Thursday, 15 September 2011

It all happens in New York!!

Sunrise after the storm
The New York US Open experience is now over for another year .. and what fun it was!!  The flip flops made an appearance on the practice courts just so they could prove they were there!  
With Hurricane Irene making such an impact just prior to it all starting we imagined we would be delayed and out there longer than we expected, (which we were) but nature is a strange thing and by Sunday evening you would hardly know anything had happened in that part of the country aside from a few twigs and leaves scattered around the place.
We had fabulous weather for the first few days, hot and humid (which always makes it feel hotter than it is) and we battled with hot studio lights, shiny faces and unruly hair! (The Sally Hersberger range of hair products was a great find .. works amazingly well on curly flyaway hair .. I'm even using it on myself now!) Then it all changed and rained incessantly for two days which we knew then would definitely set us back at least an extra day. Our make-up and green room under the studio was wet where the water had seeped through overnight and I spent some time mopping up and making it useable for when the presenters arrived. (Luckily I had kept my kit off the floor!) The cover on the overhang at the end of the studio had filled with water too and started leaking into the back of the set so it was eventually removed and we were without it for the second day of rain which then brought about another set of problems .. wet chairs, presenters getting spray on their jackets etc etc  ... oh the joys of location shooting!  
Guest presenter Boris Becker 
It had stopped raining when it was finally replaced and they got the air conditioning sorted out and mostly it was problem free after that. The weather remained warm and sunny with just the threat of an occasional shower or two but generally things went ahead as planned for each day. The on-site catering was pretty good and we had a great choice of food every day. 
We also had great guests, great tennis and long hours but it was a wonderful experience. I had to use the subway system when it was raining because it was nigh on impossible to get a cab .. a 10 minute power walk, 5 stops on the 6 train downtown and able to get the bus to the grounds which took on average around 25 minutes on a good day.

I did manage to get a bit of shopping done too .. the stores stay open late on a Thursday and Friday and some stay open all the time. Duane Reide which is a large pharmacy chain selling everything from make up to food stay open 24 hours!  There's one on almost every few blocks!   And despite my gruelling schedule I still managed to get to a friend's birthday celebrations at a new restaurant in the West Village, Fatty Cue which is South East Asian barbeque cuisine, although I was late and missed the food! Another little find was a bar in the neighbourhood where I was staying, Brandy's Piano Bar on 83rd street. It features live music every night until 3am.  You are encouraged to request songs and sing along although it is not karaoke! Every so often a jar gets passed around so the piano player can get paid!  A great way to end an evening!

I also managed to squeeze in a visit to a FNO event at Saks Fifth Avenue with some NY friends after work last Thursday.  The store was buzzing with people, in fact the whole city was packed with fashionistas with it being New York Fashion week!  Everyone eager to collect as many samples and photos with designers and models as they could. There were DJ's on every floor pumping out club music at high volume.  It was all a bit much for me after a long day so my friend's 16 year old daughter and I bailed and got a cab home .. however, I did manage to score a few samples for myself!
I have visited New York many times but this time I really felt like I was living there .. buildings and surroundings became very familiar and I feel more in touch with the city than ever before .. and I still love it!!  I don't think I will ever tire of it. I am back there next week for a well needed few days off but New York is never a holiday .. it's a vibrant place with lots to do, a city that never sleeps.  I guess Irene was a bit of a blessing in disguise for me .. two days of being indoors with nothing to do but relax before the onslaught of over two weeks of twelve hour days without a break .. I have returned home absolutely shattered but extremely grateful for the opportunity I have just had.

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