what’s it like in new york city?

new york

As you guys might know, I was lucky enough to visit New York over Easter! This was a really big trip for me, and I was crazy excited beforehand. And now I am lying in bed and listening to Hey There Delilah on repeat. But whilst I was away I wrote in my travel diary — yes, I did actually remember, gasp — and I thought it would be fun to share everything I did! (To flail about New York, mostly.)

To reduce the chance of me relaying every single detail down to you in a very very long post, I put my pics + words into some handy little categories.

➝ sights & art (statue of liberty, ellis island, empire state building, moma, the met, the guggenheim, the natural history museum)
➝ wanderings (the west village, lower east side, new york public library, the high line, various cute shops)
➝ broadway (the phantom of the opera, fun home)
➝ events (winner’s kiss launch with marie rutkoski & renée ahdieh, mocca fest)

sights & art

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The Guggenheim Museum

We got a pass which allowed us to go to most of the major sites & museums for a slightly reduced price each. Except for the Empire State Building, the queues were actually pretty good and we got to see some amazing buildings + views! I hadn’t known the Statue of Liberty was a gift from a French guy, so that was cool to find out. (Even if the audioguide narrator was intensely irritating. Please go away, Cynthia.) There was a museum about immigration on the nearby Ellis Island — we had to take a ferry between Manhattan + Liberty Island + Ellis Island. It was an immigration centre until about the 1950s, so we got to hear a lot about immigrants coming over to America.P1000237[1]

 

THE ART WAS HONESTLY SO COOL GUYS. I saw Van Gogh’s Starry Night! IN PERSON!! There were so many famous works of art, particularly in MoMA & The Met — argh, it was absolutely amazing. I wish we’d had more time to look around. The Guggenheim had a slightly odd main exhibition but the building was stunning. The Natural History Museum was pretty similar to the one here in London, but we saw a beautiful video with photography of National Parks in the USA.

wanderings

We were staying in the West Village, which is basically where Manhattan starts to become a lot less grid-like. I hadn’t realised the city was so near the water! Because mostly the streets are straight, you can see water at most points — it was really cool. And the area we were staying was lovely and old, as well as being home to a) the flat from Friends and b) a house from Sex and the City. I don’t watch either but there was a surprising amount of people taking photos.

 

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New York Public Library, AKA the prettiest library I have ever seen
The West Village is also at the end of the High Line, which is a park walkway along an disused railway track above the city. IT WAS SO COOL. I can imagine it would be absolutely boiling in summer.

 

There were various cute shops around, like a lovely stationery one, and we also passed the Stonewall Inn. (Overall very cool.) I visited Strand Books, which had SUCH high bookshelves and asdfjkl it was amazing. I was definitely wrong in thinking that books are cheaper in the US, though. Most of the books on the shelves were hardbacks! Whereas here the hardbacks are mostly reserved for display.

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Wall Street. Ahaha.

The other area we spent some time in was Lower East Side, where we took an all too brief visit to the Tenement Museum. We ended up there having taken the wrong subway to Brooklyn Bridge, but we decided to wander around anyways.

broadway (!!!)

So. No, I did not see Hamilton whilst I was in New York. Trust me, no one’s more sad about it than I am. I tried super hard to get tickets, but they were completely sold out except for $2000 dollar resales and I didn’t win any of the lotteries.

P1000221[1]HOWEVER I did go and see two other stunning shows! I GOT MY BROADWAY EXPERIENCE GUYS. The first one was Phantom of the Opera, which I’d listened to but not in great detail. It was on a pretty loud train journey and even from the start of the show I knew that I’d missed a lot. The set was so cool and asdfjkl the Phantom’s mask and PARIS and GHOSTS and OPERA it was all amazing.

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The other show I went to see is Fun Home! Fun Home was pretty different from Phanton — I mean, it isn’t really your classic Broadway musical. It was set in the round, and the songs aren’t exactly your tradition Andrew Lloyd Webber style. But I think I actually preferred this… I mean, I’ve talked about it a lot. It’s based on Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel Fun Home, and there are three Alisons (child, college, and now) throughout the show. There are upbeat songs and super gay songs and sad songs. I just…I really want to be back there watching it.

 events

In addition to those Broadway shows, I also went to two events! That was a book event at the bookshop McNally Jackson with Marie Rutkoski and Renee Ahdieh. I actually was sitting next to two of Marie’s college students which was pretty cool. (Can I get please an author as a teacher?) I got both authors to sign my books and eep it was very fun and they were lovely.

I also went to MoCCA Fest, which was a sort of mini-con for illustrators! I did already talk about it in my March Favourites, but it was sososo amazing to have Noelle Stevenson sign my stuff eek. I was slightly overcome with adoration. There was a TON of other awesome art (including lady knights, which is my aesthetic) (have you seen Morgana in armour? HAVE YOU?) and asdfjkl it was very fun.

I’ve basically been jetlagged for the last two weeks, but I WOULDN’T GIVE NEW YORK UP AT ALL.

are you filled with wanderlust like me? any places you’d love to visit? any new york themed-songs to share!?

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March Favourites!

Admittedly this post is a bit late, but it means I can finally say it’s Spring. And that is a very wonderful feeling. This month has been a bit rocky, but lots of good things have happened too — it’s also the one year anniversary of my Les Mis obsession! Which sort of led to a plethora of musical theatre discoveries. That’s pretty nice. *nods* I’m considering writing a little related post, but WE SHALL SEE. as you knowI always do like talking about musicals ahem

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1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh I bought this after I went to a Winner’s Kiss launch in New York! Both Marie Rutkoski and Renée Ahdieh were there, so I couldn’t resist buying this. It’s been crazy difficult to find in the UK, although I’ve been searching for ages. Anyway, the writing was breathtaking and I adore A Thousand and One Nights so much. (It was our school play in my first year. I was a guard in the story of the little beggar. Good times.)

2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys I’ll freely admit that I don’t read much historical fiction, but I adore Ruta Sepetys. She has such a wonderful writing style. I was thrilled to see she had a new book out, and even more so when I spotted it in my library!

3. How To Get Away With Murder This is the first show I’ve really got into since I started watching Sherlock and Doctor Who. (Which is to say, in about two years.) I just…don’t really watch much TV? And I find it very difficult to complete the whole show. Anyway, I’ve almost finished the first season on Netflix and IT’S SO GREAT. Law! Nice filming! Interesting and diverse characters! (Laurel Castillo, oh my goodness..) Overall I’m loving it a lot. *coughs*

4. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments (& co) are somewhat my guilty pleasure. Cassandra Clare is not my favourite person. But still…I HONESTLY ENJOYED THIS SO IMMENSELY. Emma Carstairs is beautiful. I need Helen and Aline, because I would like more queer characters who aren’t queer guys. Also, I reject that parabatai has no translation because…queerplatonic relationship… Yeah, okay, I did have some problems. But somehow this was still VERY gripping and asdfjkl I’m overtaken by feels for the Shadowhunter universe.

5. Illuminae by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I had heard so much about this one. I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I thought it was a beautiful book, and I loved the style of documents — and of course SPACE YAY. It was great research for my current Camp NaNo project. 😛

6. Fun Home Soo… THIS HOLIDAY I WENT TO NEW YORK. I’m going to write a whole post on it later. Fun Home was one of my highlights, though: I think seeing it on Broadway (!!!!) in real life allows another monthly favourite. So, a moment of flailing: AAAAAAaaAAAH!!1!! Okay, deep breath. I have to try and not smile/cry every time I think of it. I’m so glad I saw it on stage because the cast recording does miss some of the dialogue, and the staging is sooo great. (It’s in the round.) The cast was awesome and despite my parents being kind of…eh when they say what it was about, I think they did enjoy it. I WAS DETERMINED TO LOVE IT WHATEVER. *flails* It’s just….asdfjkl so sad and happy and Medium Alison is so awkward and I just empathised with her  lot.

7. MoCCA Fest Also a New York thing, yeah. #sorrynotsorry I went here specifically to see Noelle Stevenson of my beloved Nimona and Lumberjanes — AND I DID AND SHE WAS AMAZING AND ASDFJKL I’M SO SORRY FOR BEING AN AWKWARD PERSON IF YOU EVER READ THIS. (I walked past the stall, like, 4 times before I worked up the nerve to say anything.) But there were so many other wonderful artists and illustrators there. I wanted to buy all the things. I WISH I COULD HAVE. *flails* I wasn’t expecting it to be so fun and awesome.

Stuff from around the internet:

In the diary

  • So, obviously I went to New York! AND IT WAS AMAZING.
  • I learnt my cat has an uncurable illness, and he’s going to die in the next few days. So. Yeah… I’m really sad about that. I’m sort of trying to not talk about it too much, though.
  • I took the train up to the Big Bang Science Fair along with the Guide unit, and we just had a fabulously sciencey day. *flails with excitement* SO. MANY. COOL. THINGS. And can I talk to someone about slime mould? Because it is super cool. Also, virtual reality is starting to be a thing which is pretty awesome. Overall I’m filled with STEM excitement.
  • MY JEHAN COSPLAY IS ALMOST FINISHED, GUYS. I just have to tidy up some threads at the top and sew on the buttons. (I say ‘just’. It’s to cover up my increasing panic and lack of sewing skills.) I’m super excited for MCM in May!

how was your month? are you doing camp nano like me? if so, how’s it going?

February Favourites!

February is insanely short. That is a confirmed fact. I mean, I know it’s only one or two days, but…EVERY MONTH FEELS TOO SHORT, DAMMIT. *sniffs* It’s also been a pretty quiet month, to be honest, with the exception of all the book releases over the past week. I did have a rather exciting weekend, though, so continue further on for the hot gossip. 😛

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1. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman This book was probably my most anticipated 2016 release. (I don’t know how that happened? But yeah, it totally did.) It wasn’t a let-down at all! I LOVED IT. It had an amazing fictional podcast and beautiful characters and I really appreciated the message about uni and academia. As someone who generally finds exams quite easy — I mean, obviously I’m grateful for that but I hate that it can be my defining skill. Also: diversity! It has PoC and queer characters, no main romance, ACTUAL BOY-GIRL PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP JEEZ. It’s the only book I’ve ever read with characters (canonically) on the asexuality spectrum.

2. Carry On special editions Um, so…I bought my 4th and 5th copies of Carry On. Whoops. I got the UK paperback and the special colour in edition, which I’m very excited to try out! I don’t know what colour scheme I’m going to use yet, though. DECISIONS DECISIONS.

3. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson I’m a little torn about this one…I DID ENJOY IT. I mean, it was a self-discovery coming out kind of story. It used a lot of tropes I’d seen before. But I think these books do have worth, and it was a good contemporary self-discovery story. WITH BRITAIN YAY. 🙂

4. Fun Home the musical I haven’t been able to get hold of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home yet — the book this was based on — but I’ve been loving the musical. I love how the story of the three different Alisons (younger, going to college, and reflecting on her past) unfolds at the same time. And it’s the only movie I know of with a queer protagonist, so yay for that!

5. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab This was another incredibly anticipated release. I thought the White London arc fell a bit flat (it felt like a set-up for the future, to be honest) but I STILL LOVED IT. It was amazing to see these characters and their luscious world grow. I actually love Kell and Rhy and Lila with all of my heart. I CAN’T EVEN OMG. Schwab’s writing was also beautiful, as per usual. In particular I thought the distinction between the different languages and names was fascinating (and very well done).

Stuff from around the internet:

  • I know this is slightly out of nowhere. (I’ve been hiding it up my sleeve for way too long.) But I opened a Redbubble shop! Right now I’m selling some Carry On + Les Mis designs, although I hope to have a few more original ones up as well over the next week or so. 🙂
  • I talked about a great book event I attended discussing Feminism in YA, with Holly Smale, Holly Bourne, CJ Daugherty and Anna James.
  • I talked about the books I think would be better with LGBTQ+ characters. (I’m actually really proud of this! All my headcanoning finally put to some use. :P)
  • I made a Carry On blog on Tumblr (welllbelove). I’m still posting my podfic, and I also made a Baz playlist for the Snowbaz Valentine’s gift exchange! Overall, a lot of Carry On stuff. If you couldn’t tell.
  • Jupe @ smolprince wrote about stereotypes of women, femininity, and internalised sexism.
  • Engie @ Musings From Neville’s Navel shared 10 songs that would make great LGBTQ+ books.

    In the diary:

  • I’ve only got £200 left to fundraise for my Guides trip! I managed to finally get my act together and apply for some grants, which was great. 🙂 (If you’ve missed my mini-updates every month: I’m going on an international trip with Girlguides, and we’re fundraising the entire cost of the trip.)
  • I ACTUALLY PLANNED MY WIP YAY. I had a super long train journey, and…somehow I finished my main outline! It’s crazy, because I’ve always been a complete pantser, but I’m very excited to talk about it some more. 😀
  • I also listened to several musicals on the aforementioned long train journey, including The Phantom of the Opera for the first time! That was fun. *nods*
  • I’m trying to be a bit more politically aware, so I went to a talk by my local MP, who actually said a lot of things I agreed with. Helpfully. (I mean, I guess in particular Britain staying in the EU. Which is kind of the Thing of the moment haha.)
  • I feel like I have SOO many exciting posts to get write over the next few weeks. I’m very excited to share them! Although, um, I kinda need to write them first.

how was your month? did you do anything fun with our extra leap year day? (I KNOW IT WAS A MONDAY. but still.)