Monday, October 16, 2006

Let's start at the end. If you are heading to England from New York, Newark airport with an evening departure, make sure that you sit on the right hand side of the plane, grab a window seat and enjoy one of the greatest views in world.

The amazing light show beneath the wings of the plane provides you with final reminder, should you need one, of the wonder of this city. The grid system of the streets and avenues below, provide the perfect setting for the largest, most wildly illuminated map in the world. It makes you want to rush to the cockpit and demand that the pilot turns the plane around so that you start your visit again. That wasn't an option, so we find ourselves back in Bristol after a wonderful two weeks in the city of constant surprises.

Given the benefit of time and that we have been several times before, we were able to visit some far flung places, many of which has escaped our attention on previous trips. We spent several hours bird watching in the Jamaica Bay wildlife reserve, visited the Bronx museum, a quirky sculpture park in Queens, and the site of the 1964 world fair in Flushing. Also had a good walk around Harlem and had a chance to check out the Park Slope area of Brooklyn.

In addition we saw lots of bands, ate lot's of nice and interesting food, bought loads of CD's and revelled in the fact that the exchange rate made us feel rather flush.

The apartment was great, we were on East 71st and 1st, not a part of town that I knew well but we found plenty to enjoy in the local area.

Got to spend lot's of time with our friends Bill & Doreen who are about to leave New York for Mexico, they gave us interesting tour of the changing face of the Lower East Side. Where Heroin one ruled the streets, swanky bars and expensive shops now rule the roost. Strangely on Friday afternoon we ended up spending our time with lot's of very excited children (and a few adults) at the launch of the final Lemony Snicket book, well Stephen Merritt of Magnetic fields fame was playing, so we had to pop along. It was great fun.

Our new favourite food shop, is the oh so simple Yonah Schimmel Knishery. Now we thought a Knish is pretty much the same wherever you go, well not here. They are huge and much more tasty than any other one I've had. The real treat though are the sweat ones, the Cherry Knish is a gem. The Spartan interior of the shop looked as though nothing had changed for about 40 years, the service was less than great but we loved the place. The walls were covered with press clippings and new pictures, my favourite being a picture of the Brooklyn bridge which was obviously too large for the intended frame. Brilliantly they simply cut the picture and put the rest of it into a smaller adjacent frame - genius!

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