New York part 1.

Well…One of the hardest parts of doing my exchange, apart from being away from Irn Bru for so long, must be staying away from Alison. After getting married last year and more importantly being together for the past seven and a half years, I knew it would be very hard to leave her for four months. To be honest I cried like a baby in the taxi when I left in January and after being in PA for a few weeks couldn’t think of anything better than going home. It is the reassurance and positive attitude that she has that has not only allowed me to see through this exchange but also a huge part of the reason I’m here in the first place! You can only imagine how excited I was to see her in New York this past weekend. Good thing this is a blog and you don’t have to imagine…Il just tell you!

My friend Gabbie had agreed to take me to the airport a few weeks back and followed through by getting me there in good time on Wednesday morning…Legend! I had a few hours in the airport, where I submitted a couple pieces of work that are due in the coming weeks, you know just to get myself ahead so I could free up more time for exams. After smashing out two reports I was aboard the plane and off to JFK, New York City! One hour in the air and I was down.

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I grabbed my bag, jumped on the $14 bus into the city and was in the hotel room an hour or so after. We stayed at the dream hotel on W55th and Broadway….ohhhh fancy. After a quick shower and a spot of wi-fi, I received word from the wife that she was approaching Manhattan. I threw a clean t-shirt on, lathered on the man spray and headed back down to Grand Central Station. I stood aside the road and couldn’t have been happier to see my beautiful ginger lady friend jump off the bus and into my arms. What a day!

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After we got ourselves sorted we headed back to the hotel and planned our trip. Alison and I had come to New York on our honeymoon last year so were very excited to see some of the sites that we never managed to get around to last time. For everyone that has been to New York before I’m sure you know you would need a good month to get around where you want to go. This time we decided to see more of Brooklyn, Bowery and a few museums and restaurants that Alison had so carefully selected online. Alison is very good at finding us great places to eat and sites to see and I never knew why she had such a great knowledge of cities that she has spent very little time in…then I realized, vloggers and bloggers. Alison likes to watch a lot of vloggers (video bloggers) online, the kind of vloggers that 16-year-old girls watch to pick up fashion tips. What I didn’t realize, after making fun of her for the past few years, was that they have excellent suggestions of cool places to go too. If it wasn’t for the vlogger’s she watches we wouldn’t have eat in the great restaurants, ABC Kitchen, Freemans and the Big Apple Famous Joes Pizza. We also wouldn’t have drank in cool bars such as The Wren in Bowery, The Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg or the PHD rooftop terrace bar in Manhattan. Good times!

We started our trip off on an extremely cloudy and rainy Thursday morning by heading to the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in Central Park.

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I loved the system that they had when we arrived at the payment desk. They had suggested payments for Adults, Seniors, Students and Kids, however it was up to you what you paid! I thought this was great as it allowed everyone regardless of disposable income to enjoy the wonderful art they had on display. Alison and I went for $24 for the two of us, that was the suggested student ticket price, Alison just wants to feel young again….said the guy turning 30 next year. We enjoyed seeing many great pieces by the likes of Picasso, Diego Rivera (the Mexican dude, I saw the murals of in Detroit) and many more American and worldwide artists.

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Next we headed along to a place in the East village called ‘Shake Shack’. Another spot Alison had read about online, we got great cheese burgers and milkshake. After we were fed and watered, we headed home in the rain and got ready for what I described as the most exciting part of our trip, going to Madison Square Gardens to see the New York Knicks play basketball. This was mine and our first ever basketball game and it was great. The Washington Wizards ended up winning by three points, in a 103-106 thriller. We decided to pay a bit more for our tickets and we sat on the first row of the first deck. The seats were great and the patter in between quarters was just as good! We will defiantly be back to see the NBA again, however next time we end up in New York I would love to see the Rangers play hockey.

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The next day the rain was on its way out to start welcoming the sunny weekend we ended up with. We decided to explore the south of Midtown and visit Chelsea again, one of our favorite places to go in the city. We started by getting on the highline, a privately funded above street walkway, filled with art, gardens and places to sit and escape the hustle of the Manhattan sidewalks. I enjoyed looking at the artwork as it had all changed since we were there last summer. It was great to see some protest art again President Trump and some of the decisions he has made since taking office.

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Boarder Wall. (check out the #Wallsthatunite campaign) http://artwareforgood.com/walls-that-unite/

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Relationship / Non-Relationship with Russia.

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The divide he has created.

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After we enjoyed the highline we made our way down to the Chelsea food market to get some coffee, cakes and find the taco spot that Mabel had recommended to us before I left. We found it and penciled it into the diary for lunch at the weekend. With a few hours to kill before our reservation at ABC Kitchen we walked the streets, enjoying each other’s company and seeing some of Bleeker Street. Bleeker Street was filled with shops of all varieties, café, bars and small parks and memorials that you could sit and enjoy. A great place to go see.

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Before we knew it, we had made it over to ABC Kitchen for our late lunch at three. The place was fantastic, I never knew a turkey sandwich, chips and a beer could taste so good. It was the first place I didn’t grudge paying the standard ten-dollar price tag for a beer. We ate up, headed over to the cinema! Yes, it was time.

I have been reading Irvine Welsh, pretty much exclusively, for the past five years and can’t get enough of his stories, but more importantly his characters. Ever since reading trainspotting, seeing the movie and moving onto other stories such as ‘Skagboys’ and ‘The Blade Artist’ I have loved the relationship between Renton, Begbie, Sick boy and Spud. Since arriving in the States I knew I wouldn’t be able to see ‘T2: Trainspotting 2’ anywhere near the time that ever one saw it at home. Having the world premier back in January in Edinburgh I was very jealous of everyone talking about it for the past few months. The one thing I have been consistent with however was not reading or watching anything about it online. You can only imagine my excitement when the opening credits rolled. It was very weird watching a film, this time celebrating the beauty of the city I now call home, in a dark cinema in New York. I won’t say too much but the scene with Begbie’s confrontation with his son, the ‘Rangers’ bar scene and scene filmed in Cav (Scarlett I didn’t see you but I hear your there), I feel were perhaps lost on the local audience. Alison did say that there were several parts of the film that got a very different reaction to the first time she saw it in Edinburgh back in January. It was also great to hear music from Edinburgh locals ‘Young Fathers’, a group that won the mercury music prize a few years back and have been impressive ever since I first heard them in 2007. I was introduced to them by one of the rappers in the group that I used to sit next to a Uni. Hearing Wiley in the movie and the new version of ‘Born Slippy’ (Slow Slippy) was amazing. All I can say though is, Wow! I need to see it again…soon!

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That took us to Friday night! We still have Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning to go! That’s coming next.

Bye.

Greg.

What I am reading: Skagboys – by Irvine Welsh.

What I am listening to – Jamie XX – In Colour & Joey Bada$$ – The Amerikkkan Bada$$

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