The Long/Short Weekend

I’m still jetlagged – although slightly less so. I may continue to use this as an excuse for general non-specific but recurrent crapness for the next few weeks: while people immediately nod sagely when you mention “jetlag”, they tend to look less kindly on you when you shrug and say you’re just flat-out incompetent.

I promised a slightly more interesting version of the weekend – so.

Looking back, we managed to cram a lot into a short weekend; most of it was incredibly touristy, for which I make no apologies whatsoever. Friday afternoon was a bit of a tangle, but started with the best burger ever, took in a rooftop bar with views over the city and ended in the monstrosity of Times Square, which was a bit like watching the cinematic lovechild of Blade Runner and Speed Racer. My eyes are still bleeding.

I was particularly taken with the tree decorations in Macy’s which look exactly like Christmas trees, complete with… Christmas tree-shaped decorations on them (it was all a bit meta for me, and my brain went a bit squidgy at that point) and mildly puzzled that we kept running into big groups of Santas, Mrs Santas, elves, reindeer and, yes, Christmas trees – in the street, in the park, on the subway… and as I heard the phrase “scavenger hunt” a couple of times, I’m rather hoping the two were connected. And I know it’s all about the licensing laws, but there’s something a little sad about seeing three Santas passing round a bottle wrapped in a paper bag on the C train.

The thing that really sticks out was the Statten Island ferry. Not because of Statten Island, which we didn’t see at all – but for the view. Standing on the back of the ferry, after dark, you have the most incredible view of Manhattan. All the skyscrapers, lit up and glowing like angels. And, if you run like hell through the ferry terminal, you can catch the same boat back and watch as the towers get closer and closer until they’re hanging over you like a guillotine.

I fell massively, stupidly, incoherently in love with the Guggenheim. It looks like a cross between a beehive and a car park, but somehow it’s beautiful.

There were a couple of exhibitions on view, the themes of which were utterly impenetrable with the exception of the collection of Kandinsky‘s Bahaus paintings – which had me genuinely entranced – but I managed to see a section of Jean Cocteau ‘s “The Blood of a Poet” and Chagall’s “Paris Through the Window” – which has somehow hurtled up to being among my favourite paintings ever.

We rounded off the weekend with the American Museum of National History – where we were incredibly intellectual and went straight for Rexy & Dum-Dum.

But here’s the thing about it – the thing which everyone I’ve ever met who’s been to New York says – that it’s the feel of it as a place which is special. And it really is. At least, that’s the impression I got (although, if I’d been allowed to get a little closer to Tiffany’s, maybe my view might be a little different….)

"Riot... My Way" by D*Face - across the street from our hotel in the Meat Packing District

As a place, it both completely contradicts itself and yet is so absolutely whole and unified, it took me a while to get my head round it. That and the fact no-one seems to sleep – ever. That whole cliche thing is apparently not such a cliche. Who knew?

Section of the High Line: former elevated railway that has been turned into an urban park. Stunning.

I loved it. I’ll be going back – soon.

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2 comments

  1. Good to hear you enjoyed yourself. I confess I don’t have much incentive to travel, but New York would probably one of those places I’d go if I got the chance.

    I must ask though, what was “the best burger ever”?

    1. I love travelling, and wish I could do more: in my teens, I had pictures of all the places I wanted to go stuck on the ceiling of my room. Unfortunately, life’s rather got in the way a bit what with one thing and another – but with any luck that’ll change in the future.

      The best burger ever was a plain old simple cheeseburger in a diner near our hotel in the Meat Packing District. It helped that it came with the onion rings of the gods.

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