This Runawaykiwi has done many an overseas trip; but since I am such a planner and amateur risk assessor I don’t normally go in for adventures in the true sense of the word. A key part of adventure is daring, which if you are me and have worked out plans B to E doesn’t often get a look in. But there is one occasion that springs to  mind that I was intrepid, brave and audaciously bold – the time I went shopping for a family in New York.

When I was about 14 I was in NYC with my family, Dad was working so us girls decided to go shopping. Well I say us girls, I threw a teenage strop and refused to go saying I wanted to read instead. Mum and sister hopped off to Bloomingdales and I settled in for a relaxing afternoon in the hotel. That is until being a typical teenager I changed my mind and wanted to go shopping after all.

New York City dog walker

Problem being that I was a 14 year old with no cell phone and only $1o in my pocket. Time to be audaciously bold. Without thinking of any consequences whatsoever I left the hotel and hopped in a cab, feeling breathtakingly grownup as I asked the driver to take me to Bloomingdales.

It was about this point that I realised that I had left the hotel key back in the room (oh hush, I was a silly little teenager), so it was no going back. Either I found my whanau or become a NYC sewer rat. As to what would happen if they had decided to go to Macys instead, well to be honest it didn’t really bother me because I was on an adventure.

When I got to the behemoth that is Bloomingdales I thought I would be a bit logical, I went straight to the info desk and asked them to page my Mum. Turns out they had done away with the intercom system in the late 90’s. So I went all Indiana Jones on the situation, I reacted to nothing but gut instinct and empathy and went straight to the skinny jeans section.

My reasoning was that there was no way in hell Mum would be able to shop for something she liked when shopping with a teenager, and what does an older sister shop for if not skinny jeans?

I know this mini trip doesn’t seem like a big adventure, but for me it was the start of my wanderlust. It was the first time I had been by myself in a big city, it was scary, I was momentarily independent and it was the best thing ever.

I have carried this early adventure with me around the globe. Whenever I get that niggle of itchy feet self doubt I just think, I traversed NYC at 14 so I can bloody well do anything.

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New York High Line

Given that it was over 30°C the entire time we were in New York, it might not have been the brightest idea to go for a mile long stroll with no shade when the sun was at its highest point. But when in Rome, you go and check out the High Line.

The High Line is a long elevated park on the Lower West side, it has art hidden amongst the wild flower gardens all with the backdrop of New York New York.  I wouldn’t exactly say it is an oasis of calm (you are always within spitting distance of the city streets*), but it is a beautiful green meeting place.

I think the people are the best part of the High Line. While I was there it was being used as a pretty commute, an education centre, a lunch stop, a walking gossip, a gym, an art-scape, a nap spot and for me it was the location a long awaited family reunion.

High Line NYC

It was also nice how some of the art was almost indistinguishable from the city behind it, like Broken Bridge by El Anatsui below. At every turn I questioned if what I was seeing is as intended or just a happy coincidence.

NYC High Line

*thanks gravity

New York Subway


1. The Underground has individual seats, the Subway just has benches – with benches people spread out and leave less seats for everyone.

2. The Underground has upholstered seats, the Subway seats are just made of shiny plastic so you slide into the sweaty stranger next to you at every stop.

3. On the Underground you can get to the opposite platform without scanning your ticket again, on the Subway you have to exit and enter again – only problem is you can only use your metro pass once every 18 minutes.

4. The Underground has easy to differentiate line names (Jubilee Line!), the Subway just has a bunch of meaningless letters (E train?).

5. The Underground gates open automatically when you touch in, many of the Subway gates have to be pushed by hand (which then become dirty dirty subway hands).

6. The Underground has individual tunnels per platform (only noisey when your train is there), whereas on the Subway you can see across multiple platforms (ridiculously noisy all the time).

7. Both the Underground and the Subway are full of crazies, but at least in London they keep the crazy on the inside most of the time.

8. The Underground is full of posters, artwork and advertising; the Subway is just dirty crumbling concrete and growing damp mould.

9. Most of the time you can understand the announcements on the Underground, the Subway just has screechy mumbles with an American twang.

10. Bond never went on the fucking Subway.

MAD New York

One of my favourite New York museums is the Museum of Art and Design (or MAD for those in the know). When I was here a few years ago they has a phenomenal exhibition called Radical Knitting and Subversive Lace – a kooky enough memory to search out this museum again. Turns out in the intervening years MAD has moved into the fancy new building above.

I was lucky enough to be there while a jewellery exhibition was on. Now, bear in mind that not many of these were meant to be warn; I guess they are more a convenient format for some art. So, here are three of my favourites:

This is Golden Wings (part of the Clockwork Love series) by Frank Tjepkema. I think I like it because of the link to clockwork; it turns a frivolous but pretty piece of jewellery (after all, jewellery is nothing if not frivolous and pretty*) into something with a hidden functional meaning.

Golden Wings from Clockwork Love Series

This is a series of broaches called String of Pearls with a Gold Clasp by Kim Buck. Its a clever use of negative space, telling you all that you need to know by taking the object away. I also find it entertaining that no one could ever wear this and get the full story, it would just be an abstract square with some indentations.

String of pearls with gold clasp

Necklace for National Mourning II by Edward Lane McCartney below I found surprising. I instantly dismissed it as I walked past as a silly thing, just an oversized and not even that pretty necklace (the diameter was about the size of me). But since my whanau were taking their sweet time looking around, I had cause to take a second look. Turns out it was entirely made up of small army men, tanks and planes painted gun metal grey. Actually quite cool.

Necklace for national mourning


Necklace for national mourning - close up



* To buy some frivolous but pretty of your own just click here!

Coconut pancakes

Ok, I’ve made you suffer through some art so now onto the important stuff. New York was chock-a-block with amazing food, and from the fancy to the processed I tried it all.

First let me tell you about the most amazing cookie in the world, it’s called the Nutter Butter. My life is now divided into two parts; BNB* and ANB**. How I managed to wait till my fourth trip state-side before hearing its siren song of peanut butter cookie goodness is a wonder. The best way to describe it is like a peanut shaped, peanut butter flavoured Oreo. Even if my trip to New York had been a disaster***, Nutter Butters would have made it all worthwhile.

Ok, I have to stop talking about Nutter Butters****.

Let me take you to the other end of the eating spectrum, our fancy celebration diner at Colicchio & Sons; the best example of American hospitality that I have ever seen.


What were we celebrating I hear you ask? Well, the trip was to celebrate both of my parents turning 60 this year. But because we can never do too much celebrating, my sister got engaged in Central Park in the middle of the trip!!! So we went from excited to hysterical and went out to dinner.

Colicchio & Sons started the night of with a smile. They had printed special menus saying Happy Birthday to my Mum and Dad. Then with effortless grace they sent course after course of delicious food our way (and were happy to delay between entrée and main when it looked like we were about to food coma).


The highlights for me were without question the bookends to our meal. The hot brioche rolls that started our dinner were the sort of thing I could eat every day of my life – soft, buttery and morish (members of our table who will remain nameless were heard to say “whatever you do, don’t let then take that bread away …” and that was in the middle of our dessert courses!).

And the other bookend, the burnt marshmallow ice-cream in a home made wafer basket on top of a peanut brittle sauce…. Yeah I don’t need to explain why that was so good.

To finish up this foodie post let me tell you about the best breakfast I have ever eaten. The picture at the top of this post is of the coconut pancakes at Public, a cool cafe/resteraunt in Soho. The pancakes were as light as air, topped with toasted coconut flakes, drizzled in ginger-lime syrup and accompanied by a ricotta and mango salad i.e heaven. The fact that it was served by an incredibly charming waitress and topped off with a kiwi style coffee was just icing on the proverbial cake. This is a cafe you have to go to when you hit up NYC.


* Before Nutter Butter
** after Nutter Butter
*** it wasn’t, the trip was all kinds of awesome.
**** not going to happen because I LOVE NUTTER BUTTERS