on top of the world!

By amy ~ April 12th, 2016 @ 4:20 pm


And the days are still flying by! Another day, another month, another tax year – slightly over four weeks ago I was on the plane home from New York after a big lunch at a Korean food-by-weight buffet, a (standing all the way) LIRR ride and a $30 excess baggage fee thanks entirely to the weight of grape jelly in my suitcase. Oops.

My New York trips have always wound up a struggle between work-time and holiday-time, and despite having the best intentions (and some seriously expensive advertising) the latter normally wins by default and rightly so – the November trip was the only one where it didn’t and the stay was definitely a poorer one as a result, despite some extremely pleasant company. And sitting around in a hotel room all day after flying thousands of miles to one of the world’s great cities is something that should only be done in the event of serious food poisoning or other incapacitation; doing so because you’re waiting for other people to organise themselves is the road to madness when emails can be carried in a pocket and an international SIM card costs pence. So I didn’t.

It’s a good few weeks ago now, but neither the One World Trade Centre Observatory, the Tenement Museum (recommended especially for anybody who, like me, has never spent a lot of time poking around the Lower East Side) nor the American Museum of Natural History, all highlights of my trip, are going anywhere fast. The latter saved my bacon after the usual There’s Always One (or more usually, two) numpty-a-thon and having decided on a whim to go for a look for comparison purposes and some light dinosaur spotting, I wound up spending the entire day learning about pretty much everything (well maybe not quite everything, but I looked at a lot of ancient tools, jewellery and weapons, compared crystals, ores (ha) and geodes in the jaw-dropping Hall of Minerals and carefully read all the labels on the cephalopods).


But even after all that, the dinosaurs are always the best part. After catching sight of him in Time Out I particularly wanted to see the newly exhibited and as yet unnamed Titanosaur; so huge at one hundred and twenty two feet that he doesn’t fit into the gallery properly and subsequently has his head sticking out through a doorway whilst anybody wanting to sit and watch the video clips at the far end is sharing space with his tail. Having once had the ill fortune to spend a night at the EasyHotel in South Kensington following an evening visit to the V&A, I know how he feels.

Sometimes the well-worn tourist paths are my go to choice, sometimes not – the huge signposts, coloured arrows and welcoming, idiot-proof entry processes help a lot when it’s 9.30am, you’ve already been awake for five hours and have just had two fried egg and cheese rolls. Another new discovery for me, the WTC has sprung up fairly quickly considering it’s (at the time of writing, at least) the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and in a part of town I don’t pretend to know, but after a recommendation from a helpful punter and a look on TripAdvisor my fondness for skyscrapers got the better of me. Its proximity to the new PATH rail terminal, to which I plan a return so I can pretend I’m in 2001: A Space Odyssey even more once it’s finished, didn’t hurt either.

As the middle photo suggests, the high floors (to one hundred and four, total) and observation deck on can’t be seen from the ground at all, but fortunately for me it was a nice day and the ground right to the north point of Manhattan island (despite my atrocious eyesight I picked out New York Life, the Chrysler Building and Trump Tower) could definitely be seen from the 360 degree windows. The lift ride is also better than the one in the Shard, but the toilets are ordinary and disappointingly window-free. Boooo.


I can heartily recommend this for anybody who might be interested in finding out more about skyscrapers, but then I’m always interested in skyscrapers. Unfortunately the time came to leave them all behind and return home, losing en route my padlock, cut off by the TSA who decided to have a rifle through my bag on the way home (presumably because they couldn’t believe that the large rectangular objects were really, truly just packs of saltines and not a cover for something far more interesting), although as they did put the padlock back in the case with a note it’s not strictly lost, just unusable. Thankfully both crackers and grape jelly survived the ordeal, as did I. No prizes for guessing which among us is still here unscathed a month later.

Back to the present! The school holidays are finally done (to the best of my knowledge anyway; these ones seemed to go on forever?) and whilst the home improvements are continuing with a vengeance – even more so the clocks have gone forward and we have daylight until at least midway through the Channel 4 news – availability for the next ten days or so is back where it should be and all is well. Dead By Dawn in Edinburgh follows from Thursday week, and as if by magic, London Waterloo the week after that – yay!

More soon. This isn’t getting any skirting boards caulked.

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