The first year that I was in Newcastle, I made friends with Ellen, Lauren, and Elizabeth, three North American girls who were doing 1-year Masters' degrees. They all left after that first year, but we've managed to stay in touch by having reunion weekends every year or so. The most recent one was about 2 years ago, in Niagara on the Lake; before that, we all came to New York to visit Elizabeth. This time around, it was only Lauren who had to travel, since Ellen and I have eventually managed to move to the big apple too. (now we just need to find a way to help Lauren move here, and we'll be set!)
The weekend started with Friday night dinner at mine, followed by a quick subway ride to a Jazz bar on the Upper West Side.
On Saturday, we hung out in Central Park, enjoying what was probably the last of the pleasantly cool days (the coolness is now getting a little too cold to be pleasant!). There was a huge chess tournament going on, in which most of the contestants were kids. I think its connected with a 'Chess in Schools' program.
Here's Lauren playing spectator, looking as glamorous as ever! :)
Lauren had brought some ice-wine infused champagne from Canada to help celebrate our weekend. We forgot to drink it on Friday, so we brought it to the park to have with lunch - but we put it into our thermos, to make it a little less obvious (you can't drink alcohol in the park in the US - the UK is so much more civilized in that regard!).
be careful when opening champagne-filled thermoses that have been carried in your bag all afternoon - When Brian went to open the thermos, the lid (noticeably absent in this photo) shot about 30 feet into the air, and then landed in the middle of the lake! Fortunately, some nice people in a rowboat came and rescued it for us! :)
After lunch, we decided to hire rowboats, and join those nice people on the lake!
The rest of the weekend was a mix of yummy food and sightseeing...
Dinner on Saturday in the East Village
Brunch on Sunday (after some bridesmaid dress shopping with Elizabeth)
Tea and yummy pastries on Sunday afternoon
Sometimes I find living in New York to be a strange thing. We live uptown, in an area of brownstones and lower-rise buildings. With the day to day of life, I tend to forget exactly where it is that we live - I'm still an academic, and I haven't started teaching yet, so really this lifestyle is roughly the same as it was for me in Newcastle. But then all of a sudden something will happen, and it will hit me that this really is New York City. Like early on Sunday evening, when Lauren and I were heading home, and stumbled across a street market on our way to Grand Central station (we wanted to hit up the food market, and find something to take home for dinner). As we were walking past all the stalls, I looked to my left, and - oh my - there was the Empire State Building...
And then I looked ahead of me, and saw the Chrysler building...
And so I was reminded that yes, this is actually New York that I'm living in, not just some random city! But then again, maybe that's just how it goes... any city is glamorous and exciting when you don't live there - when you do live there, its just a city - one that just happens to be a very popular tourist destination! :)
Anyway, after buying some yummy teas, we continued down the canyon of a street
and finally made it to Grand Central Station. Its a lovely building so we took a wander inside even though we were too late for the food market. - we had to content ourselves with broccoli- mushroom-and leftover chicken risotto instead. :)
This year's reunion was fabulous, Ladies - but where are we going to go next year?!! :)