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Big Apple Unpeeled 8th October - 8th November 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The 4am Project in The Big Apple

4am Project Photographers In Times Square, NYC 17th October 2010

Well the day I had been gearing up to for months has now passed. The 4am Project world wide photography date happened at 4am, calling photographers from around the world to shake themselves awake and take a picture of their view of the world at 4am.

As part of that I organised a 4am Photo walk in Times Square, NYC. I think this could probably be classed as my most ambitious endeavor yet! I had no idea how it would go or if, indeed, anybody would turn up!

I did my best to do my own PR for the event and was over the moon that Time Out NYC covered the event online and in their magazine. The New York Times had promised to write about it, but unfortunately didn't in the end. Hey ho, I'm learning as I go!

So, as you can see from the photo above, people DID come along! 11 people in total - though not everyone is pictured. Two of the attendees came along without a camera, but just wanted to see what the photo walk was all about. One a young guy from out of town who was visiting NYC for the weekend, and the other a gentleman from New Yorker magazine, both kept me company as I snapped away.

We all reconvened at Starbucks for a warming coffee afterwards. It was great to meet everyone. From the New Yorkers who said they wouldn't have thought about exploring their city at that time, to a photographer called Ricky who has taken part in the 4am Project since it began and who I have been tweeting with for 18 months.

Here are my photos from this morning. You can view the whole 4am Project photo stream over on Flickr. There's some great early morning photographs there. Definitely worth checking out :)

So, my New York adventure continues. I didn't quite make it to Brooklyn the other day! I thought I did, but it turns out I hadn't left Manhattan. But what a city to get lost in!

I'm still trying to get into a routine with my blogging. Although my mifi device is great for updates on my iPhone, it tends to be very slow on my laptops. So, my new plan is do to small, bite sized updates here, providing snippets of New York life as I go through my day. I am realising that I don't want to be stuck in my apartment or Starbucks tied to the internet trying to get blog post out when there is a big city out there for me to explore. So small and frequent is the way to go, and when I feel like I have the time, then a longer blog post. And of course, when I get back home there'll be plenty of time to blog!

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

How to buy a New York Subway Ticket!

I've been in New York city for 4 days and I've finally bought my subway ticket! It's been so easy to walk where I have wanted to get to so far; Central Park about 30 minutes, 5th Avenue - 25 mins, Times Square - 15 mins.

I've made a little instructional video which I hope you will find useful. It might shave a few seconds off your purchase time when you are feeling under pressure with a queue of impatient New Yorkers standing behind you ;)

Now it's time to venture further afield! My metro ticket will get me on the subway and the buses. There's are pros and cons to both. Subway = faster, but obviously underneath the city. Bus = see the city as you go, but it's going to be a bit slower. But hey, I'm on vacation right? What's the rush? ;)

I've just asked my friends on followers on twitter where they would like to virtually go today; Brooklyn or Staten Island. Seems Brooklyn is the popular choice, so watch this space!

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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

St Columbus Day Parade, 5th Avenue, New York City

It was an official holiday yesterday as the country celebrated St Columbus day.

New York City has been host to the annual St Columbus day parade since 1929. It's a huge event with 35,000 people taking part in the parade itself with countless spectators lining 5th Avenue.

It was a beautiful 80 degree day, and I took a walk from Hell's Kitchen to 5th Avenue to catch some of the action. My walk there gave me my first view of Times Square (where I am hosting the 4am Project photo walk this Sunday) and the Rockerfeller centre.

I found a break in the crowds and took my place. I hope you enjoy the video!

view embeded video here

And here are some photographs of the parade too.

From 80 degrees during the day, to the most magnificent thunder, lightning and hailstorm at night! I captured some video from my apartment window.

view embeded video here

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Monday, 11 October 2010

Ebracing New York City Life


Thought I would never get to blog! Technical difficulties I think they are called. But that's for another post.

So, here I am. Living in the heart of the Manhattan for the next month. I am not sure I can still quite believe it. It's been a year or longer since I first decided to make this trip, then when I booked my flights about 10 weeks ago it's been a manic time of planning which has included announcing the next global 4am Project date and plans for hosting an event in Times Square on the 17th. During this time I was so busy I never had the chance to sit down and imagine what it would be like to be here.

Now I am here, and it feels strangely familiar. Yes, I did go to New York for a few days about 8 years ago, and of course the imagery is all over the TV and films etc. It just feels so natural to be here, and already a month doesn't seem long enough.

Despite promising myself an early night before I set off for New York, I couldn't sleep. I had a 4am start so of course had to take a photo!

It paid to get to the airport extra early and I managed to avoid queuing to check in and to go through security. As I was waiting to board the flight, nerves finally kicked in. I sent last minute tweets to my friends and texted my best friend and mum. That's it, I was finally going!

The Continental flight was good enough and I passed the 7 hours by watching films, and chatting to the passengers in my row, a group of men who are American classic car fanatics who were heading to LA for a road trip.

At Newark Airport

After much studying of my accommodation options for my month long stay, I opted to rent an apartment. Firstly due to cost. It was the most economical way for me to stay in Manhattan, especially for this length of time. Secondly, I thought it might be handy when watching my budget to be able to made something to eat in the kitchenette from time to time. Thirdly, I really wanted to feel like I'm living in NY, and I don't think I would have got that feeling as a guest in hotel.

I did so much research after hearing stories about people being scammed with apartment rentals. Also, not every apartment can be legally rented. For a lot of them it's illegal for residents to sublet them. So again, this was a factor I had to look into. I didn't want to find myself staying somewhere I should and finding myself without a roof over my head halfway through my stay!

Anyway, welcome to my Manhattan apartment! What do you think? I'm really pleased with it. It's more spacious than I thought it would be too, and the fold down bed is proving quite a challenge in strength! ;)

I'm staying in the Hell's Kitchen area. At the end of my street are restaurants that would satisfy every taste, lot's of bars, and some amazing deli's. Hell's Kitchen is becoming the new gay area of the city. I love it here. And luckily there doesn't seem to be too many tourists! ;)

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Goodbye Birmingham...Hello Manhattan!

At this time on Friday, I'll be landing at Newark airport ready to begin the Big Apple Unpeeled adventure!

My bags are packed. Well, they have been packed for two weeks now! There are advantages to being a premature packer I can assure you. Well, apart from the tiny matter of trying to squeeze 9lbs/1000 flyers in at the last minute!

I always like to be prepared, but I think on this occasion I was a little too prepared and hadn't bargained for the size or weight of the flyers!

The flyers are advertising the 4am Project photo walk that I am going to hold in Times Square on 17th October. I've been doing as much of my own PR as possible and thought I'd back that up by handing these out to folks in New York.

I'm planning on doing this on the first few days I am in the city, and hope that it might prove a good way of getting to know new people too!

With hindsight being the wonderful thing that it is, I guess I should have printed the flyers in NYC, but hey, I can't think of everything.

So, the next time I write here, I'll be in the heart of Manhattan and will be beginning to unpeel the Big Apple!

Stay tuned for photos, videos, stories and more!

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