11th November - 18th November

Well we arrived in New York. Taxied to the address we had for the apartment in Brooklyn and found nothing there! We wandered around, the taxi driver helped - making me think we had tipped him too much and he was hoping for another trip! The postwoman helped even ringing a friend who lived in the street. She gave us the address of a B and B! A woman walking by helped. The man fixing the road helped. Well New Yorkers or at least those in Brooklyn are very nice. Eventually a man in the house we were standing outside came out in his PJ’s and said he knew the place we wanted so he rang them. Tony came to pick us up.

Tony took us to a basement apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms a bit poky, and two of us were supposed to sleep on the floor outside one of the bedrooms. Well we were not happy. It seemed the people in our apartment had stayed as their plane had been delayed. I went to the owner and complained she offered us all sorts of incentives, I told her we were not at all happy no matter what. We did not want to move a second time and I did not want to sleep on a blow- up bed. Better than three to a room the first suggestion!!!   The others went out and I stayed to let people in (one set of keys only) and see what Tony was doing about the blow-up bed etc. He came back with a second apartment for two of us, which I happily took. The saga continued when the next day we were moved into our apartment that was supposed to sleep 8!! It was truly awful, two of the bedrooms were so small there was no room for suitcases, there was one bathroom which was in the middle of the apartment! The apartment had to be left open at night for the corridor sleepers to use the bathroom.

Lucky, we had, had a great day out walking around New York and seeing the Christmas Special at the Rockefeller Center. The Rockettes were amazing so skilful. They were more in tune with each other than any ballet group I have ever seem and I have seen the best. We sat in our apartment happy with the day but shocked at our accommodation, I felt awful.

Next morning Stephen, Monica, Andreas and Carsten booked into hotels and left. I was very disappointed as I was looking forward to drinks in the evenings together, (I had got special gin from Dartmouth) and breakfasts together etc. The apartment was only big enough for Ross and me. I ran out of money on my phone and cannot find the top up I purchased before we left England. Will nothing go right for us. It makes it hard to ring taxi’s without a phone.

We managed to catch up with everyone a few times. We went to Evensong at St Patrick’s Cathedral, so beautiful the boys sang like angels. As there was as service on after evensong we were not allowed yo take pictures inside. Monica and I tried but were chased out by a priest who was very angry with us. Afterwards we went for a drink in an Irish pub and stayed for dinner as we had a great table and it was not very noisy.


General photos from around New York

A trip to the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station (a must on a few lists). While waiting for the others I found that the acoustics are such that you can whisper at one side of the entry and hear it clear as a bell at the other. Great fun, Lots of Oysters and wine were consumed. We sadly said good bye to Stephen and Monica, who were leaving the next day.

Ross and I went to the 9/11 memorial. It was very sad but uplifting as well. I sat next to a lovely African American in the movie and we shared a hug afterwards as we were both so moved. The reason the building fell like it did was explained the Iron did not melt as the conspiracy theorists use to discredit the terrorist story, what happened was the planes took out the corner and walls of the building where the support structure was. The supports were all around the sides nothing in the middle so when the supports were gone the building went down like a stack of plates. This is also why the second building collapsed first as more of the supports were gone. While it is awful if the building had fallen side ways in any direction 100’s more people would have been killed in the surrounding area. The buildings were made to withstand a crash from the planes of the time no one could have envisaged how much bigger and more powerful planes became over the years. The memorial is well worth a visit, be prepared to shed a few tears. much in the world to do and so little time.

The next day Colette, my nephew Nick’s partner joined us, she had flown in from Australia to surprise Nick for his birthday. We joined Andreas and Carsten in Lispenard Street where a book (A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihar) which we had all read was set. A good read if you like a cry. We visited the house the story was set in. As we had our lunch it began to snow. By the time we finished it was snowing heavily and we decided to say our good byes and travel back to await the arrival of Nick. When we got to Brooklyn the park was like a fairy tale covered in snow. I said how beautiful. A Brooklyn man responded "It is beautiful in your accent" I was quite chuffed.

Would Nick appreciate his surprise? Colette was worried as he was getting a little short with her for not face timing, how could she do that in NY, it would spoil the surprise. We awaited his arrival and then disaster, the snow caused his plane to circle NY for a few hours, then they were sent to a small airfield in Connecticut. He was a bit upset as the person next to him on the plane was sick. They had run out of food and water, and the passengers were held on the plane. They disembarked, re embarked and disembarked and were told not a lot at all. At midnight Colette told Nick where she was as we thought it might help him cope. He had been told they would try to fly to NY the next day, but it would be late! Nick and a few other passengers grabbed a taxi and spent the night driving in to NY. He arrived first thing in the morning about 36 hours after he left Montana.

What do you do in New York with a nephew for his birthday, let me tell you… we went to Harlem to Rucker’s Park, the home of many basketball greats, it was still snowy so no one was playing much to Nick’s disappointment. We visited the Adidas store the sales man tried to sell me a pair of shoes for $300 I said mine had cost $30 and were very comfortable thank you! Another sports store this time the NBA store, Madison Square gardens.