Sunday, 22 November 2015


Our feet feel like little tree stumps! During the course of the day we must have walked twenty or more miles; up and down the sidewalks of Manhattan, usually in a diagonal direction to avoid waiting at pedestrian crossings for too long. We have been as far west as 10th Avenue, as far East as Lexington, north to 50th, and south to 4th Street. I'm pleased we walked everywhere because we've also eaten a huge amount of food, largely because we miscalculated our timings and ended up promising to eat with everyone we met today!

First port of call was brunch with Ian. Brunch for me in New York is always an omelette with fried potatoes and rye bread toast with blueberry jam. Ian and Nathan both appeared to be eating sweet things like pancakes with bacon strewn on top, which seems an odd combination to me, but I'm told it works.

Ian walked us through Washington Square Gardens where a busker was playing an actual grand piano! He must make a fortune if it's worth shipping a huge instrument like that into a park. You've also got to be fairly confident about the weather to do that sort of stunt. One rain shower and your piano is wrecked. He didn't need to worry today. It's unseasonably warm and the sun has shone permanently.

We met Cindy in the early afternoon and she took us for a wonderful walk around the village. We saw her beautiful apartment on McDougal, sat in cafes, went to second hand record shops searching for ABBA singles and then had lunch in a veggie restaurant. I learned that the Yanks don't use the word "squizz" to mean look. The man in the record shop didn't know what to say when I asked if I could have a squizz at his ABBA collection! I also learned that New York is full of practising psychics.

A lot of cafes, bars and shops have closed since I was last here, which made me sad, particularly when I discovered they'd closed due to rent rises.

We took the subway up to Midtown for the late afternoon and met Christopher Sieber out of the matinee of Matilda, where he's playing Trunchball. We sat in another cafe and essentially watched him eating whilst catching up on about three years of chatter before heading back down to the village again.

We met Jem in a piano bar called Duplex, where the waiters sing show tunes and a big old tattooed bear plays the piano. New York, and possibly the whole of America, has gone Adele crazy. She's releasing her much-anticipated album, 25, this week, and is doing the rounds over here. In fact, I think she's in New York today. They LOVE her. And actually, one of the waitresses in the piano bar opted to sing the song Hello, which created a real moment, with all the punters joining in with the choruses. Oddly, and for some bizarre reason, I suddenly felt incredibly proud to be British...

We went from Duplex to an Italian Restaurant on Bleecker where I had a salad. As we arrived, a crazy light installation was happening in Father Demo Square which involved a giant light switch, which members of the public could turn on and off. The switch triggered a million fairy lights attached to the trees around the square, but also lights attached to about fifty people who were in frozen tableau poses. When the lights went off, they moved, and froze again when the lights came back on. It was a curiously alluring sight.

We walked home. Forty blocks. I have to sleep.

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