I’m feeling superstitiously concerned about blogging my incredibly exciting news before the last hoop is jumped through, but our visa interview is tomorrow morning and I just can’t wait any longer to share the news. So here’s a picture of a little city themed mug I made (and sold) last year, to mark the fact that…

…we’re going to New York City! Paul‘s been awarded the Ampersand Fellowship, which has also kindly been extended to include me, and so from mid-April to end May, we have the use of a Tribeca apartment for six weeks!

There’s loads to organise, and I’m really hoping to get out and finally meet some of the people stocking my things (Heath Ceramics is definitely on the list), but I’m also looking for suggestions about where to go, what to do, what great music to see, where’s the best coffee around… I want to know it all, and will store every tip in my America folder, to be followed up upon when I have six blissful weeks with nothing to do but absorb and be inspired*!

*All dependent on getting the visa. Please, Visa gods, smile upon us tomorrow morning?


  1. oh heather! such exciting news!!! keeping fingers crossed that the visa gods smile upon you. you do have your letter from god in order, right? šŸ™‚

  2. Good luck with the visas, but I’m sure you guys will get them! And enjoy the Big Apple/Gotham City/NYC!

  3. Exciting stuff. I am sure the visas will be just fine! I went to NY in 2008 and what an experience. I will take a look back at the places I visited and let you know. x

  4. How exciting! I love New York, that’s where I met my Hubby. Best advice I can give you for the visa application is to make sure that you have proof of commitments (work, mortgage etc) in Cape Town and that you are therefore planning to return to SA after the 6 weeks. Good luck!

  5. How exciting! I was there a year ago today šŸ™

    Go to Diner in Brooklyn, http://www.dinernyc.com/
    Pizza at Grimaldi’s in Dumbo
    Brooklyn Flea
    MoMa (go with a member if you can, you will then avoid having to pay the $20 entrance fee)
    walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must!

    • Thanks so much for the suggestions, Terri. I’ve put those in my file – am very excited about the Brooklyn Flea in particular. Woo hoo!

  6. that’s fantastic – congrats to you both – if you feel like taking a trip to toronto – I would love love to see you.

    • Oh, I wish we could come and visit you in Toronto, Arounna. But maybe you should plan to skip an icy winter next year and enjoy a beach holiday in Cape Town instead? xx

  7. That’s great. Spent four years in NYC and really it wasn’t enough time to see everything. Can be a little overwhelming at first, though. Good Luck.

  8. Love the mug!!! and am so exited about the NY! Crossing my fingers and hopping you get the visa without any problems.

  9. Awesome – great time to be in the city! Here’s some of my favorites:
    Must visit store – ABC (Bonus is Fishs Eddy across the road)
    Best Caipirinha – Coffee Shop on Union Square (Farmers Market on Union Sq on Sat and I think Wed is great)
    Best brunch – Balthazar in Soho, Also Soho — Dean and Deluca for coffee
    Museums – Met and Moma (American Craft Museum next to Moma store which is a must visit often has interesting shows on so see what’s there)
    China Town is a must – Pearl River Mart is great
    East 6 th street for cheap Indian
    St Patricks Cathedral on Fifth is beautiful

    Tons more but that’s it for now:) Paula

  10. NYC is amazing in spring. I moved here from Cape Town 5 years ago and love it.

    Things to do…

    Staten Island Ferry
    Costs a couple of bucks for a round trip, make sure your timing is is good so you return to Manhattan at sunset. The sun setting on downtown Manhattan – stunning.

    Governors Island

    Go on a friday after 4.30, it’s free. Every major modern artwork in one building, its overwhelming.

    Rockefeller Plaza
    Top of the Rock for amazing views with shorter lines than the Empire State Building. Shop in the Anthropologie store, the best in the city.

    Ride the F train to Coney Island

    ABSOLUTELY walk the Highline

    Listen to a jazz set at Lenox Lounge in Harlem

    You HAVE to eat out every night to get an idea how amazing the food variety is…

    Jewish deli:
    Katz’s Deli (L.E.S) for the pastrami and pickles

    Joe’s Shanghai for the soup dumplings!!!!!!

    The Burger Joint or Shake Shack

    Cafe Frida, UWS

    Grimaldis, Dumbo

    Martinis, sidecars, Brooklyn Lager – the booze is good!

    These are all some of my favorites.

  11. …I forgot brunch venues! This is a NYC institution.

    Schillers, Good enough to Eat, Superfine (Dumbo), Public

    Order Huevos Rancheros where it is offered

  12. You all should ride the train to DC sometime and see the Smithsonian – or some of it. In NY -Musem of Modern Art:)

  13. how great! I bet you are so exicted. Congrats to you both and hope that you have an awesome time.

  14. how lovely! i’m sure you’ll be getting those visas. you’re not planning on doing any illegal things, right? right! so… you’ll be fine.

    some folks have already made some wonderful suggestions. i’m adding:

    great soy japanese dessert place – kyotofu (i’m pretty sure it’s still there), google for their website.

    great used/new/antique bookstore – Strand’s (webpage also can be found via googling).

    definitely must walk the brooklyn bridge as terri suggested.

    there’s always some lovely street performers inside the big subway stations (ie. the one by times square is one of the big ones. can’t remember the others). very entertaining and free!

    there are cheap tickets to shows all over nyc at some ticket place in times square. i can’t remember what it’s called but google it and you’ll find it. it’s not exactly a hidden secret. the quality of the shows on offer varies day to day but you might get something wonderful for half price.

    add the cooper hewitt national design museum to your museum queue. it’s totally worth it. it’s housed in some old mansion so the building itself is worth of visit and they always have some awesome exhibits/installations that change all the time. the last time i went (2008) there was a glass blowing thing going on and the main exhibit was on roccoco and baroque stuff. a bit pricey but i think there’s a discount in you present your metro pass or something like that. either way, worth the money!


    • Hi Shirley

      Today I bought the Fodors 2010 guide to NYC and am absolutely devouring it. It’s particularly exciting when I find a little nugget that I knew already, thanks to my kind blog commentors (like you)! Many thanks again for taking the time to share all these marvellous tips. xx

      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, Heather

      • Hi Heather, I’m a Fodor’s Editor who reads your blog all the time (and this seems a bit stalker but I’m leaning against two of your etsy-bought pillows as I write this!) and I’m so psyched that you will be using the Fodor’s New York City guide while you are visiting–can’t wait to tell the New York Editor! All the suggests here are great; you really can’t go wrong trying to take in everything. I live in Brooklyn, and HONESTLY, if you have any questions at all, either while planning or while here, I’d be more than happy to help! I moved here from Ireland fourteen years ago, and while I walk and yell at bad drivers like a New Yorker, I still feel like a visitor, and I’m always in awe of this city. You’ll have an amazing time–congrats on the visa!!

        • Jacinta, thanks so much for your sweet comment (and for buying two of my pillows!). My Fodor’s guide is so fantastic – really, I’m most impressed – and really nicely written too. I’m actually finding myself just reading it from cover to cover, rather than as a reference guide. I’m also marking up all the great bloggers’ tips so that I can refer to them at a glance.

          Many thanks for the offer of help with planning, etc. I may well take you up on the offer,and when we get there, if you’d like to take us on a tour of spots where you like to yell at drivers in Brooklyn, we’d love to come along and pretend we don’t know you :).

          So excited to visit your lovely adopted city. Let’s stay in touch. xx

  15. oh! someone above me mentioned going to DC. if you dont have the money for fancy expensive train rides but want to make little two day trips to nearby cities on the east coast, there is a chinatown bus company (different names but essentially operated by the same people — apex bus is the one i used) that is super cheap (last summer it was $35 for a roundtrip fare). you can go on side ventures to Washington DC, Philadelphia (maybe go see the liberty bell?), Boston, and some other places.

    and if you’re ever in San Francisco, this 23-year-old would love to meet you! (I’ve never been to heath ceramics). šŸ™‚

  16. Very exciting! And congrats to Paul! You have to report back on everything! (Ooh, and you’re going to meet bloggers, and they’ll have American accents. That will be weird.)

  17. Congrats sis – a full year since we went but lucky you – 6 weeks as opposed to six days!

    In addition to the suggestions above i would recommend hiring / buying a bicycle and touring the fantastic cycle routes they now have all over the city. If we had been there a bit longer I would have done it myself (full photo discription would be much appreciated). Apparently you can circumnavigate almost the whole of Manhatten of cycle lanes/bike paths with only a few gaps. Just be aware – bikes get stolen in NYC!

    following on from that theme – go see the pedestrianised Times Square. It may be a tourist trap, but now it is a pedestrian activists tourist trap! If New York can kick the cars out, why can’t other cities? If you go there please report on how the cycle paths through the throngs work. I have my doubts as to their safety / efficiency with all those aimlessly wandering tourists. Sorry – transport planner nerd alert.

    Actually New York is now the Mecca for the liveable streets movement. The Flatiron building is another must. The building is an icon of modern architecture, the spring flowers in the adjacent park are beautiful, but most amazing is how they transformed the widest intersection in New York into a piazza! BEAUTIFUL! Maybe you will have more success getting a good photograph of the Flatiron building.

    Very jealous that you will get to walk the Highline – it opened just weeks after our visit (just like the pedestrianised Times Square)!

    For a great thrill (yes, it has to do with transport again – cant help myself) catch the Roosevelt Island Tramway just for the thrill of the short cable car ride over the river – the cost is covered by your metro card.

    By the way, the Statten Island Ferry is free and the views of the city and the Statue of Libery are great.

    I could do this last one for ages – jump off at random stops on the subway and have a look at the character artwork. most stations we went through had lovely little mosaics that are often delightful finds. The subway feels much safer than it did in 1994 but be careful.

    sorry, another transport nerd one – the restored Grand Central Station at rush hour is beautiful. A commuter cathedral.

  18. wowoowowowowow!!!!
    congrats paul.

    check out:
    Max restaurant on 51 ave B between 3rd and 4th street

    Kinokuniya bookstore for japanese crafting books
    1073 6th ave. between 40th and 41st street

    our fave places when we lived in NYC


  19. Wow, so many exciting things to see and do. Not too mention the possibility of eating a different type of cuisine every night if you want to.

    Mexicana Mama in Greenwich Village is yummy, Dok Suni in the East Village is a great Korean place, also in the East Village is Panna II which is a great Indian restaurant with chilli fairy lights all over the ceiling!

    Not sure of names but there are loads of great fabric shops in the Garment District and the bottom end of Broadway.

    Oooooh, I am so jealous! šŸ˜‰

  20. this is late but…. in reading someone mention of the highline (which i also didnt get to see because i learned of it after i left). i remembered something else that i didnt get to do.

    you can tour some parts of abandoned subway tunnels. they only do this a few times a year but a subway museum tour also allows limited access underground. just thought it might be neat.


  21. Visit Ruby Foo’s for great panasian food

    Times Square
    1626 Broadway at 49th St
    New York


    2182 Broadway (upper west side)
    Between W 77th and W 78th

  22. Yaffa Cafe. Real NY. Health food, cocktails, coffee. Eat outside in the back courtyard.

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