New York – Day Two

Sunday 3pm

The world looks a whole lot better after a good sleep, several coffees, and a decent shower. I think I’ve about cleared back to human now. A good start today, we got up reasonably early, had breakfast, then headed for Central Park up 7th Avenue. The Manhattan streets are a bit of a surprise, hustle and bustle, sure, but not too hectic. Still seeing a Parisian side to it all.

Eighteen blocks up isn’t that much of a walk as it turns out, and certainly didn’t feel as far as the scale on the map suggested it might. We’ve been taking in the look, the feel, and certainly the smell of it all. Smell hits you everywhere, food, cars, and especially the sewers, which are astonishing when they hit your nosebuds full-tilt.

Once you get into Central Park, it only takes about a hundred yards to lose the city somewhat. It’s huge, beautiful and tranquil. Winding, shady, tree-lined paths lead out on many beautiful expanses of lawn. Lots of families playing, couples lounging, people enjoying leisurely strolls. Near the busier intersections of paths, you’ll get buskers, nothing too hectic, lots of gentle moody jazz. There is almost an enforced slow pace to it all. The one exception however is on the roads that wind through the park itself; whilst closed to traffic in the main, they are a constant flood of joggers, inline skaters and cyclists. As a side note here, I appear to be blending in well, I was asked three times to take photos for tourists. As another side note, I may clearly need to lose some weight.

Having drank the tranquility in, we then set off along 5th Avenue. This is shopping heaven, simply put. If you extracted every single clothing brandname that met the approval of Mrsfb from her mind, you would find that is was a shop directory for 5th Avenue. We’ve set aside Monday for shopping, so Mrsfb womanfully resisted the lure of Prada et al, and we pressed on to find somewhere for a snack.

We happened up St. Andrews Bar. This would appear to be your classic English pub in America, so it was a heady blend of bar and pub. We were served by an Irishman in a kilt (don’t ask, I don’t know either. Very friendly though) and settled down for a traditional English pint of Stella Artios, followed by a substantial brunch. Omlette with smoked salmon and soft cheese for Mrsfb, fried eggs with ‘Scottish bacon’ for myself. We were presented with ketchup, however I decided to take a bold English stance. “You haven’t got any Brown sauce”, I enquired. “Sure, we’re out of HP, but will Chefs do?”. In New York, on my bacon. I almost wiped away a tear of English pride. Good food, just what we needed after a few hours of walking.

For now we’ve retired back to the hotel, Mrsfb is having a little nap, and I’m writing this in the hotel bar whilst watching NASCAR on a large television. America is alright by me thus far.

Sunday 11pm

Tonight was Times Square. In the daytime, it’s slightly under-impressive, it seems a bit smaller than you thought it would be. In the evening however, it utterly comes alive. The signs glow, the screens scroll through endless implorations to watch and consume, hawkers hawk, generally your eyes are drawn permanently upwards. Religion has something to learn here, there are a few ideas someone could really use and exploit. Maybe I’ll have a go at running a religion soon. Some form of a consumerist religion for the UK?

Wow, I only suggest new religions when I am really tired. I think I must be. I guess this is the proper jetlag then. Cool, I did come to America to experience new things.