I can’t quite believe that this is my 12th NYC Life post, written as we approach our first anniversary of living in New York City. I’ve already written quite a bit about life in New York during the coronavirus, so I won’t dwell on it too much here, but I am grateful that we had nearly a year to settle in New York before this happened – if we’d arrived in New York this year instead of last, no doubt we’d have been cancelling our move, or returning home not long after we arrived.
The year has gone in the blink of an eye. Strangely, at the same time I feel so settled here, and like I’ve been here forever. New York feels like another form of home. This is the third city that I’ve lived in, and it’s funny how so many places can feel like “home” – I’ve found that the definition of home changes with each city. Brisbane still feels like home, in quite a different way to how Melbourne feels like home, and New York feels like home in a different way again. Before I moved, I thought that there would only be one definition of home, but “home” can shapeshift and multiply.
Since I moved from Melbourne to New York in April 2019, I’ve started writing a series of monthly blog posts, NYC Life, to capture the the big and little moments that have shaped this move. It’s easy in hindsight to forgot the everyday joys, struggles and frustrations of life in a new city, so I wanted a place to for it all to live on the blog. I round up the most fun things I did, saw and ate near the end. For more specific New York City tips, check out my New York City Travel Guide.
- A work trip to Charleston, for the Charleston Wine & Food Festival
- Finished learning the Greek alphabet
- Spending more time with David
- Hearing birds from our apartment
- Actually publishing all 12 installments of NYC life over the past year. I think this is the first long term project on the blog and it is immensely satisfying to finish something I’ve started.
- Dinner date at Gran Tivoli with David
I love the regional food cultures in the US, and Southern cuisine is one of my favourites. On this trip, I tried fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese for the first time, and had more wonderful biscuits.
The only rough patch was the flight from New York to Charleston. It was one of the worst of my life, and I quite seriously considered turning my phone off airplane mode and calling David or my family during the most jarring turbulence. I’ve never been seriously worried that I was going to die on a plane before this flight. Turbulence, is of course, actually not a pre-cursor to your plane crashing, but it’s very hard to tell yourself that when you’re in the thick of it.
I flew United for the first time, and I won’t be flying with them again. They can’t control the weather, but the lack of communication during the turbulence was a little disturbing. We were about to touch the runway in Charleston, before we pulled back up into the sky, circled for a while, and then landed in Greenville to refuel over an hour later. The next flight back from Greenville to Charleston was better, but I’ve never seen such a rattled group of passengers. Many people wanted to get off in Greenville and drive to Charleston (it’s only a couple of hours away), but no one was allowed off the plane. We were delayed about five hours on the way there, and four on the way home – it nearly would have been faster to take the train! I’ve rarely had a flight in the US that is delayed by less than two hours, which is why I take the train whenever possible.
New blog posts
- The best bars in Chicago
- NYC Life: February 2020
- Cobble Hill, Brooklyn neighbourhood guide
- Highlights from two days in Athens
- The best wineries on the Mornington Peninsula
Restaurants & bars
- Gran Tivoli, Nolita – Some of the warmest hospitality in New York, in an Australian-owned Italian restaurant.
- 701West, Midtown – A restaurant & bar, this time I was just in the bar (The Salon), which is one of the best cocktail bars in New York City
- Electric Lemon, Hudson Yards – Located inside the first Equinox Hotel, Electric Lemon didn’t fare well with the New York Times critic, but I thought the food was beautiful.
- Maison, Charleston – Delicious, French food in a buzzy setting.
- Delaney Oyster House, Charleston – A must for seafood lovers, this is a new restaurant inside a gorgeous, historic home.
- Doar Bros – Charleston – Tiny, and one of the best cocktail bars in Charleston that I’ve visited.
Read & recommended
- Bangkok Wakes to Rain – Pitchaya Sudbanthad – One of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time, I found it hard to put this down. The story spans hundreds of years, from the 18th century to the near future, and every character is connected by one grand old house in Bangkok.
- Howard’s End – E.M. Forster – A classic literary fiction, this is not a typical “novel of manners” (like most of Jane Austen’s work), but instead poses many questions about class, morals and beauty.
- Emma – Jane Austen – I wanted to read this before I saw Autumn de Wilde’s recent film adaptation, and I’m glad I did. It’s one of her longest books, and there is so much depth to the characters that is hard to fully translate into a film.
- Emma – Both the 1996 & 2020 versions, about a week or so apart. I loved the latest release, which naturally felt more relatable given that it was made recently. The 1996 adaptation, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, is a bit of fun, but the modern version is more critical of Emma, allowing the heroine to be much more unlikeable, and gives Harriet more of a backbone, which I appreciated. The costumes and sets are incredible in Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation, it’s definitely a film I’d re-watch just to enjoy the eye-popping colour schemes that are so deftly executed across costume and production design in each scene.
- Best Picture Winners, 2010-2019 – What better time to catch up on pop culture than when you’re trapped in your apartment? I started working my way through the best picture winners from the last ten years. So far, we re-watched The King’s Speech, and was reminded of how human it is, which is surprising given the subject. We watched 12 Years A Slave for the first time, which is gut-wrenching, and left me gobsmacked that there are still plantation tours in the South that squawk about the beauty of plantation houses and grounds. Finally, we watched Birdman. I loved the deep dive into the theater world, but hated the ending.
- The Darkest Hour – I love this movie, and re-watched it for the first time since we saw it in the cinema.
- Films from Hollywood’s Golden Age – With all this extra time to sit around, I decided to chip away at long lists of iconic, vintage movies. I started with the 1940s, and watched Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Philadelphia Story and Mildred Pierce. I loved Casablanca and The Big Sleep – Humphrey Bogart is the male lead in both, with Ingmar Bergen and Lauren Bacall as the female leads, respectively. Hard boiled, Old Hollywood film noir is so glamorous. Female characters had so much more guts in the 1940s than they did in the 50s. The Philadelphia Story is a comedy, which rarely age as well as other genres, but it was still lighthearted and fun – with lots of great costumes and mansion settings. Katherine Hepburn is strong and spirited, and Carey Grant is one of my favourite actors. Joan Crawford is dazzling in Mildred Pierce, and I liked that it was such a bizarre plot, but it was a little bit too slow for me, and incredibly frustrating to watch – however, it did stay with me for days, which is probably why it won so many awards.
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