Just last week I had a bit of a whinge about not having any travel plans for 2009. Apparently the airlines are reading this blog, because three of them came up with irresistible fares. I’d been bantering with a friend who’s never been to the Big Apple, that not only did she have to go – we should go together – just the two of us and tear up the town. Mind you, we adore our husbands and love travelling with them – but this would be something different!
Yes? No? Yes! Two tickets bought and paid for for the middle of March. We’re going.
Time for a little madness. New York always brings out a little madness in me, plays to my hypothalamic urges. Feed me pizza and buttered hard rolls and jelly doughnuts. Let me breathe the hustle and the frenzy and the fountains and the taxis. Give me street theatre and designer knock-offs, Calvin Klein clad pooches and street divas. Ni hao Chinatown, Bergdorf’s and Macy’s. A trip to TKTS for cheap tickets to a Broadway show. Friday night is free at MOMA.
First thing, of course is to research places to stay. Since I’m travelling with a friend and we will need separate rooms, I can’t stay with family. I can’t remember the last time I paid to stay in New York. I think it was New Year’s Eve when I was 19 and my boyfriend and I stayed in some dodgy 2 star in Times Square. Had the time of our lives.
Fast forward a few years and I’m looking for something a little different. An apartment – a place to chill and a place to wander the neighbourhood. Someplace with cafes around the corner and an all-night diner a block away. I want to flip for who goes out to get bagels and biales in the morning. An Irish pub would be nice. And a Chinese take-out. Don’t forget the pizza… And of course not too far from the subway. Near Central Park would be nice. Oh, and it’s gotta be cheap. -ish…
Back to the food… New York has the best food in the world. No contest, though I will allow I have had some amazing meals in pretty much every corner of the planet, none compares to New York in the consistency of amazing quality and use of fresh ingredients. Singapore comes a good second. Strangely, and this was entirely influenced by a dear friend who really showed me the town and spared me the experience of the legendary deep-fried frozen pizza – I have to give third place to Glasgow.
Whenever I am in the city I discover or am brought to a new crop of incredible eateries, but I rarely get back to them as there is another bunch open by the time I return. We will have to choose carefully and choose often.
Then there’s the shopping. Shopping in New York isn’t necessarily about buying, though trundling through the streets with parcels and packages is a pleasure I will never tire of. But the shops themselves are so often breathtaking objects of beauty, colour, light and sound – otherworlds where my imagination trips into other lives I might have had, someone else I might have been – deliriously playful moments. Which isn’t to say I don’t equally love the op-shops and bargain basement discount stores, where I’m happy to pay $10 for a pair of perfect purple pumps that I will only wear once. I’m also partial to street vendors, and there like everywhere, can haggle them down to cost. Damn! I need a salted pretzel or a knish right now.
I’m looking to see what’s on while we’re there. St Paddy’s Day – we’ll have to catch the parade. The Allman Brothers and Fleetwood Mac are in town, but I’m not sure I’m in the mood for nostalgia… I think I’ll wait until closer to the time before making those decisions. I stick with exploring my accommodation options for the time being.