Wow – so I can’t believe that I’m finally in New York! I live here now, in NEW YORK (!!!), and this is home! It’s so surreal!
My first two weeks whizzed by in a complete blur – and weren’t exactly the smoothest…… Let’s just say my plane touched down in one of the most unbearably humid rain / thunder storms I’ve ever witnessed, my temporary accommodation (which was meant to be home for the first month) flooded on day three – think ruined shoes, damp suitcases and soaked visa documents – and I’ve moved accommodation three times since then! I can look back now and kinda laugh, especially as I’m writing this sitting in my hotel lounge close to Bryant Park, sipping a beer (who would’ve thought I’d be a beer drinker in NY?!) with this view……
But last week was slightly trying to say the least!
Despite all that I’m loving it! I’d waited for the move for SO long and was living life in limbo to a certain extent back home in London. So it just feels amazing to be here – like I have a whole new lease of life!
I started out on the Upper West Side (UWS), which was my neighbourhood of choice pre-move as it has a village-y feel, loads of cool restaurants and bars, is close to Central Park, and because most of my NY friends told me it would be where I’d feel most at home. They weren’t wrong – I loved it for the short time I was there…! After the thunder storm I arrived in, the next morning was clear, beautiful and HOT! So I spent a lot of my first weekend out exploring.
The UWS is very cool, it has a great cafe/ bar culture mixed with trendy stores and lots of beautiful people! It reminded me a little of west London in terms of vibe – Notting Hill or Westbourne Grove perhaps.
My goal was to start apartment hunting and sign a lease asap, so I spent my first Saturday and Monday pounding the pavements! I’m very lucky, my company paid for my temporary accommodation (and helped sort out all the mess after the flood), gave me time off to get settled and I have access to a relocation consultant (who helped me with opening a US bank account, applying for a social security number etc) as well as a realtor (or estate agent to you and me, I’m slowly getting used to the lingo!) who helped me identify apartments in my budget and went with me to view them. This was so helpful, as I had someone to help me with the lease terms, negotiations and knew what questions to ask.
After looking mainly on the UWS, I actually found an awesome studio (yes, it’s true what you’ve heard – renting in Manhattan is extortionate) in a new build block which had a perfect vibe to it and an even more perfect rooftop terrace, in Hell’s Kitchen! More on my new neighbourhood when I move in hopefully in a week or so’s time! I celebrated after signing the lease by having a delightful al fresco lunch at one of my soon-to-be local restaurants, Il Melograno….
Aside from moving a lot, I’ve spent my first couple of weeks exploring my new city! I’ve done a ton of walking which is the best way to get around especially when the weather’s so gorgeous. It was awesome to be less than a 5 minute walk to Central Park whilst I was on the UWS, I honestly love this place. It’s so huge and I had never really seen much except the lower end of it before.
I visited the 9/11 Memorial when I went downtown to apply for my social security number last week. I hadn’t been down to the Financial District (or FiDi) on my recent trips to New York, so the last time I was there, it was still Ground Zero. I couldn’t believe how much it has changed, it’s so peaceful and serene now. The photos don’t do justice at all to what is now such a beautiful spot to remember what happened almost 16 years ago.
Afterwards, I walked home through the Hudson River Park. I had never been before and let me tell you, it’s absolutely gorgeous! It hugs the edge of the West Side of Manhattan all the way from the World Trade Centre to the Chelsea Piers. You’ll find cyclists, rollerbladers, runners and strollers whizzing up and down and it’s great alternative to a park walk on a sunny day.
I was also really lucky as my first week in New York coincided with a company workshop meaning lots of colleagues were in town, and of course that meant lots of after work dinners and drinks! Watch this space for some restaurant reviews coming shortly!
On Friday evenings, you can borrow a blanket in Bryant Park, settle yourself on the lawn (which is only in the summer) with a glass of wine and even play games like giant jenga if you’re feeling more active! My colleague S and I, along with a couple of S’s friends who live in New York, had an awesome time people watching whilst the sun went down. And then headed into Korea Town – which is buzzing on a Friday night! We ended up in a tiny sushi joint, which I can’t remember the name of sadly, but take a look at this amazing plate of sushi we feasted on!
Today I headed out of my hotel to go grab a coffee and heard some loud Latin beats coming from somewhere. I’m nosy, so had to take a closer look and found a Brazilian Day concert happening right in the street outside Bryant Park! It was amazing! This is why I wanted to move to New York – random, cool stuff everywhere you look!
So, that’s a little glimpse into my first two weeks here! Stay tuned for more soon!