New York, New York

Well what else was I going to name this post?

New York. Where do you start when you have just five days in the city that never sleeps? Especially if you only have sweat-soaked clothes for one of them, which really preclude you from closely associating with polite company?

You spend the first day shopping in Soho, naturally. It is easy to get lost in this retail mecca for hours, every brand you’ve ever heard of has a flagship store here. It would have been my own little shopping heaven – but with my backpack already nudging the weight limit I found myself having to exercise considerable restraint. I had to be satisfied with just one pair of jeans.

Among all the luxury brands it can be easy too walk past some of the quirkier stores, so I’m glad we didn’t miss Evolution. Along with stuffed mice, birds and lizards that peer at you from the high shelves, this bizarre little place stocks real animal skeletons, bird wings, framed scorpions, beetles mounted in resin, glass paperweights with spiders inside and – my favourite – jewellery crafted from butterfly wings. I was rather taken with a gorgeous pair of earrings featuring the wings of Purple-spotted Swallowtail Butterfly, but then realised I they didn’t have any matching shoes. Shame – another time perhaps.

A Broadway Show is also a must. We managed to get tickets to Book of Mormon – written by the South Park guys. It’s about two Mormon missionaries in Uganda. It is probably one of the most offensive shows I have ever seen, and I don’t think I have laughed so much in my entire life. A had tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard. To say these guys are comic genuises is an understatement. Weeks later and we are still singing the choruses of the songs….which is not necessarily a good thing. One of the less offensive ones is All American Prophet. For the curious (and not easily offended) – look up Book of Mormon on You Tube and listen to Hasa Diga Eebowai. I am not linking to it here.

Of course we played tourist a few times on the trip.

Empire State Building….

Staten Island Ferry & Statue of Liberty….

One day we took advantage of the sunshine and cycled around Central Park, stopping to people watch at Bethesda Terrace, with the Bethesda Fountain. Gorgeous spot, and as a bonus there was a choir singing in the background while we rested.

However, the Black-Eyed Peas were having a concert that night somewhere in the Park, which meant quite a few of the main attractions in the Park – Bow Bridge, Strawberry Fields, the Great Lawn – were cordoned off. Which gave me yet another reason – on my already substantial list of reasons – to intensely dislike this band.

On the Sunday, after the New York institution that is brunch, we walked the Highline. I had never heard of this place until my mate Beth told us about it and insisted it must be done. It’s an elevated frieght railway that hadn’t been used for many many years, so they turned it into an elevated garden instead. It winds through the Chelsea district for just over a kilometre, with trees, flowers and wildgrass lining the sides. It was a brilliant way to see more of the city and it’s architecture and I really hope the planned extension goes ahead.

Of course there was so much more I would have done, had I had the time. I guess MOMA, the Natural History Museum and Fifth Avenue will have to wait til the next time. And I already know there will be.

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