We’ve just returned from a five day trip to New York, the first of my husband’s carefully planned experiences for his ‘gap year!’ Wow, what a trip and I’ve been lucky enough to tag along with him.
We arrived at The Metro Hotel at midnight NYtime, a bit dazed but excited, immediately noticing the Art Deco style lobby and the picture of the old Queen Mary behind the desk. Always feeling I was born in the wrong era I felt at home immediately, which was strange for a country lover like myself.
Our first day, Sunday, was a day for orientation. We walked just one block over from 35th Street to pass the entrance to The Empire State Building on 5th Avenue, then ambled down to Central Station, standing in awe of the elegance of the building. Next we peered into the lobby of The Chrysler Building – the ultimate in style and design in my opinion. I had very foolishly not realised the
influence of the 1920’s on the much loved city, blending with the neo-classical, beautifully reflected in the ‘modern’ towers of glass.
Crossing the city we navigated the numerous crossings, map in hand, to locate Time Square – not an easy place to miss. Think Piccadilly Circus and almost double the effect of electronic billboards, flashing lights and ticker-tape messages – even more impressive at night. The walk back to the hotel for a short rest only took at most half an hour, just as well since we returned for a 3pm performance of Les Miserable in The Theatre District, centreing on the neon illuminated square. We just had time for tea and cake in Junior’s.
‘That reached the spot,’ winked the waiter when I thanked him with a smile. Well, we could not let our British reputation down for our liking for afternoon tea, could we?
I’d seen Les Miserable twice in London years ago, but we were both swept by the moment into another world – the iconic soundtrack filling my head for the remainder of our stay in The Big Apple. Stunning voices pulled at the heart strings – I gasped and sobbed with the rest of the audience, so wrapped up was I in the performance.
We wandered back – can you wander in New York or are you swept along by the pace of the crowds? We looked out for somewhere to eat and not far from our hotel we stumbled on the first of many Irish Pubs in the vicinity. Not being big eaters we only wanted a simple course and the menu was ideal. We both dined on Shepherd’s Pie – though I didn’t like to tell them that it was really Cottage Pie with beef rather than lamb. Nevertheless it was warm and hearty – perfect comfort food for a cold New York evening, washed down with a half of Guinness. Delightful, and the service was friendly and relatively fast too.
Content but tired we fell into bed and slept well that night, anticipating the adventures of the days ahead.