Thursday, 29 May 2014

New York 3

(Being nagged by Mum to add more to my New York posts- sorry for the delay Mum!)

Another glorious day, another fab brekkie and another early start.  We've realised if we want to get a table easily in the breakfast room we need to be down there for 7.45am.  Now we've cottoned on it should be easier than yesterday!!!

Today we are heading to the High line.  I am not too tired from pushing H yesterday (thanks to the Hop on Hop off Bus).  Things start well - but then with every block we notice more and more potholes.  Some suddenly appear on the pavement, some are where the curb meets the road (they are the best ones), some are noticeable, some are not so noticeable and stop me dead in my tracks - especially bad when leaving the road to go up a kerb at the other side.    Some dropped kerbs don't even drop all the way to the road - it's a real game, every time we cross a road and boy do you have to do that frequently.   I can understand why you don't see too many wheelchairs in New York............

Luckily I am wearing leggings under my skirt so I have a little protection on my legs - still hurts every time I hit a pothole though :-( and H has the cheek to complain when we hit them!!!  But with the sun shining it's not so bad.

The top end of the High line is only about 10 blocks from our hotel and has a lift at the end. It's a shame when we get there then that the lift is not working.  So H and N start a slow climb up the stairs whilst I collapse the wheelchair and think about carrying it up the stairs.  Now, I accept that I need to learn to accept help when offered, but why is it the people who look like they need help themselves that do the offering.  I got half way up the stairs before the older gentleman insisted that he help carry the chair with me.  To that gentleman I say thank you - to the younger people on the stairs, I say you should heed his example, or I'll tell my Mum.

I have been to the High line in November when unsurprisingly virtually everything is dead/asleep for Winter.  It is so much nicer in Spring.

I love the way the planting has been done.  Colour everywhere (H says green is fine and is a colour, I tend to disagree!).

I love that they have added/kept some tracks and planted in them.  The people who created/upkeep the garden are not afraid of what it is and that's great.  There is no pretending to be something it is not. 

 I also love the streets leading to/from the High line.  I love that you have modern buildings, old buildings, building sites, narrow streets, wide streets.  It really speaks to me.

 Places to sit everywhere.  Though I didn't get photos of all the different types of seating - N did you?

You are never far from a view.  I used to think the building in the middle was the Empire State Building and had quite a shock when I discovered it isn't!!!  So for evermore it will be known as "NOT the Empire State Building".

 I first saw this mural (below) in Winter and the colours popped.  I still think that the colours pop and the blossom on the tree adds to it.  It is one of my favourite parts of the High line (or should I say favourite view from the High line!).

This is another favourite bit of mine.  I love the window cut out so you can see the street.  (BTW it took my ages to get a photo with a yellow cab in it passing below!)

Thankfully at this end of the High line the lifts were working so we got off and walked through Chelsea.  I think both H and I loved this bit and just wish we hadn't been so tired so we may have explored it more than we did.  

The best bit of being an adult is that if you want cake for lunch then you can!!!

On the evening M met up with her cousin and H and I had a meal in the hotel.  I was too tired to even think about pushing him anyway else!!!!  We had planned a romantic evening, a bottle of champagne..... sadly, the hotel didn't have any champagne (wtf), Hubby accidentally poured half a glass of red wine all over me (I think accidentally!) and the sweet potato fries were soggy.  Still It was short push along a corridor so that made up for some of it :-)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Making me HAPPY last week

This is the latest I've been in my happy posts.  I think the dreary weather has been affecting my "cba" factor this week.

Anyway, making me happy last week;

1) Meeting my friend S in Leeds.  S had a babysitter so we had the perfect excuse to meet up.  We no longer work together, and live about a 35 min drive/1.45 bus/train journey apart (and I can't drive), so don't get together as often as we'd like.  So when we do, we shop, talk, eat, talk, talk.  S it were great.

2)  Meeting my friend C and G for lunch.  It was at C's house and it was raining again.  G and I think that it rains heavier when we visit C at home.  Whenever we visit it is either absolutely chucking it down or snowing.  I don't think we have yet visited on a beautiful day.  Still it was gorgeous sitting in the living room, in front of the fire.  Thanks C.

3)  Getting my first Birthday present.  Thanks C and G - it's the perfect gift and I am still smiling.  Can you tell what it is?  (apart from on fabulous dots and spots stationery)

4) Anni B.  Ah, come on, she's usually on my list.  We went for a walk with S and L (L has just turned 2).  Anni is nervous of people, but whilst I was with L she actually sat with S and got attention.  She even took the world's smallest sticks from L, ever so gently and he was so happy to be giving her sticks.  Mind she spat them out when he wasn't looking.............

5) A girls night to celebrate an engagement.  The evening was A LOT of fun.  We saw someone in a dress who doesn't usually wear a dress, we saw chocolate moustaches..............

PS The mother of all handovers on Sunday.  Why do we do it????????

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Making me HAPPY this week

What a glorious weekend this weekend is turning out to be.  It's amazing how life is so much better with sunshine and blue skies.  To be honest, I think I enjoy the blue sky more than the sunshine.

Making me happy this week;

1) Not sure who is the boss here.  Every day Anni jumps onto Hubby's chair for a cuddle.  Now I am still undecided who enjoys it more.  This time, Anni settled her head on H's tummy and sighed contentedly - but as soon as I pick up the camera she wants to check what I am doing so I haven't gotten the perfect photo yet!!!!

2) Crochet.  I had my first lesson a week ago and I've already made this.  I am dead chuffed with myself.  I may only be able to do one stitch (trebles), but now I have started I am already looking for new things to make.  Granny Square anyone?

3) Meeting a friend for lunch in Leeds.  Thanks M, it was lovely to see you again.  Maybe next time we'll be sat outside in the sunshine.

4) Discovering no side effects from pushing the wheelie round NY the other week.  Phew, I was dreading the aches and pains when I'd given up!!!!!!!  Happy face.

5) Blue skies - I love you.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

New York 2

Our first full day in New York and we were up early.  Breakfast was included in the price of our hotel so we met up for a good brekkie.  Now, on Trip Advisor there are lots of complaints about the breakfast.  However, the 3 if us were happy with the selection.  Tea, coffee and juices, yogurts and fruit, muffins (I grabbed a Blueberry one- Yummy), pastries, bagels and bread to toast.  I'm happy with that selection.

Indeed the only downside of the hotel were the lifts - breathe in love!  As soon as you got through the doors you had to turn to get past a sticky outy bit!!!  And the doors seemed to stay open for a nanosecond but each time we used it was an adventure!

As we were up so early we decided to hit Macys to try and avoid some of the rush hour traffic before catching our Hop on Hop off bus.  We managed to do 4 floors before realising it was nearly 10am.  The only thing we booked before arriving in New York was the bus.  This was to save a little bit of money.  I am not sure I would bother again.  The information we were given is that the all the buses stop by the Empire State Building - and they do, lots and lots of different bus companies - except ours.......  We walked back and forth, and asked other companies for ours.  Eventually we went into a shop for water and thankfully the server advised us to walk a few blocks south and then we found our bus stop.

It was a sunny morning and the upstairs was full so we sat downstairs (not that D had a choice!), boy were we glad we did- the people hopping off looked frozen when they came downstairs.

Blossom, Woolworth Building, Freedom Tower

We got off at the tip of Manhattan as we'd planned on catching the Staten Island Ferry to get closer to the Statute of Liberty.  I was put off by the amount of people rushing to catch it so we decided not to bother (N.B. Get up and off next time).  We did get to see the SOL from a distance though.  What do you mean, it's not the real one?

Our View

View from Nov 2012

By the water it was really windy and cold but out of the wind it was a glorious day.   I was surprised just how many coffee shops/food shops were so inaccessible to the wheelchair at this end of the island.  We popped into Pret and grabbed a picnic.  I will be looking out for wild sock eyed salmon again - wow.  We had a glorious picnic in a garden in front of the Woolworth Building.  Then we hopped onto the bus again.  View of the Brooklyn Bridge below just as we set off again.

Not sure why the bull above is so popular - this was the best shot we could get (from the bus, 2nd time past).  Something to do with the financial district.

Now we were meant to go to the Highline.  Hubby assured us he was not in the least bit tired and he was eager to see more of New York.  He was 100% sure that he still had energy and he wouldn't regret using it up.  So how come 10 minutes into the journey we witnessed this.................

Can you see the Highline below?

Back to the hotel for Hubby to rest.  N and I went souvenir shopping. For Dinner we walked down to a fabulous Burger place that my Mum and I had found when we visited.  We went to Schnippers
We could have gone to Shakeshack but you have never seen such a long line of people waiting to be served.

We then headed further South to go to Barnes and Noble so I could look at books.  Unfortunately (or fortunately if you ask H) we got there with 10 minutes until it shut.  I quickly picked a book and we wandered back to the hotel.

Monday, 12 May 2014

New York 1

To say I was nervous about travelling to New York is an understatement.  It was the first big holiday we have taken when D has needed his wheelie.  I wasn't so bothered about the journey but I wasn't so sure about all the pushing whilst I was in New York.  Still I wasn't going to let it stop us from going somewhere we wanted to share.

I had been to New York with my Mum in Nov 2012 and I totally fell in love with the City which is unusual for me as I don't generally enjoy being in big cities.  So I came home from that trip and my Hubby was jealous so we decided to plan to go together in 2014.

Thankfully we found a BA sale and a friend who also wanted to see New York so we booked it and I started planning our trip.

We booked a taxi, booked an airport hotel for the night and we were off.

N, H and I on our way
 N not really keeping all the wine - can you tell we were excited???

Now, I haven't really been on a flight when you don't have to pay through the nose for anything you want/need onboard.  So I may have  taken full advantage of the drinks trolley!

Did I mention that we were a little giddy (and no, it wasn't to do with the Bacardi we all had).

We flew from Manchester to Newark, via Heathrow. The only issue (and I must remember not to get so grumpy at 5am in the morning) was that Hubby is on medication for his MS.  His bag was scanned 4 times and kept getting stopped by security.  Now, when it first got stopped it went into a separate queue which needed searching by hand.  There was only one poor chap on the hand searching and a huge pile of bags waiting to be searched.  It was searched and checked and went back through the X-ray machine.  It got stopped again, so I thought since it had been searched it had been stopped in error.  When I tried pointing this out, I was told we had to wait at the back of the queue.  Eventually the bag got to the front, and then the man took one look at it, put it back through the machine, telling the operator there were drugs in the bag and it got stopped again.  We were at the back of the queue again!!!!  It was taken back to the machine and it was stopped again.  At this point the man saw our bag, shook his head and gave us the bag.  The worst thing was (apart from it being nearly 6am) the hand searching bit is at a bottle neck of the entire room and people were struggling to get past the wheelchair to get to the gates etc.

We were delayed in Manchester, so by the time we arrived in Heathrow we had 15 minutes to get the connection.  Now the good thing about travelling with a wheelchair is that you can have someone waiting for you and then s/he'll know the quickest route to get to your connection.  So we made it with seconds to spare, and then sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour - Grrrrrrrrrrr and we missed the chance to look at all the shops!!!!!!!!!  Still we were on our way so we weren't really bothered!

Flying into Newark is significantly nicer than into JFK and the journey into the city easier too.  First view of the city below.

View of Downtown from the bus

 We bought tickets for a speedy bus which dropped us off at Grand Central Station.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) my bag never made the flight so the walk (with only one detour going the wrong way) with a wheelchair and 2 suitcases wasn't too hard!! (if you ignore the potholes, and the suitcases trying to take N's shoes off).  We stayed in the Hotel Metro on West 35th Street.  We were all upgraded to a 1 bedroomed family room (3 double beds in each of our rooms!).

The main reason we chose this hotel was the proximity to the Empire State Building (not H&M!)

and Macy's.  Did you know as a foreign tourist you can get a discount in Macy's?  We got a 25% discount on most items.

Hubby had a snooze whilst N and I explored the streets round our hotel.  The weather was glorious and it was so nice just wandering aimlessly with no goal in sight.  For Dinner we went to a local Irish pub on the same road as the hotel.  Now, maybe we should have hesitated a little.  I mean I can handle a sports bar, but when the music is so loud you can't actually talk to the person sat next to you it is too much for me.  Then again, maybe it's just a sign of us getting old-er.

Phew, hope you are still with me.  More on New York soon.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Making me HAPPY this week

It's been a ruddy fantastic week and I even have more photos to show off.

Putting a smile on my face has been;

1) A successful trip to New York with my Hubby and our friend N.  A major shout out to BA (and their sale), nothing was too much trouble to help Hubby.

2) Tulips.  Tulips were everywhere in New York.  These were taken in a park near the Brooklyn Bridge.  The colours just make me smile.

3) Central Park.  It was lovely in Central Park, despite Hubby loosing his bag and it being a little chilly in the morning.

4) Ooh I can't remember the last time I had some of these.  Oh how I have missed you!!!!

5)  Anni has to be in my list.  It does feel weird when she's not around.  To be fair, (Sorry Anni) I didn't think of her much whilst in New York but I was very happy to go and pick her up.

A post on our trip to New York will be coming soon.