Snapshots from New York


27 January
‘Hey, lady – Chris,’ says the cab driver. ‘Don’t be so polite! Be kind, be nice – but don’t be polite. Ya gotta loosen up! New York ain’t a postcard so don’t just look at it – ya gotta do it!’ Excellent advice, I think, enjoying the banter all the way from the airport. Nevertheless it is hard not to feel that the first things to be done are us as we part with an eye-watering sum of money for the fare.

Reeling and slightly disoriented from the journey we stand in awe outside our hotel, a glittering skyscraper just off Times Square. Inside, it’s just as impressive; a huge atrium with chandeliers, chocolate leather sofas and a small army of uniformed staff smiling as if they’ve been waiting all day just to meet us. We glide up the escalators to another vast room with yet more staff who also beam at us. By the time we reach our room on the 22nd floor, I’m seriously worried that there’s been a misunderstanding with our last-minute deal.

When we open the door to our room, I just know we’re going to have to clean this place for the rest of our lives to cover the bill that must surely be coming. It’s glorious; an enormous modern room dominated by a king-size bed which, judging by depth of the mattress and the pile of duvets, must surely have a very small pea hidden somewhere at the bottom. The bathroom’s pretty amazing too; all mod cons and stacks of fluffy white towels, but what really takes my breath away is the view across the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River.

Eventually we drag ourselves away and find an Italian restaurant straight out of ‘Moonstruck’. An early night is order, but first we’ll watch President Obama’s State of the Union address. Well, that’s the plan. No sooner do I lie back on the Princess and the Pea bed when I’m out like a light. Not much in the way of blue blood flowing through my veins then.

28 January
Wide awake and raring to go at the Crack of Doom, we consult the hotel breakfast menu, blink at the prices and rapidly decide to hit the diner across the road. Bamboozled by a bewildering selection we end up with a very strange combo, but, hey, it hits the spot and we’re good to go. It’s snowing and I’m amused by the number of small dogs in coats and boots but shocked at the women in fur coats.

Our plan today is to explore on foot. Unfortunately for Tom, our walk takes us through the Diamond District. I helpfully point out the ring he should buy me and the assistant watching from inside beckons me in to try it on. Declining quickly I walk away, kicking myself that I have just turned down the chance to try on the biggest diamond of my life. Lady, I remind myself, ya gotta do New York, not look at it!

The photo shows one of the views from our room - alas, I am no photographer so this doesn't begin to do it justice!

Comments

JJ Beattie said…
OH WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW. I LOVE New York but it's been years and years since I was there. How fantastic to get to hear your stories.
Frances said…
Chris, isn't NYC an amazing place ... or really many places in one?

I am so glad that your room did come with that view to give you an idea of the span.

There's nothing quite like that first deep sleep after a long flight. It really does set you up for a great stay in a new locale.

I'm looking forward to reading more about your adventures all over New York.

xo
Preseli Mags said…
I love the fact that you were on first name terms with the cab driver! I've just been reading the Princess and the Pea with R6, so I can imagine the luxury of that bed! Your trip sounds fabulous, I can't wait to hear more.

PS: Did you know that the supposed heirs to the Welshman who built Manhattan live in Maenclochog?
Elizabethd said…
Please continue....!
Sounds incredible. I've never been to NY. Just the way you describe going into that hotel and being treated like royalty ... I wanna go, I wanna go!!!
Fennie said…
I remember eating a wonderful swordfish steak in a hotel in just that area. Wonder if it was the same one - but not as posh - at least then - as the one you describe. Yes, great place that leaves you reeling a little. I always wanted to buy a fake Rolex from the guys on the sidewalk but never quite had the courage. Another example of 'you've gotta do NY not look at it' - real cast iron advice. Wish I had found the same driver! Great photo. And re the princess and the pea - Did you know that her sister, who was also a princess, naturally, never felt the pea at all. The family put it down to the fact that she had been a runner. Toughened up the bottom, you see. They had to use a larger vegetable to test and several of them together in a pod produced by a plant with scarlet flowers - what was it? Oh yes - a runner bean! (Sorry!)
her at home said…
And then? And then? Go on tell us more!!Your hotel sounds like heaven!
bradan said…
Don't leave us in suspense, I want the whole story! Hotel sounds fab.
Debs said…
I love NYC, so amazing and so much to see.

Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.
ChrisH said…
JJ, it's a city that's so full of iconic images, it's hard not to be impressed by the place... and of course it's got...

Frances! (I'm saving telling you about Frances to last!!) Great sleep and a great breakfast set up us for plenty of walking... although we did underestimate how far it was to the Met.

Mags, he heard Tom speak to me and got in straight away! I wish we could have brought the bed home - it was so comfortable. (And, no - I didn't know that!).

Elizabeth, thank you - I will!

Fran, I can recommend New York for its hospitality; people go out of their way to help and make sure you get what you want.

Fennie, I do hope you are not suggesting that I have a tough bottom!! Good tale though (I wouldn't have expected anything else!).

HAH, we struck very lucky on the last minute deal; hotel was excellent. Great base to explore from too. More soon.

Bradan, I thought you'd all get fed up if I poured it all out at once so I'll do a bit at a time - thanks for the interest.

Debs, I saw where you stayed. That looked rather wonderful too. There is so much to see there, isn't there? I'm glad I took the advice to wear comfy shoes!
Liane Spicer said…
Ooh! OOH! I'm loving my vicarious visit to NYC!
Sallys Chateau said…
Just love dipping in and hearing about your adventure. Women in fur coats here too, always makes me look twice but no-one else blinks;
Flowerpot said…
I went to NYC about 15 years ago and was struck by how entirely different it is from London. And what a photogenic city too. Sounds like a great trip Chris!
Lane said…
I've never been and now I want to go and 'do it' more than EVER!
Cottage Garden said…
I really,REALLY want to go to NYC now, if only to have a conversation with a Yellow Cab driver !

"Who loves ya, baby"!!

Jeanne x
ChrisH said…
Liane, aw, thanks!

Sally - that's interesting. Frances said it's a new trend there - not one either of us admired very much.

Fp, do you know, I've never spent that long in London? Bit strange to go all that way to NY when I haven't spent much time in a city here!

Lane, I do recommend it; it's a real experience - but I never thought I'd have the chance to go so I know I've been lucky.

Jeanne, it was worth the HUGE fare for the entertainment (well, I think it was!).

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