Sunday, May 11, 2008

I heart New York

yeah, i know its corny, but thats kind of what it felt like being in NYC.

Well, not exactly corny maybe but... hmmmm, what on earth do I mean?
It felt the way I expected it to feel from all those iconic images and film & TV sequences: glamorous and exciting, buzzing, familiar whilst also being foreign, full of energy - tall loud lairy and all lit up.

Actually, I've just googled "lairy" as I'm never sure whether to spell it lairy or lairey.
And I have doubts now about whether this is an appropriate word as all the definitions seem rather negative. I didn't mean it at all in a negative way: I meant "in your face", up-front, self-assured, full of energy, non-apologetic, a little stroppy maybe... [lets not get started on definitions of stroppiness]...but in a good way
My google search defined lairy as to do with lurking and hairiness. Well, thats a revelation to me.
"mis-behaving and prone to deceit". Oh dear, thats not at all what I meant.
"My bunny is a bad lairy-sauce." ???? I have no idea what that means. Bunny? what bunny????

Well, even after a brief discussion with M - who understands the term as primarily negative - I'm keeping it in. I am a native speaker of English, and my usage partly defines meaning.
So there.
Is that lairy of me, or what?

We arrived at the hotel at around 9pm and though it was around 2am for our London body clocks, we had a preliminary wander around the streets, picking up on the way delicious home-made burgers from a little place around the corner. Betty had some kind of salmon burger, and I had a portabello mushroom burger which was absolutely delish. We walked a few blocks, ooo-ing and aaah-ing over the not-too-distant Chrysler building and the actually-pretty-close Empire State building. Me more than Betty, who'd been here before.

Evening was a great time to arrive in NYC, the city looks so impressive at night. During the week we took a Circle Line evening cruise around the island, watching dusk fall over the Statue of Liberty, transfixed by the golden evening sun shining back from the thousands of bright towering windows - and gradually all the lights coming on and reflecting on the water. Impressive and also beautiful.

Day 1 we had some booked "events" - it was great to be partly "led" on our first day. Especially as I had woken up rather early, in accord with British summertime, and stayed awake...
In the morning we joined a walking&food tour of Greenwich village - 3 hours of walking and tasting and looping round about and back again to Bleecker St. Highly recommended.

We ate canoli for the first time, the last of a series of samplings of local and typical and cross-cultural specialities. We compared notes (Betty and I, not the whole group) on the conformity of other tourists in the group to their national stereotypes - by which I mean, of course, our stereotyping of their nationalities. We thought we could have identified the other 3 Brits as Brits from some considerable distance. I wonder if they thought the same about us?

We'd walked to the meeting point from our midtown hotel and walked back after the tour - we walked and walked so much in our 4 days, its hard to imagine a better way to see New York - and I just loved the diversity of the city.

Which does seem like a prosaic and obvious thing to say, I suppose any city is diverse - its certainly one of the things I love about London. Maybe its something to do with the way the city is contained by the river, combined with the "image" of New York, which makes it seem particularly notable.
I'm sure some Brits, at least, think of NYC only in terms of Times Square and, maybe, 5th Avenue. Greenwich Village is so different, and Madison Square park - and Alphabet city and Tribeca and and and..

...and I just opened my NYC guide to check how to spell Tribeca, and an unexpected dogwood petal fell out...

which has me remembering all the blossoms and trees and colours of the city in Spring sunshine. A few of my favourite things.... but i'll save favourite things for another post, this one is getting rather lengthy.

To finish though, I do have a few pictures - from my trusty little compact camera. Being so compact, it was in my bag on the plane and hence not left behind and, being so compact, it was the camera I took to Broadway on the Monday evening where Gary had left tickets for us, bless his sweet heart.

We saw this:

I was told off - along with many many other people - for taking photos inside the theatre. I received 3 tellings-off during my trip, this was the first.

I had no trouble staying awake or getting to sleep that night. Or waking at British-summer-breakfast-time the following morning...

adrenalin can be a great thing and I have no doubt that NYC is one of its primary catalysts.
[i mean that in a good way.....]


Lynne said...

I haven't heard of the word "lairy" before, so I looked it up. Here is what my computer dictionary said:

lairy |ˈle(ə)rē|
adjective ( lairier, lairiest) Brit. informal
1 cunning or conceited.
2 ostentatiously attractive; flashy : the former Hollywood bad girl is putting her lairy Tinseltown past behind her.
3 aggressive or rowdy : a couple of lairy people pushed me around.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent. (originally Cockney slang): alteration of leery. Sense 2 was originally Australian slang and dates from the early 20th cent.


mouse (aka kimy) said...

I feel the same way about nyc....and every time I visit, and when I'm there I often have the "I love new york" song infecting my brain and probably infecting my step. I do prance about at times when I'm there over the pure joy of the stimulation!

a walking and food tour - that I must check out!

thanks for the background on 'lairy' it's a totally new word for me - I always learn so many new words from by british and australian blogging buds!

thank goodness you had a two cameras - so you actually have a few pictures taken by you. speaking of pictures. I put a couple sets together from our day wandering d.c. - including the food shot so lg can see our incredible meal!

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

what defines British lairiness (apart from the word itself?)

The use of the word "partly" in your sentence: "my usage partly defines meaning."

(A Canadian would have added additional qualifiers such as "my usage may probably define meaning, up to a certain point.")

Loved the pics you grabbed with your little camera - specially the candelabra and its shadow.

Gary said...

I still get a thrill when I am walking around NYC sometimes, especially if I don't have appointments to keep.

You know, I forgot to ask you about your seats. Were they any good? I am assuming that the pic you have of the stage was taken from your seat and appears a bit farther away than I had hoped. I hope your sight lines was okay.

I'm looking forward to hearing about the other two tellings-off.

Barbara said...

Love your discussion of the word "lairy", a new one for me. I think I got the meaning quite nicely from your usage. This must be how our language has grown.

I'm still blown over by NYC every time I visit. We tell each other things like "Great city to visit, but I could never live here -- I'd never sleep!" Sometimes I think I'd like to try a year or two of not sleeping in NYC.

tut-tut said...

Ah, so you DO have a few pictures . . .

Lairy: never been acquainted with that word.

I'm so happy you had a wonderful time! I grew up in New Jersey, within sight of the NY skyline. I miss it all!

Aileen said...

Well I've lived in NYC and I visit it a lot...and it's like an old lover that I'll always have a "thing" for! I know just what you mean about adrenaline rush, there really is no other city like it.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Never been to NYC - hope to though one day. I know London reasonably well and love it's cosmopolitan nature - I can only imagine the NYC is similar in that way, but bigger, brasher, still more diverse, and as you say, so much more in your face.

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

How wonderful to have been seen as others see us; your views of us will from many a blunder free us. It is splendid that you were here and had experiences among us that you will digest and respond to over the arc of your blog. We watch as we watch for comets and comet dust.

Ex-Shammickite said...

I've been to NYC twice. The first time was in the late '60s with husband... did as much sightseeing in 2 days that we possibly could. The second time was in 1990... everything was rush rush rush, furtive guys on every street corner selling knock-off watches, Times Square lighting up the night, sidewalk artists, strolling all the way from Times Square to the tip of Manhattan and taking the bus back, POW-MIA biker rally, Grand cantral Station, that was a trip to remember. Nothing lairy about that!
YoungerSon and The Bride are off to NYC with friends this coming w/e... I'm SOOOOO envious!
Keep smiling!

lettuce said...

lynne i'd agree its something to do with 2. and 3. - not so much 1. though.

kimy do check out the food tour, it was really worth doing. And thanks for putting your pics on flickr so soon, i've really enjoyed them. xx

lee that makes me laugh - and i nearly wrote that sentence WITHOUT the "partly". See, i really am lairy.

Gary the seats were fine, thankyou so much. No prob. with line of sight, we had a good view of the whole stage.

barbara i'm always just fascinated by language - in fact, i have a post in my mind about current street slang - LG being my expert witness.

Yes Tut-tut, i do. Not many more than this of NYC (a few fairly 'routine' shots of Times Square at night) but a few more of Pa, a couple of Philly... Esp. glad to have some pics on the little camera of the old friends I saw in Pa.

aileen, "like an old lover" - i can really get that!

Vanilla, I'd say NYC seems smaller (though taller!) though London is more sprawly. Its been very interesting thinking about the similarities and differences

shelly i'm sure i'm not at all free from blunders myself. It certainly was most splendid to be there

Ex-shammie, i didn't see any purveyors of knock-off goods on street corners - now, that WOULD have made me feel at home!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful account, I would love to see the Chrysler building which is Art Deco style, although I don't have any desire to visit New York (too busy for me I think). Has your other camera not turned up then, I would have thought the lost property office would have it as the cleaners were probably the ones who 'found' it.

lettuce said...

Lusks, I have no doubt the cleaners "found" it, given where it was left - clearly one of them "acquired" it. I did walk through the foyer of the Chrysler building, it is absolutely stunningly wonderful!

la bellina mammina said...

Oh, I'm soooo jealous!!!! I've NEVER been to NYC, so thanks for haring this :-)

Btw, I know it's not Mother's Day there, but, happy mother's day just the same, Lettie!

Mike M said...

New York is such a great city!

dennis said...

Dennis says he will share his cushions with you.

Akelamalu said...

I'm so envious of your trip - I hope to go to New York some day, but in the meantime I'm enjoying reading about your trip. :)

Sally Crawford from London said...

Lovely stage shot - I love how set designers build up like that so that everyone has a nice view of the stage wherever they're sitting.

I am not good on symbols: I thought, since the heart is the symbol of love, that that red heart with 'I' on the left and the name of the city on the right meant 'I love London/NY' (


Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah ... what bunny?

I heart NYC too. What's not to love? Living there would take its toll, but a quick visit is always the most glamorous thing in the world. I'm heading up this summer sometime. I'll be thinking about you when I have a canoli. Really it was your first??

Missing you but love reading your NYC report. So sad you lost your camera.

IntangibleArts said...

aah, now clearly it's time for me to return to NYC, and devour a curry at Panna 2 (favorite indian restaurant in the universe. 93 1st avenue, between 5th & 6th street).

A while back, we had the bizarre notion to take a cheap bus up there from DC, cab down to Panna 2 for a huge lunch...And then walk it off along St.Marks Place and wander back up to Port Authority and bus back home.

It was a very large day. But anyone who has eaten there would understand...

Steve said...

Lairy?? Hmmmm. That's a new one for me!

Love the photos -- particularly the last one. It was worth the scolding.

That's my office building in the background of the one of the red neon "Rent" sign!

lettuce said...

thanks Bella - enjoy your own holiday soon!

tis, mike m.

Dennis. I am gobsmackingly honoured.

Lamalu, i hope my account encourages you to GO. SOON!

sally, i think you're right :o)

it really was my first Reya. Looking forward to my second. And hoping it will be sooner rather than later.

Ah well Intangible, that sounds like my kind of walking and, indeed, my kind of curry. I have made a note of the address for my next visit.

hey steve! cool! (started walking to work yet? ;op )