NicFest! 2013 (Part 1)

It may have appeared that, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been resting on my laurels somewhat, blog-wise. However, I assure everyone that this was only a blip while I engaged in preparations for what I’ve (somewhat arrogantly) been calling ‘NicFest! 2013’. Basically, the impending visit, meeting, and intended getting-along-in-blissful-harmony of family and boyfriend on my turf.

Now, if you were my family you might wonder exactly how I was busy preparing, as I spent the entire time accepting food and drink, and contributing little besides snarky comments and incorrect directions. Much like at home, really.

If you were my boyfriend, you might wonder exactly how I was busy preparing, as you’d have seen, and had the misfortune of staying in, my shit tip of an apartment, and had to listen to repeated mumblings about how “I still have to clean the bathroom” without ever seeing me put my money where my mouth is.

And in both cases, you’d be correct. I’ve been using NicFest! 2013 as the ultimate excuse to be a lazy blogger, with literally no reason. I mean, I did wash my bedclothes for the first time in 3 months (I know, I know. I’m a terrible person. Though I maintain that it’s helping my immune system and, in my defence, I have a long commute that eats a lot of my time/means that I’d rather go out and and play than live within acceptable margins of hygeine), but I’m not sure that accounts for something like 3 weeks of blogular silence, so I do apologise. I’m revamping my attitude and setting a goal of two posts per week from hereon out.

So. NicFest! 2013.

I haven’t been so excited for anything since I found out I was moving to New York in the first place. And the bonus of this was that I knew about it for ages in advance so I was able to spend hours and hours thinking about things we could do – honing a list detailed enough to give a tour guide a headache. Not that everything (or indeed anything) made the final cut but boy, did it remind me of how much I still have left to do in this city.

To break it down, NicFest! went a little something like this:

Thursday

Dinner: Aside from a frantic hour of back-and-forth with their airport pickup driver between the family’s  plane’s arrival at Newark, and their existence in the country being visually confirmed, I spent the day at work. I only have limited time off so spending a day twiddling my thumbs, waiting for everyone seemed excessive when it would most likely only include dinner anyway.

So as soon as I got home I moseyed over to their hotel, dragged them out in the drizzle to my local restaurant (oh yes. I have one.) and ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. Because it was a celebration. Not because I live on a measley stipend and it’s usually the kind of thing I can only dream of. Not at all.

But even had there been no food, it would still have been an amazing evening. Nothing quite like a family reunion to warm the heart, after all… Oh. and a bottle of (stipend-unfriendly) wine.

Friday

Times Square: Tropical Storm Andrea was an uninvited fifth wheel on the first full day of NicFest! 2013. But we are British, and our upper lip is not only stiff, it is also Scotchguarded. So she could bring it all she wanted. It actually worked wonders for the crowd situation and, while my feet were soaking wet, it was nice to be able to use them for walking at a normal pace, and not have to set them to work kicking tourists in the backs of their knees.

We saw Times Square, which is implied in the subtitle. Not that we did a lot there besides buy an extra umbrella and visit the Hersheys shop and Toys R Us. Beyond that, there are only so many times you can say ‘oh, look. Billboards.” before it’s time to move on. (Having said all of that, I love Times Square. I think it’s the perfect example of this country’s obsession with excess, neon and junk food and it is always interesting.)

Grand Central:

After Squaring Time, we sloshed over to what I now casually call ‘GC’ because I spend so much time there and the additional syllables would take up days with the amount of mentions it gets in conversations about evening plans. Grand Central is a place where I usually spend my time dodging tourists, tutting, and passive-aggressively huffing at people who get all up in my grill. So it was nice, for once, to chill out a bit and watch the world go by. It was also nice, (although potentially not for them particularly) to show my family the exact platform and train I use every day. It’s a little slice of my world here. Albeit one I don’t have much of a say in. I more or less just turn up every day and hope it’s right.

There was a minor incident where a certain member of my family, who shall remain nameless (but put it this way: It was neither of my parents) was so engrossed in watching cakes do literally nothing in a window that she (Or he. Though it was definitely a ‘she’) didn’t notice our entire family leaving to go somewhere else, and got briefly, but potentially disastrously lost.

Add to that a good ten minutes spent talking to walls before we remembered that we live in an age of smartphones and the internet and I could just look up the location of the Whispering Gallery, and… Well. It was the most fun I’ve had in Grand Central in a while.

The Guggenheim:

The-company-that-shall-not-be-named throws a lot of money at arts organisations in an unsuccessful attempt to hide the fact that they are a bloodsucking corporation designed to help nobody but the already-rich, but it does at least mean that I get into some places for free. And so, as Andrea (or ‘that bitch’ as someone so eloquently put it) showed no sign of abating, we headed over to the Guggenheim to abuse my privileges.
Andt here’s nothing quite like getting in there to find that half the museum is taped off in a manner frankly not dissimilar to the way Canary Wharf was in that Doctor Who episode with the Cybermen (not that I’m implying anything) to make you feel privileged.

I have nothing against the Guggenheim per se, but even when that half of a giant building is not closed off, it is a single exhibit. Coming from a land where art is generally a free thing, it seems strange to me that people should have to pay money to enter a giant building only to find that half of it (after they’re finished doing whatever it is they’re doing behind the plastic sheet) is one glorified lamp. There is being cool, and there’s asking people for money in exchange for just standing around and basking in your reflected coolness, without getting much else for the amount of money they just shelled out. And one could argue there’s a bit of that that goes on a the Guggenheim. One could. I like to avoid expressing contentious opinions, and also don’t relish confrontations with hipsters, so that ‘one’ is not me.

And, whatever, it was dry and in possession of a roof. And me and my Dad spent almost the entire visit in the corner giggling at people and having an excellent time.

In the spirit of my new ‘two posts a week’ rule, I’m splitting NicFest! into two and dragging it out. (Oh, if only).

So, tune in tomorrow for another thrilling instalment!*

*I’m reasonably sure that’s a figure of speech. Tuning in literally tomorrow may not produce results.

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