FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018
Never thought that my hobby would become so big that I would go on a journey for it. In the past I always wanted to be a stewardess, because then I could see some of the world. I like to travel. Only there was always a reason why that dream could not go: too small, pregnant, did not come out handy with the move plans of my parents, study at the PABO, again pregnant, etc, etc. In short, it never happened . But then now: I travel! And how. After my first international workshop in Copenhagen, I also went to England and even to New York last February. A city where I had never been before.
After I managed to get as many shawls as possible in vacuum bags in my suitcase before it exploded, we went on a trip. Yes, this time my boyfriend came along too. Someone had to take pictures and also for him the first time in NY, so super cool.
After two flights, a bus ride and a taxi ride we arrived at our Airbnb address in the middle of the Queens district. A bit out of the center of NY but with a super public transport connection to the center and still nice and quiet. You can see and feel America right away. Everywhere you hear sirens from the police / fire department or ambulance, big cars drive around, everyone walks with a cup of drink in his hand and looks at the screen of the phone. After a nutritious meal: Chilean, we went to the Latino corner of the city, tired and satisfied in bed.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2018
After a good night we went to explore the city. Meanwhile, we are quite adept at going ‘without any planning’, to the great dissatisfaction of my parents, who are planning such a trip months in advance to the opening hours of the museums to be visited. We do not, we see what comes our way. After all, we stay for a week. And if we miss something, we have to come back another time.
First at our local supermarket, which is open 24 hours a day, scoring breakfast and then with line 7 got off at Times Square. We had already caught a glimpse of the bus windows last night, but now we saw it during the day. What a spectacular place! Everywhere brightly lit billboards, some with moving images, others blinking and again different roles pass different photos. We just watched it with open mouth to take it all in.
After a walk of 20 min, you quickly discover the size of NY, we were in Central Park. It is clearly the place for relaxation of the New Yorkers at the weekend. You see people jogging, families walking, old babbling on benches, whole groups of yoga on the grass, reading a newspaper in the sun. Tourists also walk there or go for a ride in the horse-drawn carriage.
We just walk through it, because we want to make at least 10 photos on every corner. After shooting some scenes, we meet an eccentric dressed couple around the corner of a boulder. He is completely dressed in a tartan and she is in black from neck to toe but with a beautiful purple turban on her head that stands out. I get a compliment from him about my shawl and a conversation is soon started. The lady in question wants to buy it, and after having indicated a few times that he is not for sale because he still has to go to the workshops I am going to give, she does not settle for it and wants the bag . I also tell her about it (one of my own showpieces). We get talking and we both have a profile on Instagram. It strikes me immediately that this lady also likes color. There my shawl will certainly have a good home. We are going to take a photo together. It turns out to be a celebrity: Patricia Fox (Purely Patricia). The men can also find it fine and exchange information. We agree that I will go to sleep on the possible sale of the shawl and that we will see each other again later in the week. The appointment is soon made. It will be Wednesday.
While we stroll through the enormous park, I get a lot of compliments about my colorful appearance. It strikes me that most New Yorkers are dressed in black, and that I am quite colorful. People start to smile spontaneously when they meet me, and both men and women say something about it. Always positive. Several nice conversations are held that day. It strikes me that ALL New Yorkers we have met are very friendly, hospitable and fun!
After a long walk we are hungry and go looking for a place with WiFi, to keep social media up to date with my adventures, and somewhere where we can eat something responsible. Turns out to be quite tricky in a city like this to find something healthy between all fast food.
When we land at a Starbucks, there appears to be a wool store around the corner. Of course I have to go there to see what is available for sale. We’re going to Knitty City. The moment I come in I see it already, this store is different from the Dutch wool shops. Here they sell the majority of the wool as it comes from the dyers, instead of rolled up. They do this for you in the store. They have a good selection. What a choice! Until I suddenly hear happy screams. The store staff look at my shawl and show their enthusiasm. They make a picture and publish it on their IG profile. We have a nice conversation. A large group of people are knitting in the store. Men too. They all make different pieces of work. Very nice to see. The store is filled to the ceiling with the most beautiful yarns and owner Pearl proudly tells about it. Also how the community came about and has grown to visit her store now. After making a selection from the enormous selection, I leave with two bags full of wool.
We have heard of another wool shop on the other side of the park. Together we cross the park (takes 30 minutes) and we eat some street food at a tacotruck. It turns out to be a popular lunch stop and we get talking to Jeff, who is eating a burrito there. He also notice my colorful shawl and asks what we do in NY. He has just come from the second hand store where he has been looking for a party outfit, but there is still something missing. He shows us the jacket and the pants he got. He is still looking for a playful bow tie. I offer on the spot to crochet one and meet him again the week to give him his unique #polleviebowtie. He agrees and telephone numbers are exchanged. I love this! Spontaneous plans and actions.
At the next wool store Annie and Co, it was busy! There was a workshop and again a large group of knitting people, both ladies and gentlemen. And a huge choice and diversity of yarns. A woolhalla. Here, too, they wrap your purchased bulbs into a workable ball. Just a nice process to see. My shawl was also admired again and we got used to it.
Looking for a meal. From the bus of the airport my eye had fallen on a tiny window with luxurious red curtains and colorfully colored ceilings. I have a good sense of direction, so finding the window in question was a piece of cake. But the big question was, would it be a restaurant? Once at that window, it turned out not very small, but pretty big and still very cozy. Inside you saw people sitting at white tables, cheerfully chatting and dining (fortunately a restaurant) chandeliers adorned the ceiling and piano music sounded inside. Usually these types of tents are very expensive. But after a look at the menu, it turned out that we could just pay this and walked into Chez Josephine. A Paris atmosphere met us and the host asked us about our reservation. We did not have that …. , but yes it was Saturday night and the tent was full. He looked at us from head to toe, and I can laugh very sweetly. He glanced at the reservations and he turned out to have a table somewhere. We were taken to the back of the restaurant where a round table was pulled off the wall, asking if we wanted to sit on the chairs behind it and the table was pushed back. We sat. The food and service were exquisite! Normal portions and to eat your fingers. I had duck in orange sauce with wild rice and green vegetables. Water was included with the meal, as was the cozy atmospheric piano music. So if you are ever in NY and you are looking for a place to eat …. Chez Jospehine. It turned out to be the restaurant of the son of the famous Josephine Baker. I also liked to know.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Workshop day. This workshop took place at Emelia and Jo at home. She has a spacious cellar and wanted to follow a workshop for so long that she invited me to come by and give one. We were very hospitable, and soon all participants followed. After a very pleasant day, everyone left full of inspiration and quickly returned home so that they could continue their crochet project. We too, because I still had to crochet a bow tie. Thanks for the enormous hospitality Emelia and Jo! We will be back very soon.
Monday and Tuesday February 26-27, 2018
We went on tour with the hop on hop off bus through NY. Every time I am amazed that I am mistaken in the distances. The bus tour had 4 different tours that you could do in two days. On top of that you could do the night tour, and take a cruise to the Statue of Liberty. After it took almost 3 hours before we saw half of the city we decided to do the cruise on Monday. On the way you see all those famous buildings that you so often see in films and series. Almost surreal to stand in between and walk. Very impressive. The cruise is also highly recommended. You can take beautiful pictures, but especially the skyline of NY I loved! And I had not expected that in advance.
Then on to the 9/11 memorial. They have managed to make something very serene and beautiful. On the foundation of one of the two towers is now a very large square waterfall, surrounded by placards containing all the names of the deceased. Because the sun was low and shone through the buildings, it was quiet and beautiful. Very impressive. On the foundation of the other tower stands with museum.
There is also ‘The Oculus’ a white building that looks like a flying skeleton. I think it’s a unique architectural wonder. It is very striking because of the bright white color between all other buildings. Inside it is light and beautiful. A work of art and very worth a visit.
After this impressive place we went looking for a wool store that was recommended to me by people in the Netherlands and in NY. Purl Soho. And indeed it is a wonderful store! Large, spacious and very well sorted. Their staff is also friendly and know a lot about the products. They now have their own woolline, including a fluorescent yellow color that I could not pass up. After also looking around for an hour and well … again bought again.
The ‘Highline’ is something new in NY and not so well known by tourists, it is a green area built on an old subway track above the street, with only pedestrians coming in. It is also easy to find and very worthwhile. If you feel like being in a green oasis of peace, especially in the summer it must be great. There is also water flowing in the form of a brook, where people come during their lunch break, in the evening to go for a walk, or just to sit down, because there is plenty of seating. It meanders between the tall office buildings and residential towers and ends at the mouth of the Hudson so you can look over the water. Well worth a visit.
On Tuesday we did the northern part of the city by bus and we had arranged with Jeff. His bow tie was ready and I wanted to hand it over to him. He invited us for lunch at a very popular pizza tent in NY. Super happy with his bow tie we said goodbye after lunch. He had given us some tips for Brooklyn, including an ice cream shop that was worth a visit. Brooklyn is beautiful! I especially wanted to see those brown houses with steps in front (known from Sex in the City) and of course eat an ice cream.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Traveled to the north of the city in the morning. Here lives Nancy: social media person of Knitty City. She would do an interview and photo shoot for their blog. In a cafe we had agreed that breakfast was also a possibility. After a pleasant conversation, the necessary attention and appreciative looks from other customers, we went to a local park to do the photo shoot. Again a beautiful location with different viewpoints over the Hudson where people use the city a lot.
Then again, because …. we had agreed with Purely Patricia in the middle of NY in her apartment. Google Maps showed us the way flawlessly and we walked into a complex whose porter first wanted to know who we were coming for. At the mention of her name his eyes twinkled and we were called to be there. We were allowed to come upstairs. Enthusiastic and in full regalia, Patricia is standing in the doorway. We are warmly welcomed, but we have to take off our shoes. Inside it is like a museum. This lady has style and class! A red corridor leads to a living room that I only know from magazines. Beautiful furniture, velvet-covered, richly decorated cushions, fresh flowers, a large painting of Patricia is hanging on the wall, next to curiosities she has made herself. Decoupage hat boxes, decorated specially made French lamps on foot, her floral headdress from a few years back is on top of an antique box between two large high windows. We get a tour of her apartment and talk about anything and everything. It is amazing how many similarities we have and we seem to keep the same stuff. She, too, has diadems full of butterflies, wearing striking makeup; blue eyebrows and a striking red gestation mouth; loves glitters, tuttut and striking. It could have been my mother! In addition, she is energetic, powerful, and incredibly fun! Completely vacated, we leave the building; Patricia is going to take us somehwere magical. I can only dream where that is.
After a short metro ride where we stand out countless times and are unobtrusively photographed with the two of us, we arrive in a building where they make fabric flowers in the old-fashioned way for very famous fashion houses such as Victor and Rolf, Gucci, Prada, just to to name a few. M&S Schmalberg Custom Fabric Flowers. It turns out that Patricia thinks my Chinese flowers in my hair are too cheap and not good. Well, I must say, the flowers they make here are amazing! So delicate and unique. In every color. You can see the whole process there. The rolls of fabric, the machines where the antique iron forms are heated and then pressed onto the fabric to express a perfect fabric flower. These are delivered to ladies who quickly and expertly put the flowers together. Then they are shipped in cardboard boxes around the world. Indeed a magical place. After having made a selection from all delicate flowers, we left to visit someone who makes corsets and gloves for drag queens. Also a world that I know too little about, but fascinating.
Before dinner we settled down at Chez Josephine. This time we were placed in the window, and again the meal was excellent! After another lap around Times Square, Patricia left for home with ‘her’ shawl and we went to ours. What is NY a great place!
Thursday, March 1, 2018
My boyfriend does a lot for me and may be rewarded for that differently than just to take him out for diner. From the cruise I had already seen and arranged the perfect surprise. We were going to make a helicopter flight over NY! It was also a truly unique experience. You see NY from another side. We spent the rest of the day in a daze through the city. In the evening we were invited to eat with Emelia, a traditional American meal. Could the men have a chat and we are crocheting. Ideal, very cozy and delicious. We were picked up by car and were surprised by the cooking skills of the son in law. Emelia’s daughter was there with her newborn baby: a sweetheart! Again a very nice evening enjoyed and then we were also brought back home!
Friday, March 2, 2018
Bad weather. It was announced all week. It was going to storm. The perfect day for something to catch. In the morning I had agreed to have tea with Purely Patricia in her apartment. Just girls among each other. This time the porter recognized me immediately and knew who I was coming for. Patricia herself just came from the sport and had to take a shower. I brewed tea and leafed through a magazine where she had written an article about a fictional eyewear store. Then we talked extensively about her Easter costume. With Easter, there is the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue. It’s a whole happening. The crazier, the more striking you look, the better. Patricia does every year and is also already busy to find something unique this year that is more striking than the rest. She will certainly succeed! What a respect I have for her at that age so lively and fun.
Unfortunately it was already too fast time, and she had other appointments and I also: the wool store.
I had a business meeting with Pearl, the owner, and spent some hours there already. Very relaxed and fun. They are working on a project: Evil Eye project. After the shooting incidents at the schools they are fed up and something has to be done with the legislation on weapons. It was thought up by someone to crochet / knit fingerless mittens and make eyes on them. At the end of March they will protest and they want as many people as possible to wear mitts and protest with their hands up. A very good cause and important project.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Workshop day in Troy. After a train journey I arrived in Troy at Darn Good Yarn. The ladies were already ready when I came because the train was slightly delayed. No worries, we could start right away. Unfortunately, that day too soon came to an end. After the group photo, I went back to the Big Apple to eat together with my boyfriend and tired but satisfied in bed. The next day we would travel back to the Netherlands.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
I transport my shawls when I am traveling in vacuum bags that you vacuum with the vacuum cleaner. Here in the Netherlands everyone has one, but apparently not in America. Not even the house where we stayed …. Small problem. No worries. I would pick up the vacuum cleaner from Mike, the Indian on the corner, who can help me with crazy questions all week. He also did not have a vacuum cleaner. ‘We sweep’ was his smiling answer. Okay Mike, but how am I going to get all those wool, shawls and the rest ??????
I’m ‘out of the box thinking’, and I would not be Ellen if I did not know a solution. Emelia. The lady I gave the workshop at the beginning of this week would have a vacuum cleaner? And yes they had that, they liked to come along to see how I was going to fix this. The day before, I had bought a coconut cream Pie at the magnolia bakery so we could share it right away for coffee.
With a big grin the lifeguards arrived with the vacuum cleaner. After the thing was reassembled, he neatly did his job, vacuumed all my bags and fitted everything neatly in the suitcase / bag / other bag and extra bag. And oh yes, there is a small box left behind, Emelia has sent it to the Netherlands.
This time all the wool did not quite fit 😊😊