NYC Day 12

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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

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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

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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

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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.

NYC Day 6

I’m not looking forward to the end of this wonderful vacation, a little pensive about the trip between JFK and LAX, given how punchy US flight crews have become in the past week. I’d ask The Donald to intervene, seeing as he (well, Pence) is trying to mend bridges with Oz right now, but the big fella appears to be busy drowning in the swamp. Closing in on 100 days in office now — as a PR exercise it’s been a ridiculous failure, surely, but maybe I should keep my mouth shut until I’m safely home.

We’ve museum-ed the shit out of New York these past couple of days, and today was no exception. At 9am, that useless hour before everything opens, we hit the chilly road and scouted the surrounds of the Rockefeller Centre, thinking to take in the views from the observation deck; but the little minx at the ticketing gate told us there was zero visibility today, so we poked around until The Sea Grill opened and had ourselves some lunch. It was the most expensive meal we’ve enjoyed so far, but also the best. Clam chowder to kill for, and scallops to die for. People who complain about US food really need to spend a few bucks, this shit is delicious.

Stomachs nicely rounded, we walked it off for a couple of blocks up to the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd and flashed our New York passes again. Before we knew it we were among Picasso’s finest, and I even discovered a new artist — Giorgio de Chico — whose manipulation of perspectives and palette really appeals to me. Monet’s Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond is here, and I’m thrilled to have seen him now in Australia, France and the USA. For those not so interested in art, there’s always the overpriced gift shop (which we also visited). But really, get yourselves some culture, FFS.

After another packed day, we limped home and strayed into a menswear store where I emerged with a new pair of shoes and a couple of shirts, enough I hope to get me through without having to visit a laundromat or succumb through sheer laziness to the exorbitant hotel dry-cleaning service ($14 for a t-shirt). The forecast is for worse weather tomorrow, so we probably won’t make the Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, HOHO bus tour or Circleline cruise tomorrow either, but luckily there’s no shortage of other things to do in this city. Loving my New York pass too, by the way. I’m saving time and big $$$.

Collapsing in our room, we reviewed our photos from the day, read and sent emails, and prepared ourselves for tomorrow. I need to rest my feet, but I also don’t want to waste a moment. I’ll walk my legs into bloody stumps if I have to, I can always recuperate on the flight home. I may never come back here, so I have to do everything or I’ll regret the one thing I didn’t do. That means more short trips on the subway to explore Lower Manhattan and all those places ending in ‘Village’. Plus, I could stand to eat more authentic New York pizza.

Lots to see and do (and eat)! My best decision so far, other than coming here, was to pick a hotel only a block away from Grand Central. With quick and cheap transport at out fingertips, nothing is out of reach. I thought the subway would be daunting, but it is not. I also mistakenly thought we’d have time for a day trip to Washington DC or the Hamptons, but that’s not going to happen. Next time, maybe. So endeth Day 6 of our NYC vacation.

NYC Day 5

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Somebody please explain to me why you’d drive all the way from Buttfu*k, Idaho, to stand in the rain at dawn in Rockefeller Plaza with a handmade, Idaho-shaped sign with ‘Idaho!’ scrawled on it, outside the NBC news studios, hooting like a troupe of colobus monkeys? Why, America? Why do you make celebrities out of nobodies, so that everybody thinks they can be somebody? Everyone accidentally captured on camera in this country appears to have been practicing since birth for their fifteen-seconds of fame. Except me, of course, I’m somebody who’s nobody to anybody, exactly as planned.

After an anonymous stroll through Central Park, we joined the massive queue to get into the American Museum of Natural History. Now, I didn’t come 15,979 kilometres to criticise, but after being misdirected by disinterested AMNH employees three times, I was ready to punch the next fool’s lights out. After almost a week of smashing the bejesus out of my feet, the soles of my feet were killing me, and I was in no mood to be screwed around. I was on the verge of triggering an international incident. Luckily, the excellent AMNH exhibitions redeemed its employees’ uselessness, and I found lots of cool shit to dissipate my rage. Lots of old bones, Native American weapons, gemstones and a pensive stuffed hominid made up for the bad start. That, and the sheer magnificence of the venue. What a building.

Lunch afterwards at Patsy’s Pizzeria in the Upper West Side was the perfect salve. A mellow stroll to the puerile tourist trap that is Madam Tussaud’s in Time Square also exposed us to our first local ‘characters’ including a crazy man shouting at random women, and a pair of bootylicious ladies plying their trade on Broadway outside Hershey’s Chocolate World. Mmm… chocolate. Anyway, the wax-works were a buzz-kill for a hundred reasons, not least my wife’s disappointment that she couldn’t pose with George Clooney, and my sadness at being stood up by both Scarlett AND Charlize. Even the Commander-in-Chief seemed unimpressed.

We skulked home after that, satisfied that we’d squeezed the most out of our day again. My pedometer and feet certainly thought so. We limped to the wine & cheese downstairs then back up to our room, watched Discovery Channel for a couple of hours, and were shamelessly asleep by nine o’clock. I’m getting used to ignoring traffic lights, dodging traffic, and shouldering my way through the crowds. New Yorkers aren’t rude people, they’re just busy people. In this land of opportunity, in this city where people still believe the myth that you can make it if they work hard enough, don’t be the one that gets in their way. I look out my window before I go down for breakfast at 7:30, and he’s still there when I’ve finished supper at 6:30. A nobody who wants to be a somebody, but hasn’t had his fifteen-seconds of fame just yet.

NYC Day 4

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CNN tells me this morning that we’re only 1.1 million miles shy of an extinction-level event today as a massive asteroid whips past the Earth. But I wasn’t worried, because we have a posse of decrepit former action-heroes waiting in space suits to deflect it’s apocalyptic course. I’m even more confident of our survival because we’re in the USA and, notwithstanding the grisly death of heaps of unattractive non-Caucasian persons, pretty white folk like us always prevail. The only problem is that I don’t take steroids and shave my chest; it doesn’t help that my wife’s boobs are 100% real, either. Maybe we’re toast after all.

Anyway, our day began with the 6 train to Brooklyn for another lap over the bridge to purchase secret gift for one of our children. It was a fairly brisk 45℉ (7℃) but we powered along and didn’t really feel it. Coffee and a little retail therapy before we crossed back over to Manhattan and took the subway to 86th and Lexington, where our afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art began. Our first chance to whip out the New York Pass. After that, it was all about the arms and armour, busts of famous Romans, stolen antiquities, and .. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!

After that nasty shock, lunch in the Petrie Court Cafe (try the pulled-chicken club) then home through the bottom-half of Central Park. Watched the model boats sailing in Conservatory Water, and let my wife think she was taking a stealthy photo of me examining the statue of Hans Christian Andersen. Squirrels both grey and black were everywhere, a dude walking his cat on a leash would you believe, and the ubiquitous food vendors. That beautiful, famous park in early bloom, wreathed in new green growth and pink petals. 21,600 steps for the day and every one of them was worth it.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is our hotels complimentary wine & cheese evenings in the reading room. Perfect way to wind down, but also a massive trap. I know this won’t be the rule, but so far we’ve spent our evenings at home-base. With so many nocturnal activities at our fingertips, we’ve done none of them. Our days have all been a little overwhelming: NYC may not need to sleep, but I do! I’m excited that we’re here long enough to see the city wake up from winter, to see the ugly duckling take flight as a beautiful swan.

NYC Day 3

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Tuesday 18 April 2017 started exactly the same as the others: awake at 6:30, then breakfast, then out to explore; but today was different to all the others, it’s a day that will never be repeated. Our 25th wedding anniversary. Special enough that we’re spending it together on the opposite side of the world, what more could you do? Go shopping!

Believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to this: I’d come to NY with an empty suitcase, the plan being I’d buy all of the clothes I’d need for the trip, then I’d be a year ahead when I get back home, fashionista that I am (not). But we began where I never thought I’d end: men’s fragrances. Not that I smell like ass normally, but now I smell like a fusion of spices, leather and florals, opening with notes of sage and lavender to reveal the sensuality of suede layered with geranium, warming to intense hints of creamy nutmeg mixed with incense for a base that’s both sweet and seductive. Holy Jesus! Next I’ll be growing a moustache, humming ‘Good morning Baltimore’ and wearing loafers.

I kid, of course (I don’t hum), but I did emerge after a few hair-raising moments with two pairs of jeans, shirts, sweater and a black hooded jacket that clawed back some heteronormative masculinity for me. Maybe it shows lack of imagination, but I still like being a boy. My wife also enjoys being a girl, and, fulfilling the stereotype, emerged from our assault on 5th Ave with a shopping bag hooked to each finger and a credit card at melting-point. Serendipitous purchases won the day: an unexpected yet perfect leather jacket from Saks, a hobo shoulder-bag from Shinola in Brooklyn, some perfume, some make-up, some tops. Maybe not enough to completely scratch the itch, but we gave it a good rub. There’s prescription medication for the rest.

We lunched at Cafe SFA where I had the corn and crab chowder, the NY strip steak, and a couple of cocktails. I wondered for a moment what the poor-people were doing, but then I looked down the street from my window high over 5th Ave and remembered. They’re working in the kitchens to cook my meal, wipe down my table, ride the evening train back home to Mott Haven. But I grew up in a place just as bad, with my wife supporting me every step out of that shithole. After 25 years, she deserves it, end of story. Of course, that wasn’t the end of our day, but that’s the end of my account of our day.

Have to leave some things to the imagination.

New York City – Day Three.