(Note: To understand the story from the beginning click here.)
It’s refresh your memory time! Before I embarked on my adventure to NYC, I gave readers options of a new challenge to choose from.
The winner was PROJECT INSPIRE! (See post).
Taking a sign stuffed in a suitcase seemed pretty stupid so we were off to get one printed out there (from none other than good old Staples) when Caroline had a moment of pure genius. With tourist shops galore we could simply write on a bag. Parfait! The shop owner was absolute comedy and found our love of all things NY hilarious. I am still unsure as to how I ended up having a photo with him.
Now, I will not lie to you. I cannot lie to you. This blog is an honest blog and that will never change. I have to confess, I had no idea how hard this task would be. I have no qualms with approaching (friendly looking) strangers but I can tell you some people definitely had qualms about me, haha! You see, without being a journalist with a fancy camera or being able to say that you are someone official, asking a stranger to have a photo with an I heart NY bag and what inspires them for a ‘personal blog’ – well you can imagine, it’s not all that easy.
I got some looks, I got some no’s and to be frank – I didn’t get 16.
But thankfully in life, when things don’t quite go to plan you can always turn to the people who will be there for you no matter what. My family have stepped in. I think it was a blessing in disguise too as they have told me things I have never heard before :).
So here we go – 16 photos and inspirations!
So, we were browsing in Tiffany’s (as you do) and took a trip up to the top floor where Caroline was getting a new part of a key-ring for her sister, Alexandra. Lewis, the man behind the front desk, was quite possibly the most chatty man I have ever met. He was my first Project Inspire candidate and was more than happy to be papped with the tackier-by-the-minute-looking bag. It was then several miles away that I realised that in the excitement of the moment that I had forgotten to ask him the question (told you this didn’t go to plan!)
Now I soon got over this as I realised that this meant I MUST return to New York. I have no doubt that I will get my answer. It will happen.
2. DJ PAIN & MC INFAMOUS
It took me a while to realise that Caroline had been stopped in the street by DJ Pain and MC Infamous. Selling their music on the streets of NY, they were extremely funny and charming (I love being called ‘girrrrl’) and just like Paris – another album had been purchased by us. Mugs? Us? Erm no – an eclectic mix of music is no bad thing!
“MUSIC! Making people happy by our songs. Making people dance when they hear the tunes!”
Ruben sells NY attractions tickets to tourists and it was soon after I had visited Macy’s (where Annabella found a postcard) that I was approached by him. I told Ruben that the tickets weren’t for me but the chat continued and he asked what I had been up to during my stay anyway. Here comes the 60 postcards speil……haha. Ruben was keen to have his photo taken for Project Inspire and his honest words left me in stitches…
“MONNNEYYY. Making Money inspires me!”
Urban Outfitters was where we found lovely Brigette who is a student in NYC. Poor Brigette was a little flustered at being questioned on the spot. I forgot these people were supposed to be working! Ooops!
“People who are passionate about what they do!”
Shop worker, Emelia, was by far the most giggly of all the folk I asked. I tried my best to explain what I was doing but through the laughter I think actually, to this day, Emelia still has no clue where this photo is going!
“My family inspires me. That’s all!”
Erin, working at the Chanel counter, was an absolute joy to be around. You can see that from his beaming smile. We had a lovely moment where Erin and his colleagues gathered around to hear my story of 60 postcards.
“Art inspires me a LOT! Art is everything and I grew up with it. It is all around us.”
You may recognise this young lady. My mate Steph. When we went for a drink to a gorgeous speak easy bar, I couldn’t resist asking her to get involved. She is my Paris to New York link after all!
“My Grandmother inspires me. Also, the incredible dancers that I get to meet and work with all over the world!”
Douglas is a busker on 42nd Street. He greets you with his guitar and a warm smile and we enjoyed saying hello as we passed him almost every day, just moments from our apartment. One evening I was even lucky enough to be serenaded by Doug and there was no doubt that I wanted him to be part of this task.
“People. People inspire me to do what I do more than any money I will ever get”.
Po worked in a News Agents and was at first a little confused by what I was telling him. Join the queue Po! It was like my chat to Thandie all over again! Once he understood what I was on about, his answer was immediate.
“I met a guy called Bob at my Church and he became like a father figure to me. He is my inspiration. He told me never to forget to say, “thank you” and that I don’t have to be like the rest of them. I never want to let him down.”
I met Julie whilst in a queue at Times Square (a queue for something to be revealed another time – classic me). Julie moved over to NY from Switzerland as an Au Pair 15 years ago. She fell in love and never left!
After we had taken part in a mystery project, Julie had to dash off to pick up her kids so I emailed her the results. She said some beautiful words in an email which I will never forget and I will write in my next post!
“Happiness is my inspiration”.
Caroline and I scrambled frantically across New York to get to shop and restaurant (recommended to me by housemate, Bec) – Tea and Sympathy. This place stocks all things British and is where I met wonderful Max. It was so sad that we were in rather a rush at this point – I would have loved to have stayed to chat with Max (from Reading) for longer. A top guy with a top answer. Like Julie, I received a lovely email from Max and I will inlude his in my next post too!
“My friends. From actors to computer programmers, they are so hard-working and talented, always involved in so many quirky projects. Being in this city inspires me too!”
We were lucky to have Lucky as a taxi driver. English was not Lucky’s first language so when I tried to explain about a photo, I was surprised that he went along with it. The problem came when I asked him what his inspiration in life was!
Me: Lucky what inspires you?
Me: Right, yes but what or who inspires you in life?
Me: Erm your inspiration?
Simply amazing. I didn’t think that situation could get any funnier until he chased after us. He was giving me a postcard. It was a postcard that I had left on the back seat of his taxi on purpose, but I think I would have needed a longer stay to explain that!
I had always planned to get someone to do this on the plane. I was going to try to blag getting into the cockpit to see the Pilot but then realised that he may be a little busy and I didn’t really want to distract him from getting us home safely. Stephen the Air Steward for British Airways was perfect. I chatted to Stephen and his colleague, Karen, for quite some time and when he told me his answer it made me smile.
“My Mum. My Mum always encourage me to do everything that I want and to be the person that I want to be.”
The Family – I asked Dad and the girls to give me something other than our top answer which will forever be Mum. I have been totally surprised and touched with what they came back with. I had no idea…..
14. SARAH – Sister
“People that have the ability to think of others at all times. no matter what is happening to them. When times are so bad, they are still able to think of others who are worse off.
Music – It has the incredible ability to evoke emotions or memories and this often inspires me in so many ways. ”
15. HANNAH – Sister
“A passage in a book called ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ which has helped me –
‘I miss her all the time. I know in my head that she has gone. the only difference is that I am getting used to the pain.It’s like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget it’s there and keep falling in. After a while, it’s still there, but you learn to walk round it.’
Also, my family who are all outgoing, hardworking and caring people who have taught me how to live life to the full and make the most of what you have and appreciate everything life has to offer.”
16. PAUL – Dad
“There was a moment years ago when we were visiting Granny and Pa in Hexham. You lot were in bed and me and Mum were having a glass of wine with G and P downstairs. An interview came on the telly. It was Melvin Bragg with Dennis Potter (the playwright) He was very near the end of his life with cancer. It was a stunning interview and I have remembered that moment ever since thinking it would be significant for me one day.
The thing about it was that Dennis Potter was saying as he approached the end how all the simple pleasures in life were heightened. He particularly talked about the beauty of blossom. How he couldn’t help staring at it and enjoying its beauty. He had taken it for granted before.
For me it represents the notion of the chair in Viv’s Garden. Live life to the full enjoy as many moments as you can. Enjoy the simple yet wonderful things.”
This post is too long. I’m sorry. I couldn’t bring myself to cut it down.It didn’t seem right.
Speak soon xx