Monthly Archives: November 2012

New York, New York!  (Part 1)

New York, New York! (Part 1)


Central Park bench:
The wisdom of New York city.

A few days ago, I *almost* wrote a story, and it started like this:

These vagabond shoes 
They are longing to stray 
Right through the very heart of it 
New York, New York…
(New York, New York lyrics)
I was still in New York city, then. I felt like sharing my excitement with you. The spotty WiFi connection at my hotel did not allow it. DommageFor a few days, I was a tourist in New York, back in the big city I love, as Manhattan was getting ready for the Thanksgiving celebrations and the Holidays. The weather cooperated, and I was greeted every single morning by crisp blue skies as I stepped outside. This is a privilege we, Seattleites, real or imported, never take for granted, especially in November. Merci, New York, for your warm welcome. It was great to see you, too.

There have been many New York trips over the years for this French Girl. This visit had been planned around a big event scheduled the last evening. I was determined to do things a bit differently this time, and stayed away from major attractions, popular locations, museums; in short, from all the places where long lines of tourists would be forming. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a tourist, either in New York city or anywhere else, but it is a tourist’s privilege to decide how they want to approach a city. 

This time, I picked a theme: les quartiers. Neighborhoods. New York is a city of neighborhoods or villages. Meatpacking district. Chelsea. East Village. West Village. Soho. Tribeca, and more. All I needed to do was select a section of the city in the morning. Hop on a Subway, Metrocard in hand. Walk, often for hours. Lose myself in the heart of a neighborhood. Left. Right. Left. Another right, pourquoi pas? Let’s see where my feet take me… Busy street. Deserted street. Wonderful, wonderful New York streets…

West Village
East Village
East Village 

Look up at buildings. Always find the time to look at the buildings. Buildings, like fingerprints, tell the story of a city.

In a big city, locals rush. They work. They commute. They run, looking straight ahead. They don’t smile. Out of town visitors call them rude. Man up, out of town visitors! New Yorkers are not rude. Parisians are not rude. They are busy tackling life in the big city. They have no time to hold the tourist’s hand. You, the tourist, are the lucky one because you have all the time in the world. Stay out of the locals’ way. And take your time, because you can. Look around. Notice details in the great urban landscape others may take for granted. 

More New York wisdom…
Central Park
Central Park bench
East Village building
Inside the Chelsea Market
Washington Square Park

Some visitors insist on being part of “it,” the life of the city. They want to feel as if they belong. Weekends are a good place to catch locals while – at last – they slow down and enjoy their city. Parks are often a good choice. Parks are precious in crazy, big cities. Nobody knows it better than New Yorkers. Just go to Central Park on a sunny Saturday or Sunday morning and watch them at play.

Central Park

Central Park

I loved visiting New York’s newest park, the High Line. An amazing walk above an amazing city, built on old, elevated railroad tracks on Manhattan’s West Side, long retired, and recently brought back to life by committed volunteers in love with their neighborhood.

The High Line
The old tracks are still there…
A large window, and bleachers so New Yorkers can watch their favorite show:
New York, the city that never sleeps.
Enjoying New York city from above…

All great cities have trendy neighborhoods, and neighborhoods are trendy because locals made them. New York city is no exception. I went to Soho soon after I arrived, and returned a couple of days later. Soho has it all: light (no skyscrapers there,) shops, restaurants, wonderful architecture, and many, many New Yorkers. In other words, Soho offers excellent people-watching, a favorite pastime of mine.

Phew. I don’t know about you, but these vagabond shoes are tired just reminiscing about all these wonderful spots, and the hours of walking it took to explore them. Better to take a break. I will be back next week with Part 2 of this story. Will you join me?

A bientôt.

These vagabond shoes need a rest. Until next time… 
All photos by French Girl in Seattle
Please do not use, reprint or Pin without permission.
— French Girl in Seattle
 The second part of New York, New York is here

56 Responses to New York, New York! (Part 1)

  1. Oh wow..I saw so little compared to this when I went..and quite frankly don’t know which areas we were in..You really know your way the inscription on that park bench..
    Thanks so much for this guided tour:-)
    Still wondering if you met Bear:-) 🙂

  2. Oh Veronique! I just love your trip to NYC. And I was so thrilled to see your first neighborhood because I used to live there! West 10th Street & Greenwich Ave!!
    I miss it so much. Thank you so much. These shots are just beautiful! I can’t wait to see more!

  3. Once again, thanks for letting me tag along. I love to walk and explore the neighborhoods of NYC. How wonderful to have visited this gal! I need to plan a trip…………Sarah

  4. Dearest Véronique,
    So glad you enjoyed ‘New Amsterdam’ once more! Yes, buildings are the fingerprints of a city and they tell a great cultural story. You took great photographs and your storytelling is always a class act.
    Glad you made it back safe.
    Hugs to you,

  5. Yes, I shall join you for part 2!! A wonderful “walk” through one of the most fascinating cities in the world, with such thoughtful scenes which you snapped. Love that parking sign, and the memorial sign too. You have the most fabulous way of taking a reader with you on these trips. xx

  6. Oh Veronique! What a fantastic post! I love it all. Where to start? 🙂 I love living on the West Coast, but i miss NYC and visiting it with a passion. I feel as though i’ve had a fun visit through your great photos here. West Village and Soho are my favorite neighborhoods, i think. But i also love Brooklyn.. something special about it. And Central Park is wonderful! Central Park and all the dogs who walk and play there! Ah, New Yorkers and their canines. Love! That squirrel relaxing next to the woman in Washington Square Park is quite a chunker! Well fed, perhaps? lol. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit, and i can’t wait to see more pics! Have a great week!

    • Dear Mary. Funny you should mention New Yorkers and their canines. Not surprisingly, I was fascinated by them and was planning on featuring several “dog shots” next week… I have been on the West Coast for years and sorely miss the great cities on the East Coast. For years, my American adventures always took place there, North or South, but always on the East Coast. There is so much history and culture there. I am afraid our scenic West Coast can’t compare…

  7. What a great trip to NYC, and how nice that you took us along for the tour! My mom’s parents lived in Manhattan when I was growing up, and I have many fond memories of walking to the Museum of Natural History almost every other day during visits. One of my favorite recollections was watching the fire trucks zoom past the apartment on Amsterdam with the Dalmatian pup in tow.

    So happy that you were able to renew your friendship with NYC… She has missed you, too!


    • Bonjour Genie. I would have LOVED visiting my grand-parents in NYC as a child. I can’t imagine how many hours I would have spent playing in Central Park! You are correct: New York city and I were happy to see each other again.

  8. Amazing photos Veronique. You are really in love with NYC! Your post made me look at NYC in a different perspective. When my girlfriends and I had a mini-reunion in NYC early this year, we had fun walking around. I particularly enjoyed walking around Soho. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Bonjour Pamela. New York is all about walking and exploring; the sign of a truly “great” city. It is easy for a French person to fall in love with her. The French love cities, especially cities with so much history and culture. They love them even more if they feel “dépaysés” (out of their usual environment) in those cities, and what city here screams “North America” more than New York?

  9. Merci, Véronique for taking us along with you on your wonderful tour away from the usual touristy places. Soho and TriBeCa are two areas I would like to visit one day and I hadn’t heard of The High Line (c’est noté!) When I’m ‘doing’ a big city, I love to take a breather in the parks. Great photos as usual and wonderful words on the benches.
    P.S. Of course I’ll join you for Part Two!!

  10. How lucky for us that you and your camera had such beautiful sunny days! Thank you for those gorgeous shots of Central Park and the new Hi Line. And those vagabond shoes…so unFrench–and so very practical!

    • Bonjour Alison. Don’t be fooled by my vagabond shoes… unFrench, but truly the only sneakers Parisian women will consider wearing (I kid you not: Converse is all over Paris these days!) — I might add these babies saved my life. The comfortable Clarks boots I wore for the first two days almost KILLED my feet, and I had to stop by Bloomingdale in Soho eventually, and snatched the cute navy blue Converse. My feet thanked me profusely, trust! 🙂

  11. Thank you for taking us for a walk in NY and original angles. You’ve captured the Manhattan’s essence Veronique. Looking forward to Part 2 and P.K. concert review and more photos by happy vagabond.

    • I thought about you as I visited the Chelsea underground market… a fun place for “foodies…” I think I could live in NYC, but I would choose my neighborhood carefully, and all my favorite neighborhoods are in the lower half of Manhattan…

  12. Oooh, these photos are just fabulous!! Count on me in your continuing tour group. I have always said that Paris has my heart, but New York has my soul. Can’t live without them.

    Also, can’t wait for Part Deux.

    Bizzz, M-T

  13. What a fun visit you have. I love New York in the fall! The photos are beautiful, thanks for taking us on a glorious long walk through the city. And my feet don’t even hurt! Welcome back to the slower pace of Seattle! XO

  14. I had to chuckle at your comment about the “rude” or abruptness of some of the Europeans or New Yorkers. You are right.. man up, they are busy and trying to get things done. Those buildings!! When we were in Paris and Belgium over the summer, I couldn’t stop looking at, or photographing the buildings. If only those walls would talk!

    Enjoy the brisk Seattle weather are having. I heard it’s going to dip down in the twenties tonight 🙂


  15. Thank you so much for this post about my favourite city! It’s been so long now since I haven’t been to NY, but we will go in spring 2013 and I am looking forward to it.
    Merci beaucoup,

  16. Je suis heureuse de m’apercevoir que tu te balades autant que moi en ce moment !… Malheureusement en ce qui me concerne le ciel est bien gris et chargé d’eau en Bretagne… Hier soir, j’ai quitté Plouescat pour Cherbourg… Dans une petite semaine je me rendrai à Honfleur et Deauville…

    Merci pour ces merveilleuses photos… Ce fut une très agréable promenade… la bonne humeur devait être au rendez-vous en pratiquant cette marche dans un tel environnement.
    Je te remercie également pour ton gentil message et ton conseil en ce qui concerne mon petit souci.

    Je ne suis pas très présente en ce moment, je reviendrai te visiter plus régulièrement dès mon retour à la maison, dans une dizaine de jours.

    Gros bisous à toi.

    • Bonjour Martine. Ah, la Bretagne… Superbe, mais humide (un peu comme Seattle, en somme…) Honfleur et Deauville, deux de mes destinations préférées sur la Côte. Passage presque obligatoire quand on réside à Paris. Je t’envie d’aller y faire un tour. A bientôt, à ton retour de voyage…

  17. what a fabulous trip! although i’ve been to nyc many times it’s always for quick trips..not enough time to really walk the neighborhoods as you have. looking forward to part 2! (and thanks for your comments 🙂

  18. I’ve never been to New York (tho we were once offered a house exchange by a family from there, but passed it up for LA), so I’m fascinated to see all these different neighbourhoods.

    ‘Chapeau’ for doing all that walking in Converse – they look great, but are a bit hard on the feet!

    • Welcome, Linda, and thank you for stopping by. I did not do all my walking in the cute Converse. They only kicked in on the third day, when I could not BEAR the thought of wearing my other shoes any longer 🙂 The Converse felt like slippers after that!

Leave a reply

71 Responses to “I have to go see about a girl…”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post for so many reasons. Of course I loved the photos of the amazing skyline. I’m a huge fan of skyscraper architecture – all the shapes and sizes are just as fascinating to me as old traditional buildings. Interesting to read about your visits to New York too – what an opportunity to actually live there for a while. You also made me think about my French pen pal’s family who welcomed me so many times. We instantly got on well and since then have become life-long friends. I’m so grateful to them (no wonder I became such a francophile!) and I really should organise a long overdue visit soon. I look forward to hearing about your trip – it’s going to be such fun I’m sure!

    • Hello miss b. I am discovering you and I have more and more things in common 🙂 I am planning to walk around Manhattan to take photos of the buildings. I love Art Deco architecture, and I know New York will be happy to oblige 🙂

  2. Bonjour Véronique!

    J’ai découvert ton blog sur le blog de Connie- Snow in the Air – Ton blog est très intéressant – Je suis une nouvelle fan de ton blog! Jettes un coup d’oeil au mien –

    Ariane x

  3. Ahhh, I don’t know if you knew that I was a NYer before moving to France? Trust me, it took my honey to pull me away from my beloved Big Apple–I still think it is the best town in the world–sorry, Paris! So happy to hear that you love it like I do. Enjoy your time there, I know you will! And it is good to think that you are helping to revive a battered economy by going–bravo!
    Bon Voyage…

    • The pen pal sounded nice enough while we exchanged letters for years, but I guess these things happen. Small correction: NEW YORK is my friend recently hit by a hard time 🙂 New York will be fine, though. New York is always fine. Oh, and no, it is not Carol I am having lunch with…

  4. Veronique, how lovely to find out a bit more about you. I too love NYC but it’s been a long time since I last visited…too long, every December I dream about going Christmas Shopping there but I have not quite managed to pull it off, maybe next year. My Sister is flying out there this evening for a few days and I am green with envy! I know you are going to have a wonderful time…enjoy

    • I would love Christmas shopping in New York, Dash. That is something I have yet to do myself. I would also love bringing my son here to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. One day, one day… Your sister in one lucky lady– as am I 🙂

  5. ok, wow. first of all..i need to know where you went to school in greensboro. it wouldn’t be the day school there by chance? secondly, john irving was a major crush of mine. i read and re- read garp. i always thought he was a hottie. 🙂 lastly, as an expat american i obviously love nyc. however, when i’m IN the states…it’s boston for me. tell me you’ve been? i don’t see it on your side bar 🙂
    can’t wait to hear about your trip when you return. it sounds amazing. is that a zara leopard blouse i spy?
    bon voyage!

    • Bonjour Pam. I was not a student in Greensboro during that first trip to the US. I just stayed with my penpal’s family – who treated me royally – for several weeks. A few years later, I was a college student in Atlanta though, thanks to a full scholarship awarded by the Georgia Rotary Club.

      As for Boston, yes, I have been, but briefly, and loved it. But I need to go back, and I am certain I will be adding Boston to my list of favorite cities after that trip 🙂

  6. I also lived in New York during the 1980’s and even though I met lots of celebrities I never met John Irving! I hope you have a wonderful trip to New York, one of my very favorite towns in the world!

    • Bonjour Connie. I have never met a single celebrity in New York. In fact, come to think of it, I *almost* met John Irving. One of the assistants at Pocket Books had offered to introduce me during an upcoming meeting with Irving. Unfortunately, he was scheduled to fly into town THE DAY I left for Paris. Can you imagine?! It took me years to recover. 🙂

  7. Ooh, the mysterious “French Girl in Seattle” is beginning to reveal her pre-Seattle life. How delicious! A propos duquel, j’attends avec impatience l’énorme plaisir de te rencontrer (enfin!!) et de passer un bon moment en ta charmante compagnie samedi.

    Eh bien, je me demande si un p’tit rendez-vous Chez Joséphine avec son fils J-C n’est pas sur ton programme? J’y ai passé un soir (jusqu’à la petite nuit) inoubliable il y a plusieurs années. C’est à ne pas manquer.

    • Dear Mariette. Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the USA. In fact, I visited every single summer after my college year in Atlanta in 1985… until le Husband and I finally moved to Seattle in 1996. I have always loved the East Coast, not just New York, and miss it dearly. Always a treat to fly back.

  8. I’ve lived and traveled all over the world…and I really love visiting NYC. I go each summer with my college roommate from 40 yrs ago–we still have a grand time! Eat a meal at Prune if you can.

  9. oh my i am on the fly i have to reread this, disect every bit and comment again when will you be here-nyc that is -gosh so excited

  10. I loved reading this and learning more about your life. That is so cool about your research on that author. I would love to have that experience: living in New York City for a few weeks. Long enough to get a taste of being a native, while short enough where you don’t get jaded. 🙂

    I hope you have fun in New York City! I’m a bit envious. I haven’t been since I was a kid. I’m hoping to get there in the next year or so, to visit my Jonny!

    • Well, it sounds to me you have the perfect excuse to fly to New York city soon: Your best friend – the great Jonny! – lives there. 🙂 New York is such an expensive city. I could not have stayed that long back then, without my friend’s hospitality…

  11. Bon voyage! Have a great time back in the Big Apple. It has been quite a few years since I was there for anything but a quick meeting in and out and keep thinking about spending time in NYC for fun. With any luck we will do so before too long.

  12. je me suis un peu perdue en route: tu vas donc à NY voir PAtricia Kaas chanter Piaf, c’est ça? Mais qu’est-il arrivé à John Irving au final?.. je me souviens du “monde selon Garp” et du scandale qui a entouré cette histoire aussi bien pour le livre que pour le film. Je me souviens aussi qu’effectivement, il etait celèbre et publiait beaucoup, qu’est-il devenu?
    J’espère que la NY que tu trouveras ne sera pas trop abimée après le passage de Sandy..Bon voyage en tous cas.
    moi aussi je repars, destination dévoilée seulement au retour! :o)
    Alors bises et à bientôt!

    • Oui, c’est bien ca. Concert unique et j’ai reussi a avoir un ticket. Face a la scene, 7e rang. Salle mythique ou Edith Piaf est passee elle-meme en 1957!

      Aux dernieres nouvelles, John Irving vit toujours au Canada. Il ecrit regulierement des romans, dont le dernier, In One Person, est sorti recemment. Longue et belle carriere donc, avec des sujets controverses, comme le dernier.

      Dis-moi quelle voyageuse tu fais! Tu ne t’arretes plus! Bises.

  13. Love NY and try to visit every couple of years usually scheduling around NYC Ballet premiers or some special exhibitions not to be missed . Though it’s always something in NY not to be missed all year round 24/7, the city never sleeps. Please pass by the Bergdorf & Goodman windows, they are always unpredictable and fantastic, especially at near Christmas time.
    How much I’d love to hear Kaas live, loved so much her talented tandem with Jeremy Irons in ‘And now Ladies and Gentlemen’ but she is coming only to Montreal…alas …
    Have a wonderful trip and get togethers dear Veronique and keep us posted.

    • Bonsoir Natalie. Good call about the Bergdorf Goodman windows. I won’t get to see the Christmas window displays at le Printemps and les Galeries Layette this year, so that would be neat!

      Kaas is going to be great. I can hardly wait! Her tour is unique this time: She only performs in iconic locations, such as the Olympia, in Paris; the Royal Albert hall in London; and Carnegie Hall, bien sûr. I am glad I will be able to “catch her” in one of them!

      A bientôt.

  14. What a spellbinding post, Veronique. Riveting for bibliophiles, film mavens, and Big Apple Lovers like me. My Californian son was an exchange student in Aix-en-Provence…and a grad student in Paris..becoming a French citizen and has lived in Europe ever since. So much back and forth between old friends. ‘Cider House’ did rule. LOVED that film. What a gutsy girl you were. You truly make the most of opportunities. So inspiring. Bon Voyage!

  15. Veronique, I love NY too. My daughters took me there last December on a holiday trip for my birthday.
    This blog entry was amazing!!!! First of all you have to be very special to have received a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship….and from reading this…I would say that you are!

    The first time I saw your picture…I was shocked at how much you look like an exchange student we had over ten years ago…Yes, she was from France (Limoges) and she was a Rotary Exchange student. She came for a year, but I suspect you did the three week summer exchange on your first visit? I will post a picture of our Marina soon and come over and tell you so you can see!….Have a fabulous time in NY. I know that you will!…Janey

    • Eh bien merci beaucoup, Janey. 🙂 I was actually an exchange student for a whole year (1984-1985.) It was a special program handled by all Rotary Clubs in Georgia. At the time, they awarded about 50 scholarships a year to students worldwide. I was one of two French students chosen for the program, and I was very proud 🙂 It was a wonderful year. It changed everything, really. New York has been delivering so far… 🙂

  16. I hope that you have a fabulous trip, how could you not?! I hope that you will discover new food adventures, new scenes, and many familiar old ones.

    Your chic travel attire convinces me that yes… you are a French girl! (You rock!)


    • Ha! Ha! Well, this French Girl forgot the essential rule of city travel: Get comfortable shoes. I walk 6 or 7 hours a day, and my feet are KILLING me when I return to my hotel at night… Mind you, any shoes would feel bad after that much walking… except sneakers, but I was determined not to wear any on this trip 🙂

    • Isn’t it ever, Jeanne! I can’t believe how lucky I am: It is cold, but the weather has been sunny every day since I arrived. How beautiful New York looks in the Fall. I am just amazed at how many trees have kept their fall colors in spite of Sandy the Superstorm!

  17. I enjoyed looking at all your posts. You have nice photos of Nice – we had a great time there last month and perfect weather. I understand your love of New York – it is a vibrant town – we try to go there at least every other year but have been lucky to go there twice since last year. I’ll look forward to your photo and your tales on the Big Apple. Enjoy yourself and Bon voyage!

  18. I wish you a wonderful trip, Véronique and a fun time with the your dear girl friend.
    Can’t believe you are going to see Patricia Kaas at Carnegie Hall. Have you seen the movie “Ladies and Gentlemen” (Claude Lelouch)? At the very beginning of the movie P Kass is singing a song where she pretends to be a star having a show at Carnegie Hall!!!
    Bisous à toi et à la grosse pomme 🙂
    Anne (Playing With Scarves)

  19. Have a fabulous time! (Actually, by this time you are there and enjoying yourself immensely!) And you sure know how to travel in style! I love living on the Left Coast, but i miss visiting New York. A lot. I think a vacation there soon is in order for my husband and i as well! 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying all the delicious repast!

  20. Your write wonderful posts. Pirates of Penzance, was the first G&S I saw when I was at school and I immediately became a G&S fan. Similarly with my daughter when she was 8 years old. She is now in her late 20’s and can still recite every word from this operetta! My mother fell in love with New York on her first visit. My brother lived there for 5 years and was heart broken when he had to relinquish its charm for life back in Australia. This amazing city still eludes me……..One day perhaps……..
    Apologies for not being more active in the blog world. I have been too flat to participate since returning from France. Most of the renovations to My French Folly have to taken out and redone, I had a head on car accident on our third day in Haute Marne, a few trips to the local French hospital and after 3 months, I am still waiting for the exact cost estimate from the huissier who confirmed in her report that the work done by A Piece of Burgundy was unprofessional and poor and has to be redone, which will possibly cost more than the purchase price of the house. Because A Piece of Burgundy were not operating with the correct siret number, chasing them for reimbursement has involved employing a lawyer….all too depressing! Enjoy NY. Bisous

    • Welcome back, Elizabeth.

      I just can’t believe the trouble you have been experiencing in France. First of all, sorry about the car accident. Did you get out of it relatively unscathed? I hope so… As for “That Piece of Burgundy” business, they certainly sound like a bunch of crooks! And now you are dealing with French lawyers to boot… from the other end of the world! I could not blame you if you decided to give up on your French folly altogether! You are one brave woman… I can barely deal with the contractors who live in town, let alone foreign ones…

    • You would think I would like cities since they are considered girls. But, truth be known, cities give me Although for Miss Patricia Kass, I would totally go visit!;) You’re one lucky lady. Je suis tres jalouse. J’espère que tu t’amuseras pendant tu es là.=) I love all these photos. Your son looks like he is having a blast! Happy holidays V. xx

    • Beaucoup de choses. Des images d’Epinal, trimbalées dans de vieux films et séries TV, des bouquins lus à la Fac… Le premier voyage aux USA, c’est toujours spécial. Et puis la réalité s’installe, après quelques années, pour ceux d’entre nous qui ont choisi de s’y installer, pour un an, pour dix, ou pour plus longtemps. Il y a du bon. Il y a du moins bon. Mais certains endroits, comme New York, ne déçoivent jamais… Alors on y retourne toujours avec plaisir.

    • Justement, te voyais-tu à Seattle ? Moi, je rêvais plutôt de Californie, de Floride ou de New York, et je suis dans le Colorado (là où j’ai trouvé du travail quoi !).

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