Why I LOVE New York

So today I ventured out of our building and turned right..  It’s crazy to think, but there have only been a couple of time where we’ve turned right. 95% of time we’ve tuned left due to the destination or location of our closest subway station, but today, I ventured right.  My final destination was going to be Central Park for an afternoon of sitting in the shaded sun to read my book and stare at passers by, but I took the scenic Fifth Avenue route to get there.

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Popped into a couple of shops on the way…

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And passed some beautiful building along the way.

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They’ve gone to a bit of trouble on Fifth to make the street more visually appealing.

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Then I came to this monstrosity…

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Trump Tower….

This chap was selling his anti Trump pins next to a homemade sign that says “Shit Hole”

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Then a couple of metres down a bit, there were these two peeps who were all for making ‘Merica great again…. both of these people were missing their front teeth.

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Then right next door is the ever suffering Tiffany’s… I’m not going in today though, because I’m sure that ML will want to have a little look as well.

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Fifth Ave is full of shops that I have no interest in going into – except Tiff’s of course… but they do have very pretty buildings and adornments.

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I’m really not, and have never been, a high end shopper – I’m more your “one off” girl from the second hand shop or a hand made from the market type of chick, so send me into a Cartier or a Prada or whatever and I don’t know what I’m doing.

My beautiful friend, Juanita – “Neaty my Baby” messaged me on Instagram and told me to get a sunglasses selfie at Bergdorfs which I took to mean go to the sunglasses section of the Bergdorf Goodman store and take a selfie… I tried NMB, really I did.

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This is also a shop that I would not regularly go into…. it’s far too fancy for the likes of me. I found the sunglasses section and felt quite intimidated by a woman/security guard/sales person (I’m not sure what her role was) as she slowly looked me up and down… when she finally reached my face I greeted her with a smile and a “how are you?” but she didn’t smile back – she just stared me down…. so I didn’t feel that I could go through with trying on any sunglasses – especially when I would have had to ask for assistance to make contact with them.

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The fanciness doesn’t stop there on Fifth Ave…  This is The Plaza!  There has been talk that we might pop in for a high tea one day.

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Fifth Ave isn’t void of all realistic New York life though.  This chap lives right in front of The Plaza on his futon.

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The entry street into the park is lined with these horse and carriages.  I know it’s cheesy, but I’m so tempted to take a ride while we’re here.

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There are your usual artists…

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Then… this was my view across the lake – so pretty.

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Not sure what this lady is doing… maybe pretending to be the bridge?  I mean, she’s making an effort… good on her.

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I sat up on the hill in the shade of this lovely tree, snacked on baby carrots and nuts and read my book.

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The book I’m reading is called “The One” by Maria Realf.  She is the daughter of my lovely friend Liz who I used to work with in Rugby, UK.  It’s a lovely read so far.

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I took the scenic route back across the park to find some free wifi… before I came away I purchased a portable wifi thingy that was going to be fantastic, but since we’ve been here I’ve realised that there is free wifi EVERYWHERE!  There is a Starbucks on every corner and a Prêt a Manger on every other corner, and you get free wifi even if you’re near the subway and if you’re in between intersections, all you have to do is a quick search and you’re on.

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Over yonder there on that hill under that tree is where I was sitting.  Sitting, I might add with a radius of about 3-4 metres distance from anybody else, because there was heaps of space to do just that and give people their own personal space…. Then a group of 5 people came and sat down in a line and the poor bloke on the end sat closest to me.  If I had reached out with a bent elbow, I could’ve put my hand on his knee – he was that close.  I read for a bit longer and then got up and packed up my bits and pieces and told him that It had been great, but I had to get going – he didn’t know why I was telling him, but he said, “Ok, bye”

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I turned a corner and looked back and saw this view.  It was breathtaking.  The lighting was perfect and it totally encompasses why I love New York.

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I found a Prêt and used their wifi, called ML and set a date for dinner – we were going out on the town, so I set off back down Sixth Ave to home to wash my hair and get frocked up.

Here’s a bit of art on 6th.

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The other day ML and I were wandering around 8th Street looking for somewhere for lunch and we happened upon 46th Street – a really cool street lined with cool restaurants and bars.  We mad a mental note to head back there next time we went out…. which is tonight!

Walking along, ML’s eye was caught by this entrance and the picture of the garden.  We went in and had a look and it was lovely, but full, so our new best friend at the door suggested we go somewhere for a drink and come back once the theatre crowd left for their shows.

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A few doors down was this bar – “Don’t Tell Mama”, and the sound of the piano drew us in.  They offered a cabaret show in the small back room, but we didn’t think we had time to commit before dinner.

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This is Alex.  She’s half British and half American and she’s a great piano player/singer.  There weren’t many people in there and we were really the only ones listening to her, so we got chatting on her break.  She heard me singing along to “Part of that world” from The Little Mermaid and she said “You must have small children.”  I said, “No, why?”

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However, dancing was not allowed – how sad!  Madeline – you would not have been happy!!!!!

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While we were sitting there enjoying a glass of wine and Alex’s rendition of all things Sound of Music, a couple came and sat near us.  The woman was talking loudly and the man was talking over the top of her.  “What time do you play ’til?” she called out to Alex – mid song!  The gent shouted, “Karen, don’t ask her now, she’s playing.”  to which Karen replied, “I just wanted to know what time she played till.”  Then she turned to me, “Do you know what time she is playing ’till?”  I said, “I hear her tell that man that she’s having a break in 5 minutes, perhaps you could ask her then.”  But Karen wouldn’t give up, “Yes, but what time is she playing ’till?”  “I’m not sure.” I replied  “Oh, you’re not sure?  You don’t know what time she’s playing ’till.”  Alex was in the middle of “I still call Australia home” which she was playing just for us, so I said to Karen, “I’m just going to listen to the end of this song.”  And Karen responded by saying, “What is this song?  Do you know this song? I don’t know this song.”….. and then the song was over.

However – Karen and her partner, who we learned was called Abe ended up being quite a handy couple to meet.  They talked over each other to give us the names of websites that allow you to purchase theatre tickets really cheaply and then listed every show that they’ve ever seen.

They were going to a show, so luckily at 7.15 Abe was yelling at Karen to hurry up and stop talking…. she did get up from the table and follow him, but she didn’t stop talking.

We waited until they’d gone and then we made our way back to Barbettas.  The history of this place was amazing and luckily they weren’t very busy after the theatre rush, so Don, the Maitre D had time to tell us all about it.

Here’s a link to tell you all about it – The History of Barbettas, but basically it’s 102 years old, so it’s the oldest restaurant in New York that is still owned by the same family.  It started out over on 39th Street, but after the war, they moved to this location on 46th Street when they purchased 4 neighbouring townhouses for $250,000 – for all four of them, and this is the garden of two of them combined.  They’d be worth squillions today.

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and this is the garden…

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There have been quite a few movies and TV shows filmed here.  Arthur, Mad Men, The Departed, just to name a few.

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They are also apparently the people responsible for bringing Risotto from their home, Piedimonte in Italy to America – which we naturally had to try for ourselves and it was pretty damn good!

The story continues… Laura is the original owner’s daughter and the current owner, who is in her 80s and still comes into the restaurant, especially when there are celebrities in the house.  Her husband who passed away last year was Gunter Blobel, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Dr. Blobel gave the entire proceeds of the almost one million dollars of his Nobel Prize to the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche and of the Synagogue in Dresden. In 1994 Dr. Blobel founded Friends of Dresden, a not-for-profit organization that raises money in America for the reconstruction of Dresden, razed to the ground in the bombing of 1945.

He sounds like a massive big deal, so is it immature of me to focus in on the fact that his name rhymes with Nobel?

Here’s Laura & Gunter hanging out with Hillary and Bill.

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A fabulous night out and on the way home, we stopped at a place that we had been looking for the other day – Lillies Victorian Establishment.  We popped in for a drink and decided that this was the perfect place to be for Harry & Megan’s wedding day…

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So, we’ve booked in for high tea!

Here’s ML enjoying her virgin Moscow Mule…. which is essentially ginger beer.  Bless.

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Phew!  What a day!

One thought on “Why I LOVE New York

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