Things That Made Me Smile #15

Guess who’s back?

022After ten days trekking across the East Coast of the U.S. Of A, Ben and I returned to Heathrow Friday night, to a damp and grey London (boo!) We suffered through jetlag and the post-holiday blues over the weekend, binge-watching Criminal Minds, holding a Eurovision Party with some friends back at my flat, and gawping at the epic Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibition. We’ll be needing a holiday to recover from our holiday at this rate!

I will be writing up my travel diaries over the next week or so, but until then, here are the things that made me smile two weeks ago (yep, I’m SO behind. Bad blogger!):

027– Our hotel for the New York stay, Citizen M. It had been my suggestion we stay there, and I am SO glad that we did. It was ultra-modern but super cool, and we loved every moment. If you want tablet-controlled rooms and a buzzing atmosphere, look no further.

215– The singing waitstaff at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. This is a diner with a difference, and the ultimate in tourist traps, but it is an experience and a half. The set up is just like your average American diner, but with one crucial difference. The waiters and waitresses take it in turns to sing to the captive audience! They choose a tune from Broadway and wander around the diner, picking on random customers to serenade (to their terror and everyone else’s delight). A lot of them have been on Broadway already or are waiting for their big break, and if the wall of fame we spied covered with glossy mug shots was anything to go by, they have some degree of success!

1-887– The pizza slice place off Times Square next to the theatre showing Finding Neverland. We stumbled upon this on our first night while out exploring the area, and they do enormous slices of pizza for a few dollars. Their lasagna pizza is weird but awesome at the same time.

297– This spot in Central Park. It’s down a slope away from the main part of the park, and offers a little bit of seclusion with a lot of view. I mean just look at that! Trees, lake, skyscrapers, sky. It’s a perfect little urban oasis, and I wish I had longer to stay there than we did. I would also love to return on a sunny day, as this looks grey and gloomy even though it was quite warm. I imagine on a sunny day it would be heaven on earth!

232– Balto’s statue in Central Park. I loved the film Balto as a child, and at the end there was a scene where some of the characters visit the statue which resides in Central Park. So when we had a day to explore the park, I had to make a trip to see it too. It was amazing, and brought my childhood memories rushing back!

196– Making a pilgrimage to see the Friends apartment block in Greenwich Village. Having been a teenage devotee, I had to take a trip to the corner of Grove and Bedford Sts to see the block they used as a frontage for ten years. It was a special moment!

199– Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. We found this in Greenwich Vilage just along the street from the Friends apartment block. It was as fabulous as it looks, and stocks divine ice cream sundae combinations. They even have unicorn and tropical fish piñatas hanging from the ceiling.

– American Eagle Outfitters. We found and fell in love with this brand in San Francisco last year, so when we found a huge flagship store in Times Square it was a no-brainer, as Mr Kevin Bacon says. We may have spent rather a bit of money, but it was our designated shopping day and it was so worth it!

024– Times Square at night. Unbelievably buzzing, neon bright, loud and alive. That thing they say about New York being the city that never sleeps? Definitely some truth in that! And it was almost comfortingly busy, which sounds like a really weird thing to say but I really found that! It must be the Londoner in me liking the hustle and bustle of urban life.

383– BROADWAY! Anyone who follows this blog (all five or so of you!) know that I am a big theatre fan. I love going to the West End and losing myself for a few hours in a piece of theatrical or musical wonder. And Broadway is like the epitome of this culture. Ben managed to nab tickets on the day (and at a discount) and we saw Finding Neverland. It was AMAZING. Full review coming soon!

So those were the little things that made me smile in our first week in New York. More detail on all of the above will be in my more detailed posts on our American travels. Stay tuned for that and the little things that made me smile last week, coming soon! What has made you smile in the past few weeks?

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