An Englishman in New York
I just visited New York for the first time. It was a flying visit – arriving on Thursday then leaving on Friday, which meant I had just a few hours to explore – that was enough, though, to get a taste of this amazing city. I was there to attend an event at the Soho Apple Store – the event is part of my first major campaign with Apple and I was really keen to be part of the evening, as well as see what I could of the city while I was there.
The first thing to note was that the weather was proper freezing. And I mean PROPER freezing. This week in California, the sun has been shining and I’ve been wearing shirts and sunglasses, sometimes with a jacket. The past 5 months must have softened up this rock ‘ard (said with a Teeside accent) Northerner, because when I stepped off the plane, felt the wind and saw a lake completely frozen over, I was struggling. I no longer own a pair of gloves or a warm hat, so I was totally unprepared.
The hotel was lovely – great city views and an ice rink by the entrance! They like to display their logo upside down. I quizzed the receptionist as to why this would be and he gave an unsatisfactory rationale about turning things on their head. We’ll forgive them, because everything else was great.
The event was fantastic – we commissioned a number of artists to create work on Apple devices and 4 of the artists were speaking on a panel and answering questions. It was the first time that I saw our work in the ‘real world’, actually in-store. Up until this point, the campaign for me has really been confined to the studio in Cupertino, so it was amazing to see it out there and meet some of the artists I’d been working with in person.
After the event, I went out for dinner with some work colleagues. We stopped by their hotel on the way while one of them made a phone call. I waited in the rooftop bar, which had a [freezing] balcony with stunning 360 views of the city skyline. The balcony has a plunge pool, which was also frozen over, but looked incredible.
Take the High Line
The High Line is a stretch of former railway that has been made into a park. It’s a mile and a half long and has plants, seating, signage, points of interest and art pieces along the way. It’s also a good way to explore part of the city, as the line is raised 40 or 50 feet above street level. The High Line runs through the hotel I was staying at and a few of the folk at work recommended taking a stroll along the line. I set out at 7am with camera in hand, but sadly no gloves on fingers. I spent around 40 minutes walking along the line, with the snow falling. The garden areas were covered in snow and looking a bit worse for wear following a tough winter. The sun loungers were understandably empty and topped with a layer of snow. A few brave joggers passed by as well as a couple of staff members with shovels. It made for a fascinating space – it felt like something that belongs in Summer but it had a really cool (literally) abandoned feel in Winter.
I then left the High Line and walked back to the hotel on street level to have a quick look around.
What’s the Crack?
One of the artists from the campaign – an impressive and super-nice travel photographer, had suggested we meet up for breakfast, so I headed over to meet him just off Central Park. On the way, I dropped by the well-known Milk Bar and picked up a Crack Pie.
I have no idea how, but a number of years ago, I must have read online somewhere about Crack Pie. It was all the rage in New York City, a kind of cheesecake thing – don’t really know as we haven’t eaten it yet, but apparently the New Yorkers were queueing right down the street for it (people seem much more willing to queue here – how does waiting for 2 hours in the cold sound for a Cronut – hybrid donut-croissant? Thought not.) Anyway, Crack Pie, named such for its addictive qualities, had lodged itself in my consciousness and owned a special little place in my heart, but not yet my stomach, so I decided to suspend my long-term* Gluten-free status and grab a slice of the action. I actually grabbed several slices because Heather was also keen to get involved in the Crack Pie revolution.
*Approximately three days.
Eats, shops and leaves
Breakfast was great – my photographer friend has travelled a lot with his work and had some good stories to tell. The scran was pretty decent, too.
We then both went 50 yards down the street to 5th Avenue, where New York’s most prominent Apple Store is located. We went inside and took some photos of the space and chatted to a few of the employees.
I then headed down 5th avenue to buy treats for the kids and the beautiful Heather, who has been getting five lively children up, dressed, fed, to school on time, picked up, cleaned up, fed again, home-worked, fed again, cleaned again, dressed and put to bed single-handedly so that I could make this trip.
I hailed an iconic yellow cab and headed back home, getting a few last glimpses of the city along the way.