The door was covered in graffiti, I looked at the address again and read it out to the taxi driver.
“Well, this is the address”, he said gently raising his eyebrow.
“Okay, just let us out here”.
Next door to the anonymous and derelict looking brick building was a well planted colourful Tom thumb garden. We gazed in to see a bunch of New Yorican ladies communing round a table – settled in for the evening.
We were told that the door would be unlocked so anxiously walked up to the door and gently pushed. It opened to the reveal the smallest house in the East Village with painted white stone walls, a loft bed and ceiling windows neatly arranged in this compact house. This was to be our home for a week in the East Village and it was just perfect. We had our own little garden which was full of old gravestones left by the original owner -a grave stone cutters yard with the little house being the old shed.
The East Village is buzzing with people, cafes, shops, brownstones, urban gardens – more than enough to keep you occupied for much more than a week. The story of the Green Thumb gardens itself is inspiring with people claiming back derelict spaces and looking after them as a grassroots way of dealing with social problems. Manhattan is everything you ever dreamed it would be. If you hate cities then you will likely hate Manhattan, but if you love cities then you will be swept off your feet by the melting pot of urban culture.
There was a sentiment that I heard a few times that the New Yorkers feel more connected to Europe than the states culturally and for me, being in a US city seeped in history did feel remarkably European. The only real give away sign that we were in New York was the Woody Allen style ‘fashion’ of wearing the oddest combination of clothes. God knows, anything goes.
Our mode of transport was bicycles and this is one of the easiest cities to get around on a bike. Crossing 110th street on our bicycles past Marcus Garvey Park into Harlem to get a juice from a vegetarian cafe was entering another Manhattan. Vibrant street culture and the place for buying the most bling trainers.
So if you are going to stay in New York – don’t stay in a hotel, go and find yourself an eclectic apartment to rent nestled in the East Village. If you like to jog like the rest of New York then it is quick run down to the waterfront which is just packed with runners.
The thing to remember about New York is that looks can be deceiving as arriving in what looked like a derelict building we found a wonderful little apartment in the heart of New York in a street that I would have been more than happy to settle in for much more than a week.
There are a few places to look for an apartment to rent but I found my place through New York – Craigs List
Some Places to Eat
A small selection of the many places in which we expanded our waistlines for the day.
Holy Basil – A Thai Restaurant in the East Village the most amazing thai food and ambiance
Uptown Juice Bar – Vegetarian Soul Food in Harlem ‘ what more can I say
Caravan of Dreams – Organic Vegetarian Kosher restaurant with the most amazing conversations on life, the universe and relationships going on all around you.
New Films you must see before you go
Manhattan – For those heathens who have not yet seen Woody Allen’s 1979 classic – one of the most romantic films ever made, here is the opening 3 minutes…