers, tying them around our waists and putting our jackets on.

Probably just as many were drawn to MoMA's large windows to
see the snow outside, as they were the artwork.

I headed straight to Level 5 where the more classic paintings and sculptures are (think: Monet. Again!).

Hubby reckons he's had enough of Water Lillies.
I'll never get enough of them. :)

Salma Hayak...I mean, Frida Kahlo. 

Not surprisingly, Van Gogh's Starry Night was a crowd pleaser.

Eventually I headed down to Level 4 where the art was a little too, er, modern for my tastes.

A room filled with striped fabric hung on the walls.
See the lady describing it in front?
"Isn't it amazing how the stripes are so...stripey?" 

Just what every white wall needs. Three paintings of...white. Er, okay...

However, I was excited to see a little Andy Warhol, including this print of Elvis. You're welcome, C. (My sister, C, has always been a big Elvis fan.) It's called Double Elvis. Natch.



Eventually, we got really hungry, so I reserved a table at a cafe on Level 5. We had to wait an hour (but could continue to tour the museum), but I have to say, it was worth it. For a museum cafe, the food was absolutely sensational! We started with a selection of five cheeses with red wine, followed by a very delicious trout salad we shared, then dessert. Hubby had a Bourbon and pecan ice cream, I had the Chocolate Fudge Marshmallow Sundae.

Nom, nom, nommy, nom, nom.

Oh, my...it was SO amazing. It's the first time, I think, I've indulged in dessert here, and what an introduction! It even had salted pretzels mixed through it, which sounds weird, but really, really worked. (Mardi - you were right - chocolate and pretzels SO go together!)

Tonight, we're off to meet another friend for dinner in the Meatpacking district, so I'll write about that tomorrow (*crosses fingers*). I'm quite certain I'll be too tired later tonight!




Friday, October 28, 2011

New York - Days 3 & 4

I knew I'd eventually hit the moment I couldn't update my blog every day. ;)

DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was huge. HUGE, I tell you.

The first thing we did was walk down to The Empire State Building. What an amazing view! It was great to finally get a sense of direction in New York (although, having said that, I still get disorientated, not quite knowing which way is which).

I loved the audio tour. 'Tony', our guide, gave practical information about NYC, peppered with stories about his own upbringing in the city. Fabulous. One of the most amazing things I heard was that it only took fourteen months to build The Empire State Building. It begs the question: why on earth does it take three years to build just a house in Australia these days? Sheesh.









Afterwards, Hubby and I did something of a power shop before our lunch date.



I bought a jacket, two scarves and three pairs of shoes. Woot! We're finding, with all we want to see, we're not getting in a lot of shopping time so far. (We'll most definitely have to rectify that.)

Then it was time to drop off our shopping bags and head back to Central Park to The Boathouse for lunch. Oh. My. Goodness. What a beautiful place...and the food! Nom.







Cavatelli Pasta
Maine Lobster, Mushrooms Ragu, Truffle Essence

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
Celery Root Salad, Caper Remoulade sauce


Cod Fish - Special
Lots of stuff...can't remember what!

Sautéed Jumbo Shrimp
Pumpkin Risotto, Baby Spinach, Wild Mushrooms

Originally, we had planned to cycle around the park afterwards, but we decided to do that another day. (Fingers crossed the weather holds up...it looks like it's about to hit winter temps this coming weekend.)

Then we headed to the nearby Frick Collection.



Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) was a steel magnate who became a millionaire by the time he was thirty, and liked to collect art. And I mean serious art.  Not only did he collect art, but he was also the owner of the amazing residence on Fifth Avenue in which the Collection is now shown to the public. (On his death, Henry bequeathed the house and contents to the nation. What a generous man!)



I couldn't take pics in there, but two of the most amazing paintings there, apart from some Rembrandts, a Monet and a Renoir (just to mention a few), was Holbein's portraits of Sir Thomas More, King Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor (1527) and Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII's eventual Lord Great Chamberlain (date unknown, but 1500s also). Amazing. After watching The Tudors and reading all about King Henry VIII, this was a big highlight for me.

On the walk back to our hotel, I took a few more pics...

A school bus on the upper east side.

Lovin' the hot dog stands, but don't think I'll eat from one.


Just another New Yorker.
Actually, no...a model shoot outside...


Trump Tower! Donald, where are you?

When we got back, we headed to the private lounge for a nice, icy cold drink of water. Guess what? None other than Dustin Hoffman was sitting at the table next to us. I recognised him straight away, but even if I hadn't, his voice would have eventually given him away. I was tempted to take a pic, but figured he might not be impressed by that, and I didn't want to bother him. He was in a meeting of some sort, shuffling through papers. Still...how fun!

We had a quick rest before getting ready for our night out on Broadway to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring none other than Mr Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe and the very funny and talented (not to mention warmly received), John Larroquette.


(On the way there, walking through Times Square was pretty surreal, but to be honest, I'm not fussed if I don't go back there. It was so busy, but great to see.)




The show was funny, energetic and colourful! The only downside: one man's gigantic head right in front of me for the first act. I had to keep moving my head from left to right to see past him. They don't stagger the seats at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Bummer. Hubby swapped with me for the second act (the guy had sat down last minute, and I was too embarrassed to move before that).

BEFORE the big-headed man sat down

Afterwards, to raise some money for a charity I can't recall now, Daniel and John auctioned off a bow tie Daniel wore during the performance. It sold for $650! (Not to me, thank-you-very-much.)

We were so full from our lunch at The Boathouse, we didn't bother to eat before the show, but were starving afterwards (well, I was anyway)! We walked around looking for a place to eat, and eventually made our way down to a restaurant called Smith & Wollensky - a steak house and more that takes its last order at 2am! Both Hubby and I had a Chicken Club Sandwich, and it was DELICIOUS! Highly recommend this place.

By the time we finished up, it was well after midnight. See what I mean? A HUGE day.


DAY 4 - THURSDAY

Well, yesterday we picked an excellent day to do something indoors, because we had our first wet day since arriving.

No early morning walk down Fifth Avenue for us today. We jumped in a cab and headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to meet a friend of Hubby's (a current NYC resident) and take a look around. Our NYC guide tells us that The Met (as it's known locally) has one of the most comprehensive art collections in the world, and I reckon they're spot on. It was simply amazing. We spent almost five hours there, and even that wasn't enough.

I love Impressionism - especially Claude Monet - so I was in art heaven today. But I saw lots of amazing things. Behold...

Arms and Armor
Henry VIII's armor is here. I missed it though. Gah!


The American Wing

Egyptian Art, including The Temple of Dendur. Awesome.



Hello, Mummy.


European Sculpture & Decorative Arts

Fancy schmancy


Your Roman Chariot awaits...

Picasso

One of MANY Monet paintings. Love.

An art student honing her skills.
(There were a few of them. All amazing.) 

Degas. Just beautiful.
(This one's for you, Kirri.)

Van Gogh
One of his paintings during his asylum stay.

Renoir

Fortunately, when we left, the rain had stopped, and we headed to a local pizza restaurant, Serafina, on Madison Avenue and had some very authentic Italian pizza that was delicious. (Although, to be fair, we were also starving by then, so who knows if we were judging it correctly.)

Another gorgeous upper east side street.
You can't really see, but the apartments here had
pumpkins outside their front doors ready for Halloween.

When we left, the rain had set in, and all the cabs seemed to be off duty, so we walked the thirty or so blocks back to our hotel. Yes...LOTS of walking today.

I enjoyed a lovely bubble bath on our return whilst Hubby jumped on the computer (we knew he'd have about 3 hours of scheduled work to do on Thursday). Then I promptly slept for close to two hours!

Not surprisingly, after two full-on days of fun, we decided not to head out and instead spent a small fortune on room service instead.

I hope I can sleep tonight after that nap. ;)