New York To Chicago…(and everything in between)

On Wednesday I explored what Manhattan had to offer on foot. From Lower East Side I put my Dr Martins to good use & walked to the Empire State Building. It wasn’t exactly a direct route, in fact I was walking n the wrong direction for about 10 minutes, but this is all part of being a tourist! The sky was hiding behind duvets of clouds which prevented me from seeing the summit of the Empire Building so I didn’t go up but took photos from below.

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

From there I got on the M3 bus north bound to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an expansive imposing building that houses thousands of artifacts collect from around the world. A building of this size requires regular visits if you want to see everything. I focused on the African, Greek and Roman artifacts on this visit. It always annoys me when museums separate the Egyptian collection from the rest of Africa- as if Egypt is not apart of Africa. Majority of Africa was represented at one end of the buildings and Egypt at the opposite end. When I asked one of the guides why this was, he stumbled over his words as if he had never pondered over this. He then said with a cheeky grin “Oh, your one of those intelligent trouble makers aren’t you?”.
I felt proud and replied “ Yes I am”. That has been the best compliment I have had since I’ve been here!






I boarded the M1 and continued north, I noticed that the white middle class people began to filter off the bus and more and more Black and Brown faces boarded- I needed no map to tell me that I had arrived in Harlem.
So far Harlem has been a highlight for me. Walking through Marcus Garvey park, along the Malcom X and Martin Luther King boulevards, the beaded jewelry in shop windows, then hundreds of black and brown faces- I felt at home. I was happy to discover Manna’s Restaurant along Martin Luther King Bouelvard, offering a variety of Caribbean and African cuisine. You are invited to fill up your box which is then then weighed and you pay accordingly. It’s the best food I’ve had so far; seasoned rice, rice and peas, yam, plantains, grilled fish, spice pumpkin, stew aubergine and courgette, macaroni cheese, callaloo, Oh my belly rejoiced! There was a whole heap of meat dishes there too which i didn’t partake. If your hungry in Harlem get yourself down to Manna’s- they are not rampin!!!
Wednesday was also the screening of ‘Celica The Queen’, a docu-film that celebrates the unique Cuban Salsa singer Celia Cruz. I have heard of her music but admittedly didn’t know much about Celia. The film was screened at the El Museo Del Barrio and the event was supported and greatly appreciated by the Cuban, Puerto Rican New York community- it was a pleasure to be their to absorb the atmosphere. This event was part of the Caribbean Cultural Centre’s winter programe, I’ll be look out for more of their events while I’m in New York.

Thursday 7th…

I began the day with an early morning yoga class at the local community centre. New York offers free exercise classes in various community buildings to residence and visitors- so I took up the offer! The class was a good representation of the local area, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, African’s, Irish eldery, students and me! Refreshed and relaxed I went about my travels…
I’m slowly getting to grips with the New York Public transport. I tackled the buses again, caught the M9 from Lower East Side (or Lousida as Fred my Servas host prefers to call it) through China Town to Downtown. From there I ventured onto the free Staten Island ferry, which I was told the best way to see the Statue Of Liberty.

Down Town Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry

Down Town Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry

I headed back up to Harlem in the afternoon and discovered Baba the Senegalese tailor. Baba’s personality and customer service mirrored the the vibrant West African wax prints that adorned the his shop. He explained that he has been a tailor all his life, and this profession has served him well in various African countries before he landed in America 11 years ago. While i was in his shop numerous customers, all local residents, came in to collect garments and share the events of their with Baba. It took me 30 minutes or so to decide on a beautiful yellow and red print that will be tailored into a skirt designed by Baba, which I will collect in March when I will return to New York.
Baba the Senegalese Tailor in his shop in Harlem

Baba the Senegalese Tailor in his shop in Harlem


The New York people whom I have met so far have been eager and wiling to extend and helping hand and a smile to a lost British woman, ad have made me feel quite at home.

Friday 8th…Off to Chicago
I feel so proud of myself…I managed to utilze the subway all the way to LaGaurdia Airport in Queens and not get lost once…

LaGaurdia Airport, New York

LaGaurdia Airport, New York

On Plane Chicago bound...

On Plane Chicago bound…


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