(….and films. And Boston)
You might have guessed from my Instagram spamming, that I’ve been in Massachusetts and New York. I visited friends and family in NY and thought I’d make a little detour to B-Town before heading down to the Big Apple. Travelling on your own is not something to be afraid of, by the way. I know, I know – it’s daunting. And a bit lonely sometimes – I definitely felt it at points. But you get to see a lot, be selfish annnnd…..just call me Billy No Mates.
Preachy stuff aside, I wanted to write a little something about my trip. Not because I’m trying to be a travel blogger. We’ve got far too many of them, thanks very much. But because TV and film inspired me to visit a lot of these places.
Boston Public Garden
I would have probably skipped it entirely and just wandered around Boston common if it wasn’t for the famous bench scene in the film Good Will Hunting. And actually this garden is so much nicer. I had a beautiful summers day to help the situation. Like Matt and Robin, it would be a nice place to make memories with someone. Not just wander round on your tod like me.
Classic. No one does know your name……BUT if you loved this sitcom like my old man, you’d want to check this out. I didn’t actually go inside (I was wandering around at like 9am and it doesn’t open until 11am, who’d have thunk it) but apparently it doesn’t look anything like the TV show. So be warned.
Coffee Drinking Al Fresco
Sheesh. I am starting to sound like every-person-who-writes-a-blog aren’t I. Bear with me. I sat outside a lovely cafe called Wired Puppy and felt like some cool Carrie Bradshaw or Hannah Horvath in Girls when she’s having one of her multiple book meetings. It’s not New York, granted. But Newbury Street certainly gives it a good run for its money. Again it was a beautiful summers day. And I had a ball eating my pistachio muffin and drinking my flat white. Time to think, read the paper. And WhatsApp your mum on the free wifi (who will not stop asking me what I’m doing or where I’m going).
I had Legally Blonde and The Social Network films in my head when I went to see this college. Never mind the fact it’s one of the most highly rated academic colleges in the world; it was movies that gave me the push I needed to come and have a gander. I wanted to look at the building Reese Witherspoon sees when she first rocks up to law school (don’t pretend you don’t love this film). I wanted to see the campus Jesse Eisenberg’s character runs across when he’s trying to get Facebook all set up. (But I couldn’t place any of it. I mean…it’s MASSIVE around there)
I first heard of Salem through the so-called cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch (sorry Arthur Miller) and then Hocus Pocus. And THEN I got round to reading The Crucible. It’s a strange little place (because they are obsessed with witches – it’s literally everywhere) but also really beautiful in places. And quaint.
Eating on my One
Above everything else, this is what I was most scared to do. So I don’t remember an exact scene in films when this has happened but I’m pretty sure it has, which made me feel validated. Oh and really no one gives a toss if you’re eating on your own. They might feel sorry for you for ten seconds. But then they remember they have better things to be thinking about.
Greyhound Bus Life
Gotta be done when you don’t have your own ride. Also they’re half price compared to the train. Also I couldn’t take any luggage on the train apparently (weird). Also – it’s featured in Cocktail. Enough of a reason.
Eating in a Diner
I saw my friend from Long Island, Hunter, for a wonderful meal once I got to New York. We caught up at Miss Lily’s (an amazing Carribean restaurant in the East Village) and I was telling him about my desire for a proper good American breakfast. Big Daddy’s Diner it was. Pancakes, sausages, eggs. I felt like I was in a scene from Home Alone. (Even though there’s no such scene in the film…but he does eat ALOT. So…sort of the same)
Bypassing the Friend’s Exterior Block by Accident
I came to New York to see my best friend Ellie, her lovely husband Pete and my other friend from university, Al. I think I enjoyed NYC tonnes more than Boston. Home is where the heart is and all that jazz. And it was great to finally have human contact. We went for an amazing dinner and happened to stroll by the road in Greenwich Village which is used for the outside of the apartment shot in Friends. I think Ellie went out of her way to make sure we walked past it (‘this will be so good for Screenster!’). My pals know me so well.
This was followed by a trip here to see some good ol’ stand up comedy. And by gum. It’s worlds apart from the stuff in London. Mainly because ACTUAL Hollywood actors come and try out material. Alex saw Amy Schumer here one evening not long ago! And also Aziz Ansari. How impressive is that. Most of the guys here were great. The lady was also good (there should have been more females) but her voice sounded like a dolphin giving birth and grated on me by the end. Ellie was starstruck by a guy called T.J Miller – an actor who stars in her latest favourite HBO show Silicon Valley. I need to give this a go!
Ellie and Pete live in Brooklyn and took me around Dumbo (I had to ask 3 times whether it was as-in-the-elephant-name because I thought I heard it wrong). Dumbo is beautiful and if you ever want to stay in a hotel in Brooklyn, stay in the 1 Hotel because the rooftop has the best view ever. (I snuck up to look at the sights). Cor, I am beginning to sound like a wannabe travel blogger aren’t I. (But do you like my photography skills?!)
Scouting out Greenpoint
When E & P left to go and watch the US open women’s final, I wandered around Williamsberg and Greenpoint with Al. It was such a wonderful day and I felt so content sitting on the side was a huuuaaage slice of pizza and some Coca Cola (we were really hungover). I then dragged him to Grumpy Cat Café in Greenpoint. Well actually he was really keen to go there too. But I’d heard that’s where Ray’s café in Girls was located. Naturally it looked nothing like what I imagined and the café itself is in a bizarre quiet street corner which I hadn’t pictured. But Greenpoint was wonderful and I felt like I was an accomplished cool kid. Favourite moment of the day – sitting in the café with Al, watching the world go by.
Restaurants in Brooklyn
I’m sure so many of these are used as locations for films. They’re all so cosy and atmospheric and my god, you have so much choice. We drank in their favourite bar and followed this up with shrimp fajitas in a French/Mexican place. I love the non-stop eating culture in America. The endless choices and the cute little streets where you stumble upon a brilliant food place. Suits me just fine.
Bryant Park and New York Public Library
Beautiful views with a coffee and a muffin in the morning. Before heading to a famous architect’s exhibition at MoMA, Ellie tried to show me the grand stairs of the Public Library. At uni we used to watch Sex and the City religiously. And there’s a famous/heartbreaking scene in the movies when Carrie gets ready for her wedding to Big but gets stood up. I wanted to feel part of it and imagine what it would have been like to film in such a grand location. Alas – that section of the library wasn’t open at this time. When Pete tried to fish this information out of someone he instead got a lecture on what he should do in New York City. Telling the woman he lived there didn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference…
Baseball with my Family
My cousin Charlie organised tickets for us to see the Mets versus Cincinnati with her lovely husband Ben and super cute kids. It’s my first baseball game. Heck, it’s my first live American sports experience. Something I’ve always watched in films and television and desperately wanted to do. Grab a hotdog, shoot the shit and watch the game. Get fat, sip some coke and fall in love with the handsome stranger next to you. Hah. Reality was better. I got to catch up with my cousin and put the world to rights. A wonderful day.
Have you had a good week?? Sorry my blog posts have been minimal. It’s best I don’t overload you with holiday info – i’m guessing there’s only so much you want to hear. We all know how irritating these can get. But I do this with good intentions, I promise. I want to remind you that film and TV can challenge us to experience new things. I sat in a bar on my own and made friends because they do it in movies. That means it’s OK then, right?! I went to a baseball game because it’s a classic sporting scene in many US based films. I mean how many of you know of baseball through anything other than our screens? Read about it in the newspaper? Not really. Heard of it in Time Out? Nope, didn’t think so.
And don’t forget about lots of new British dramas at the moment. Rellik, Liar and season 2 of Doctor Foster. Which I’ve heard mixed reviews of from friends, but I’m going to give it a shot. Have a lovely day. And don’t forget to stay in touch and let me know what you watched.