I had the pure JOY of going to New York City in December, and FINALLY have finished editing the video! It’s surprisingly hard to reduce 30 mins of footage down to 3… but here it is.
I’d been putting off going to America because I always thought I’d rather save the money and move there sooner, but eventually gave in and decided I can’t risk never experiencing it if that never happens. It quickly became a point of pride to go before I turned 20, and I did book it before then, and COULD have gone before, but decided to set the date a little after my birthday when the Christmas decorations were up. And my my was it beautiful.
Black women are sassy. Like, they have real attitude! And aren’t afraid to say “boy, you don’t know what you talking ’bout.” And that was the woman at the ticket booth.
I did literally EVERYTHING one can do in NYC, racking up 150,000 steps and spending all my money, making sure to spend at least half a day in each borough, and the rest in Manhattan. On the last day, I got out of the basketball game in Madison Square Garden late at night, and there were still some things to tick off on my map. Since I wasn’t leaving without doing everything, at 2am I went to Grand Central Terminal, Chrysler building, Empire State Building, and the Flatiron building (looks like a cheese wedge). Slept one hour and went to the airport, where a Taiwanese woman hit on me.
Crossing the road is complicated. There’s no red and green light, or even a button to press. Red hand means stop, white man means go, and white man with red number next to him means don’t go but you actually have this many seconds to make it. Even if the white man appears, cars still come past which is scary and confusing. It’s just that they have to give way to you.
Day 1: Dunkin’ Donuts, Bagel Boy, NY Aquarium, Coney Island, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Wendy’s, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Wall Street, Sushi
Day 2: Dunkin’ Donuts, Museum of the Moving Image, NY Botanical Gardens, shopping on Madison Avenue, converted food trailer turned Diner
Day 3: Bronx Zoo, Absolute Bagel, Central Park, Chiptotle
Day 4: Staten Island Ferry, comic book store on Staten Island, Broad Street/Wall Street, Chinatown (ft white tea), Little Italy (ft cannoli, gelato), Times Square, Chicago
Day 5: Friends Apartment, Ghostbusters garage, Ellen’s Stardust Diner, Radio City, Bauble Christmas decorations
Day 6: Ice skating in Rockerfeller Plaza, monologue rehearsal with Seth Meyers in NBC studios, Top of the Rock, Knicks game in Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Flatiron Building
The people don’t understand a WORD I say. I’ve known Americans in England, and they all loved my Yorkshire accent, so thought eyup these lot are going to love a bit of me. How wrong I was! Here’s the conversation at the MacDonald’s when I arrived:
Me: Hi, are there any shops round here?
Me: Are there any shops open this late?
Cashier: Erm, I dunno….
It was across the road. But I didn’t think to say “grocery store”.
My favourite moments have to be Coney Island and Chicago. Being on the beach, on a sunny day after finding my way across the city and visiting the aquarium, peering into the shimmering water with sand underfoot, was surreal. A long boardwalk with sandy beach on one side and vintage themepark on the other. Picture perfect.
Donuts are life. One of the great joys of my time there was getting a bagel and donut for breakfast, and sitting to watch the locals do their thing, loudly.
For the musical Chicago, I had the best seat in the house – front row in the middle – in the Ambassador Theatre, near Times Square. So much well-known music is off that show, and it was perfect. Not one mistake, and the singing was as good as any chart topper. Plus, the lead actress threw me a rose, and now we’re in love.