The One Where 60 Postcards Hits NYC

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

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I hoped that this trip would be special. It really has knocked my expectations out of the park, though, and continues to be more magical than I imagined. It has been non-stop exploring, eating, drinking, laughing, wandering and postcard dropping. I am not quite sure how I am going to document absolutely everything on here at the moment – just so much has happened! Until I make a game plan, here is a little summary…..

Location, Location, Location

After a frantic and disorganised start to my accommodation, it has ended up working out wonderfully.

On my first night I headed to Stephanie‘s place in west Midtown. As she was in rehearsal until later, I dropped in to a local café for some much-needed coffee fuel as the jet lag was wearing me down. It was amazing to see her and to meet her best friend, Uthman, who was dancing around the lounge (naturally). It made me feel so grateful for those handwritten postcards in Paris which have resulted in a beautiful friendship across the pond.

Beccy arrived the next day and off we went to our Airbnb pad in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  We were a little apprehensive as the taxi pulled up into a deserted industrial estate, but once we walked around the corner we saw just how cool it was. Street art, galleries, vintage stores and coffee shops galore – this place has a real East London vibe. It’s New York’s Dalston (except it’s even more hipster). Vogue rates it as one of the top 15 coolest neighbourhoods in the world and that was judged in September – if they knew I was going to visit, I may have ruined it for them. I’ll never be ‘cool’.

Next up I stayed with lovely James (brother of my great friend, Emma) on the Upper East Side and given the fact that James and his girlfriend had never met me before, they couldn’t have made me feel more welcome! They gave me a set of keys and told me to drop in and out as I pleased and I loved hanging out with them for beers and chats (and educating me on baseball).

I swung up to the Upper West Side a couple of days later to stay in Rachel’s room while she was off for a weekend in the Hamptons. I lived with Rachel when I first moved to London and I have loved being able to hang out with her as she settles into New York life as a masters student at Columbia.

A few blocks away was my next abode where I hit my next Airbnb, hosted by John, Marcus and Randy. Owner of the flat, John, also owns a bar just moments away where I listened to some great (and horrifying) karaoke.

Planned and Surprise Meetings

 

1077813_10152694164825873_7461421021505324876_o-2Before I left for NYC I had been in touch with some people about meeting up. Most of them are friends but two were people I have never met. Ashley is one of the girls who runs a NY & LA blog called, Wanderlust in the City and we got on fabulously as we chatted about the project while we searched for a spot to leave a postcard together.

Meghan Markle is mostly known for her part as Rachel Zane in the USA TV series, Suits. She also runs a successful lifestyle blog called, The Tig. I emailed her blog team about my NYC mission (if you don’t know about that, read more here!), as I wanted to spread the word about the project in the hope that perhaps they could put a tweet out. Never, ever did I imagine that Meghan would get back to me personally saying that she would love to be involved. She was so lovely and so supportive of 60 Postcards. It is great to have her as part of #Team60Postcards.

I have met many new people along the way but the two most surprising have been at book events. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham – utter legends – were two people I never thought I’d meet in life, let alone in NYC on this trip. Both with new books out, I was lucky enough to get in to hear them speak at their separate events, get a book signed and even chat to them briefly in person. AND Lena has one of the 60 postcards. Wow. Now, lets all tell her to read it! (Look out for a tweet tomorrow. Retweet away!)

60 Postcards Stateside  

Postcards have been scattered left, right and centre and I still have a few more planned for over the weekend. It has been terrifying but fun, emotional but an honour and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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To everyone who wrote a postcard, you can expect the following when I return:

  • A map marking the postcard’s location
  • Information about the hiding spot
  • A few snaps of the area and the postcard where it is left
  • A description of what happened when I left it

What else has happened? I saw Adam Driver from Girls on my flight (must have been a sign), listened to the most wonderful gay man trying to calm down some angry youths on the subway by throwing imaginary glitter on them, I’ve bought shoes the wrong size by mistake, experienced my first bike ride for years on the treacherous roads of New York, danced at a drag bar, got sunburnt in Central Park, drenched in the rain outside the Lincoln Centre this morning and left many bars feeling tipsy and totally in love with this city.

I may only have a few days left here but I don’t intend to waste one minute of it. The fun isn’t over yet. I still have work to do, events to attend and one more meeting with an inspirational man.

Sending love from NYC.

Speak soon,

Rachael  x

The Lost, The Found & NYC Bound…

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

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I lost the plot last weekend, for sure. ‘Moving house is stressful’, people warned me. ‘I’ve got this’, I thought to myself smugly as I looked around my room, absolutely certain that I could do it with my own bare hands. It’s just up the road – no need for a man in a van. More fool me.

I’m in now, but as I began to unpack (or at least attempt to move things from one bag or box to another), I seemed to embark on a journey of the lost and found…

After four years in my last home I had accumulated more crap than I ever thought possible and it is no wonder that things had gone awry between flats, especially given my decision to throw half of my belongings out ready for my new clutter-free existence. The problem with that came when I realised a few pretty important items were missing: paperwork, a couple of notebooks, chargers. (I’m still hoping they show up at some point.)

Then came the possessions I found: tickets, cards and letters. My own reactions took me by surprise. Mum’s handwriting was something I felt too broken to see soon after her passing but this time it felt comforting, in a way. A message from her in a Christmas card from 2011 read, ‘I hope you get all that you wish for in 2012’, which hit me hard. Though, on reflection, it was more of a quick, sharp pain than the constant ache I used to feel. Sympathy cards and letters of condolence were tough to read at first but they also gave me strength, as I was reminded just how wonderful my family and friends are. It was a significant moment for me. The words I always despised to hear, ‘It gets better in time’, finally began to make a little more sense.

Thinking so much about Mum led me to think about my postcard project – the next adventure to NYC – and it was at this point where I could almost sense her eye roll, chuckle and sigh as I scrambled, frantically, through my belongings to find the fundamental item for my trip. I had LOST my flipping PASSPORT. Thankfully, after about 15 minutes (felt like more) of muttering, ‘No, no, no, no, no’, I managed to retrieve it. A classic case of taking the ‘safe place’ too far.

So the passport may be back with me but I explained in my last post that I had not been overly organized on the accommodation front for New York. Well, it was only last night that I managed to secure a roof over my head for the first six nights. Paris postcard finder, Stephanie, is kindly putting me up for an evening. I am going straight from the airport to meet her at her dance studios to watch a rehearsal. I couldn’t imagine a better (or more apt) way to start the trip. Then I am hitting an Airbnb with my friend, Beccy. As for the rest of the trip….ummmm….your guess is as good as mine (but someone kindly pointed out that the subway is open 24 hours, so I should be OK.)

Now, somehow, it is the day before I fly and I face the same old pre-holiday quandaries. I haven’t lost the stone I had planned to because, honestly? I haven’t really tried. I haven’t bought a new wardrobe because I spent too much going for a ‘couple’ a few too many times. I haven’t got a gorgeous glow to my skin because I’m a little too afraid to go back on a sunbed after the time I made the error of putting the eye protectors on my……(don’t. Just, don’t). BUT, I do still have time to dye the greys out of my hair. Result.

I wonder if I will ever be a proper, real life grown up? As the thirty-first birthday approaches, I think it’s probably just time to admit that this is me. And now I better get ‘me’ checked-in online before I forget to do that, too.

Speak to you from across the pond.

Happy hump day (so to speak).

Rachael x

 

 

 

My Love for Your Postcards, NYC & More!

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

‘Life admin’ – a phrase which haunts me but is unfortunately a necessary part of….well…life. New York planning and flat hunting have taken over these past couple of weeks. Thankfully a flat has been found. And the best bit about it, is that my new pad is moments away from my current abode. As if I could ever leave Kings Cross when it feels like home to me now? Even this morning I was strolling (running) along the canal when I bumped into the lovely Naomi from Pop up 38 who is in the local area!

Now I am back, here are the latest 60 Postcards updates!…….

60 Postcards Stateside, Scattered for You! THERE IS STILL TIME!……

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I have been blown away, moved to tears and completely honoured to receive such beautiful postcards from you as part of my next mission to scatter postcards around New York City on your behalf. Thank you so much to those who have sent them in and I promise to be in touch via email next week.

I know that I originally set a date and decided on 60 Postcards, but given a few messages from people unable to send one in that time and by an overwhelming sense of passion about doing this on reading those I already have, I see no point in limiting this mission. I have two and a half weeks out there. So if you still want to be a part of it or know someone who does, there is still time! The new date for them to be received by is Wednesday 17th September.

***FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED HERE!***

NYC Meet Ups

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So, the countdown to my trip is on. One week today, I will be sat on the plane and giddy with nerves and excitement while watching as many films as possible! Standard.

Accommodation plans have been hilariously unorganised, what with permanent accommodation drama in my own city going on! I will be couch surfing and airbnb-ing with the odd hotel thrown in. You name it, I’m doing it. It will all be part of the adventure!

I am über excited about meeting people out there: old friends, colleagues, a uni mate, postcard finders and more.

The first person I will see is one of my closest friends, Beccy. I used to live with Beccy and she was such a driving force in the creation of 60 Postcards and came along to Paris when the magic first happened. Currently working at the Toronto Film festival, Beccy is then joining me in NYC for a 5 day catch up. We have been dreaming of meeting on an NYC roof terrace for years and she is the perfect accomplice to help with my new postcard mission!

Other people who I cannot wait to see are:

Stephanie – The gorgeous ballet dancer who found a postcard in Paris and who has become a great friend. The last time I saw her was when she flew over for my book launch!

Julie – A brief meeting while taking part in an Inside Out project in Times square is the only time I have spent with lovely Julie, but we are in contact and ready for a catch up!

Max – I dashed into the shop he worked in to drop a postcard off last year and now I finally get to meet him properly. It is perfect timing as I am going to join him for his birthday celebrations!

Rita – My lovely postcard finder from the Foxwoods theatre on Broadway has said that I may be able to get a tour of the theatre and go for a long overdue coffee!

Chloe – I met Chloe on my Business Design short course at Central St Martins. We may not have been in the same group during the week, but we can make up for it now as I am searching her out in NYC!

A Caring Hand – I got in touch with this children’s bereavement charity in the hope that I can go in to find out more about what they do. I have heard back from them and, fingers crossed, will have that opportunity!

I am also going to meet a girl who runs a successful lifestyle blog about NYC. She is going to help me with the postcards and blog about it while I am out there. I am also excited to meet a mystery postcard helper who a lot of you will know of….more on that in the future!

Apologies for my recent disappearance and I will be back to regular blogging next week.

I look forward to receiving your postcards.

Love as always,

Rachael xx