(my) summer in the city…

By amy ~ September 4th, 2013 @ 1:53 am

nyc1Well technically it was summer, although the sight of the thunderstorms and torrential rain last Wednesday afternoon would make anyone fortunate enough to be on Manhattan island question the fact unless they were sitting in the middle of it, the temperatures being firmly in the mid 80’s (I myself being in the mid twenties, given that I spent a fair part of the early afternoon parked under a tree observing the lightning over the Flatiron building). Thankfully that was the last of it and the stultifying heat won out for the remainder of the week, resulting in a few more freckles, lots of manky laundry and a cold, shivery arrival back in Scarborough yesterday afternoon, although not as shivery as the moment I realised that the boiler had packed in in my absence and I had to attempt sleep with no heating on – more of that particular mess shortly.

My NYC arrival was smooth and uneventful, no thanks to British Airways with their complete lack of watchable entertainment (just because I watched twenty four films over the Frightfest weekend doesn’t mean I don’t want to watch any more), temperature control in the cabins (oven-freezing-oven) and edible food – luckily for me, my penchant for extreme timeliness meant that I had ample opportunity for a leisurely full English at Gordon Ramsey with still an hour spare for a thorough going over with the expensive skincare samples in World Duty Free. Achieving this meant that I was out of the Empire immediately after Frightfest’s closing film (Big Bad Wolves – highly recommended), in bed at 1.30am/out of it again at 3.30am and on the 205 to Paddington for the Heathrow Express by quarter past four, but since one of the unwritten rules about being in an airport terminal before seven in the morning dictates that it’s not only fine, but obligatory to look as if you haven’t slept for a week (and then got dressed in the dark) this sort of minor detail is of no real importance and making sure to actually get on the right plane (not as easy as it sounds after five days of limited sleep and spending virtually every waking hour shut in a cinema; see also here for some sad news for cinema enthusiasts) is really the only effort required of the passengers, which is probably just as well.

New York in August is hot, sticky, humid and not a little on the ripe side depending on where you are (the edge of Hell’s Kitchen and the small part of Times Square I happened to brush past on my pilgrimage across town to the big M&J Trimming store in the Garment District being the worst, along with various bits of the subway). It is also bright, vibrant and strangely tranquil and therapeutic, again depending on where you are. As much of my free time was spent sitting peacefully (or queueing at Shake Shack, purveyors of the best burgers I have ever eaten to the extent that I went back the next day for the same thing in case I had imagined it – I hadn’t) in Madison Square Park, looking around Chelsea Market or lying about aimlessly with a pure fruit ice lolly at my new Favourite Place In The World, the High Line; a ‘park in the sky’ resurrected from a disused freight line and a landscaped triumph of urban regeneration which I could happily wax lyrical about morning, noon and night (but suffice to say you’ll really have to go yourself) I can categorically state that for all I’ve enjoyed every New York trip I’ve ever had, this is the first time I’ve come back more relaxed than when I’ve set off.nyc2Other excitement included (finally) a trip to the Museum of Modern Art which was sadly far too busy for me, having been held up for a couple of hours by a charming gentleman from Brooklyn who is forgiven after telling me about the free Brooklyn Brewery tours on offer for next time, and a return to my enduring favourite, the Guggenheim. A good move as it turned out, since the vast James Turrell light installation Aten Reign (and yes, I freely admit the thought of a trek up to the other end of an island to see a light installation would normally raise an eyebrow, and I doubt I’m the only one) which practically required a rebuild of the gallery’s interior is only there for a couple more weeks, and whilst I rarely admit to being wrong (and even more sporadically when I actually am wrong) I am very happy to do so here – recommended to all who may be reading and have an opportunity to lounge, lie down, stand up or generally get amongst it before it closes on the 25th. Seriously – run, don’t walk. And the actual exhibition which prompted my visit in the first place was lovely too!

Naturally serious shopping was executed (including the purchase of the very shiny new laptop/tablet combo on which this inaugural blog is being typed – poor Vaio is being retired to desk duty only because her battery keeps falling off), numerous pancake breakfasts were consumed along with vast quantities of very nice coffee in gaudy paper cups and impossibly huge sandwiches which each required two sittings to get through and lovely friendly folk were met everywhere from the queue for the ladies on the High Line to the Museum of Sex on 5th Avenue (arguably the politest and most sedate establishment I visited in the entire duration, and I deeply regret forgetting to go back and purchase a ‘Don’t Be A Cunt’ print for my office). Sadly, all good things have to come to an end, and after a far more pleasant journey home (at least from JFK on – the fault being entirely mine for not finding out that the subway train to the airport doesn’t run on a Sunday until I was standing on the platform wondering why it was fenced off) I arrived home yesterday afternoon to aforementioned boiler situation.

The reason for the repeat mention is partly by way of an apology to those whose appointments tomorrow are cancelled due to lack of shower facilities and mostly as a chance to whinge a little at the spectre of a large bill which would not have been looming a scant five weeks ago as the thing was still under warranty, but either way it will be fixed soon and for those who hadn’t noticed Nottingham beckons – yay! I am visiting on Other Business at the weekend anyway, and will be about from early afternoon Thursday until late morning Saturday. Showers will be freely available. Thankfully.highlineAs for next week, Monday is the only available incall day back in Scarborough and even that’s assuming the boiler is mended by then – Tattoo Phase 2 has been rescheduled for Tuesday 10th and thus physical contact with anything bar very lightweight clothing is out of bounds until I get back to London on the eighteenth and a return to Victoria SW1 too! More of that in good time.

Having rambled for long enough, suffice to say it’s been a wonderful couple of weeks and I’ll be returning to Manhattan early next year – it’s only fair to try out all the temperature extremes, after all. Until then, I have no doubt I’ll find plenty here to amuse myself.

More soon…

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