Short of a zombie armageddon, my wife and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in New York next April. With the airfares, hotel and ESTA’s all booked and confirmed, I’m honing in on the details. From macro to micro, I want to develop a street-level familiarity with our destination just as I did for our 2012 Paris trip, where I felt almost born and bred in the 6th arrondissement (btw, don’t bother with Café de Flore, the only arrogant Frenchmen I encountered work there). I know some people are the opposite, that they like to play it fast and loose, but that’s not me. I don’t mind fast, but loose … ?


There should be a fantasy trip-planning app. Maybe there is, but I’m doing it old-school, foraging through the accumulated wisdom of sites like Fodor’s, TripAdvisor, and Conde Nast for variations on the ‘25 things you must do in NYC‘ list. If there was any objectivity involved in this, all lists would be the same; instead, they are always completely different. Amusingly, some helpful types have compiled lists of the ‘25 things you must NOT do in NYC‘ which often include some of the must-sees from their opponents lists! So, do I go to Katz’s or not??? Aaargh! Compare this with the consistent advice we Aussies provide to our international guests, like, don’t pat the dingoes, and that ‘drop bears’ don’t actually exist.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha! ‘Don’t exist!” Ohjesuskillme…!

Back to NYC though, everything on the take-off panel is flashing green at the moment. The countdown hasn’t begun yet, so there’s ample opportunity for things to get FUBAR, but that is in the lap of the gods. I’ve done what I can. I’ve also stepped back from the ‘must visit iconic landmark X or die’ mentality. I think we’ll do what we did in Paris and London, and that is to head out with a vague destination in mind and see what we discover en-route. That’s how my wife found her gloves in rue de Bac, and my umbrella from Alexandra Stojfer. The only thing I will definitely nail down in my mind are the locations of Aussie-style coffee shops where I can get my flat white. New Yorkers are undoubtedly famous for lots of things, but your coffee is infamous, as in, it tastes-like-somebody-stewed-their-underpants-in-it infamous. Canadians can’t make coffee to save themselves, and even they are unimpressed.

So you guys aren’t perfect. I forgive you. In any case, you have some time up your sleeve to get your act together. If you could give Manhattan the once over for me that would be great; like, finish off all the streetworks, clean up all the garbage, smooth over some of the cracks in the sidewalk, maybe ease up on the traffic congestion a little? What do you reckon? But most importantly, to give people time to pack up and leave or, alternately, to start gluing tinsel onto their ‘Welcome Kaisson!” banners, start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today in, um … 347,040 New York minutes!

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