New York Bucket List

Having grown up on a diet of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Sex and the City, the Big Apple has been sold to me through its oversized cups of coffee, never ending walk-in wardrobes and Cosmopolitan cocktails, all nicely boxed up with the latest stilettos from Manolo Blahnik. 

Whilst I have pledged my twenties to hankering for a life in the movies, I am aware that without a video editor, on-set hair and wardrobe assistant, the reality rarely lives up to the Universal Studios version in my head. I even earned the nickname ‘Disney’ for my wish of a happily ever after where Prince Charming rides in on a white horse (and so he did in 2013... minus the horse because I am, in fact, violently allergic). 

So, whilst I’m sure that living in New York city is going to be a more intense, busy, and dare I say, stressful version of living in London, I shall be making the most of every weekend to tick off this bucket list and really make the most of being a New Yorker. 
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⛝ Check out a baseball match at Yankee Stadium (not for the hotdogs, honest)
⛝ Ice-skate in Central Park (six visits to NYC and I've never done it!)
⛝ Watch a Knicks basketball game (and hopefully spot Beyonce in f'row!)
⛝ Catch a show on Broadway

⛝ Ride on Jane's Carousel in Dumbo, Brooklyn
⛝ Eat Chinese takeaway from cardboard boxes
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⛝ Have a retro day out in Coney Island
⛝ Walk across Brooklyn Bridge
⛝ Cook (or just eat) a traditional Thanksgiving dinner
⛝ A food fest whilst watching Superbowl Sunday
⛝ Visit this city's best museums - The Met, Guggenheim, The Whitney, to name a few
⛝ Eat my way through the best brunch spots in NYC (Jack's Wife Frieda, Clinton St Bakery, Two Hands come to mind... recommendations welcome!)
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⛝ Go running in Central Park (and not look like a complete amateur)
⛝ Take the Staten Island Ferry for great views of Lady Liberty...
⛝ ...and see her up close too!
⛝ Learn the subway system (or find an app to help me!)
⛝ Beach-house holiday in the Hampton's
⛝ Taste-test Chelsea Market
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⛝ Champagne at The Plaza Hotel
⛝ Window shop at Tiffany's on Fifth Avenue
⛝ Tick off the Skyscrapers; 1) Empire State 2) Chrysler 3) World Trade Center
⛝ Have the best cup of coffee of my life
⛝ A romantic meal at Brooklyn's River Cafe
⛝ Discover the city's best speakeasy bars and jazz clubs
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⛝ Spend a day writing in New York's Public Library
⛝ Take a trip across the water to New Jersey and Hoboken (just because I like saying Hoboken)
⛝ Take in some daytime culture at the National History Museum
⛝ Catch a gig at Madison Square Gardens or the Barclays Center
⛝ Watch the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center
⛝ Watch the ball drop in Times' Square on New Year's Eve
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What would be on your New York Bucket List?
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Lost in New York City

They say it's the city that never sleeps. Well, I can't speak for the city but I certainly don't have any trouble falling asleep the moment my head touches the pillow. But I can confirm that life has somewhat sped up since arriving in the Big Apple - it feels like only yesterday I was blogging about my first impressions of New York. Where has three months in this mesmerising city gone? A vast amount of that time has been chained to my desk but that's the culture in this city; you work hard and play harder. At least that's what I'm told - I'm still working on the latter! 

So, I've been off-radar for some time. Constantly battling with the urge to pen the challenges and reality of moving your life and your husband to a new country but hoping and waiting for a positive spin. You might think that Brits & Yanks speak the same language but you wouldn't believe how much get's lost in translation and, ultimately, what a culture shock you're in for! It's not just 'CVs' and 'resumes' or 'toilets' and 'restrooms' - we've been setting up in a country with a whole new medical, tax and tipping system to get our heads around! You talk to your friends about moving to New York and rose-tinted spectacles lead everyone to think that life must be "super amazing", "super exciting" and like a scene from a movie. And I was the same to be honest. But the truth is, I haven't started wearing Manolo's on the commute to work (like my feet have lost all feeling just because I moved across the pond?) and I'm not sipping cocktails on rooftop bars every evening (because who can afford that? Or the expanding waistline that goes with it!) 

I've become somewhat of an expert at "faking it". Saying what people want to hear. Apart from that time a friend of mine was in town and over a newly popped bottle of Prosecco after a particularly tough day, I get asked the question, "So... you've moved to New York! You must be having the best time? Are you loving it?" My response? I burst into tears. Like, literally sobbed. I had nothing to offer that was anywhere near her expectations, nothing that she would have wanted to hear. Instead, I got removed from the bar by a rather scared-looking Ryan for some fresh air and a pep talk. So, as you've probably gathered, the reality is somewhat different and BREAKING NEWS: moving your life is hard - it requires energy, patience and money - three things we don't have in abundance right now!  

Despite my British-tendency to have a good moan, there have certainly been some pinch-me moments during this time which we have savoured in between the budget spreadsheet and worries over paying our rent whilst Mr A navigates the (surprisingly difficult) New York recruitment scene. Like a Friday night sat on a bench watching the sun set with the Statue of Liberty in view. Or breathtaking views of lower Manhattan from One World Trade Center thanks to the Mother-in-Law being in town and a touristy treat. Walking the Williamsburg Bridge in the sunshine to work up an appetite for the delights of smorgasburg. Cycling around Central Park in the sunshine and discovering the joys of ClassPass and the pure barre endorphins (oh how that has helped my mental state!).
Actually enjoying this city is easy to do. Hello weekends and the bonus of Memorial Day Weekend offering that extra day of adventure. It just requires some deep pockets! If you're a Brit visiting the Big Apple you'll feel the pinch of the exchange rate. If you're a Brit living in the Big Apple you'll feel the pinch of everyday living costs. Paying a premium for getting groceries onto the island ever entered your mind as a tourist? Despite working all hours, one salary for two people just doesn't go a long way in this city, particularly with the rental prices. But, give me some time and a blog post on 'NYC on the cheap' should be bulletproof! 

So, I may be feeling a little lost in New York City - and, sadly, this version doesn't include the Plaza Hotel, Duncan's Toy Chest and a Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center - but I have my favourite person with me on this adventure and a lovely line of family and friends who have been or are on their way out to visit us (suitcases brimming with British produce). Whilst it hasn't been all rosy so far, before I know it, we'll be another three months down in the blink of an eye. 
Or a New York minute you might say... 

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