After suffering a flight time worthy of a trans pacific, strong head winds determined to keep us at bay, I arrive excitedly in New York which is recovering three days after one of the worst snow storms in history. Streets are clear, sidewalks are clear. What snow is left clings to roof tops dripping mercilessly on passersby. Snow piled up on the sides of the streets blocking jay walkers, Manhattan has resurfaced.
A solitary police car surrounded by banked up snow. Lonely, abandoned, forgotten. Staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Manhattan Midtown East a stone’s throw from the Chrysler Building, I enjoy a large room. A welcome relief given the usual broom closet offerings abundant in down town hotels. I remember my first visit to the Big Apple, turning the corner to see the ChryslerBuilding, competed in 1930 and still the world’s tallest steel supported brick building. thinking it was the Empire State Building. Having been guided back on track by some helpful New Yorkers, this Art Deco structure, etched in my mind, still outshines her taller sister.
Form my vantage point above 3rd Avenue orange snow plows still comb the streets gradually pushing what is left of the blizzard upagainst the curbs. The police car still three, a driver gets out on the phone. WTF! On the 16th floor, windows that open and windows that allow the city to sleep and wake before my eyes. Windows that allow the residents of the opposite building to sleep and wake before my eyes. And for me to sleep and wake before theirs. During the day mirrored exteriors hide the interiors which as darkness falls, illuminate to reveal everything and everyone inside. Can they see me? No mesh privacy screens here only blinds with a now you see me now you don’t attitude. People watching is one of the free pleasures of life. Well generally it’s free. I sometimes get accused of staring. I don’t mean to, or do l, ever mindful having had this drawn to my attention. I like to see what people are doing, what they are wearing, what they are eating … Would I like to do that, wear that or eat that …? More likely eat. In my hotel room I dress as I would at home, in different stages of undress or fully undressed after showering, when getting ready for bed or getting dressed to head out. Here I am modest, covering with a towel and taking underwear and jeans back into the bathroom to change. Just in case.
New York has a sound. Car horns, FDNY and NYPD sirens. People. Life. Tonight is no different. I look down on emergency vehicles struggling to break trough the gridlock, desperate to rescue those in need. Yellow cabs scattered amongst trucks and people movers. Über surely mingling down there somewhere. Signs warning of 2 points and a fine for blocking the intersections go unheeded. Pedestrians weaving in and out oblivious to impending jay walking fines or broken legs. Who would be nabbed first by inspectors lurking in the shadows? Surely drivers as I join the game negotiating and weaving through the General Motors, Honda and BMW maze to reach the other side.
A kaleidoscope of neighbourhoods, away form the buzz of Times Square and extortionately priced horse and carriage rides thorough Central Park people live here. Find out where they eat and where they relax and where they meet their friends. You never never know if you never never go Thank you Daryl Somers for the advice and for the nostalgia. Heeding my own advice I find Tanaka. Down a couple of steps, twenty seats scattered around eight tables plus four at the sushi bar typical of a New York hole in the wall which are littered and hidden all over the city. A four hour happy hour 6-10 draws me to the hot sake. It’s -1 Celsius (30F) outside. 2 for 1, I settle on the large thinking I can manage two of those. Not tonight. The only waitress charges me for the small. Gotta love New York City hospitality. Sashimi deluxe dinner adding two of my favourite Tobiko sushi (flying fish roe) topped with raw quail egg. Miso soup included. Soup or salad included, as is the case with most American Entrees. That’s main courses to the rest of the world.
An early night as I snuggle up, ear plugs next to the bed to assist with sleep in the city that never sleeps. I am lulled by the traffic below with the heating on ‘auto’ to keep me at the perfect temperate. I don’t need them. I am asleep in no time and don’t hear the traffic or heating kicking in and out until 630am. New York does sleep, at least most of the traffic does.
A neighbourhood diner, Midtown Restaurant on East 55th provides poached eggs which I smother onto my home fries, instead of the wheat toast. I’ll keep that for my blackberry jelly. I get my fix of American crispy bacon, more fat than meat and coffee.
A visit to New York is about feeling the city. It’s heart beat. Walking around and letting the city embrace you. I am ready to see how New York City will embrace me today.