Archive for November 23rd, 2005

Fairytail of New York

They say that everything is bigger in America, everything that is, except New York hotel rooms. We stayed at the excellent Mansfield Hotel, w44th Street between 5th & 6th. (free wireless internet was a big plus). We also upgraded to a suite for an extra $100, which was worth it as we got a whole extra living room and a little desk, and a slightly better view of.. other rooftops.

There’s a big wodge of photos on my Flickr page, but highlights include the following.

this shot summed up much of NYC for me. It’s remarkable the lengths people will go to for the dollar… There’s this weird Brit habit of not really talking to much about money or success, it’s seen as showing off. For example on the one night it rained, I only had a jumper on, and so went into a bar, and fell into conversation with these two women, neither of which knew each other. We all got talking, and one of them just blurted out how she was responsible for the introduction of Alessi products to the eastern seaboard. She just announced this, and the other woman followed suite by telling us about her successful Broadway achivements.. I politely waited for the ‘and what do you do?’ but it never came…

I’m never going to be a wildlife photographer (no patience and my lens is to short) as this shot proves, but Central Park was amazing, and hiring bikes is a much better way to see more of it than you can on foot… cheap, healthy, and not exploiting animals like those horse drawn carts. Why people hire them I don’t know, they’re not romantic as they stink of horse shit.. Bikes are much better, though whilst riding up a hill, me and mrs e were overtaken by a power jogger listening to his iPod shuffle whilst texting on his Blackberry, I kid you not.. how very NY.

Toxic slime on New York Streets! A kind of Marvel Comic book version of the of Cartier Bresson’s Classic. I’ve no idea what this was.. paint or something, still it was amusing watching people jump over it…

Food, we had two great meals, one, lunch at Les Halles, I had snails and the special, onglet, aka as a hanger steak with blue cheese mash, it made a nice change from fries, mashed potato is food of the Gods, but sadly in America it is the unhealthy fry that rules. Service was rather good, with Mel our waitress having a clear understanding of what was on the menu despit my constant badgering about every dish. Then another fantastic meal down in the East Village, at a tiny bistro called Lucien with the lovely Chantal and Andy, inventors of the ‘Purple Martin’ (Ice, Vodka, dash of lemon, pomegranate¬† juice, soda top ¬©them ). Plus there was some time spent in a diner across from the hotel as this shot proves. This old guy reminded me so much of Sgt. Bilko base CO, Colonel Hall, (played by Paul Ford), alas he died in 1976 so it can’t have been him.

Work wise, I paid a visit to the BBC New York office, just as the Conrad Black story broke, it was great seeing them swing into action, including Gito Harri doing peices to camera for News24 then doing a down the wire job for the World Service… and he even put on his own make up. What a pro.
I also visited to give a talk on some of the cool things we’re doing here at the BBC.. as well as having a nose round their R&D dept, all very impressive.

A trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without a trip to B&H photographic store.. It’s incredible, it’s predominantly staffed by full on Orthodox Jews (closed Saturday), not that that’s odd, but when you factor in the strange buying system, and the crazy conveyor belts ferrying the good around the store, it did feel a like some sort of magical workshop.

And finally this. Tourists don’t understand NYC…who does?

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
November 2005