A few of my French readers have asked me several times to post a little something about New York.
Lack of time and being forgetful contributed to putting New York in a corner… for now. And as you all know, nobody puts New York in a corner.
Spending the Thanksgiving weekend in The City That Never Sleeps is the perfect opportunity to finally satisfy the French obsession for New York.
Ô Chateau’s blog Stuff Parisians Like hit it right on the head when they wrote “Paris is every Parisians’ wife. New York is their mistress”.
The French are fascinated by New York – it’s a fact. In their minds, they think of New York as everything France is not: energetic and cosmopolitan.
They should really know that Americans have the same obsession with Paris. Ah, Paris et la belle France they all say. Quaint and historical come back regularly in conversations.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the Atlantic. I wonder if it would make New Yorkers and Parisians appreciate their cities a bit more knowing the infatuation they generate on each side.
It was a cold Thanksgiving morning.
The table was already set in preparation for the upcoming feast, the sun was slowly rising, the streets were still chilly and shaded.
Yet, the lack of wind and people around made it that much more enjoyable.
The crowds were gathering on the path of the Thanksgiving Parade. Adults and kids – all waiting for their favorite balloons.
And then they came out of nowhere. Giants led by strings through the buildings and the streets.
All eyes looking up at the sky. Kids on dad’s shoulders.
Mum, look it’s Snoopy!
And even if the Parade lasts for 3 hours, it’s an event no one will miss whether watching on TV at home or in the streets of New York City.
Even French tourists gathered around the police barricades to catch a glimpse of this American tradition, which started in the 1920s.
C’est vraiment incroyable, I heard behind me.
Last minute food shopping. Everything should be under control.
Thanksgiving is a big affair. We’ll be cooking all day.
Is the menu finalized?
As always, it will be too much food. But that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. And despite our best efforts to reduce the number of dishes, it will still be too much food.
With 9 people around the table, the cooking fest was about to begin.
So we will start with a Hungarian paprika-spiced cauliflower soup along with a roasted cranberry, grape and swiss chard salad.
And how many cooks are there in the kitchen? 4 cooks!
Who’s taking care of what? And who’s keeping an eye on the turkey?
The turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving table. Everyone has their own tricks to make it juicier, tastier and not dry. Cooking and roasting the Thanksgiving turkey is a national sport in this country.
Here’s what we ended up with:
Roasted and brined heritage turkey
Rabbit with gremolata and polenta
Roasted hen of the woods mushrooms
Cornbread stuffing with venison sausage and squash
Wild rice stuffing with cranberries, apples and walnuts
Lobster mashed potatoes
Caramelized Brussels sprouts with pancetta and sun-dried tomatoes
Golden beet and caramelized onion galette
Roasted sweet potatoes
Green beans almondine
Moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash
Still hungry? Thanksgiving is also known for its desserts!
Mixed berry pie
Bourbon pecan pie
Rustic Italian nut tart
Bacon-bourbon brownies with pecans
Mincemeat pie – which I learned does not contain any meat in it!
And because I am that much of a gourmand, I had to take a cooking break at some point to enjoy a piece of bacon brownie and get away from the kitchen ebullience.
Excesses without moderation – très Américain, I shall say.
New York was only waiting for us to come out the next day to show us its best assets with a warm, sunny and colorful weather.
Walking a bit on the High Line on the way to the Chelsea Market brings a certain pastoral charm to one’s surroundings.
The High Line is a pedestrian walkway along former elevated freight rail tracks.
A place where grass and nature can run wild. A green path through Chelsea, which begins in the Meatpacking District.
Old slaughterhouses and packing plants. Industrial vibe and red bricks.
There is always an abandoned hidden corner or alley to discover. The promise of a new place to venture in with the hopes to find a gem.
Maybe an unknown restaurant patio to rest when feeling peckish.
Or forgotten posters of John Lennon, Louis Armstrong and Madonna tucked between a loading dock and a boarded up nightclub.
An adventure on its own.
We ended up in Hell’s Kitchen and its Sunday’s flea market where everything and anything can be bought.
With the Lincoln Tunnel as a backdrop, the flea market is the most famous urban outdoor market in the city.
Old armchairs, fake furs, jewels and leather pants – the market has them all for you to bargain-hunt.
Feeling courageous and needing to digest a bit more, our walk took us to Central Park – the lungs of the city.
We observed birds on a bench, while others boated around the Lake.
We said hi to the carriage horses and played in the fall leaves.
It was 66 degrees – mais oui, 19! – and a perfect reason to lay on the Great Lawn and walk by the Reservoir.
New York is like Paris. You can’t see it all at once and you can’t talk about it in one single post.
There will always be some new streets, neighborhoods and areas to discover. It’s endless.
And when you think you’ve seen it all, it will surprise you once more.
The photo opportunities seem to wait for you at each street corner.
Scenes of life to capture as they unfold and happen in front of you.
A slice of urban heaven for those who enjoy the bustling and effervescence of the city.
A place where you can eat anything. And is there anything you cannot find in New York?
A quick movement, a split second – everything around already changed.
A traffic light turning green, a smoking sewer drain, a honking horn and a sea of pedestrians pushing their way through.
Walking home trough the quiet and private Gramercy Park via the Christmas Market of Union Square, the city had started to switch from celebrating Thanksgiving to focusing on the next Holidays to come.
And as tradition wants it, the Christmas trees were put up the day after Thanksgiving. Homes and stores newly decorated with green, red and crystal clear white lights.
New York forever changing and reinventing itself, announcing a new season to come and celebrate.
That’s a New York Minute – en un clin d’œil!