Sam and Simon on rooftop

My first visitor, Simon. Chilling in Brooklyn on a rooftop near Prospect Park

After an extended time in the UK to allow for a trip to Dublin for Justin’s wedding I’m back in New York. While I was back in England I made the most of the time there by visiting as many people as I could. Given the visitors I’ve had in New York there was an element of feeling like the host turned guest. However I’m going to focus back on being the host and the visitors I’ve had.

While I was in the London office several people mentioned they read the blog (thank you!) but I also received some feedback. My posts are too long apparently. This is understandable feedback though, I’m not great at being succinct and my posts are generally a lot longer than 140 characters. The analytics for the blog also shows less than 50% of people are viewing over 50% of the page. To address this I’m going to write a mini series of posts for each visitor. This post will feature my first visitor..

It was early August, I had been in my own apartment for 2-3 weeks. To say my apartment was on the bare side would probably be an understatement, up there with stepping out barefoot into snow and saying it’s a tad on the chilly side.

I had only recently been able to hand back the air bed kindly lent to me by Halina after finding a great deal for a bed in a shop in Queens. Queens may seem a bit of a trek for a bed but my parents had googled beds in New York and supplied me a Yelp link. They definitely didn’t realize how prevalent Yelp is but the shop had good reviews.

Aware that a certain Mr Herron was visiting I knew I needed a sofa bed ready for his arrival. I found a fantastic furniture shop in Brooklyn. Found a sofa bed and ordered it. The shop owner phoned me up a few days before the delivery day to explain the sofa had come in but the packaging was ripped so he was going to send it back. This wasn’t exactly perfect timing, unless Simon wanted to sleep on the floor. Luckily the owner provided a couple of alternative options one of which involved ‘lending’ me the same (new) sofa but in a smaller size and then replacing it with the original order later on.

I took him up on this offer and delivery day arrived. What I thought was a straight forward plan, ‘buy a sofa bed, get it delivered before Simon arrives’ suffered a further (temporary) setback on delivery day. I was slightly alarmed when I went downstairs to meet the delivery and the driver asked if I had an elevator. I was fairly sure most New York apartments didn’t have this feature. I certainly knew mine didn’t. However I’m only one flight of stairs up so I wasn’t overly concerned at that point. What provoked slightly (possibly another British understatement) more concern was when it became apparent there was only 1 delivery person.

sofa bed delivery

Sofa bed being delivered

When my bed got delivered it came with two delivery people, admittedly neither spoke great English and most of the “communication” existed in a series of charades. However it got installed fine. This on the other hand was a double/full sofa bed, not particularly light and this skinny delivery guy was enquiring as to whether there was an elevator in my Manhattan apartment. Not filling me with confidence. However a combination of optimism and inevitability about the situation led me to proclaim we could get the sofa into my apartment without a problem. This optimism wasn’t entirely well placed.

We managed it though. Somehow. Without serious injury either. I’m still not entirely sure how. It took quite a long time and the tight corner at the top of the stairs, coupled with a low ceiling did not make life particularly easy. At several points in the journey up the stairs we changed strategies, from rotating the sofa to rotating our positions (“it’s easier if I take this end..oh actually maybe take this on second thoughts I will take it…hmm maybe we could take the cushions off…hang on what if we turn it like this?”). Success though and we both looked at each other at the top of the stairs as if we’d just accomplished the feat of climbing Everest. I went back to the shop a little later and informed the owner I was happy with this current sofa and I didn’t need the queen size..

The time with Simon was much more fun though. Wen, a colleague from work, had invited a few of us to his for a rooftop gathering. This was to be followed by a trip to Prospect Park where St. Vincent was playing a free gig. The weather was fantastic, the views from the rooftop just as good. The hospitality even better.

The evening ended with a picnic in the park, though the crowds were too big to get into the arena area in the park  it was arguably better just to be sat outside with a beer, food and good company.

BBQ food at Hill County

Some bbq at Hill County!

Aside from plenty of walking around the city, including introducing Simon to the grid system and trying to find him a hat and some new trainers, we spent a good afternoon in my favourite bar – Smithfields. The bar probably deserves more of a mention in another post. In short though it’s the bar I watch all the Man Utd games in. We got chatting to some random bloke who Simon hit it off with and the afternoon disappeared rather quickly.

Come the evening there was a definite need for some food. When in America..So we headed to Hill County BBQ. A BBQ joint where you order your meal by the lb. It was fair to say after an afternoon chilling in a bar, followed by the consumption between us of a small farmyard we were a little worse for wear.

The High Line at night in August

The High Line at night

I’m far from an advocate of napping, I have argued against the concept of a ‘disco nap’, however a short lie down was definitely required here. To cap off the day, after a short rest, we took a wander along the High Line. This is one of my favourite spots which I initially discovered by accident, for those non-New Yorkers it’s a disused elevated rail road converted into a park and walkway, it’s especially nice at dusk/night when the crowds thin. It was a great way to slow down the pace of the weekend and just chill out. The High Line has also become one of my go-to spots to show other visitors I’ve had…