Monday, May 30, 2011

The Great Washing Machine Shortage

One of the things that amazes about New York living is the fact that hardly anyone has a washing machine in their apartment.  Not only that, it is considered a luxury to have washing and drying facilities in an apartment building.  This was new for me as in England almost all homes have their own washing facilities. 

If you live somewhere without any washing facilities you have two choices, you can visit your local laundrette, (they call them Laundromat's here) or take your washing to a dry cleaners where they will wash and dry everything for you.  They tumble dry everything over here, so make sure to take out any clothes that are delicate or may shrink.

When I first arrived here I found it very odd that I had to take my laundry down to the basement to get it washed.  As everyone in the building needs to use the same facilities you can't put a wash on and go out, or put a wash on overnight.  Now I don't think much about it and count myself lucky to be able to wash my clothes without leaving the building!

I don't believe it's like this across the rest of America, or even in the rest of New York State, it seems just to be a problem here in the city.  What I find even more unusual is the fact that most apartments have full size dishwashers, even though the kitchens here are tiny!

So, if you are moving to New York and looking for an apartment, make sure you ask about laundry facilities as washing your clothes might not be as easy as you think!

Friday, May 27, 2011

GMA Lady Gaga Concert

I had an amazing time at the 'Good Morning America' Lady Gaga concert today.  There was a great atmosphere and everyone was really friendly and happy to be there so early in the morning!  Although it was really busy and there were lots of people there, we managed to get a pretty good view of the stage.

Lady Gaga came out just before 7.30 am for a rehearsal during which she chatted with the crowd and practiced 'Bad Romance' and 'Judas'.  She also taught us the moves for 'Judas' which she asked us to perform in the live show.

The live show was fantastic and Lady Gaga made her entrance by flying on a zip wire above the crowd to land on the stage.  She sang 5 songs including 'Born this Way' from a tank full of black glitter and finished with 'Hair' which Gaga played on a full size Unicorn piano.  It was a brilliant show and I am so glad I had the opportunity to see Lady Gaga perform in Central Park!

Lady Gaga's grand entrance on the zip wire!

Lady Gaga singing 'Hair' on the unicorn piano

Thursday, May 26, 2011

NYC Fleet Week 2011

Every year, over Memorial weekend, New York City honours the U.S Navy and Marine Corps but hosting 'Fleet Week'.  Thousands of Sailors, Marines and Coastguards will be in the city this week, so keep a look out for those dressed in uniform.  They have also brought their ships with them which are docked at various ports around New York and are open to visitors.

Fleet Week takes place from the 25 May-1 June and events include live demonstrations, musical performances, flight simulators, competitions and parades.

For the full schedule of events and further information about Fleet Week, visit http://www.fleetweeknewyork.com/.

Celebrating Fleet Week 2011 down at the World Financial Centre.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Roxbury Hotel, Catskills, New York

If you want to escape city life for a few days I would highly recommend a stay at The Roxbury in the Catskills.  The Hotel is located in the small village of Roxbury which is about a 3 hour drive from New York City. 

The Roxbury is probably the most unique hotel I have ever stayed in with each room decorated according to a different theme.  We stayed in the 'Angel Hair' room which was based on a 'Charlie's Angels' theme.  Each room looks amazing and you will be spoilt for choice when deciding which one to pick.  Next time I want to stay in the 'Wizard's Emerald' room to see what it's like to sleep in Oz!

This hotel really pays attention to detail and they have thought of many little ways to make your stay more comfortable.  For example, they have excellent toiletries in the rooms and give you a little zip lock bag to take them home in so they don't spill in your suitcase.  They offer 'netflix' in most rooms as well as a massive DVD library which is free for guests to use.  They provide complimentary bottled water and tea and coffee making facilities in the room, as well as a resonably priced mini bar.  Take a look online to find out about other little extras they offer to enhance your stay.

If you don't fancy making yourself a drink you can go into one of the two breakfast rooms which offers hot and cold drinks and delicious home-made snacks throughout the day.  Each morning they serve a great continental breakfast which you can eat at the large communal table or take back to your room.

The hotel has an onsite spa which costs $20 per person for the duration of your stay.  Spa treatments can be arranged on request.  Fluffy robes and slippers are provided to guests who would like to use the spa facilities.

The Roxbury does not have a restaurant on site, but we ate in a great little place called 'Public Lounge' which is a two minute walk from the hotel.  In your room you will also find a book full of local restaurants and menu examples, some of which offer deliveries if you don't fancy going out.

They are extremely accommodating at The Roxbury and will be happy to arrange any activities or excursions for you in the local area.  They can also recommend local attractions and often have discount passes available for guests.

I loved this hotel and everyone who worked there was so welcoming and friendly.  I can't wait to go back for another visit! 

For more information about the hotel, to look at photographs of their amazing rooms and make reservations, visit their website at http://www.theroxburymotel.com/.

Friday, May 20, 2011

GMA Concert Summer Series 2011

'Good Morning America' is hosting a number of free concerts in Central Park over the Summer.  The concerts take place at the Rumsey Playfield every Friday morning from 7-9am, but GMA recommend arriving from 6am when the park opens. 

The only ticketed event is the Lady Gaga concert (see previous post on how to get tickets), but for all other shows you just turn up on the day. 

They have some great acts and I will be seeing as many of them as I can over the Summer.  The full list of performances is listed below:

Concert Schedule:
May 27: Lady Gaga
June 3: The Go-Go's
June 10: Jennifer Hudson
June 17: Selena Gomez
June 24: Florence & the Machine
July 1: Beyonce
July 8: Miranda Lambert
July 15: Brad Paisley
July 22: Goo Goo Dolls
July 29: Debbie Gibson and Tiffany
August 5: Nicki Minaj
August 12: American Idol Top 11
August 19: Taio Cruz
August 26: TBD
September 2: Mary J Blige

For more information on the GMA Concert Series 2011 visit http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/SummerConcert/good-morning-america-summer-concert-2011-lineup/story?id=13570864

Free Lady Gaga Tickets on sale NOW!!

If you want to see Lady Gaga for FREE next Friday in Central Park go online to:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/SummerConcert/lady-gaga-ticket-information-good-morning-america-summer/story?id=13633282

Good Luck!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Free 'Black Eyed Peas' Concert in Central Park

On the 9th of June the 'Black Eyed Peas' are giving a free concert in Central Park to raise money and awareness for the 'Robin Hood Foundation'.  This charity battles poverty and supports the 1.8 million New Yorkers who are living in poverty today. 

In order to get tickets you will need to register online at http://blackeyedpeas.robinhood.org/.  There are 54,000 tickets up for grabs and winners will be picked at random and notified by email.  Each winner will receive 4 tickets for the concert.  Other terms and conditions can be found on the website. 

To find out more about the 'Robin Hood Foundation' and how you can help, please visit http://www.robinhood.org/home.aspx.

Good luck with getting tickets and let me know how you get on!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dogs and The City

One of the things I have noticed since moving to New York City is the vast number of people who have dogs. I have never seen so many in a city, especially one that is so crowded and busy. I find this quite surprising as living space in New York is famously small, so I wonder how so many people have room for them?

Many people have dogs in the English countryside, and of course some people do have them as pets in London, but it is not as common as here in New York.

I have seen some really cute dogs when walking around the city and the majority of people ensure they clean up after their animals. However, I have eaten in restaurants where I looked out of the window to find a dog 'relieving' itself and it definitely put me off my meal!

People with dogs do often talk to each other on the street, which is quite uncommon in New York, so perhaps that why some people keep them as pets? I'm not sure, but I would love to hear from any dog owners in New York as to why they are so popular. :-)

Friday, May 13, 2011

New York Nail Bars

Since living in New York I have joined in with the weekly ritual of getting a manicure.  Now, this may seem extravagant, but in this city you can get your nails done for as little as $10.  This is much cheaper than in England, where is can cost $30-$50.  As in England, pedicures are more expensive and cost upward of $25.  However, many nail bars off specials Monday-Wednesday and you can get both for around $30.

There are lots of different nail bars to choose from and I tend to visit different ones depending on where I am and how busy they are.  I find that the service very much depends on the individual treating you and how many customers they have waiting.  I have been to quite a few places and they all tend to be very similar. 

Booking isn't necessary and most places work on a walk-in basis.  However, if possible, try to avoid going on Friday and Saturday afternoons as these are the busiest times and you may have to wait.  I also find the service isn't as good during these times.

As with everything in New York, time is of the essence, so don't expect your manicure to be a long drawn out affair. You do get a short hand massage but otherwise it's straight down to business, some places have you in and out in 15 minutes!  Pedicures, however, tend to be more relaxing and take longer.

Some nail bars charge a $1 for the quick dry top coat and use of the nail dryers.  I think it is worth it though as your nails will be dry by the time you leave and tend to last a lot longer.

After you have had your nails done you may be offered a massage.  They cost about $12 for 10 minutes and take place in the massage chairs on the shop floor.  Don't worry you stay fully clothed while you are given a shoulder, back, neck and head massage.  I get one now and again, but beware they can be very hard and sometimes I have found myself in pain rather than relaxing! 

Tipping is usually given in cash even if you pay with a credit card.  Many places require a minimum spend on a card, so make sure that you have enough cash before going in.

Overall, the manicures I have been given always look great when I leave the spa and last between 2 and 5 days depending on how well it was done.  Pedicures last anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks and I get mine done about once a month.  I enjoy my weekly manicures and like having nice nails.  Give it a try!

Celeb Spot! Jim Parsons!

I love 'The Big Bang Theory' and it was great to see the actor who plays 'Sheldon', Jim Parsons, walking his dog on 8th Avenue yesterday.  Jim has a much better dress sense than his character in the show and looked great in person.

The Emmy Award-winning actor is currently on Broadway in 'The Normal Heart', so I'll keep a look out in case I see him again!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

'9' Restaurant Review-A Big Thumbs Down

Last night for dinner we tried the '9' restaurant located at 800 9th Avenue in Hells Kitchen.  It looked really trendy from the outside and the menu looked good so we thought we would give it a try. 

The first thing we noticed was how expensive the wine menu was.  It was quite limited and very over-priced, there was not a full bottle of wine available for under $50. We then looked over the food menu and opted for the $35 set meal which consisted of a soup or salad to start followed by their prime rib dish which they told us was excellent.  We also ordered a side dish of brussel sprouts.

Our starter of lobster and butternut squash chowder arrived quite quickly and tasted alright.  The portion size was small and it was luke warm, but we ate it without the complaint.  We then waited 30 minutes for our main course which was surprising as the restaurant was half empty.  When the food did arrive it looked like a slab of uncooked flesh thrown on a plate with the tiniest serving of mashed potato I have ever seen.  We then waited for our side dish which never came, even after we reminded the waiter.  The food was disgusting, it was cold and the meat was fatty.  It was burnt on the outside and rare in the middle and tasted awful.  The waiter did not seemed surprised that we left the food untouched and took our plates away without comment.

Not only was this meal awful, it was far too expensive and we felt really ripped off paying just under a $100 for a less than average meal.  The service was about as good as the food and it is safe to say that we will never be going back.  I would not recommend this place to anyone.  We stopped off for a burger on the way home which was much nicer and cheaper at $8!

I'm only including the website so you can make sure that you don't go there by mistake as there are lots of other (much better!) restaurants around there that have similar names. http://www.http//www.9restaurantnyc.com/home.html

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm back in New York

After a week in England I am back in New York.  It was great to go back to the English countryside, but I did miss the city.  I feel like I have two places I can call home now.

Once I get myself sorted I will be back blogging and have lots to share with you!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Celeb Spot! Duran Duran!

This is my favourite celeb spot to date.  Whilst at JFK Terminal 7 I saw one of the biggest bands in the world Duran Duran!

I have always loved their music and it was amzing to see them in the flesh, I just wish I'd had the guts to go up and say hi!