Alexa Chung: 'I can count the people I know in New York on just over one hand'

Girl About Town
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The Independent Online

It's impossible to shop 'til you drop in America, now that the dollar is showing the pound who's boss, so I have instead been shopping sensibly.

I was going to buy a 'vintage' grey sweater from a deliberately shabby boutique in New York and then realised that $115 is a lot of money to pay for something that smells a bit weird and is riddled with holes. I'm now glad I abstained, I can't harp on about how I plan to curb my habit for recklessly investing in disposable fashion and then buy another version of something I already possess three times over. Besides, shopping is not what I came here to do. I came to find myself a home, because come the summer I will be a New Yorker (or at least I'll be working here for a bit).

Attempting to relocate has thus far been fairly traumatic for me, the seven days I set aside to find an apartment have served to remove some of the rose tint from my dreamy notion of living in The Big Apple. It's been an interesting week; I've had countless arguments with New York cab drivers who clearly aren't required to take a version of The Knowledge and will instead consider it your responsibility to have a map of the city tattooed on your brain, a man in a cake shop got expertly angry at me for inadvertently skipping a queue I didn't know existed (when I finally got my cupcake, all I could taste was his resentment) and on more than one occasion I've found myself teary-eyed and lost amid the maze that is the rat-riddled subway system (why are completely different train lines all the same colour?). Despite all of this, I am still, I think, excited at the prospect of living here.

I have chosen to live in Williamsburg, a.k.a. hipsterville, across the East River from Manhattan. It's awash with cool kids in lumberjack shirts and superfluous, geeky glasses. I have yet to see one elderly person. A girl I met at a playdate lunch (they have those here) told me Williamsburg is great because it's full of "really cute boys and loads of ugly girls... but the cute boys are mostly gay". Yikes. I informed another American friend about where I planned to live and he curtly responded: "Repeat after me – I did not move to New York to live in Brooklyn." But I like Brooklyn, it reminds me the most of East London.

This is, of course, a ridiculous thing to say. I really don't want to be one of those people here who can't help but compare everything to how it is "back home". But I can count the number of people I know in New York on just over one hand, and five of them live in Willyburg. I ran into three of them on the street while I was being given a whirlwind tour of the area by my estate agent. By the end of our three-day property viewing extravaganza she asked me whether I'd like to go to pilates with her the next morning. I declined, which says more about my hatred of exercise than it does about my feelings towards her.

This week I also turned down the opportunity to attend a fundraiser at the Museum of Natural History (nice dinner, awesome taxidermy, possibility of Chanel lending me clothes) in favour of a PJ Harvey and John Parish gig.

In hindsight this was a crazy thing to do, because watching people eat dead things next to dead things would've been fun, I think. And the PJ Harvey gig was good, but not mind-blowing. Afterwards we went to The Beatrice Inn; the hippest place in town, which has since been mysteriously shut down by the city authorities.

If the bouncers didn't like the look of you they would proffer the dreaded inquiry: "which party are you here for?". We were asked this very question, and I held my breath as I obnoxiously replied "THE party". Open sesame, we were let in... only to be thrown out moments later for causing havoc by turning the lights on and off. Oh dear, New York, can't we be friends?