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  • Writer's pictureClaire

26/04/24 New York

My brain still isn’t back on track, not sure what day it is, where I am and not a clue what time of day it really is! However, we were outside waiting for George to pick us up this morning. He arrived at 1000 hrs on the dot and we loaded up. We’d written a list of places we quite fancied seeing, all the usual suspects were on there as you’d expect. George asked us if we wanted to do it in any particular order, so we merely said, you’re the driver we’ll leave it to you as you know the city best. 


Our first visit was Brooklyn Bridge. To get to it, we passed by the courthouse where President Trump is currently on  trial. News vans, camera crews, reporters everywhere, and in even higher numbers police, and massive shiny black tinted windowed SUV’s. The roads were cordoned off right outside the court, with big roadblocks along the route. I guess it’s a high profile case and security is very much necessary. 


I was disappointed not to see the Orange man himself, but court had only just started so there was no hope unless we hung around til lunch time.  We asked George what the general feeling in his circle of friends and associates was and he surprised us by saying he was very popular and that the working man was rooting for him for President.  


Not too far from the court house was Brooklyn Bridge. George parked up in a convenient spot and we took a rumble. You can walk over the bridge, we went just as far as the first pilar, which was enough. It was heaving, people everywhere and enjoying the warm spring sunshine.  The footpath is blocked at either end with anti terror blocks and police officers. Whether that’s always the case, or if it’s just for the duration of the trial I couldn’t tell you. The traffic was immense and at a total gridlock crossing it. It’s an impressive work of art, and a very popular attraction. Several people were incredibly close to getting their ankles clipped because they were stupid enough to come to a sudden halt  in front of us. Idiots. Having gone far enough, we retraced our steps and went back towards the car. In sound so we passed a couple with photographers in tow, we guessed they’d just got married, the wedding dress was something of a giveaway.. The City Hall is just opposite the end of the bridge, surrounded by trees and grass. It’s really rather pretty, especially with the spring greenery and cherry blossoms everywhere. George had sent a pin drop as he’d had to move. Except we couldn’t work out on the map where he was in relation to us. Don’t even ask! I messaged him and Si went on a hunt and found him up a street, came back for me and we jumped in and went towards our next location. As we pulled away there were two other couples who had just tied the knot, the one bride had a face like a smacked arse, not the joyful loved up female, bursting with happiness you’d expect at all. Perhaps it was an arranged marriage and her husband had just told her he was a eunuch? 


From Brooklyn Bridge we went through the grids of streets that make up downtown, past a giant bronze statue of a bull, with tourists all over it taking photos. George intended to stop there so we could take a photo, but the sheer number of people on it determined that to be a non-starter. I managed to snap a pic as we drove by which is good enough for us.  The streets were surprisingly narrow and the drivers hugely impatient. Leaning on their horns for the slightest hesitation at traffic lights, and darting in and out of minuscule gaps just to get two feet ahead. Total insanity and to my mind pointless, but hey, what do I know? Despite passing Battery Park last night, we revisited in daylight. I honestly thought it was a place that had batteries, the sign we saw last night was all lit up in red lights and it looked more commercial than anything else to my ill informed brain. When I mentioned to Si that I had no desire whatsoever to go and visit a battery place he loooked at me like I had two heads and then burst out laughing. Turns out Battery Park is just a park, not a Battery place at all. How was I to know??  When we arrived there, not only was it boarded up, there was a lengthy line of people waiting to go into it. As I couldn’t see over the boarding, there could well have been batteries inside. It wasn’t what I would call very park-like, definitely more a building site. Or a battery place. 


As we don’t stop at Battery park George drove us the short distance to the Westfield World Trade centre. It’s an impressive building, and there are a lot of memorials in the close vicinity. There are North and South memorial pools, and after seeing the North one, I had no desire to to see the South one or visit the memorial museum. The pool made me go cold and there was a really unpleasant energy to it, I was expecting it to be sad but I was taken aback at the intensity of the evil and despair I felt there. It’s really hard to explain,  looking into the pool, built on the former foundations of the tower,  was sobering as you’d expect, but also had an eeriness about it, that was nothing short of chilling. Since we’ve been travelling around I’ve noticed that my sensitivity to energies has heightened noticeably, and I am more aware than before of the vibes. The good and bad Juju! 


Opposite the North Pool is the World Trade Centre Cortlandt, a bizarre looking construction that is a mall. The roof resembles the skeleton of an upside down whale, (I know this because we saw whale skeletons in Australia), and the inside is very light and airy. All the shops are below ground level, and reached via escalators, and since we had no desire to go shopping we took it all in from the gallery area. Outside on the left, there are street sellers hawking their wares, which was mainly food, and it was very much a carnival atmosphere, which felt a little odd to me. At the right side of the building is a sculpture of animals on a bike, each animal on its own seat. There was a spare seat for people to get a photo in, and further on up were random animals in various poses. At the top of the street was a large elephant, with a rabbit sat next to it reading a book. We popped Bob in the elephant's coffee mug and took a picture of him with Si standing next to it. 


From the memorials and trade centre we drove along the Hudson River, towards the Meatpacking District. A small Island has been created, named, creatively ‘Small Island’ out of what look like concrete babycham glasses rising up out of the river.  They’ve been landscaped and it’s certainly different. Facing out over the river on a lush spring day, it certainly seemed to appeal to the large numbers of people who were on it. George took us through midtown Manhattan and the eclectic mix of old and new buildings of various heights and styles to Trump Towers. That was high on my list of places to go. Like the courts downtown, outside were concrete road blocks, 8 police cars and more black SUV’s. Trump Towers is a rather splendid shiny black sky rise that looks out over Central Park. I would have liked nothing more than to have had an afternoon tea in there, and a sneaky look out over the Park from the penthouse Suite. I’m imagining that the view is epic.  


Unable to reach the penthouse of Trump Towers, we contented ourselves with a rumble through Central Park. Outside were people on bicycle Tuk Tuks offering guided tours of the Park. Whilst that would have been pleasant, I think I would have preferred to do one of the traditional horse and carriage rides if anything. The horses coats were shining in the sunshine, light dancing off their gleaming harnesses and carriages, as they transported people around. Spring flowers were in abundance and to Si’s disgust a rogue squirrel shot across the grass in front of us and whizzed up a tree, pausing long enough to flick a finger at us when it overheard Si ask where his gun was when he needed it. Rude.  


Leaving Central Park and the Orange Man’s Mighty Trump Towers behind we travelled to Times Square. I found it to be distinctly underwhelming, I’m not sure what I was expecting but it’s just a long street full of shops and people. The sidewalks have tables and chairs so you can sit down and watch the world go by, and there are street entertainers everywhere. There were two girls, in the tiniest G strings and nothing else, with painted over boobs and NY painted on their butt cheeks. Now we are all familiar with the fact that I have a sizeable arse, but these girls had some meaty buttocks on them, and frankly it wasn’t a good look. I can’t imagine what their mothers were thinking letting them out without a vest on, they’ll catch their death of cold! Brrrr. 


On the opposite side of the street were Disney characters trying to persuade people to go into the Disney Store, I managed to resist much to my own shock.  I feel I’m growing as a person. As expected there were hot dog stands for dog stands pretzels and bagel stands everywhere, and despite them being iconic New York things, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat one. A pretzel would have been the best shout I think, I mean, how much crap can you put in a pretzel compared to corn dogs and hotdogs?  We returned to the car where George was patiently waiting for us, and went towards our next stop off, Radio City and the Rockefeller Center. Loved the Rockefeller center, light and airy with a fabulous gold fountain, and eatery’s down below street level, that was closed for maintenance, and what is called The Channel Gardens decorated the Street outside Tiffany’s.(Insert some big Dreamy eyes with love hearts that pop out on stalks here)  I would have gone in but there were more staff than jewellery on display and you just knew they were going to pounce as soon as you walked through the door. I took photos instead, such a gorgeous coloured shop. Two sides of the fountain area were flanked with trees heavily festooned with twinkling fairy lights that were on. Like myself these people obviously know that fairy lights are for life not just for Christmas! 


Having had my fill of Tiffany’s, fairy lights and fountains, we rejoined George in the car who drove us down 5th Avenue, Saks is a building of immense proportions, we obviously didn’t go in, but was good to see it, having taken that in, we arrived at Grand Central Station. We were able to park opposite the entrance which was a bit of luck, and we were greeted by a trio of men playing wind instruments which was really funky. Loved it. Grand Central itself is a masterpiece of architecture, and as  train stations go, pretty swanky. Of course I recognised it instantly from Madagascar Movie, exactly as it appears in the film. It’s lit with spectacular chandeliers and has beautiful high ceilings painted turquoise with zodiac signs and star constellations in gold. It is exquisite. From there you can get to anywhere in the USA, but I’m guessing you’d have to change trains once or twice along the way. 


Obligatory photos taken, we got back in the car and drove through Murray Hill, Korea Town and past the Empire State Building. George found a spot to pull over so we could hop out and get a photo of Bob on the roof of his car in front of it. From there we went to see the flat Iron building, strange looking thing, covered in black safety mesh and scaffolding, and I suppose it does look a bit like an iron, if you squint, and tilt your head to the left… Our day almost at an end George recommended a lunch spot for us, a traditional Georgian Restaurant called Chama Mama in Chelsea. It translates to Mama eats, he even got the menu up and advised us on what was best to eat. Going so far as to text me the names of the dishes! How’s that for service? The restaurant was really busy and also had an outside dining area that was full. We’d invited George in to join us but he declined saying he had food from home, we couldn’t even persuade him to join us for a drink. 


His menu recommendations were spot on and we decided we’d have one of each and share them between us. There were dumplings filled with a scrumptious spicy pork and beef mince, that was really juicy. Our waitress told us we had to eat it with our fingers, hold the dumpling upside down and taking a mouthful of the dumpling and sucking the juice out. Oh my days, it was seriously good, messy, but so tasty not too spicy and full of herbs and spices. There were lamb and mushroom ones too and we tried the mushroom, and despite tasting ok, they were not a patch on the pork and beef ones. Up next was a cheese dish in bread, topped with raw egg and butter which the waitress mixed up for us, that was really good too, very …. Cheesy! A salad gave us some much needed vegetables and had a nice bite to it in the dressing. Georgia is apparently a big wine country and George had recommended wine for us too. The waitress bought us 4 different ones to try, an amber one which I really liked, a white, and two reds. All were nice so Si had a red and I went with the amber one.  The food was bought out really quickly and within an hour we had cleared our plates, leaving only the pattern on them.  We declined deserts, and caught a glimpse of them on our way out the door, it was a great move as they were of gigantic proportions. Proper Claire sized portion. 


Rolling out with full bellies and starting to feel a little sleepy we made the short trip back to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel to the hotel.  It was a great day, I have a stiff neck from looking out the window and straining to see the tops of the buildings we were passing. I’m really glad we decided to do it this way instead of on a bus. Two reasons, only the top deck of the buses were open, the side windows boarded up which was somewhat bizarre, and the ques to get back on them were hideous. We all know how I feel about queuing . Whilst on the subject of queues, what a stupid spelling, I’ve just had to ask Si how to spell it and turns out I’ve been describing half a farting when I’ve been spelling it Que. Many apologies for my atrocious spelling errors! 


George dropped us at the hotel and we thanked him for his time, and obviously paid him. After a full day and still a bit tired from travelling we opted for an early night.  


Much Love

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