In which we make a slight, five-mile miscalculation.

The world’s bravest window cleaner.

And, one subway ride later, Brooklyn!

One of John’s foremost to-dos in New York was visit the CB I Hate Perfume scent gallery, hence the trans-borough field trip. There’s a very limited range of their fragrances available in the UK, but here we were able to try the entire oeuvre.

The creator, Christopher Brosius, has bottled a range of perfumes which evoke experiences more than scents and really do have to be smelled to be believed. One of his signature fragrances, for instance, is called In The Library: a warm blend of leather bindings, worn cloth and wood polish. Perhaps because some of the happiest years of my life were spent by the sea, however, the one I fell in love with was At the Beach; which – through some special kind of alchemy – smells exactly like suntan lotion and a breeze of Atlantic salt air.

The only downside to the company is that the fragrances are very short-lived by perfume standard (usually an hour or two at most) and the creator – who was being interviewed while we were in the store – turned out to be one of the most egregiously pretentious wankers I’ve ever had to suffer listening to. His company manifesto includes the words, “People who smell like everyone else disgust me,” and the one snippet of conversation I caught before his wholly affected, 50-shades-of-Lloyd Grossman accent caused my ears to start bleeding went: “Nowadays, everyone thinks they can quit their day job and open a perfume shop and the truth is they’re all wannabes.”

Maybe I’ve led a very sheltered existence but that is – to my recollection – the pipe dream of absolutely no one ever. Shut up and take off your damn sunglasses indoors. (That isn’t to malign the rest of the employees, however, who were perfectly lovely.)

Since we were already in the area, we decided to make a more thorough exploration of Williamsburg, which turned out to be one of the coolest places we visited in the whole of NY. It’s almost a shame that we discovered it so late in the trip because I could happily have spent another day there.

Artists & Fleas at the Williamsburg & Chelsea Market. This stall was selling gorgeous upcycled pieces made from typewriters keys, cutlery and other myriad treasures that would look right at home in a mermaid hoarder’s grotto.

John has actually been on the hunt for the Chanel ‘Paris Souvenirs’ necklace (worn by Andy in The Devil Wears Prada) for quite some time, but – after finding a similarly unique piece here made from vintage New York keys – has finally called off the search.

But first: let me take a #selfie.

This bathroom was a) very cool, and b) very deficient in locking. I discovered the second one the hard way.

Right outside was East River State Park, with views over the river to Manhattan.

Two drifters.

The Williamsburg Bridge (and not – as we’d assumed whilst walking towards it – the Brooklyn Bridge).

….which, alas, is where the real trouble began. On a map, you see, the two bridges look to be within a very walkable distance of one another, and since we’d already reached the Williamsburg Bridge (having mistaken it for its seemingly nearby relative) we figured we might as well walk the rest of the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. What the map doesn’t tell you is that you can’t actually walk the coast of Brooklyn because it’s dominated by an entire fucking shipping yard; necessitating a two mile detour inland before you can head those two miles out again.

One hour, four miles, and a death-defying trip through the ghettos later (how I wish I were exaggerating), I was about ready to kill myself if someone didn’t do it for me.

And then, just as the sun was setting, the sight of distant Lady Liberty let us know we’d arrived.

Sweet merciful fuckery.

Our original plan had been to walk across the bridge, and – though the prospect of the subway had never seemed more enticing – it ultimately seemed pointless to have come all this way and not make the final mile on foot.

Nestled inconspicuously on the coast was, coincidentally, the Clock-Tower-cum-penthouse that I’d stumbled across last year. If you haven’t seen it before, prepare yourself for some premium real estate porn.

Word to the wise: beware of cyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge. They’re out for blood.

Token postcard/Sex and the City opening credits shot.

The Financial District in the south of Manhattan.

That spired skyscraper is the One World Trade Centre: primary building of the new WTC complex and the tallest skyscraper in the western hemisphere.

I knew my spirit was broken when even the sight of a hot dog vendor wasn’t enough to slow my return to the hotel and blessed release from my podiatric prison.

Thankfully, after a short respite and a shower, I regained the will to live and was soon ready to head out for some hard-earned cocktails at Spice Market in the Meatpacking District.

There was one slightly troubling moment on arrival when a fellow customer collapsed in the entrance, but – after establishing that someone had in fact called an ambulance – John was spared the dreaded enquiry of whether there was a doctor in the house. From there on out, we were able to enjoy the meal, and – though the complete absence of light wasn’t particularly conducive to photography – I decided not to buck the trend of having obsessively documented all my meals up to this point. That evening: chicken and coconut milk soup followed by shaved tuna, chilli tapioca, Asian pear and lime. I’ve always resented the stereotype of British food being terrible but – after each successive meal in New York succeeded in besting the last – have come to the unfortunate conclusion that maybe ours is a bit crap after all.

  1. zeeshel says:

    Where was that bathroom exactly found at?

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