I have had an exceptional first day in New York. Everything I love about this city and everything I was looking forward to about this holiday has been summed up in this day. The food, the people, the shops, the architecture, and just the Americanness of it all.
The morning started as every morning in New York City should – with a hearty breakfast in a quirky cafe. It was called the Gratitude Cafe, situated a few blocks from where we’re staying by Prospect Park. The coffee was exquisite, there was a decent selection of organic, vegan fare, and the ambiance was perfect for a casual Saturday morning in Brooklyn. My hummus and avocado bagel was far superior to the stuff we get back home.
The area is lovely. Really diverse and multicultural, quiet and suburban with cute streets and stunning houses but plenty going on.
We took the Subway up to Fort Greene, a lovely area of Brooklyn. My Mum and Dad bought their first house together in the area when they were together, and I had really wanted to see it. The houses in the area were huge and beautiful, and I stopped outside their old house, 246 Cumberland Street, and took some photos. We strolled through Fort Greene Park to a more commercial area, and stumbled across a street full of factory outlet stores full of brands like Forever 21, Old Navy, Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters, with their prices majorly discounted. I was trying not to shop, but things are so nice and so cheap, it’s hard not to. I picked up a couple of shirts for work, some running leggings and a scarf.
We took the Subway to 9th street to go looking for this reclaimation yard that Holly had read about. First we stopped for lunch in a little restaurant and I had a suburb kale and quinoa salad (nobody does salad dressing quite like the Americans). The area was massively industrial and certainly not somewhere many tourists would go. The yard turned out to be closed, but there was an interiors shop just across from it (expensive but good for inspiration) and then (after taking a detour through the New York department of sanitation) we spent a while in the hardware stores Lowes and Home Depot. Maybe that seems like a weird way to spend a holiday, but for Brits that like DIY and homeware stuff, it’s incredible to see the selection. There were so many things there that are impossible to find in the UK, or hideously overpriced. Holly is doing up her Campervan at the moment and found some great bits, like copper railings and taps and spray paint for a quarter of the price we’d pay back home. We stopped by a Dunkin Donuts for coffee and snacks, before wandering back towards the subway through the outskirts of Park Slope.
We just got dinner from our local food shop near our Air bnb. It’s kind of like an off brand Whole Foods with a deli counter and a huge selection of food and drink. One of the things that makes the US so great is the selection, no matter where you go. From mustards to vegetables to cereal, there’s so much to choose from. I got a veggie Reuben sandwich which came with a pickle nd was just so good. I picked up some vegan tuna there earlier too which I’m looking forward to trying.
So basically Brooklyn is awesome, I have had a truly wonderful day, and have been reminded of why I count New York in my top 5 cities in the world.