My New York Guide

So I thought I’d share some of the places I’d recommend going to if your planning a trip to New York…

If you wanna shop, head to 5th Avenue to fulfil all your shopping needs, I went to the huge Guess, Sephora, Forever 21, Michael Kors…they have EVERYTHING! For trainers Footlocker’s the same prices as everywhere else but they have a bigger selection or if you wanna make your own Nike’s head to Niketown on 6th and 57th. 5th Avenue’s got a few cute boutiques as does Soho and Chinatown, they also have some pretty cool vintage shops, ones called Cheap Jack’s on 5th. Unfortunately I can’t pull the vintage stuff off and it creeps me out cause someone might have died in it but I always look just cause its fascinating! So 5th has all the latest fashion hot off the catwalk but if you head to the outlets they have some amazing stuff too. I went to the New Jersey Garden Mall which I would recommend, I picked up a pair of $400 boots from Saks for $80 which made me verrrrrry happy 🙂 Thats like £60 and they’re real suede with a Fur trim…how can you go wrong? Opposite ground zero is a shop called 21st century, full of designer stuff at great prices, you’ve gotta go there. I didn’t know what it was and it says on the big iron doors “America’s best kept secret” so I curiously wandered in only to find the beautiful smell of leather bags and shoes greet me.

Lets move on to food…before I went to the US I was on this diet where I was only eating freshly prepared food, even all my sauces were freshly made so when I got to NY I had to leave that diet behind because fresh food is pretty hard to come by if you’re on the go! They have sooo many Deli’s but the sandwiches are douzed in all kinds of sauces and cheese which is like saucey cheese its not even real cheese. We went to some of the big chains like Houlihans and Hard Rock where everything just tasted processed and junky so I wasn’t impressed.

If you wanna enjoy some real good food go to the little independent restaurants. Lime Jungle was a great mexican restaurant on 9th Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchen region, it was yummy and they had a sauce bar where they have like all different salsa’s and dips that they make there. Hell’s Kitchen had a lot of choice of restaurants that all looked good. Another place we went to was called Spur Tree in Delancey, it was what they call Soul food with a twist. Jamaican food with a Japanese twist, it was delicious and the place had a really cool vibe, the DJ was spinning old school RnB so it couldn’t get much better. we were taken there by some friends we met so I guess if the locals hang out there its gotta be good. On our last night we went to a seafood/sushi buffet at IchiUmi, highly priced for a buffet at $38 but they literally had a selection of about 100 different fish and sushi and also a huge variety of oysters and crabs so it was definately worth it. I tried my 1st oyster…I will not be doing that again hahaha my bro videod the whole thing so i’ll upload it at some point its pretty funny…
The pizza in New York was great in most places, its the most common food with at least 2 on each block, we had a great pizza downstairs in the Rocafella centre. If you pass an Outback Steak House the fillet steak sandwich was amazing…like the best sandwich I’ve ever had. New York has food for everyone so if you only eat Halal or Kosher or Vegetarian food you’ll still be spoilt for choice!

Meat Packing district and Delancey are good for bars and clubs and I really enjoyed the East Village, people are really friendly there and its a really lively area not to mention its where Carrie lives in SATC 🙂

Must-see’s are the top of the Empire State, we went just before sunset so we got some great views of day night and sunset and its amazing how it looks like a different city in each light. We booked a tour package and we went uptown, downtown, brooklyn the night tour and the boat cruise and you get tickets for a few things included. You need a minimum of three days to do those tours and even thats not enough if you wanna get off and see things, 10 days was not nearly enough in NY, although we saw everything from outside we never got to explore the museums and a lot of uptown. We went to a great comedy show in the Comedy Club, you can get tickets from guys on the street in Times Square for cheap, make sure they have badges on and they will try and charge you face value which is $20 each however you can half this and get 2 tickets for $20 for an almost 3 hour show!! well worth it!
I absolutely loved Times Square, we went there every day coz it just doesn’t get boring 🙂 theres always things happening and you can just get a coffee and sit in the middle of it gawping because its so vibrant and exciting haha. The outlet in New York costs $50 by bus to get to and its expensive inside there however you can get a return to the New Jersey Garden Mall for $15 and it has some real bargains and amazing stuff. Well thats everything I can remember for now, I can’t wait to go back there and explore the uptown area where they have all the jazz bars and the Apollo where so many legends have played.

Till next time,

Zohra x

Diary Extract – New York Performance Day 20/10/11


So I woke up with this calmness lingering in the air which was soooooo scary for some reason. I didn’t like that my butterflies had fluttered away and everything was in place! I had no idea what I should be doing so me and my brother decided to go shopping and get some lunch. When we left the hotel I suddenly remembered I had lots of little things to get so it became a mad rush and it was raining hard so it was just horrible walking around.

We got back to the hotel at about 4pm leaving me 3 hours to get ready. I plugged in my hairdryer and straighteners into my converter and flicked the switch…nothing! No little flashing red light, no heat, no nothing….THEY WEREN’T WORKING!! So my phone charger, laptop and camera charger works here but the most important things don’t. Cue the butterflies, the butterflies were having a party in my stomach and I was running around trying to find a way, calling people, front desk ANYONE but it just wern’t happening. My hair is not my friend, it never does what I want it to even with my tools so what was I gonna do now? I just put some product in it and backcombed it so the wildness looked like it was supposed to be there….o gawdddd. All the press were gonna be there, CNN, Music channels..everyone important and I realised I will probably be known as “the girl with the bad hair”. All the fears suddenly surfaced, the negative thoughts just spiralled and I was asking myself whether people would just talk over me when I sang, whether I would fall because everyone kept telling me I shouldnt wear the 7 inch Kurt Geigers because of the safety hazard they pose, whether when I spoke to the audience they would react, whether they would boo me offstage, whether they would understand my English accent and I would get sent home like Cheryl Cole haha.

We walked into the venue and the press were taking pics of all these people on the red carpet, this woman stood there and the press went wild so I asked someone who she is and she was the owner of Calvin Klein apparantly…silly me..I thought that would be Calvin Klein lol. The bar was rammed, people were taking advantage of the open bar and I relaxed a little knowing that would probably work to my advantage because I imagined a sit down event where people were quiet and poised and that was scary to think I’d be singing and these people would just be deadly silent watching me. I was gonna finish the show after Pras and Wyclef, someone came up to me and said, “I heard Wyclefs opening for you” LOLLLLLLL he was supposed to hahahaa which I find hilarious but apparantly he had better things to do because he never showed up which was really disappointing but hey ho. So Pras showed his film and did a speech, his father passed away in the morning and he still came to support Haiti which I thought was really amazing. Then I was introduced by Ines Ferre from CNN and she explained that I’d come from London just for this event and everyone started cheering and were really welcoming. So I sang Who You Are by Jessie J and they all listened and swayed and I got them to sing the chorus with me. There’s a really long instrumental break so I spoke to them in that time asked if they were enjoying themselves and they went wild and reminded them why we’re here and that if we all contribute we can make Haiti a brighter place and they seemed really engaged which was great. Afterwards many people came up to me and said they really enjoyed it and I was SOOOOOOOOOO happy 🙂 I’m really glad I came here and I hope I get more amazing opportunities like this one. I had my moment on the red carpet, it was blinding and I was scared to step onto it coz they are all just standing in a line waiting but once I was there it was really fun haha I gave them a few twirls, I felt quite at home hahaha.

Thank You ALL for your support, messages and luck 🙂 I really appreciate it!!!!!

I’m off now, byeeeee xxx