The day we met Alec Baldwin!

Today we read that the Union Square Market was going to be on a Monday – as it’s the public holiday, so we hightailed it down there to have a look around.  On one of my last journey’s here I purchased a fabulous framed photograph from a stall at this market, so was looking forward to it.

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When we go there though it was just the farmer’s market… still good, but not what we were after…

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So we walked through the park and headed south down Broadway towards an art exhibition that I had read about.

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But after walking a few blocks the exhibition tents weren’t coming into view where I thought they were meant to be, so I double checked my map… and we were on the wrong street, so a quick right hand turn was made and we were back on track.

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We were commenting on how lovely this street was and I was thinking that if I had steered us in the right direction from the get go, we would never had walked down this street and then……. who should be getting out of his car with his wife and four kids?

Alec Baldwin!

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In New York you’re meant to just ignore famous people when you see them, but I couldn’t quite help myself.  “Hello Mr Baldwin.” we said. “Hello Ladies.” was his reply as he broke into some light humming while he put his bags on a luggage trolley.

We at least waited until we were at the end of the street to take our discrete photos.

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Reeling at our star sighting we pursued the art exhibition and then headed down to Washington Park for a sit and a stare are people.

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There was a fair bit of squirrel action in this tree – it’s the oldest tree in the park, we were informed by a passer by who was informing anybody who might be listening.


In the centre of the park there is a huge fountain and surrounding it and plenty of seating for people to just sit and watch.

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There were a few stalls there selling bits and pieces like these revolution badges and magnets….  One of them said “Go Fact Yourself!”  Clever.

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There was also heaps of people playing music either on their own – busker style, or in a group like these people.  They all had instruments or makeshift percussion and they sounded great.  People were stopping a while to have a listen.  It was a great atmosphere.

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The land was once marsh land and in 1797 the City’s Common Council acquired it for use as a “Potter’s Field” and for public executions, giving rise to the legend of the ‘Hangman’s Elm in the park’s northwest corner.

Isn’t that spooky?

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There was some kiddies doing a bit of jump rope for heart style double dutch… the man there was yelling at them to do it right – so it must have been great fun for the kids!

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And this kid who I think was busking, but really he was just walking around, back and forth to his mum, then back to his ‘post’ where he’d play a few notes and head back to mum.  Is there anything more fun than a kid with a trombone?


Then there were people who just wanted a bit of sun…. it was completely overcast today.  Completely.

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This man was just minding his own business, asking for donations for bird feed.  He obviously loved those birds and probably had a name for each one.  As we were slowly walking towards him ML overheard a man saying to his son, “He has to be crazy!  Nobody in their right mind would let pigeons crawl all over him.” So that was a lovely introduction for the young boy in acceptance and a well rounded love for all animals.

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Then there was this man, playing his harp.  I love the sound of the harp and insisted we sit for a minute to listen.  He was so soft though that we couldn’t hear anything.  We could see his fingers moving and his lips were moving in a song like motion, but no sound.  I had a dollar at the ready to give to him, but that went straight back into my pocket.  He was clearly there for a bit of practice.

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I love me a bit of Banksy art and my lovely cousin Chris just sent me an email letting me know that there had been some Banksy pieces found around NYC just recently, so I was on the lookout….. I don’t think this is one of his, but wouldn’t it be great it if was?

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Alec Baldwin’s neck of the woods is so lovely, just look at the pretty flower boxes.  It really doesn’t take much, does it? (Says the person with 6 brown thumbs!)

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I still love fire escapes.

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We had a little giggle at the name of this street, but apparently Dave Van Ronk was a popular American folk singer…

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He loved a bit of old English ballads, blues, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing. He was also known for performing instrumental ragtime guitar music – so a real allrounder!

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We were headed up to 14th Street to get the subway home when I realised we were crossing Grove Street which meant that just down the street is the “Friends'” building.  Nothing was ever filmed there – it was just used as an exterior shot for the opening credits, but everybody loves it.  So ML donned her new poncho and we turned left.

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Passing the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

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And “Marie’s Crisis” – this is a place where they apparently play show tunes and popular songs and everybody is encouraged/expected to sing along.  We had planned to go there while we were here, but we completely forgot about it until ML spotted it!  Must try and fit that in!

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Grove Street is so lovely – and packed with bloody tourists [:-/]  Look at the lovely little bird house somebody put on the tree.

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And here it is.  It doesn’t even really match in with the interior apartments in Friends – the window placement doesn’t make sense, but then again it is only TV and we shouldn’t worry ourselves too much with continuity.  [NB: I just told ML about my theory that the outside doesn’t match the inside and she said “I don’t know why you’re worrying about it?”. Good to see we’re on the same page.]

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Then on the ground level of the building is not the fictitious cafe – Central Perk, but the very real restaurant called Little Owl.

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I have been here a couple of times on previous visits and have loved it – my favourite dish is the Meatball Sliders and they’re still on the menu – so clearly I’m not the only one who loves them.

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I think if I were to live in NYC this is the area that I’d have to move to – in fact probably this street.

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And probably into this house.

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This house probably has its fire escape at the back…
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After about 2 seconds discussion it was decided that we would about turn on our journey to 14th Street Subway and walk down to Little Italy for a late lunch/ Duplex dinner before returning home.

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Number 10 Downing Street is looking a little shabby since T. May moved in!  Just saying….

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We weaved our way through the streets, which is the best way to see/find interesting things – like this little line of market stalls.  The first one was an eccentric old lady selling her collection of old jewellery including some amazing brooches.

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Now, I love me a brooch, so I made a small purchase.

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Then around another corner we came across the NYFD doing what they do best.  I’m not sure what was wrong, but it required 4 fire trucks, about 20 firemen and a big ladder.

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There is art everywhere you look – this had been spray-painted on the ground.  Honestly, if you’re not looking up, you have to be looking down – your neck really gets a work out here.

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We weren’t sure if this was somebody moving or if all this stuff had just been tossed from an upstairs apartment window…. nobody looked too fussed.

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Then we made it to Mulberry Street – the heart of Little Italy.

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We parked ourselves at Da Gennaro restaurant and enjoyed a lovely Italian meal and a couple of wines.

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This lady was actually dining with this man, but she insisted on standing next to him the whole time.  It looked like she had a firm grip on his shoulder.

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Then as a little treat we ordered dessert and ML had her first ever taste of a real New York baked cheesecake – her verdict: “I don’t like a baked cheesecake, but that was lovely!”

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Then unfortunately this chap started playing his piano accordion just as it was time for us to leave.  Typical!

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ML had been talking all day abut having to get some cash out at the ATM… but had second thoughts about using this one.

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Honestly, sometimes she’s so picky.  Don’t worry Colin – I didn’t really use it!


Then we hit Times Square again and everything just seemed as it should be – especially with this lady posing on this stand.  She wasn’t a model or anything – just posing, as you do.

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Bev O’Brien – this photo is especially for you…

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And Jo Coppin….. this one is especially for you.

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You’re welcome ladies.

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