Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Today marks the first anniversary of the suicide of a very close friend. It feels very strange not being in London to somehow mark the occasion with his other friends but Kevin loved New York and we spent a great deal of time with him in this city. He was with me on my very first visit to the city and shared many subsequent trips here with me. No doubt everywhere I turn today will trigger another memory.

Yesterday found us back in New Jersey, this time in Weehawken, a town just over the Hudson River with the most glorious views of Manhattan. We were visiting our friends, Drew and Heather, who live in a gloriously arty apartment in a little wooden house there. Drew is a filmmaker and Heather is an artist who specialises in embroidery. It was lovely to spend time with them, sharing ideas and talking about the strange goings-on and characters in their neighbourhood, whilst their dog, Honda, nibbled my fingers. A couple of months ago there was a major fire on their street, just four doors down from their home, which completely destroyed three houses. I suppose when your house is made of wood, you have to be ultra careful during periods of drought. And this summer in New York was apparently one of the hottest and driest ever.

We ate in a Cuban Cafe and I had a delicious plate of black beans and rice.

Drew, Honda and the view from Weehawken

It was another drizzly day in New York and the umbrella I bought to replace the umbrella that fell apart has now fallen apart. Sadly, I don’t think we’re going to see any more sun before we leave this place, so the rest of the trip will have to be about seeing theatre and sitting in lovely cafes. Frankly, as long as I’m still unwinding, I’m happy!

Splash: Nathan attempting to jump over 42nd Street

Last night we went to Musical Monday at Splash, a club in Soho where they play songs from the shows on giant screens all night. The love the Americans have for musical theatre is astonishing and puts the Brits to shame. Periodically, they’ll show some footage from the TONY awards, which are always televised and include massive set-piece performances from all the musicals which have had nominations that year. One montage featured cameos from Dolly Parton, Elton John, Liza Minelli and Stockard Channing! Imagine that at the Oliviers!

A very short diary entry from Pepys on this date 350 years ago, which I might as well quote in full:

Office day; dined at home, and all the afternoon at home to see my painters make an end of their work, which they did to-day to my content, and I am in great joy to see my house likely once again to be clean. At night to bed.

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