JEYNES JOURNEYS: “On your bike Big Apple”

Tourist shot!

So here we are in New York for the March edition of Children’s Club. Myself, Laura and this time Karen as well – her very first time in the Big Apple.

Trade at the show has been brisk again and we are all pleasingly comforted by the interest shown in JoJo.

Some of our lovely new accounts from January have stopped by to say “Hi” and place Fall 12 orders (notice my americanisation already) and if any have approached us with a small gap in between meeting and greeting they will have heard our chatter about how best to circumnavigate the big city outside the Javits Center.

New York is a huge city in every sense. Its arguably the financial capital of the world, the most recognisable and used city in films and it houses some of the most impressive and iconic architecture.

That said its an immensely easy and enjoyable city to walk around. Everywhere feels reachable and every street has a story: be it the famous corner restaurant where the girls from Sex and the City lunched to where apocalyptic tidal waves crash through the streets in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.

Its an exciting city to walk around and the grid system makes it easy to orientate yourself but then for me and Karen there’s also a thrill popping your hand out and shouting ‘taxi’. This is a place known for its sea of yellow taxis often responsible for the gridlocked streets but they’re plentiful, pretty cheap and although the majority of drivers have no real idea where most destinations are, they’re a fun way to get from a to b and see New York from a different perspective (provided you know exactly where to ask for!). . . which is where Laura and we disagree.

Armed with pre-paid subway tickets she is quite rightly up for trying to get around as much as possible without getting a cab. Her dislike of taxis is well-known here at JoJo so it leaves me and Karen feeling slightly naughty every time we jump in another cab pointing out there is no subway station near our destination and that carrying large suitcases is easier in a cab.

If I’m honest I’ve had so many disastrous journeys in my early years of visiting NY. How can I get to grips with the subway in Tokyo and Moscow where no English leaves a short trip to almost guesswork, yet here in Manhattan I always seem to get on the express train that shoots past the stop I want and I end up in Brooklyn or the Bronx? I like a challenge and I love the Tube in London so why does the NY subway fill me with angst?

If we had more time, less things to carry and more energy, we would give in to Laura’s absolute passion: cycling.

Over the last 5yrs, 250 miles of bike lanes have popped up over the city with an ambitious goal by Mayor Bloomberg to increase that to 1800 miles by 2030! There’s a bike path on the western side of Manhattan which links Central Park with Wall Street and is apparently the most heavily used bike lane in the United States!

They’re introducing a bike share scheme similar to the one in London with 10,000 bikes all over the city at 600 bike stations. Maybe Laura is on to something…

For me, if I really have enough time, you can’t beat walking. My favourite walk: down the Highline, through Meatpacking, over to leafy Bleecker Street and into SoHo always makes me feel happy. Its packed with small cafes, restaurants I keep meaning to try, beautiful shops and stunning brownstone buildings. You also pass by local nurseries, playgrounds and at the right time of the day, mums and nannies with kids in strollers, all of whom remind me why JoJo is going to be great here.

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