pieces of her

Tags

, ,

No.13

.

Joe Bell kept a whiskey bar near 86th and 3rd.

Sixty years since she came by, his fragile little bird.

Skinny girl, so fast and straight, to check for messages,

A little peck, and big Joe Bell would fall to pieces.

.

In a room out back Joe stuffed the letters as they came,

Overflowing milk-crate full of letters with her name.

Every one by different hand, all shaky, all from men

Joe wants to burn the lot, but just can’t do it to them.

.

One eye on his customers, the other just for her

A straight-backed scrappy blonde in trademark black, perhaps a fur;

Peering over trendy shades through saloon’s stained-glass doors.

Joe sees her all the time; just pieces, never more.

.

Today, he sees another face from summers way back then,

Nineteen-fifty-something, when they were still both young men.

Vision, milky now, too old to direct camera’s view,

Mister Yunioshi comes right in and takes a pew.

.

Yuni smiles, says ‘Hello Joe, make me please a Sidecar.”

From his pocket, yellowed photo, drops it on the bar.

Over-handled, edges worn, the picture’s faint and dim

“Bet you never guess, Joe Bell, where Yunioshi been?”

.

Joe Bell lifts it from the bar, sees writing on the back

‘1956’ it reads, with ‘Africa’ in black.

Staring, there’s her face upon some tribal effigy,

What could drive primitive men to carve so lovingly?

.

“Thought you were dead,” says Joe, but Yunioshi’s gone,

Downed his drink, pushed out the door, another old man done.

Alone again, Joe sighs and takes the photo out the back

Finds the dusty milk-crate, adds the picture to the stack.

.

Pauses now, he feels it’s weight, “Their burden, also mine.

All these men with lives half-lived to see her one last time.”

Rubs his eyes. “I had my chance, was too afraid to speak;

Like a fool, I threw some near-dead flowers at her feet.”

.

Joe Bell kept a whiskey bar near 86th and 3rd

Kept it open sixty years, though nothing else was heard.

.

No.13

Kai Eriksson, 2017

small blue box

Tags

, , , , ,

No.12

.

Raise a hand, let reflection settle on your finger,

Give him time to notice, catch his eye, let it linger.

Dowsing rods or divination, crystals balls or chance,

Do you leave it now to hope, to fate or happenstance?

.

Will he pick a jewel to match the colour of your eyes,

One to capture azure glints that scatter from the sky?

Diamond’s depths signify relationships lustration,

Pearl’s opacity mirrors better your frustration.

.

One whole year you’ve waited, having told him he’s the one

Wasted, if he missed the hint and won’t get this thing done.

Have you been too subtle? Maybe letters ten-fleet high;

Hire an aeroplane to scrawl instructions in the sky.

.

‘Marry me, you fool!’ are words you’d summon from his mouth

Sometimes it just feels as if your time is running out.

Agony men seem to face when trying to buy ‘The Ring’

Why such mortal terror over such a little thing?

.

Sulking, you don’t notice when he pulls off your left glove

On a cheering 6-train kneels and dedicates his love,

Presents a small blue box, which you then fumble open.

Slips onto your finger — love’s everlasting token.

.

No.12

Erik Kaisson, 2017

the sixth republic

Tags

, , , ,

I wrote with unfeigned pessimism in an earlier post of fears that Marine Le Pen and her National Front would sweep into power in France. I assumed at the time that Francois Hollande would arrogantly hang on (despite his 4% satisfaction rating) and face her at the final ballot, but he bit the bullet early, opened the field, and paved the way for a savage clearing of the political decks. Continuing this vaguely nautical metaphor, they’ve shoved Cpt Edward J. Smith out of a porthole and appointed Jim Moody, Petty Officer, to stand watch on the bridge and steer us clear of the icebergs. But Jim Moody was on the bridge, wasn’t he, when the Titanic sank? Oops…

One could argue (and one does) that sanity has prevailed and the politics of hate failed in both la France profonde and the cities. Chiefly, the result rebuffs the alt-right trend which now, with the Trump-slump showing its drab colours, may have lost its worldwide steamroller-like impetus. You might argue this, swept up in the euphoria of the French result, but what’s the real message for liberals in an election where 11 million people voted for an ultra-right loon, 12 million abstained from voting altogether, and more than 4 million defaced their ballot papers? If that (27 million) wasn’t a protest vote against the status-quo of progressive-vs-conservative, then I don’t know what it is. This so-called win delivers a ‘centrist’ as the 8th President of the Fifth Republic, without a left-wing politician left standing. What is this brave new world we’ve created? And why so serious, Emmanuel? What’s in those emails?

Had the ultra-right loon I referred to above also tapped into the youth-power element  so evident in Macron’s win, I wonder if the result might not have been closer. Certainly it wouldn’t have lost the National Front any votes. But maybe it’s too early to play your trump card just yet. Marine Le Pen says she’ll continue to lead the party, which is now legitimised as the ‘opposition’ in French politics, but will she lead it to another election? I doubted it then, and doubt it now. She may, however, go down in the annals of Wikipedia as the harbinger of extraordinary change.

Most worrying for me is that the far-right will draw oxygen from this. They are now no longer just the angry knee-jerk of the disaffected masses; they are the barbarians at the gate, normalised. Marine Le Pen will ride Macron like a bitch as he grapples (with youthful zeal, no doubt) the same issues that toppled the previous government: the threat of terrorism (230 killed), mass unemployment (9.6%), and a stagnant economy. Macron is going to take a savage beating, and when he staggers gaunt and grey-headed to the next election, there’s little doubt who will be his fresh-faced opponent.

NYC Day 13

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Our final hours in the city (versus the eternity it took to get home) will only fill a couple of paragraphs. I’ll provide that in a second, but what’s more important (to me) is what the experience meant overall–its affect–and if you’ll allow me some grandiosity here I suspect it changed me a lot. Like it or not, culture in Oz is a hybrid of which American customs and social mores feature significantly. So it was enlightening to trace some of my ‘adopted American values’ to their root.

But facts first: we woke on our final day in the US to a blocked toilet. Not blocked by anything nasty we put into it, just blocked. Our plan was to have breakfast, pack bags, grab lunch and enjoy Bryant Park one last time, then check-out and begin the commute home. We didn’t want to sit around twiddling our metaphorical thumbs while they unblocked the dunny, so we left housekeeping a ‘Surprise!’ note, a bit extra by way of final gratuity, and my MetroCard, in case she can make use of the remaining $16. Stepping out, we discovered no desire whatsoever to frantically tramp the streets one last time: we both just wanted to go home. So after a bite to eat, a quick circuit of the Park, and a look through the New York Public Library, we left.

Insert here, if it interests you, a 5.25 hour trans-American flight, a thirty minute transfer at LAX, a 14.5 hour trans-Atlantic flight, one headache-inducing hour in a succession of queues with about fifteen hundred exhausted and bad-smelling travellers at Sydney airport, and then suddenly we were in our car driving home on a bright, bright Sydney autumn day. So good to be home. We stayed awake, unpacking two massively overloaded suitcases, lunching with my daughter, repeating summaries of the trip to different persons. Everybody being kind in the face of our fatigue. But when I got a quiet moment, what I felt was a bone-deep satisfaction. I used to think I wanted a bigger house, but now I’d rather stay in my modest dwelling and save money for more trips. So where next? Italy, Scandinavia, or the British Isles?

I suspect impressions, like waves, never stop coming, with every seventh one or so a complete surprise. I’ve already returned to favourite NY-based books and movies for a greedy fix, but those are other peoples’ memories of the place, not mine. Reading ‘Humans of New York’ on the way home proved one thing, though: I didn’t meet any real Americans. Just as those employed by the French tourism industry made sure I kept out of the banlieus of the Parisian périphérique, I didn’t get to experience the working-poor of Brownsville, USA, either. But, so what? Was I meant to? More offensive, surely, are those bearded, sandal-wearing, bandanna-clad 18-35yo wankers who seek out the shittest locations on Earth so they can update their Fakebook with ‘look at me keepin’ it real in Aleppo‘ selfies. It was a holiday, ffs, not a sociological mission into deepest, darkest America.

Home at last, I’ve indulged myself in an extra week of leave to get over the fatigue, but also to prevent work from overwhelming my thoughts before I finished processing them. From a poetry perspective, expect some. This is some good shit. But I want to give the poetising time too, because I need to work out how the homeless girl with acne-scarring in Time Square relates to the plastic-surgery victim I saw on Lexington. Because they do, somehow, and that’s exactly where my poems are born, in the interstices. And excuse me in advance if I can’t help betraying an now-unrequitable longing for NY pizza and cheesecake.

But you can keep your coffee, aight, it was terrible.

NYC Day 12

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Our penultimate day in ‘The Big Apple’. Wanted to throw that in, because I know the locals hate it when tourists call it that. Also, they apparently don’t like it when you type ‘NYC’ either, or eat pizza with a knife and fork. Yes, yes, I get it, you’re all very special people, but before New Yorkerists get too sniffy, let me point out that they don’t get everything right either. In Bluestone Lane there’s a sign which says ‘Sorry mates, we’re closed!’ or similar–ask any Australian why that’s dead wrong, I’m keeping it a mystery. You’ll know you’re from NYC if your immediate reaction is ‘Like I give a fuc* what Aussies think!’ unquote.

Uptown to 86th and Lexington, back into the Park for a relaxing day of farewell photography. The promised blue skies were on their way, but to begin with we felt dudded once again by the cloud and drizzle. Didn’t last long enough to dampen our spirits, and before long the squirrels were out posing, as were the peeps. We caught a skinny young woman doing a photoshoot in a nice dress and Ugg boots, and a Russian-looking couple balanced on a rock against the West Side backdrop. We saw turtles humping from the battlements of Belvedere Castle, got roundly scolded by an American Robin, had pastry and coffee at The Loeb Boathouse, watched kids cheering the bubbleman at Bethesda Terrace, and emerged with smiles on our faces. Best park in the world.

Lunch was at the Rock Centre Cafe where I persuaded my wife to indulge in a cocktail (at midday!) so that I could have one too. A medium-rare steak, some greens and my third (and final) slab of American Cheesecake seemed the perfect finale to our morning’s activities. After a break, we followed it up with a curtain-call with dinner at the Empire State Building, where I ate another dead animal and consumed two more cocktails. Yummo. We went to the ticket gate only to be told by a young man that the visibility was zero. Thinking this a clever ruse by the young ruffian to avoid doing any work tonight, I nonetheless seized the opportunity to retire early; but upon exiting the ESB (I can hear eight million New Yorkists gritting their teeth, it sounds like a glacier calving) by god the young scamp was correct. Visibility zero. Thus, we endeth the day as we begun-eth.

I didn’t mind. TripAdvisor highly recommended the ESB among its Top 10 iconic things to see and do when visiting NY, so of course I was sceptical. Plus, I was never a King Kong fan. I was just looking to squeeze the last value out of my New York Pass, but the thing has more than paid for itself already anyway. Also, given that my wife has consumed two cocktails AND a glass of white wine today, I didn’t much want the chore of having to carry her back to the hotel from the 86th floor of 338 5th Ave once the booze runs its course. I’m sure a man walking down Madison Ave with an unconscious woman over his shoulder is not unusual in this town, but why push my luck.

Speaking of luck, I’ll see you in the morning for Lucky 13, our last day in New York.

NYC Day 11

We took the less crowded 10am 6-train to Bleecker Street station, down Broadway to the Levi’s store to buy a couple of laundry-saving t-shirts, then north again to explore Greenwich Village. Our first stop was coffee in the dim recesses of Caffe Reggio, and what a serendipitous find that was! Is there any dingy eatery in NY that wasn’t in a famous movie? As if to make the distinction, lunch was at a not-famous but very cheap pasticceria, with my wife eating something healthy while I noshed into a burger and hand-cut fries, nom-nom-nom. Always surprises me when Italians can’t make coffee: mine was like a cup of frothy milk somebody had waved in the direction of Colombia. It was foul. But I made up for it with my Salty Pimp! Yay, Salty Pimp!

Road-testing my new peat-bogging jacket, I discovered that waxed canvas eventually gets wet and very cold, and hangs on you like a damp funereal shroud. It also has this quasi-vampiric quality about it, making you very aware of your suffering as it leaches warmth, life and hope from your body. I love it! If I ever go on a murderous rampage, you know exactly what I’ll be wearing: ‘He was wearing his Filson jacket!’ they’ll say, running. This might make me peculiar when I return to Sydney, but if I stayed in New York I’d just be another crazy mofo on the subway talking to himself and maybe or maybe not testing the edge of his hunting knife in the pocket of that big, ugly jacket. Mmm… hunting knife…

Speaking of crazy, I am in two minds about cyclists in New York. On the one hand, as a fellow bi-pedalist, I admire their moxie. You have to be a confident mother-focaccia to even compete in the two-wheels versus four-wheels mayhem that’s out there. You also have to flout every road rule I can think of, merely to survive; because motorists don’t appear to give a shit, and traffic cops certainly don’t give a shit, so in this free-for-all what can a cyclist do except be marginally batshit crazier than everybody else? That said, one advantage New York cyclists have over just about every other human being on the planet is that they know exactly how they’re going to die. It’s just a question of when, and from what I’ve seen, they roll that dice every day.

We took the Highline back, and apart from getting a break from the endless stop-start of street corners at the intersections of Street X and Avenue Y, I didn’t like it. I especially didn’t like the way the Highline herds you towards retails spaces such as the eye-popping Coach store, but this is America I guess. The walk back in the rain took us through endless renovations of old places and spaces, the vapour trails of a million vapers and smokers, past one hole-in-the-wall then another. Ivy creeping up the wall of a public house caught my camera lens; a billboard offering $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone who shoots a police officer; water towers on the roofs of pre-WWII apartment blocks. It’s almost overwhelming. You can’t take it all in, it just beats you down, especially when it hasn’t stopped drizzling since we left the hotel five hours and 20,000 steps ago.

Back now, recounting my day before it all just fizzes out of memory. Tomorrow is our last day in New York. On Friday we’ll have the morning, then a taxi at noon to JFK where we begin our preparations and spend the last of our $USD. I’m sad that it’s ending, but this has been an amazing experience; but now I’m missing the kids and the kittens. From a first-time perspective, I feel satisfied we’ve ‘done’ New York. Its time to go home.

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Day 10

Tags

, , , ,

My wife is always gobsmacked when the weather forecast is incorrect, but today it was spot on. Rain, and plenty of it. Undeterred, we walked past the Chrysler Building to the United Nations, but didn’t see the famous twisted revolver or the fluttering flags of all nations. We saw a small bunch of Chinese emigres across the street protesting something about pension entitlements, but apparently not so seriously that they were prepared to protest in the rain. I saw sulky security guards bag-checking some dude through the UN Plaza gate and felt like mounting a protest of my own: No More Bag Checks! Also, in this city of inspired architecture, wtf:

We climbed back into the city past a private garden, a nuclear fallout shelter under a church, and some Tudoresque homes, hitting 3rd Ave then wandering north. We stopped for coffee in Le Pain Quotidien on E44th Street, which felt like cheating, because he have them back home–but the coffee was good. I was a little cold and wet, so a break from the weather was nice. Lunch at another pizzeria, this time on E60th Street, with a very attentive Ukrainian waitress. Back to the hub, and the one thing I wanted from Tommy Hilfiger they didn’t have in my size; thankfully, a block from home at Barnes & Noble I emerged with something to commemorate the day: a copy of ‘Humans of New York‘ — I’ve been a fan of the photoblog for years.

Our plan was to retire to the hotel, get into some dry clothes and relax. Maybe hit the cocktail bar on the 14th level if the mood strikes us. Tomorrow we go downtown and explore Greenwich Village via Bleecker Street, find a cool non-pizza place to lunch, get my long-awaited Salty Pimp from Big Gay Ice Cream, and walk the Highline. Depending on the overcastness (my new word for the day), we’ll conquer the Empire State Building on Thursday night to farewell New York. Being tough Aussies, our Plan B (for monstrous weather) is just Plan A with umbrellas! I won’t give up until I’ve had my Salty Pimp.

I’m sure it tastes better than it looks, because it looks like a turd. Anyway, here’s some boring errata for you: on extended holidays you eventually run out of clean clothes. We could do some laundry, but this unholidayish (second new word) activity can be avoided if I buy more shirts. I almost got some suspiciously cheap Levi’s tops on 3rd Ave before I realised they’re probably seconds, and scampered out before the paparazzi noticed. I mean, if we’re going to be visiting hipster Greenwich Village tomorrow, I can’t exactly stumble out of the Blind Tiger on Jones Street and laugh-off some accidental street-frottage with Emma Watson if I’m wearing a fake Levi’s Rolling Stones tee, can I. Unless I distract her with my hipster-street-cred enhancing dog-eared copy of Maya Angelou’s poetry, maybe.

Aw hell, I can’t lie to Emma. I’ve never read any Maya Angelou. I just don’t rate her at all. I don’t rate this New York rain either. Let’s have some fine weather now that the finishing line is in sight for your Australian guests. We’ve behaved ourselves, so how about a little flourish before we depart? Give us a couple of days of your best Spring weather; I want to see right across this amazing city the night before I have to leave.

 

NYC Day 9

Tags

, , , , , ,

A short day! Thank Jebus!

Our plan was to hit the last of the must-see NYC department stores (Bloomingdale’s) and then sight-see the neighbourhood. A suffocating 4-train to Union Square, where we reoriented ourselves and calmed our nerves before wandering down Broadway to the shops. My wife acquired a handbag in some neutral colour she assures me will be very versatile and thus enduring, which is good because it cost as much as several thousand sturdy brown paper bags of approximately the same dimensions; of course, brown paper bags aren’t made in Italy, nor would they make the possessor feel quite as smug. Speaking of supermodels, did I mention we ran into Emily Ratajkowski? No? We ran into Emily Ratajkowski, filming a DKNY ad. I may have accidentally taken a photo or two…

After that, in her customary way, my wife swore she didn’t want to set foot into another retail outlet for the remainder of our trip; instead, she pushed me into several of them, trying to balance the her/him spending ledger so that she’d feel less guilty. To help her out, I bought a jacket from a store called Filson (est. 1897) which I’ll wear tomorrow if the weather is shit, and/or any time I find myself flyfishing in the Scottish Highlands. After that, it was time for lunch, and we settled on Lafayette Grand Cafe on… Lafayette Street in NoHo, where she had the ratatouille and I had the lobster fettucini, washed down with a Sancerre. While waiting, I watched a one-legged man in a wheelchair go back and forth begging for change at cars stopping at lights on Great Jones St. I was reminded of Eddie Murphy’s scam at the beginning of the movie Trading Places except that this dude really did only have one leg.

We continued our meander to Astor Place, then onto W8th, and then to the birthplace of 5th Ave. We followed this north, stopping to gawp at the Flatiron Building, sadly backlit and less photogenic than it could have been. What professional tourist-beckoning photos don’t show is that almost every street in New York is under construction, reconstruction, or repair at some pint on its length. So it’s virtually impossible to photograph anything famous without having to include bollards, men in hi-vis vests and hardhats, and the endless spiderweb of scaffolding into every picture. I saw a squirrel with a very sad tail in Madison Square Park, and two tattooed lesbians wrestling.

Switching to Madison Avenue, we followed this home, looking for an art supplier that apparently stocks Pantone products (another of my wife’s obsessions) but instead found a fast-food joint. Obviously less people obsess about quality art supplies than they do about cheap hamburgers; like we needed more proof of that. Anyway, disappointed, we ascended the remaining blocks to our little hotel, glad to get in from the weather, ready to review the handful of photos we took today, and attend to emails, etc. This would be a night to go out to dinner, maybe see a show, but the only theatre I’m interested in would set us back $345 for 90mins of entertainment. I don’t care if Danny DeVito steals the show in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Price’ or not; for that price, I’d want the performance of a lifetime.

So instead I suspect it will be History Channel, a little bit of the complimentary cheese&wine, and off to bed. Can’t say that I’m not happy with that. With a little luck, tomorrow will be absolutely horrible and we’ll be confined to the hotel for the whole day. As it is, my pedometer says we walked 15,441 steps today — our ‘rest’ day! I’m almost beginning to look forward to the flight home — 17 hours immobilised on an aircraft with nothing to do but doze, read, watch, and eat — sounds awful!

NYC Day 8

Tags

, , , , , ,

The weather presenter in the tight purple dress on CBS says it would be sunny today, with rain returning tomorrow and Tuesday, so the consensus was that we’d better make the most of it. I can’t get used to commercial tv in the mornings; for some reason, it makes me want to buy a Chevy. Speaking of which, Toyota must have some subliminal thing going, because every second car I’ve seen in Manhattan is a Camry. Shame on you, Toyota!

So the sunny weather option unfolded as follows: after breakfast we strolled down to the Rockefeller Centre and joined a line to get a ticket to join another line to get to the 67th floor of the selfsame building. The elevator took half a minute to take us to the top, wobbling on its cable just enough to give my wife the cold sweats. The top of the building, too, had a slightly vertiginous sway about it. I didn’t have to ask her twice if she’d seen enough before it was time to shoot back down again, my wife concentrating intently on the patch of worn carpet between her feet and squeezing the bejesus out of my hand. But she’s okay on a trans-oceanic flight thats 11 kilometres above sea-level! Go figure.

We exited, and stopped by Bluestone Lane for a proper Australia fat white, which we enjoyed in Bryant Park. After that, we followed W42nd Street to Pier 83 in Hell’s Kitchen, which I have to say was unimpressive. Vibe aside, the day so far was all blue skies and sunshine, and so warm that we joined the queue for the Best of NYC Cruise early to nab a seat under the canopy to escape the sun; instead, we spent 150 minutes in the freezing wind, barely thawing for the views of the Manhattan skyline, the SoL and the Brooklyn Bridge, which were world-class. The last 90 minutes of the cruise was ineffably dull, and while our guide gets an ‘A’ for effort, he wasn’t funny at all; by the time we returned to the Hudson River I wanted to tip his ass overboard and watch him get chopped up into funny pieces by the propeller.

Hungry and tired, we sped home through the slough of despond that is Time Square, narrowly missing some celebrity thespian escaping out the back door of some Broadway matinee, and veered right at 6th Ave to check out the menu at Bryant Park Grill. Chilled to the bone, we opted for an easy dinner and warmed our souls with cocktails and yummy eats. With about eighty shots of liquor in us, we staggered back to the room where I now type this, my wife already asleep, having vaguely planned out expedition to Lower Manhattan tomorrow. Our greatest fear is that we’ll waste a day, but it hasn’t happened yet.

End of Day 8, and an end I hope to one of my pet peeves, the lines into any and all worthwhile attractions. Cooling my heels in one of the many human assembly lines I found myself in today, I grumbled that the city should be renamed ‘Queue York’. She liked that — said I had to put it in the blog. Ask and ye shall receive.

NYC Day 7

Still a bit numb with fatigue at 6:30am this morning, we breakfasted and stepped out into a blustery cold day with fingers crossed that it would follow the pattern of every day so far and fine up. It did not. Stepping off the 4-train, we got into line for the Guggenheim at 9:41 and felt the first drops on our immaculately coiffured heads as we walked in. Forgetting the inclemency is easy when you are surrounded by Kandinsky, Cezanne, Ernst, Picasso and co., but we were reminded of it the minute we left. Luckily, the Smithsonian Design Museum is only a block north of the Guggenheim, so we took shelter amidst the history of design for another productive hour, but eventually it too had been exhausted.

Forced back outside by our growling stomachs, after a quick detour to buy another umbrella, we cut through Central Park into the Upper West Side and this time found ourselves studying the menu outside Bella Luna on Columbus Avenue, another Italian restaurant, where we lunched on Argentinian malbec and a couple of their brick-oven pizzas.  All this did was to reinforce our growing respect for the New York staple. We both briefly pretended we were interested in something different today, maybe try the pasta, but really nobody was fooled. While waiting, we managed to study some of the West Side street life and concluded that Americans love their dogs, and that the quality of an eating establishment is directly proportional to the number and vibrancy of tulips in the planter box out front. Another great meal.

Replete and just a teeny-weeny bit drunk, we returned to the Park and dawdled south until bursting bladders forced us to duck into Saks 5th Ave to answer nature’s call. After so many profitable shopping adventures these past few days, the last thing I wanted was another minute looking at designer softgoods, so we escaped as surreptitiously as possible, threading the gauntlet of aggressively-friendly cosmetic-counter staff on the ground floor back out into the rain.  I’d wanted to check out the range of poetry on offer at Barnes & Noble, but when I realised I couldn’t even get my eyes to focus on the many titles they have for sale, I knew it was time to call it quits. Luckily, home for us was only a couple of blocks away.

Disgraceful weather, with the rain really settling in, so we didn’t send a lot of time outdoors today and not a lot of photographs were taken. We’re still keen to hit the Top of the Rock, and see Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from the water, but we’ll have to wait for better weather, promised in the next few days. Five more days to go, not counting our exfil on Friday 28th, so plenty of time to fossick through some less-touristy sights before we go. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every exhausting day, and my opinion of the ‘average American’ is fairly high. That said, have I met one yet? I’m not so sure. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.