Blog2018 ≫ New York day one

At last our trip to New York, which has been about six years in the planning... this is what Clare wanted for her big birthday and what she got. Kids left being in Portchester, a tense drive to Heathrow in quite iffy traffic. Valet parking from work meant pulling up to the terminal and leaving the car there like a bank robber. We were already checked in online (though not in time to choose seats, everyone must have paid extra to get ahead of us) and to the Wetherspoons for a prosecco cocktail. I must remember that you just do not need three hours even for a transatlantic flight, it's a nonsense. But will I remember this?

Flight was smooth enough, I watched the Nick Helm cooking show (who knew?) and Ready Player One. Bit cheesy and predictable, shame. Also watch Anchorman, quite funny, but only quite. AND THEN WE WERE IN NEW YORK!

First day was my favourite, though tiring. Got subways across town to hotel was quite easy, and cheaper than a cab, though a little slow. Much cheaper for us as Dave gave us his old Metrocard passes that still had some credit on, so the $5 each for the "air train" (monorail) from the airport terminal to Jamaica (just the name of a station) then it would be $2.50 or $2.75 maybe now for each single journey on the regular subway. So E train from Jamaica up to our hotel. Oh, our first tingle of New York street excitement while on this one, some stree dancing busker types got on our carriage and it was a bit intimidating, would they aggressively ask for money? Or was it all a distraction robbery? But no it was fine. Clare pointed out later that while in London everyone gets the tube, in New York they don't it's definitely cab if you can afford it and subway if you can't...

Barclay hotel was very impressive, a proper posh hotel, the full Bertie Wooster really. It has claims to fame including Hemingway staying there while he wrote something, but I think Hemingway is America's Dickens and he wrote a bit of something everywhere. I've not travelled that much but I've been to at least three places that have a claim to him... We had a nice big room on the seventh floor (room 717) with all the features. Quick unpack and some vague plans of what to do next. We had food later booked, but were thinking better to have two small meals than just the one, especially as the late one would be very late with the time difference all in. It was already 10pm our time by the time we got settled at the hotel though obviously only 5pm local time. We went in Ashley's right near our hotel for a snack, it had a great range of food including Fresh And Wild / Whole Foods style weigh and pay buffet so we got some tasty healthy things and sat there. We could see the Chrysler Building from our table, even if I initially thought it was the Empire State Building... Then off and our proper, started to figure out the grid system. Walked the long way round from hotel to Grand Central, it is very impressive, I remembered this from my previous visit twenty years ago so had it on our list to revisit. Walked the very long way round, seems there is actually an entrance to the station next to the Barclay hotel. Still got there in the end. Had a look around and then settled for a metropolitan cocktail and watched the people rushing about. Must of those sat relaxing seemed to be English, we heard a LOT of English voices on our trip. Then to a bar, for a pumpkin beer, this was Connolly's on East 47th Street, which we would revisit later. An Irish bar, seems most of the pubs there are really, or most of the "pub" as we would recognise them. Then on to Rockefeller. We reserved a table here, we think this was a clever plan and will be on my list of tips for the future, though I was initially dubious. We avoided queues for the observation deck, straight to table for beer and small vegan plates. Food disappointing and beer nothing special, but view impressive, looking over the actual Empire State Building etc from warm comfort of table, via the floor to ceiling panoramic windows. I hope I don't go on about the cost too much of everything on this trip but Clare's glass of champagne was 26 dollars... OK it was champagne, and we were paying for the view, AND we saved on paying twenty or thirty dollars each or whatever to go up to the viewing platform only two floors above us. This bar in the Rockefeller is called the Bar 65 at the Rainbow Room1 and is a nice trick for seeing the view from up high without having to break the bank. OK we did break the bank, but you could feasibly book a table and get a beer for "only" $9 or a glass of wine from "only" $12 which is cheaper than the viewing platform and warmer.

Was very late after we left here, so back to the hotel and collapse.

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Paul Clarke's weblog - I live in A small town. Married and father to two, I am a full-stack web engineer, + I do js / nodejs, some ruby, python, php ect ect. I like pubs, running, eating, home-automation + other diy jiggery-pokery, history, tree stuff, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, + TIME TRAVEL.