American Jeffcoats

This afternoon I stood on Amsterdam Avenue, outside a New York deli with a Chinese buffet inside (yes, ONE OF THOSE) and a profusion of tulips outside the door. The pavements were crowded with mothers and children on the way back from school, and me and my pushchair were getting in the way, so I wedged myself in the flowers until they were all I could smell. And I thought: I choose for my alternative life to be this.

Do you ever do that? Construct a pretend life for yourself? I do it all the time. And in the ten minutes before Timothy emerged with Oreo cookies (obviously), I had placed us here in the Upper West Side, living high up in one of those beautiful old brownstone buildings, taking Henry to the swings in Central Park, charming everyone with our English accents (like accents would stand out in New York of all places) and eating at Shake Shack at least once a week, because oh my good heavens, people, that burger was amazing.

And I would visit all of the places in You’ve Got Mail. And I would do brunch with all of those mothers and babies. And Timothy and I would play Spot That Hipster, which is our new favourite game, every day. The great thing about alternative lives is that you don’t have to worry about tiny apartments or money or jobs or real life problems. Wouldn’t life take on a multicoloured hue if it was lived in a city like this?

(I also have alternative lives in Paris and in London. Suburbia suits us better, but I dream of cities. Is it an easy-access-to-museums thing? Or a lots-of-lovely-food thing? I don’t know.)

All of which is to say, I think New York is smashing, and I feel tremendously lucky to have seen it.

Alternatively we could live at the top of the Rockefeller Centre. Hey, it’s my fantasy. I can do what I want.

Do you have any alternative lives? Do any of them involve playing Spot That Hipster? You should try it; it’s a ton of fun. You’ll become more familiar with dodgy facial hair than you ever dreamed possible.


5 thoughts on “American Jeffcoats

  1. I LOVE your alternative life! and isn’t Henry just going to grow up to be the coolest kid around! imagine…his first transatlantic holiday and he lucks out with NYC! I am insanely JEALOUS…NYC is one of my favourite places in the whole world! and although I’ve been there 3 times all 3 of those visits were before the mighty Shake Shack opened! I’ve just had to read about it through others experiences but I know it would be right up my street – so glad you got to try it out! It looks like it was a beautiful day to explore the city – hope you enjoy the rest of your time Stateside, be sure to take tons more pics to help me get my USA fix!


  2. Ha, will do!

    I know what you mean about Henry – honestly, kids these days. I don’t think I got on a plane till I was ten! He is going to be able to use ‘my first time on a swing was in Central Park’ as his interesting fact at all his job interviews, lucky duck.

    I totally love New York. Will be sad to leave tomorrow đŸ™‚ xx


  3. Sounds lovely! I have several alternate lives too, in locations including, but not limited to, New Zealand, South Africa, and Southern California.

    How was the flight? Did Henry cope?


    • Ooh, New Zealand, lovely!

      He did really well on the international flight, which was almost empty, so lots of space for him to play and be rocked. The two smaller flights were less good – smaller aeroplanes are harder on the ears, and he didn’t enjoy the descents much. One small plane and one large one to go, so hopefully it won’t be too bad…


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