New York Snapshots, SATC

29 January
Okay, everyone,’ says our chirpy little guide, sweetly, ‘on the count of three, let’s have a great big F*CK!’ Ooh-er! It’s a bit early in the day for us to be having an enormous f*ck with 38 total strangers so Tom and I keep a bit quiet. Everyone’s looking a tad nervous, but our tour guide’s next quip has us all laughing and we start to relax. This is the Sex and the City tour, but it turns out we’re in safe hands with wonderful stand-up comedienne, Amy Albert, who knows exactly which side of the line to stay on and never singles anyone out for unwelcome attention.

After walking our socks off the previous day, it’s time to settle back in a comfortable bus for three and half hours of SATC sites – what’s not to love? Outside, New York temperatures are plummeting and it’s taken us two stop-offs in warm buildings just to get here. One of them at Tiffany’s where an assistant on the second-floor (where they keep the ‘spectacular jewellery’) can’t resist a ‘Come in again any time you want to warm up, folks’ as Tom and I are leaving. How rude! Well, that’s it! The next time I want to buy a big fat diamond (in my dreams) I shall see my new best friend on 47th Street with her fab selections of rings.

The tour begins at The Plaza Hotel and we pass through Midtown Manhattan, taking in the sights of 5th Avenue, the New York Public Library (scene of that would-be wedding between Carrie and Big) Madison Square, the Flatiron Building and SoHo. In Greenwich Village we stop for a well-deserved cupcake outside the Magnolia Bakery. Amy, it turns out, is terrified of birds and, as the pigeons gather to watch us, tells us about her day from Hell. She was laying out her cupcakes ready for her group, when a pigeon landed on her head and then trampled the cupcakes! Phew, I’m so glad my cupcake wasn’t trashed by a pigeon! The tour continues through the Meatpacking District where we have a nose round the hip restaurant, Buddakan and then we retreat for a Cosmo cocktail at ‘Aidan’s Bar’. Marvellous!

Despite the cupcakes and cocktails, we’re a little peckish when we finish the tour so pop into what is little more than an oven plus corridor for a slice of pizza. No sooner have I taken my first delicious bite when two men in uniform wander in... it’s the New York City Food Inspectors who continue to take the place apart! Noooo! Trying to forget any worries about whether we’ll be well enough to take advantage of the prix fixe meal we’ve booked at a swanky restaurant later, we ride every escalator we can find in Macy’s, including the clunky old wooden ones in the original parts of the building. Neither of us is a great shopper, but it’s great fun seeing what’s about.

Since the pizza hasn’t felled us, we’re well enough to eat out. This is Restaurant Week, when many of the top establishments have special deals. Our meal is wonderful and I have a lovely time watching other people, although the sight of so many teeny, tiny New York women with glowing skin, perfect teeth (there’s an awful lot of ‘Smile Enhancement’ here) and glossy hair is enough to make me feel like the Incredible Hulk. Prize for the Most Entertaining Diner goes to the man on the next table who orders what looks like a brontosaurus steak, rare, no veg and a bottle of red wine – it’s like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie on a plate!

The photo is the view of the stunning Chrysler Building taken from the 102nd-floor observatory of the Empire State Building


her at home said…
All that and time eat cupcakes too! Wow!
We missed out on the cupcakes, I'm sorry to say. We found the food in NYC rather too much. The portions were huge and be two best meals we had were a salad when we had lunch with Frances and an Italian meal.
HelenMHunt said…
That's a fantastic photo of the Chrysler Building. Sounds like you had a fab time.
Fennie said…
Never mind the spectacular jewellery - what about the breakfast? That's the question I think I'd have wanted to put to the rude assistants having first changed into a cunning disguise.
Pancakes? Ice cream? Maple syrup? All very well decorating yourself with rocks but people needa eat!
Friko said…
You seem to have enjoyed yourselves. So, when they start shooting a new SATC fil, you'll be in it, i take it?
Lane said…
Oh wow. To all of it. (except the dinosaur eater. That's just urgh:-)
You really enjoyed this didn't you? - it absolutely shines through - and its lovely to read
bradan said…
You describe it all so well, I feel as though I'm actually there! Sympathised with the cupcake woman, I hate birds too.
mountainear said…
I'm loving your tour round NY. Aren't those views across the city spectacular - you know they are going to be there and in some ways they are so familiar but they still take ones breathe away.
Leigh Russell said…
Lovely photos. They bring back memories of our trip to New York at a sombre time, in October 2001 just a few weeks after the 99/11 attacks on the twin towers. We were pleased we didn't cancel as everyone we met was very appreciative of our visit at that time. But it was sad.
Debs said…
Oh, I want to be there.

I'd always wanted to visit the Chrysler Building and was so thrilled to see the Art Deco inside as well.

Off to find a cupcake.
ChrisH said…
HAH - there is always time for cupcakes... or there should be, anyway!

Rosie, we did quite a bit of sharing courses. The restaurants were very obliging and always brought extra cutlery and plates without us requesting them.

Helen, Tom took it! It's such a beautiful building I wanted to be sure of a good photo.

Fennie, do you know,we didn't push our luck and ask for breakfast too! Tom, however, did feel it was his duty to have pancakes for breakfast every day. I only managed them once.

Friko, it was great fun, but I lack all the Smile Enhancers (come to think of it there are several other enhanced bits I'm lacking as well)to be in the next SATC, alas.

Lane, it was wow - the brontosaurus steak was something else though!

Thanks, SBS - it was huge fun, but quite exhausting at the time. It's afterwards when you think about it that it really hits you - an amazing place.

That's kind of you, Bradan. Tom loathes pigeons too, so he was also doing his best to keep away from them!

Thank you, Mountainear. Yes, that's it exactly - although I thought I knew what those places looked like, they absolutely blew me away in real life. Unforgettable.

Leigh, hello! Gosh, that must have been a very momentous trip. We visited Ground Zero (I'll write about it) but we were very struck by the feeling there even now.

Debs, the foyer is amazing, isn't it? Those lifts are sooo beautiful - and isn't it great that you can just wander in an see it for yourself? Hmm, I could do with a cupcake myself, but 3000 miles is a long way to go for a Magnolia Bakery special.
Cottage Garden said…
A vintage 'Chris' post - great read, lots of interesting stuff and brilliant humour. Chris, you are the ideal travel companion!! Love all of it and need to read the previous instalment!

Jeanne x
elizabethm said…
Love the photo. It's funny with things like guided tours. I always feel resistant to the idea of doing anything as part of a group like that (miserable soul that I am) and usually find that is absolutely fine and sometimes, like this one, better than fine.
Jude said…
Thank you Chris, I've been glued to the last 2 posts...mesmerised!! I was chuckling away at the thought of the bronosaurus steak man!
Wonderful posts, felt like I was there!!
Take care
Pondside said…
What a great time - talk about culture shock, though!
I look forward to more.
I'm going into town tomorrow to harass my favorite bookseller about your book. If he doesn't order it I'll be heading for Amazon.
ChrisH said…
Jeanne, thank you - what a nice thing to say.

Elizabeth - I'm exactly the same, but this was good fun and it was lovely to sit back and watch the sights from the comfort of the coach.

Jude, aw, thanks - three more to go so I hope you don't get sick of me!

Thank you, Pondside, the release date is 30 June, so your bookseller made need a bit of time, but that's very nice of you to say you'll buy it.

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