Monday, 8 August 2011

August Blog

I need to apologise for being a bit quiet on my blog recently. Anyone who actually reads this may have spotted that there is no entry at all for July. There are two very good reasons for this. The first is that I have been writing. Frantically. Every spare moment available. For someone like me who tries to be a writer - this is actually a very good thing. The second very good reason is that I have been on holiday. Oh yes. Me and Mr Bloke have just returned from New York City. Or should I say we’ve just gotten back. Either way, it was utterly brilliant. I’ve only ever been to NYC once before and that was way back in 1991. I went out there aged 19 and came back aged 20 - suntanned, very scruffy and totally full of myself. It was the summer between my second and third years at university and I’d spent three months working on a summer-camp in the Catskill Mountains in Pennsylvania and, after that, I had one month to travel around. I met up with a girl called Dawn who was a friend of a friend of a friend at the same university as me and we worked our way pretty much clockwise around the USA. Along the way, we went to Washington DC and Fort Lauderdale and the Grand Canyon and San Diego and San Francisco and Salt Lake City and loads of other places as well but all I have are a few jumbled memories and a handful of poor quality photographs. The things that I do remember about that summer are pretty random – stuff like sleeping in airport lounges or on the beach and surviving on seven dollars a day because we’d run out of money – oh and I remember that me and Dawn didn’t really hit it off that well. I’m sure she won’t mind me saying this because it’s the truth. And anyway, she’s not likely to read this, is she? We were both very dignified about the situation. There were no arguments or touchy words or anything – just long silences where neither of us could be arsed to speak and an understanding that we’d never contact each other ever again once the summer was over.

So this visit to the US was quite a lot different.  I was going with someone I actually liked – my husband – I had a little more than seven dollars a day to live on and I was a whopping 20 years older and wiser.  And this time, rather than drifting all over North America, we were staying in an apartment in Brooklyn.  It was fantastic.  I love the place.  I love Manhattan with its stupidly tall buildings and art deco weirdness and I really love Brooklyn too.  Most visitors to NYC don’t even go there but Brooklyn is a fascinating destination of its own.  And if it was separated from the rest of NYC, Brooklyn would still be the fourth biggest city in the USA.  These are some of the reasons why I liked it so much.
  1. Brooklyn has sky. In Manhattan, you have to hurt your neck just to see a tiny bit of it.
  2. In Brooklyn, there’s a groovy place called Williamsburg. Williamsburg is especially nice because it has a record shop called Earwax and the girl who works there is really helpful and friendly. And when you’ve finished in Earwax, you can shuffle next door to a bookshop called Spoonbill & Sugartown and then, when you’ve finished there, you can waddle across to the road to a really lush café which does a very nice iced coffee and very nice cakes to go with it.
  3. From what I saw, everybody gets along very nicely in Brooklyn. No matter what colour they are or what clothes they’re wearing or what hairdo they’re sporting, everybody seems to rub along without any grief.
  4. One block from our apartment, there was a lush little café called The Bed-Stuy Daily Press. Apart from lush coffee, lush yoghurt and lush croissants, this had lush free wi-fi.
  5. Shopping in Brooklyn is easier and less crowded in Manhattan and MY GOD, WERE THERE SOME BARGAINOUS TRAINERS TO BE HAD. I bought some nice Adidas ones. And then the next day, I saw some beautiful Puma ones. I didn’t buy those Pumas because I was strong. I regret that now.
  6. From Brooklyn, you get really fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline. From Manhattan, you just don’t.
  7. Prospect Park in Brooklyn is much more chilled out and emptier and prettier and wilder than Central Park – although, to be fair, Central Park is still very nice. And to be fair, Central Park has men selling chocolate ice-cream and PROSPECT PARK DID NOT!
  8. In Brooklyn, we could afford to stay in an apartment. A little one, it’s true – but still an apartment. In Manhattan, we couldn’t have afforded to stay in a shed.
  9. Brooklyn has an area called Dumbo. I didn’t actually go there – but the name alone makes me happy.
  10. As I was about to go to the loo in a café in Brooklyn, someone said to me, ‘If yo gonna use that restroom, yo better hole yo nose cos that lass person steenked like a peeeeeeg!’ Nobody in Manhattan said anything halfway as interesting to me as this.

So there you have it! My ten reasons to love Brooklyn. But make no mistake, I loved Manhattan too. And in the photo you can see me standing outside the Algonquin Hotel which was the famous home of the writer Dorothy Parker and her vicious round table. We had dinner in there. It was nice!
Hello to everyone who has been emailing me. I WILL get back to you – I’m just a bit behind with everything. And don’t forget Lottie Biggs is Not Tragic is in shops now and also available from Amazon.


  1. Hello Hayley,
    I've recently found out about you. I know, only 3 years late!

    I am in love with your first Lottie Biggs novel and have the other two on by TBR pile. I am also a huge fan of footnotes in fiction, huzzah!

    My favourite line so far (many years ago for you, but all brand new to me) is Lottie remarking about the way other people talk, and that her English is "Banging".

    I snorted tea out my nose!

    Thank you for the huge laughs and for the grin that will be on my face as I keep reading.

  2. Ahhh thanks Ebony, that's a cracking message!