Wednesday, 9 February 2011

WFC takes New York

Back in December I was lucky enough to visit New York with my course (WFC - Writing Fashion and Culture) and I can honestly say it was one of the best trips of my life. I went with my flatmate and best friend Anna, and several other girls, who I have got closer with in the months since we have been back.
 We were only there for four days, but a complete lack of sleep meant I was able to take in nearly all the sights and activities that I wanted to. We arrived in Newark, New Jersey and took a short coach to the city and to our accommodation, a hostel/prison in the Chelsea district. Whilst the accommodation was revolting (think sparse metal beds with thin mattresses, a single pillow shared toilets with smelly strangers and lockers for a wardrobe) I tried not to dwell as I was so excited to be there. After unpacking we went out in small groups with a lecturer, and we ended up in Times Square with absolutely no clue where to start.
 We ended up in an incredibly cool and packed diner called Shake Shack where we ordered hot dogs, milkshakes and burgers. We then wandered the streets, and bumped into a few very strange New York natives; I was offered drugs by a homeless man within an hour of being there! 
Times Square, first night

The first full day of our trip saw us rise early (Thanks jet-lag) and we went to the 9/11 site as a group. The site itself was crawling with construction workers and looked like a vast wasteland, although there was a very moving plaque dedicated to the servicemen who had lost their lives in the tragedy. 
After paying our respects, we moved onto the designer outlet emporium 'Century 21' where I was hoping to snap up a few bargains! However the shop was huge and crammed, like a  designer TK Maxx, and didn't really contain any of the goodies I was wishing for; I wouldn't recommend it.
The rest of my course were going on a Sex and The City tour trip, so Anna and I decided to feed our Gossip Girl addiction and hop on the tour for that instead. We walked to he Palace Hotel, the home place of the Van Der Woodsen's in season one, and the hotel that Chuck Bass (my one and only!) owns.  
Hat: H&M kids, Scarf: H&M, Coat: H&M, Satchel: River Island, Boat shoes: Dorothy Perkins
There was plenty of time for Anna and I to practise our best Blair and Serena poses outside the huge decorative Christmas tree, and it was so surreal to be standing in front of the hotel that I have watched a hundred times on TV, especially when it looked so festive and similar to the episode where Dan and Little J smuggle in a tree with Lily's help to surprise Serena. The doorman was kind enough to allow us inside, and we managed to get lots of pictures of the beautiful interior, and we even used the toilet where I stole a napkin with the Palace's crest on it! The Doorman also told us to come back and have a drink in the GILT restaurant which is the where Blair and Serena meet for drinks shortly after Serena returns in season one, and where Dan finds Serena's phone after she drunkenly drops it after rejecting Chuck (how could she?!) We did consider returning, but as the drinking age is 21, we were too scared of the humiliation of being turned away!
After leaving the Palace and clambering on the tour bus, we were taken all around the city and saw Chuck's burlesque club, 'Victrola' which is actually a rather dingy building called 'The Box'. We also saw the Archibald's house, which has the same chandelier in the window that can be seen in the programme, Penn Bagdley's real life apartment and Blair's apartment building, among other places.

West Broadway

We also made a pit-stop at Dylan's candy store, which aside from being the largest candy store in the world, was also featured in GG when Dan told Vanessa about Rufus and Lily's love-child.  The interior of the store was decorated with huge fake lollipops, and every available surface was littered with sweets, and I parted with yet more dollars to buy a hugeeee and delicious red velvet cupcake, chocolate bar and mini photo frame. 
The tour was expensive, at $40, but for a dedicated fan like me it was really interesting and fun, and took me to places in new York I may not have otherwise have discovered. 

Necklace: Forever 21, Beige Frilly waistcoat: H&M, Pink Dress: Topshop
The food in New York was amazing, although bring your appetite, as they are biiiiiig portions. On our third night Anna and I met up with Harriet, who writes the great blog and Emily from our course. We had heard that a nearby restaurant, Lasagne, would serve you without ID, so we popped in for a bite and a cocktail or two! We started off with a round of Cosmopolitan's from our cute, charming and very gay waiter, and then ordered our delicious meals - I had spinach and artichoke fettuccine... heaven! Followed by more cocktails, by this point we were all really quite pissed. As Mariah Carey warbled on the stereo, we looked around and realised that we were literally surrounded by male couples and all our lovely waiters looked to preened and pampered to be straight! Our gaydar's seriously needed some work, as we were CLEARLY in a gay hang out spot! It is now the infamous 'Gay Lasagne Night' something Emily found vital to drunk text our lecturer to tell him, which led to some embarrassment the next day!

'Gay Lasagne Night'
Poisonous Passion Fruit Margherita

Anna, Harriet, Emily and I in Times Square
Hat: Primark, Cardigan:Forever 21, Khaki Cardigan: H&M,  Scarf: Chanel, Dress:H&M, Satchel: River Island, Leggings:H&M, Boots: Primark

Like all tourists,we shopped til we dropped, and took in all the views that make the Big Apple so famous. We got the free Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, walked through Central Park, saw the Plaze Hotel, and went to the Rockfeller centre to watch the ice skating and admire the huge Christmas tree and decorations.  we went to visit the Empire State Building, however Anna and I were too lazy to wait the two hours to see the top views! However the lobby did have a beautiful display of mini Empire State buildings, such as this beauty made of LED lights, and another made entirely of sweets.
One of the displays in the Empire State Building's lobby

The Christmas decorations at Macys

Me, with the 'Statue of Liberty' in Times Square
My time in New York was so amazing, and I can't wait to go back, and hopefully drag my boyfriend this time if he feels like treating me...;) I loved how the city literally never slept, even though its a cliché; for example the morning after 'Gay Lasagne Night' and the numerous cocktails, I woke up at 7am on a Sunday with the beginnings of a horrific hangover, and in desperate need of water and caffeine. I walked out our hostel alone and in my pj's and coat, with only a few days knowledge of my surroundings and feeling like absolute shit, yet managed to find a cute little grocery store that sold freshly made coffee, and had a an extensive breakfast menu including the BEST burrito I have ever tasted!
Being the loser that I am, I made a New York stalker wall when I came home, to remind me of all the amazing places I went, and things I've done. It includes the NYC poster of my name that I was drawn in Times Square, the cheesy photo booth pictures of me and Anna from the huge Forever 21 store, a map of the city, a Dylan's Candy bar wrapper, the receipt from Bubba Gump, The Gossip Girl tour booklet, the Lasagne restaurant menu, my stolen napkin from the Palace, and millions of postcards!

If any of you EVER have the chance to go to New York then do it, and please please please bring me!

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