Day five in New York and I finally managed to sleep in. Hooray! We didn’t have to worry about packing as we’d done it the night before, so we were able to check out pretty soon after we woke up. After being ignored by the doorman (grr), we left our bags at the hotel and walked down 10th Avenue to the 30th street entrance to the High Line.
I loved visiting the High Line last year despite it being crowded and grey, and couldn’t wait to see it in the snow. We checked their Twitter to make sure they were open, and whilst the new bit wasn’t open (the loop around the train yard), the rest of it was clear. Both of ice and people – it was amazing!
Walking the High Line is the best meditation. We passed maybe a dozen people on the whole walk, and at times, there were more volunteers clearing the snow than visitors. I am sad we didn’t get to walk around the railway yards – it wasn’t open last year and was underneath a good few inches of snow this time – but one day we’ll go back and see the whole thing. And in warmer weather hopefully.
It was completely worth braving the crazy gridlocked 10th Avenue (yes, New York had got back to normal after its two days of silence) and the wicked wind whipping off the Hudson. If I lived here, I would be at the park every day. Bliss.
My Mother-in-law had recommended Chelsea Market to us, so we forfeited the last couple of blocks of the park to visit the market on 16th Street. Wow. I want Chelsea Market as my local grocery store. Once again, we managed to avoid the crowds and had the pleasure of walking through in relative peace and quiet. We stopped off at the High Line pop-up store and bought a magnet (although I was very tempted by the Diane Von Furstenberg/High Line notebooks) and browsed the wonderful Posman Books. There were so many places to choose from for coffee and brunch, but we decided on a sticky bun and apple cake from Amy’s Bread.
Sitting outside the bakery, we watched the Google crowds coming in to pick up their lunch and I finally got it. I got New York. After my first visit, I said ‘I didn’t get the immediate “Oh my goodness, I want to stay here forever” feeling’ but Chelsea Market, the Meatpacking District, the High Line – they have my heart. I was all wrong! Now, I just need Husband to get a job at Google and we’re golden.
We dragged ourselves away and started the very sad trek north up 8th Avenue. We went passed the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre where I screeched “IT’S AMY’S THEATRE!” (I don’t know if I was expecting Amy to appear or something), passed the US Postal Service building which is insanely grandiose, before we realised that at the rate we were walking, we’d be back at the hotel far too early to go to the airport. So, short notice plan, we changed direction and headed towards the East River.
We stumbled across Grand Central Station, and I popped in to use the bathroom (that’s what it was built for, right?). We did think about eating in one of the five billion amazing eateries in the terminal but it was crazy busy. So instead, we went back outside and kept walking until we reached the UN building. For no reason. We didn’t really have time to go in, although Husband would have dearly liked to, so we just peered at it from the pavement. We then carried on up 1st Avenue, where I got the insane giggles at the amazingly named UN Piece Cleaners dry cleaning store.
Give me a minute, laughing at it again. I’ve just googled it, and no one on the internet is finding this funny. What’s the matter with people?
Anyway, we’d spent enough time wandering around, so we crossed back to the hotel to be ignored again whilst trying to collect our bags (grr). It was around lunchtime and the streets were packed with city workers grabbing lunch, but fortunately we didn’t have too far to go to get to the Subway. We settled in and hoped for a quiet 45 minute journey to Sutphin Boulevard. Sadly, it was not to be.
About two stations in, a group of teenagers got on, started blaring music, then having a dance battle for money. This went on for a couple of stops, and we managed to do our best impression of awkward British people by staring straight ahead. We breathed a sigh of relief when they finally switched the music off and left the train, only to realise they had been replaced by a couple of guys with huge drums. By the end of the journey, we were beyond relieved to escape the chaos.
Security at JFK was a nightmare. They only had a couple of those ridiculous millimeter wave body scanners so the queues were snaking round for what felt like hours. I wasn’t particularly happy about going through the scanner but I couldn’t actually see any female agents around who would do a pat down, so I knew I’d have to wait an insane amount of time. I just sucked it up and walked through. I grumbled about it for a good few hours afterwards.
We then walked around the airport several times for something to do, before settling down with a Shake Shack, as per our JFK tradition. We even pushed the boat out and got a concrete each – mine was an extremely yummy chocolate thing with about fifty extra chocolate trimmings, and Husband got the much healthier (!) granola vanilla raspberry version. Despite worrying about whether our plane would be cancelled (after everything was cancelled the day before) we boarded and took off on time. We had an exit row and the space was obscene – I could pretty much lie on the floor.
In flight entertainment for me this time was While You Were Sleeping and a nap through Divergent. Annoyingly, this meant I slept through breakfast, but woke with enough time to watch a 4 episodes of Brooklyn-99. Classic plane media.
The flight wasn’t without worry though. About two hours in, I suddenly became aware of a kerfuffle in the row behind. A flight attendant was saying quite loudly: “Sir! SIR! Are you OK?” I tried to subtly listen in to what was happening, getting concerned for the elderly guy sat directly behind me who was flapping about. As it turns out, it wasn’t the elderly man; it was the young guy behind Husband. The attendant rushed him into the bathroom, and shortly afterwards the call went out to see if there was a doctor on board. I really thought that we’d be turned around as we were still closer to the US than the UK and whilst I felt bad for the man, my heart sank. We’d managed to escape snowpocalypse; surely we couldn’t fail now!
No doctor appeared, and after about 15 minutes, the guy came out of the bathroom, said “Oh, I’m fine now” and sat down. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!?! Did you just need a poop or something? After the mini-drama, everyone settled down and it actually felt like a really short flight. Soon enough we were back in Heathrow and waiting for the bus to the car park.
Jet lag caught me pretty much as soon as we got home, and the cold that had threatened Husband grabbed him on Thursday and me on Saturday. I can’t help feeling that having a cold would be much more easy to handle in Chelsea Market, with a sticky bun and homemade lemonade. Stupid UK.