Sunday, 23 June 2013

New York Part 3 ~ Greenwich Village

 * I've also done an update on My Creative Corner page of the blog - with some new photos *
Washington Square Park

I didn't intend to leave such a long gap before posting my third and final instalment of my New York trip- so here it is at last!
Seeing as I went on a two hour walking trip of Greenwich Village (and because it's such a cool part of the city) I thought it deserved a seperate post. The photo above was my first view of this area of town, Washington Square Park, which was particularly lovely in the sunshine. It's a great park to sit in and people watch.

We went on the walking tour later in the week when it was raining and quite cold (this was also the day we did the 2 hour bike tour round Central Park - both were pre-booked so it was just unfortunate that they fell on the one rainy day of the trip. But we're Scots, so we could handle it...) If you're ever in NY I highly recommend checking out the Free Walking Tour website (The expectation is you will tip generously and you will want to as it's really informative!). You can choose which part of the city interests you most then book in a slot and you meet your tour guide at a set time/place.
Our guide was great and really knew her stuff. She gave us a fascinating run-down of the history of Greenwich Village- the locals here fought to keep out the large sky scrapers dominating downtown (and it's all the prettier because of that).

The Village is now dominated by celebrities, probably because they're the only ones who can afford the accommodation (which is now into the millions!) The hazy photo above is the swanky private court where Benedict Cumberbatch lives (the guide said she saw him moving in during one of her tours - just my luck it wasn't our tour!).

A lot of artists and writers used to live around this part of town. She showed us where Edgar Allan Poe used to live (and the medical centre he attended). His house was converted into a school and people fought to keep part of the original wall so that it wouldn't be completely lost.
We walked past the famous Minetta Tavern (below), which was in the Beatnik part of the Village. Writers such as Ginsberg and Kerouac used to hang out here. There's a sense of stepping back in time walking around this part of town. If I return to New York I think I'd like to spend more time here, sitting in one of the famous bars.

Another great little building was The Cherry Lane Theatre (below). Our guide told us Barbara Streisand started her career here, starting off working behind the scenes for years, before getting her lucky break. It would have been great to see a play here. It still attracts big names.

She also showed us the last wooden house to exist in New York (below) and also the building which was used as the exterior shot for Friends (the one on the right, below). One important stop for me (which we returned to on our last day) was the famous Magnolia Bakery (made famous thanks to Sex and the City!). I'd heard it does the most amazing cup cakes and I was not disappointed - the frosting on top of the cake was so soft it was like eating ice cream. A perfect last treat before leaving the city:) Ah New York, I love you.

Wooden House


Friends Building

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Launch in London

At Foyle's

Last Saturday I was off on my travels again, this time to London, accompanied by my Mum, to go to the launch of the Words with Jam Anthology at Foyle's bookshop. Way back in February I discovered I was a runner up in the WWJ Bigger Short Story competition and the editor decided to put all of the placed stories into an anthology. An Earthless Melting Pot is the result and can be purchased on Amazon, in both print and e-book here

I'm really glad I made the effort to go to the launch as it was exciting to pick up my copy in person and it was great to meet some of the other writers featured in the anthology (as well as writers who were guests at the launch).
WWJ laid on a really nice buffet and drinks for us, so a pleasant evening was had by all. (The photo above is of me with some of the other writers in the anthology- I'm in the short green dress. And thanks to the writer, Margaret James, for allowing me to steal her photo!).

It was nice to stay in the Bloomsbury part of London as it was fairly quiet and we were surrounded by theatres and bookshops. We found a great little place called Munchkins to have a snack in, which had a Wizard of Oz theme - below are some pics I took inside.


On the Sunday we walked to Covent Garden, which looked very pretty in the sunshine. If you ever visit make sure you check out Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop (the shopkeeper said it's the oldest shop in the area) and it's like stepping into a magical land, with pop up Toy Theatres and Marionettes filling the shelves.
Toy Theatre
Toy Opera

We also visited the British Museum as it was round the corner from the hotel. This is an amazing building and is worth visiting just to see the architecture. I'd have loved to have stayed a bit longer in London but my bank balance hasn't quite recovered from NY...

Here's a picture I took at dusk - love how the colours turned out. London can look very pretty.