Lincoln, I Love You

I’m backdating a bit here but a little while ago it was Memorial Day. Where better to celebrate than Washington, DC; capital of the USA and experts at building memorials. In preparation, I touched up on my USA history lessons thanks to YouTube (links to Drunk history are on the right hand side – hilarious!) before catching the bus down to Virginia with some friends from work.

We visited the Kennedy Center (DC’s equivalent to the Lincoln Center), the contemporary art museum and waved to the thousands of bikies that came into town to participate in the loud motorcycle parade, the Roll of Thunder. Some brilliant moustaches noted!

the Roll of Thunder  Sweet ride

Highlight was definitely seeing the man himself, Abraham Lincoln, sitting in all his glory and overlooking the long reflecting pool and the rest of Washington. Also managed to fit in afternoon tea with Obama and the fam.

Obama-nation

Continuing on the Lincoln theme, seeing I’ve been here working at the Lincoln Center Festival (and haven’t even mentioned it!) and I am yet to delve into the wonderful world of US internships, I thought it was about time I started. However, where do I begin!

The world’s largest performing arts center, The Lincoln Center is made up of the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts Inc (LCPA - who present the International Arts Festival amongst 3 other summer fests) and 12 constituent arts companies including the following impressive list: The Metropolitan Opera, NY City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater, NY Philharmonic Orchestra, The American School of Ballet, The Lincoln Center Film Institute and a few others. Everyone comes together on the beautiful 16 acres campus that has recently undergone a massive billion dollar redevelopment (now one can enjoy the ‘Illumination Lawn’ whilst sitting in the plaza).

 

Lincoln Center Plaza reno

 The Lincoln Center Festival presents a program of international artists and this year runs for a mighty 6 weeks (normally 4) thanks to the incredible 5 show run by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Performing in a replica Shakespearean stage shipped from the RSC’s home in Strafford upon Avon in the UK, the Festival has achieved an amazing feat and built this incredible 950 seat performance space in the Drill Hall of one of New Yorks oldest buildings, the beautifully ornate Park Avenue Armory. Incredible!

Festival built Shakespearean stage in the Park Avenue Armory

The internship itself has been a combination of EVERYTHING, rewarding, challenging, fun, tiring, exciting and at times, absolutely mad like all good festivals are. Working in a US work environment at such a prestigious and large-scale organisation took a while to get used to, but once the festival began, the real bonding started. We are a smallish team at the festival, but what is brilliant is that we work on the same level as everyone at LCPA so I have been lucky to meet people from all departments, including the inspirational Lincoln Center President, Reynold Levy. Once the president of the International Rescue committee, Reynold has challenged me to read his book on corporate philanthropy (cover to cover he specified) before he then hands my resume onto the IRC. Time is ticking!

Other highlights include the Midsummer Night Swing outdoor festival stage with nightly free music, RSC parties at the park avenue armory on opening nights, watching the crazy Brazilian Tom Ze take apart his guitar and play it like a whistle and welcoming my good friends from Druid in Galway here to New York to perform ‘The Silver Tassie.’

So much more to say about Lincoln Center, but I will leave it at that for now. Will try to be more diligent with the updates, however free time is a luxury during festival!

Posted in Love for the Lincoln Center | Leave a comment

4th of July

Thanks to the lovely friends of Parky, Jen and Digger, the fourth of July was celebrated on a 42nd street apartment balcony overlooking the Hudson river. On a rooftop near by, the faint chants of USA! USA! USA! ensured we knew where we were.

Front row seats for the fireworks with a bunch of Aussies and our oh so hospitable hosts; Hayley and Michael, we knew we had hit jackpot!

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On the L, we’re doin’ swell

I’ve been here over a month now and I’m slowly learning to spell organization with a ‘zee,’ ride my bike on the wrong side of the road and write my dates backwards (which is both annoying and confusing).

I’ve settled into my rad neighbourhood and am finding the time to frequent more of the million bars and cafe’s that are conveniently located within walking distance from my crib. The short stumble home from Bedford, Berry St and Manhattan Avenue is appealing but slightly concerning for my bank account!

Brooklyn Brewery is right around the corner, I recently visited with high hopes that it would compare to Little Creatures…instead I was treated to what seemed like a college frat party, drinking games, pizza boxes and tacky table cloths galore.

Having a bad time at Brooklyn Brewery

 

Luckily the night was redeemed after a visit to a newly opened bar across the street on Manhattan Avenue with my housemates, Kevin and Katie. It’s that trendy, it doesn’t have a name. 

Another local hangout for hipsters is the trendy 5 leaves cafe on the corner of my block. Opened by an Australian and apparently once linked to our man Heath Ledger, they understand what I mean when I order a flat-white! It’s a little dorky how excited this makes me. Their breakfast menu compares to that of Van’s so it’s no surprise that people spill out the front doors on weekends.

Darn good cwoffee from 5 leaves

Pancakes to die for, thank-you 5 leaves

Being next to McCarren Park is one of the other rad things about living in Greenpoint/Williamsburg. When the sun is out, the atmosphere is lovely, people picnicking, handball and baseball games galore and groups drinking cheap margarita’s in styrofoam cups from the bar on the corner…It’s hard not to want to get involved! The running track, the Saturday farmers’ market, the Sunday Brooklyn Flea and the endless outdoor sporting spots are just some of the awesome things about my ‘burb. Living in Brooklyn, or BK as the funksters remind me, couldn’t be cooler.

Sunny McCarren Park

The weekend normally finishes up with the Williamsburg kickball competition where they play until 11pm on Sunday nights. They pump the music, kick a massive yellow ball around and have a bloody good time. You need a huge ‘must-do’ list here so you don’t miss out on anything. Mine includes a Tuesday night spent at The Manhattan Inn across the road where they do Piano Karaoke. Only in the USA.

In other news, it’s official. I’m on my way to becoming a full-blown gangsta (it’s true, my freestyle rapping could use some improvement but here, I can learn from the pro’s). I went to my first American hiphop/funk dance class the other day and it was awesome. Everyone was so into it, pumping, grinding, locking, only like American’s could.

So my first month has been an absolute blast. I’ve seen Foals play an awesome gig, stalked the filming of ‘Glee,’ visited the enchanting Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and had a night at the theatre amongst other adventures. I have my overseas family, Prue, Nathan and Stacey, giving me lots of Aussie love and I’ve started my management intern with the Lincoln Center, which is going super well. I will delve into the details soon. Enjoy the pictures.

Word.

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Finally thought of a name, the blogging can begin…Welcome!

After much deliberation and cafe napkin brainstorming, a blog name has finally been decided. Beards, Books and Boroughs sums up my initial impression of New York City and here you will be treated to the quirks, stories and photos from a city that resembles a popular fruit.

The first two weeks have been enjoyably exhausting as I have ticked off the must see sights, visited the different ‘burbs and bars and joined Dan on the Ghostbuster film tour during his NYC holiday adventure (not to mention a stop at the Seinfeld cafe for cwoffee and apple pie).

So, before I dig into the intricacies of this incredible city, I wanted to first share the more familiar landmarks with you all. Enjoy the photos!

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Posted in Welcome to the blog, I hope you're having a nice day | Leave a comment