Its been a whirlwind two months. Early on 2 Jan I washed the last of London’s New Years revelries out of my hair and hopped in dodgy looking mini-cab to Janna’s house where she was waiting with my most expensive possession – my Giant road bike and as usual some great advice: ‘Wear this’ she said, handing me my faux fur Carrie theater coat… ‘and take a picture of yourself in it as you arrive at JFK. Then get on one of those tourist night buses and ride up and down Manhattan in it until you feel like you belong.’
I have since worn the coat and ridden on a Manhattan bus, but not in that order. Too many other things have happened:
I subletted a room in a 3 bed loft in Chelsea in Jan with an aspiring Zumba instructor (hardcore Franco-Americain female energy broker by day) who still drags me along to multiple gym classes in a row and is living proof that Franglais is a great language in its own right: ‘C’est tellement great having you to stay – genre, on cook, on parle’. She lets me use all my fave French words without any of the tricky grammar.
I almost moved in with a seemingly mentally fragile photographer woman who claims to have discovered Cindy Crawford and has the Polaroids to show for it. The deal breaker came when she proclaimed her love of London and proceeded to boil me a cup of tea in the microwave. We’re still friends though and she’s going to help me pick out a good camera.
I did move in with a musician from Pennsylvania I met in the lobby of a swanky Financial District bachelor pad. We decided we would be better off without the bachelors and recruited an Australian foodie to join us in the West Village. The American is very excited to be forming our own ‘United Nations’ and learning about things like Vegemite and how to pronounce words properly. The Aussie and I are very excited about braaing on our exclusive rooftop and jogging and cycling on the West Side High Way which is 3 streets away and runs all along the Hudson River to New Jersey if you have enough energy.
Just last night we picked up 4 antique chairs left on the pavement outside our local restaurant (after a quick check for bed bugs of course).
I’m yet to go on a proper New York date. I’m tentative. Men here say things like ‘do you want to get out of here?’ or ‘should we just get a room?’ and they’re usually not the men you want to ‘get out of here’ or ‘get a room’ with. I am convinced I haven’t seen a blow-me-away hot specimen since arriving (something New York women complain about a lot). Which is why, two Saturdays ago when I did see one and he was kindly offering us his taxi, I kindly offered him my number. Sadly, I don’t think I had it fully committed to memory at that stage yet as he hasn’t called.
I had my first exposure to New York ‘society’ at a fully catered bar-manned loft party in Tribeca where champagne literally flowed and little canapes of seared tuna, wasabi and other yumminess followed closely behind. Apparently not enough bundles of tuna yumminess though, to prevent me from staging an Irish exit and needing assistance from our charming neighbour in Number 9, up the five flights of stairs that lead to my door. A piece of the puzzle he chose to reveal at our housewarming a few nights ago to all who were interested. Apparently I was very appreciative and offered him two continental style cheeks in return for safe delivery to my door. My mother would be pleased to hear I haven’t lost my manners.
I’ve had breakfast alongside Ethan Hawke at La Grainne, eaten more pulled pork than I can stomach and spent more money on cocktails than I care to count.
I’ve seen Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet at the Lincoln Centre, Diego Rivera’s murals at the MOMA, listened to poetry readings by rap artists in Brooklyn bookstores and partied in secret locations to electro house music with the producers of Flight of the Concords.
I’ve hailed cabs, had manis and facials and approached boozy brunches like you would the rain in London – as if it’s been happening all your life.
It’s still Winter here but the sky is clear blue and the sun shines so brightly you need to wear your oversize designer shades to protect against the glare. These little things make it easy when people ask me how I like it here. I love it. To celebrate my two month anniversary I’m indulging in one of my long-standing New York fantasies – cheap Chinese take-out in a small white carton. I like the destiny my fortune cookie suggests: ‘It may be those who do most, dream most’
It may just be…