Thursday, 11 February 2010
New York Snapshots, SATC
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