New York New York

So exciting to arrive in New York.  Doesn’t matter how you get here: car; boat; plane or train, the buzz is huge and immediate.

We arrived by train – into Penn Station, bustling.  Once we had collected our bags and snared a Red Cap to help us to the taxi rank, we were off.  Wow.  It was cold.  An icy chill helped by a stiff breeze that lowered the temperature even further.  The sky was blue.  The sun was shining.  But it was icy.

Our cab swallowed our huge amount of luggage, “Coming to live here are you?” the cabby enquired, not entirely jokingly.  Our hotel, The Edison, is literally 40 yards from Times Square.  It’s not the apex and its not bad… It’s just busy and a bit run down but quiet nice…. You wouldn’t want to spend your only week’s holiday here but as a comfortable bolthole for city sightseeing, it’s pretty fantastic.

We checked in, stored three bags and took two up to the room.  Unpacked a few things and then headed out.  Having felt the cold, we wrapped up in layers, topped off with thermal jackets.  Not quite enough. My hands were freezing – had to buy some gloves.

We wandered out to Times Square.  It’s so much nicer than it used to be.  In the 80s and 90s it was pretty seedy to be honest.  Now, its pretty glossy, but look hard (or not so hard) and the seediness is still there.  Bursting with colour though.  I snapped off some pictures.  Wandered over to 5th Avenue and to Rockefeller Centre.  The ice rink was in full swing and it was beginning to look Christmasy although the tree is not up until the end of the month. I have fond memories of this area from my exchange year – 1971-2.  I would ride the bus into New York and then just walk around, exploring for miles.  I had my first ever oysters in the Rockefeller Café with Bernie and Lisa, we’d gone in with him for the day while he made business calls and he took us to lunch there.  Li didn’t like the oysters, so I ate hers too!!!!  Went into Saks Fifth Avenue looking for gloves but they were all incredibly expensive so I bought some from a street vendor for $15.  They are really really warm.

Had a good walk around the area looking at the buildings then went to the Garment District to see if we could get some upholstery fabric to recover our green sofa.  Had been tipped off this was the place to go.  But first: a spot of lunch.  Found a great little café called Untamed Sandwiches Untamed Sandwiches and had some fantastic chilli served with the most delicious bread: a piece of toasted ciabatta with jalapeno cheese sauce on top.   A really funky place.  Came out of there suitably warmed and stumbled into a fabric shop across the road.  They had the perfect fabric for our sofa, perfect colour and just right.  Bought it for a song against what it would be at home and its really great quality upholstery velvet, fireproof and hardwearing.  Only thing was, we had to buy a bag to put it in so we can get it home!!!! But we found a cheap one on wheels for $35 so not too bad.

Got back to the hotel late afternoon and had a rest before heading out to dinner in Soho with Juliana and Sophia, great friends from times spent in Goa and the UK.  Sophia went to uni with Lucy, spent 2 holidays in Goa with us, stayed with us in Kent and Juliana (her mom) also spent a holiday in Goa with us.  They are lovely people, greatly travelled, cultured and huge fun to be with.  Sophia had picked the restaurant The Dutch and it was a great choice.  Absolutely buzzing and clearly uber trendy, the food was great – good portions and interesting combinations, plus cocktails and a good wine list.  I started with a cocktail called Dutch Courage which was a mix of gin, mandarin napoleon, marmalade, grapefruit, lemon.  Very good.  We all shared a variety of fresh oysters for appetiser.   For dinner i had braised chicken with chargrilled Brussel sprouts and a cheese fondue.  Bob had southern fried chicken, slaw and honey butter biscuits.  All really good.  We had a great catch up on the last couple of years with Sophia and Juliana.  It was lovely to see them again and we will see Sophia next year at Georgia’s wedding in the south of France.

Got a Uber back to our hotel.  It’s going to be even colder tomorrow.  So blissful to be sleeping in a proper bed that is not shaking and juddering around.  I wish we were in NYC longer than a couple of days.  It’s such a great town.