Wimbledon: Tennis on the Tube

Advantage: Southfields

Just in case someone forgot that it’s Wimbledon time here in Southwest London, HSBC has kindly jazzed up a local tube stop in honor of the occasion.

I could get used to the astroturf, umbrellas, and flowers.


Things I love in NYC, part I

Thirteen years of living in Manhattan left me with many things that I really do miss, regardless of how much I may love living in London.

During my most recent trip back to New York, I thought it appropriate to start documenting some of these places and things, most of which are NYC-specific.

Some things are obvious (bagels). Some are less so (Times Square). Years in Hell’s Kitchen meant trekking through Times Square more often that I liked; however, where else can you go for seven or more stories of glowing consumer influence? It also appears that one can also go for Yoga on 21st June, in the newly pedestrianized sections, which just seems odd.

Unfortunately, my ambition and my ability to actually go do stuff during this latest trip to my old home was signficantly compromised by a case of bronchitis that I picked up en route, but consider this a start to a series of posts to come.

Sweet E Train

1. The E Train: Yes, I love the E train; so much that I am mentioning it first.

That shiny, climate controlled chariot brought me from Hell’s Kitchen to the World Trade Center stop almost daily. I could have taken the A and gotten in faster, but the E meant a seat and reduced odds of running into anyone I knew. I’m a morning person, but I have limits.

Coming home, the E train was often already waiting at WTC, which meant no staring into a tunnel wondering when the train would show up.

Take that, Hangover!

2. The Breakfast Sandwich
England has breakfast sandwiches, but seemingly not in the spirit of this cardiac threat of eggs, sausage, cheese and buttered toast that I picked up in my office’s cafeteria.

The English equivalent seems to cut to the chase by cutting out the egg and cheese, and while I can and do appreciate that, I just like it this way.


3. Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes:
“I love those cupcakes like McAdams loves Gosling.”

Yes, they are that good, and I’ve accepted that until Magnolia can offer a fast track style service like the airport, I’m just going to have to wait my turn. My vote is always for the vanilla ones.

Fortunately, my time in London has raised my queuing XP to a record high, and I can wait for hours, passing the time by moaning about the line and the weather.
*(Thanks to Robin for this pic)

4. Lil’ Frankie’s Pizza
Lil’ Frankie’s is just that good. I even borrowed this picture from their site because I forgot to take one in all my sick glory, and I wanted to ensure that the pizza was well represented.
The Prosciutto & Arugula (not pictured) is my absolute favorite.

5. Century 21

Worth the Fight

I used to fear Century 21. Now I regard it as a bit of a sport. Either way, I’m sure National Geographic Channel’s (NG’s), I Was Buried Alive program will be filmed there sooner than later.
It’s a good place to go for staples like gym clothes, socks, and towels. Sometimes, you even find an excellent deal.
My rules for coping are as follows:

  1. Have no expectations.
  2. Go early. The staff are helpful and sometimes even pleasant first thing. By noon, they’re as fed up with the desperate fight for survival as one can be.
  3. This bit is crucial: Bring a patient friend. One needs a patient friend in tow (mine is Robin).
    a. The patient friend has to be good at shopping, so that their patience inevitably wears off on you as you have to do something while they go mining for treasure.
    b. The patient friend will help you check your receipt to ensure you weren’t overcharged, as I have been 2 of the last 3 times.
    c. The patient friend may also be the one who has the peace of mind to methodially dig you out when you find yourself in the inevitable NG channel– worthy situation.

6. Nail Salons
I can’t do my own hair.
I can barely put makeup on, and that’s only because a man with an extensive knowledge of theater at Saks‘ Nars counter showed me how.

Affordable manicures/ pedicures are a wonderful thing about New York. I’d recommend Jeniette. What I can get for $30 often without an appointment near Union Square would cost me at least £50 and require advance booking here in London.

7. NY1’s Roger Clark

Roger ready for mochi making

If there’s an angry swarm of bees that needs to be collected on air, NY1‘sRoger Clark is on the case. On screen, he’s good natured, and he’s willing to sing Rick Astley songs, have his swimsuit nearly stolen by riptide, and cover a multi-day blackout in Queens!

In the picture adjacent, he’s preparing to show us how to make mochi for Japanese New Year, yum!(video here). My husband would often point out that the morning host, Pat, is always safely in the studio with his stack of papers while Roger is out there fighting the good fight that is local news.

I’m not his only fan. Someone else beat me to I heart Roger Clark.

The Courtauld Gallery, London

While visiting earlier this year, my friend, Robin, visited the Courtauld Institute and raved about it. A few weeks ago, I finally had a chance to pay a visit.

The museum houses a small but excellent collection of paintings and sculpture, which I did enjoy, but I think I found the must fun in its stairwell.

Typically, I tend to be very careful when taking photos off my camera, so much so, that I usually won’t clear the data card until I’ve backed up the photos; just in case my computer meets unexpectedly meets its end.

Typically was not how I approached this task on that fine Sunday evening. I managed to delete half the day’s photos before transferring them. (eek!) Thus, this isn’t quite all of it.

For the record, I welcome Photoshop advice, but know that these shots aren’t Photoshopped at all. I keep meaning to buy it, but given that I like taking pictures so much more than editing them, I’ve never bothered. I’m sure I’ll cave in eventually, at which time, I’ll use all that advice.

Anyway, here are some of my favorites from the day (in addition to the one at the top of the staircase’s ceiling)…

Whisps of people on the gallery staircase:

A bit of sculputure in the entryway (right) and in the top floor gallery:

A bit of Seurat’s pointilism:

and a more precise shot of the staircase: