2013 New York City Letter 1

New York, New York!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 2:32 pm

Dear all,

For the first time ever, I’m not sure I’m up to writing travelogues! They say New York never sleeps and we now understand why…..

Well, we love it, could move here in an eye blink, just need a sugar daddy to fund it.

Trip over was fine, had a great night in Sydney with our mate Philip who had just returned from four weeks in the big Apple, so had even more places to see. Flight was good, but even sitting upstairs where I could keep an eye on the captain it still a long and boring flight and trying to make out it’s night time when you just know it early evening makes sleeping hard.  We touched down in LA, had to do all the immigration stuff and I won the immigration Nazi from hell, but he eventually deigned to let me in, but not with Michael as my partner, he had to go to another officer to get in. We then re boarded the same aircraft and made our way to the east coast and the pilot kindly flew over Central Park so I could get the full view of the city.

We then arrived at our little Pied-à-terre in Chelsea, little being the operative word, and my dear travelling companion more or less lost it for a while, (it was his second ‘moment’ for the trip), he did not quite get what ‘small’ meant in New York, but he’s recovered, amazing what a walk and several double scotches can do to a person. It’s small, very small, we booked it via AirBnB which means it someone’s home and as well as being compact has all that persons bit and pieces, he kindly left us twelve new coat hangers, but the space to hold them did not allow us to put clothes on them……., we have re-organised his wardrobes and can now house 24 coat hangers with associated clothing. We think he might be gay, but he does not know what seriously old gay boys can do when they need room! He does not cook either, so I’m working on his ‘kitchen’, think a stove, a sink and a fridge and two over head cupboards but no benches, no platter, no salad bowls, but after 30 years of cooking I can be creative, himself is impressed!

We are not the only in Adelaideans in town, by pure fluke our entire ‘group’ who does State Theatre together all landed in NYC a day apart, Roger & Dorothy have been seeing Dorothy’s mother in Canada for the past few months and finished their North America travels in the big apple, and Jan Rowe is doing a Smithsonian Tour of the grand houses of the Hudson River, so we have ‘done’ a few things together, walked the Highline, (the most divine ‘park in the sky’ at the end of our street, more latter), Visited the wonderful Chelsea Markets, dined ‘en famil’ at a local Italian restaurant (think ‘big’ American food) and done ‘retail’. Himself was adamant that we did not need any more clothes, but some how Roger and I ended up with wonderful new silk and wool Italian tailored Jackets, wait for it, his is pink (ish) and mine, aqua & cream herring bone, very butch and don’t even try and say otherwise! Dorothy scored a deep grey pantsuit and himself has eyes on a very tailored knitted number.

Dorothy & Michael on the Highline

Dorothy & Michael on the Highline

The big ticket item happened on Thursday and due to the fact I’m in need of sleep will be the subject of it ‘sown report, lunch at Eleven Madison Park, a meal to challenge even the Fat Duck experience of 2011. It was named the 5th best restaurant in the world recently and the best in NYC, it’s out there. But as three of us had/are having birthdays with ‘0’ on the end, it warranted an ‘event’ meal. So watch this space.

Carved Halloween pumpkins at Chelsea Markets

Carved Halloween pumpkins at Chelsea Markets

However on our way home from said lunch we visited, ‘Eatilay’, whilst not quite our local food store, it’s close enough to make the diversion worthwhile. For those who live in SA think, Bottega Rotolo, Simon Johnson + the central market on serious steroids and you might get the picture. It’s a foodie’s idea of life after death. There are wines bars, oyster bars, pasta bars, charcuterie Bars, in house wood fired bakery, fish counters, cheeses to raise anyone’s cholesterol, vegetable sections with every heirloom product grown, cooking equipment and books, you name it it’s got it if it has any connection with Italy. There’s a cooking school (yes we are booked in for a dinner latter in the trip) and they now have complete access to our credit card (to night we dined at home on agnolotti del brasato, freshly made agnolotti with pork, veal, mortadella, grans padano with a little jar of fresh tomato sauce, crisp green salad with mixed baby heirloom tomatoes, wood fired bread and a bottle of Italian Pinto Grigio, just shows you what I can do in a kitchen with out benches).

We have spent the past few days playing the dedicated tourist, think top of Empire State building (nice view), boat trip right around the entire island of Manhattan (really nice views), Walks down Wall street (with a side trip to Tiffany’s, where HE did not put his hand into his wallet despite become best friends with ‘Tony’ who was there ‘to help’ him), bus and subway trips here and there, an afternoon spent at the Cloisters (funded by the Rockefellers), Two hour tour of the art worked of the Rockefeller Centre (funded by the Rockefellers), another two hour tour of the Lincoln Centre including the Metropolitan Opera (also heavily funded by the Rockefellers) and tomorrow with the Moma (Museum of Modern Art) in our sights and yes thank god for the Rockefellers, but I’m learning that its the wife who we should be thanking more, well when we talk anything modern, it seems John jnr was more into the classics and teetotalling  whist herself was into gin, fags and modern art, but not necessarily in that order, but she’s my type of girl.

Guess who, guess where?

Guess who, guess where?

Just in case you think its all wine and roses, I have been getting up early(ish) every morning and doing a 6-7 kms walk around the area which always in co-operates the Highline (himself loves my walks, he rolls over and goes soundly back to sleep for another hour or so). I’ll drive you all bonkers about the Highline, but to save a lot of time, google it or go to http://www.thehighline.org It’s a rusty old train line turned into pure heaven, an oasis in a manic city, a botanic garden of weeds, an art gallery, and I love it. I’ve also found a coffee shop for a double macchiato  (sorry America still does not quite get coffee, we nearly packed a coffee machine), that helps power my walk.

The second wave of ‘Aussies’ in New York got together on Friday for lunch, Sally & Tony from Adelaide and Darren from Sydney (but we sort of think of him as an honorary SA lad) joined forces for an afternoon of food and wine or perhaps that should read wine and food at ABC Kitchen, superb food at one of Jean Georges Vongerichten amazing dining rooms (he has more dining rooms than I will ever have clean knickers), fresh, flavoursome and stunning food and Darren’s wines choices had us all rocking, so much so we needed to go to one of NYC oldest wine bars next door for yet another glass of bubbles. Saturday night was a dinner at the James Beard Foundation (He was an American chef and food writer). The central figure in the story of the establishment of a gourmet American food identity, Beard was an eccentric personality who brought French cooking to the American middle and upper classes in the 1950s. His legacy lives on in twenty books, numerous writings, his own foundation, and his foundation’s annual food awards in various culinary genres (all borrowed from Wikipedia). Think six hors d’oeuvres with cocktails and Taittinger Champers, another seven or eight coursers with a different wine with each course and you get the look, the theme that night was ‘Passport to luxury’, the chef was from a seriously expensive cruise company and the food was wonderful, I’m now a member of the foundation and we have at least one more dinner before we leave (for those that need to know www.www.jamesbeard.org ). Thank god for all the walking, the pants still fit.

after lunch 'drinks' with Sally & Tony, Darren was behind the camera

after lunch ‘drinks’ with Sally & Tony, Darren was behind the camera

Last night started out ‘cultural’ part of the trip, we went to the new show ‘First Date’, cute, funny great songs and lots of laughs! The rest of the weeks is very eclectic! Tomorrow Eugene Onegin at the Met, Wednesday, Book of Mormon (*no we are not converting) Thursday Motown the musical, Friday Norma at The Met, weekend free (at the moment) and Monday has us at The Armory for a Mozart recital, I think we are spreading ourselves around.

With that, I shall pour myself one more glass of red, and go to bed, fear not we are not staving!

Cheers

Himself and me xo

PS I have no intention of spell checking or grandma checking, you all have red pens for that!

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