Well, what else was I going to call it? I’ve wanted to go to New York for a very long time. When I split up from my ex-husband I had grand plans to go alone. I had no idea that less than 18 months later I’d be here with MrS. I still have the guidebooks that my sons bought me for Christmas in 2013 ready for my solo trip in 2014. They are well thumbed in anticipation of finally getting here. And here I finally am. WE finally are.
Even the flight itself was exciting. MrS cashed in his hard earned Avios to fly us business class. Absolutely amazing, not like being on a plane at all. I think it will be hard to fly economy in future but what the hell, we do what it takes to get to places. I watched two films on the way over. Still Alice, a based-on-a-true-story film about a young woman with early onset Alzheimer’s, featuring an outstanding performance from Julianne Moore and This is Where I Leave You, with Jane Fonda and Jason Bateman, a film about four siblings forced to return to their home town following the death of their father. With those and a three course meal the flight passed in a flash.
We managed immigration in less than an hour and were at our hotel by 9pm EST. We are staying at the Distrikt Hotel, on the edge of the Garment District, so called because it has been known since the early 20th century as the center for fashion manufacturing and fashion design in the United States. You may as well stick a pin in a list when trying to choose a hotel in NYC. So we did the 21C equivalent and checked out Trip Advisor and Booking.Com. The hotel got great reviews and is in the perfect position for exploring – just two blocks from Times Square and near to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, meaning we are practically on top of a main subway station, so it is easy to get everywhere. We walked to Times Square that night in a bid to stay awake until a good time and not wake up at 3am. Times Square is like Piccadilly Circus on speed.
On Sunday we decided to take it easy and adjust to both the time zone and the weather (it’s been about 24 here all week), so we walked the Highline to Greenwich Village. The Highline is a beautiful linear park that sits on an elevated section of a disused New York Central
Railroad spur called the West Side Line. It was a lovely way to journey to Greenwich and lunch in the Spotted Pig, a Michelin starred gastro pub which if you didn’t know was there you would think was a florist! Very English in its feel, we hadn’t intended to be Brits abroad looking for an English pub, but it was lovely to sit at the bar and talk gin with the barman. I tried the locally made Brooklyn Gin, a couple of bottles of which I shall be availing myself later in the week. I loved Greenwich, it didn’t feel so claustrophobic as other parts of Manhatten.
After a rest up in the late afternoon, we went in search of the ‘secret’ Campbell Apartments – a cocktail bar inside Grand Central Station, you wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. Contrary to its name, the space was never an apartment, but was once the
office of American financier John W. Campbell, who served on the New York Central's Board of Directors. It’s almost “baronial” feel was quite odd, it was like a cross between an English paneled drawing room and a prohibition speakeasy. The cocktails were excellent and we had some snacks for dinner, given our vast lunch it was all we needed (this becomes a theme, trust me!).