I finally got around to sorting through the pictures of our New York trip. These are from the first couple of days. I've never seen NYC look as grim as when we arrived. It was really grey and rainy but I'd insisted we catch the bus to Manhattan from JFK instead of catching a taxi straight to Brooklyn; I really love the first glimpse of the city as you approach from the airport.
Unfortunately, we got stuck in really heavy traffic in the rain on a bus playing two types of really bad, tinny music. I nearly had a meltdown. Then when we arrived in NYC, it was just grim, grey and we couldn't get a cab outside Grand Central. When we did catch a cab, to take us to the ferry terminal for the ferry to Red Hook where we were staying, we drove through the grimmest part of town, under the bridges and next to the fish market.
But ne'ermind! As soon as we got on the ferry over to Red Hook, an amazing sunset broke through the clouds.
Red Hook is an industrial port area of Brooklyn, with overhead cables and wide streets that make it feel a million miles away from Manhattan. And the sunset that greeted us was absolutely stunning.
We had to get up early the next day to go to pick up our marriage license. We only had one day to do it as we arrived late on Thursday and were getting married on Sunday and we had been warned that it would be busy due to the same-sex marriage legislation.
We decided to go to Brooklyn Municipal Hall instead of Manhattan City hall; a less glamorous option, but we didn't want to mess around. Jet lag helped us, so we were almost first in the queue at 8:30am. (There were some eager beavers ahead of us though!) It was really exciting, going through the forms with the registrar. Both of us had been slightly worried that something was bound to go wrong.
But as it turned out, we had got our license and finished breakfast by 9:30am, so we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.
We wandered around Ground Zero, where I was surprised that the 9/11 memorial isn't actually freely accessed by the public, but all fenced off out of sight. Then, up West Broadway – my favourite street in Manhattan, because I stayed there on my first visit – and through Chinatown down Canal Street.
Then into Little Italy, where the San Gennaro festival happened to be taking place. It was artery-busting food heaven. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we were still full from breakfast. Cannolis, pickles, funnel cakes, sandwiches laden with any meat you could think of...it was pretty intense.
We had a wander around the West Village and a blissful lie-down in Washington Square Park, where a full jazz band were playing. (They even played one of our songs. Ahhh.)
We were jetlagged and pretty knackered, so we caught the subway back to Brooklyn. Cobble Hill, a neighbourhood close to where we were staying, was ridiculously cutesy. This is a Brooklyn Bridge tableau, built around a tree.
One street had been dressed up to look 1950s, and they were shooting a new TV series called Pan Am, a Mad Men spin-off.
Then dinner at Prime Meats, a restaurant that the hipster foodies rave about but which I actually found quite lame. (Gorgeous corn chowder, but corn is my favourite foodstuff. A massive fail of a main course, two giant wurst with a plateful of sauerkraut does not an interesting meal make. Plus Tom's burger was ridiculously rare. And the service was crap; disinterested diva city. Don't bother.)