Thursday, April 28, 2011

New York, New York

It's 4.00 in the morning and I'm sitting in our room in West 23rd Street on Thursday morning in New York City, and WIDE awake.........It will take time to get used to the five hour time difference between here and the UK (now 14 hours behind Australian time).

Tuesday and Wednesday are a bit of a blur now: travelling from Euston Station to Heathrow by Underground was not too difficult despite it being a bit crowded through the inner city stations. Our Premier Inn Hotel on Bath Street was quiet, modern and comfortable (despite it being a supersized airport hotel) and we were impressed enough with their food and bar options to enjoy our last meal in England there on Tuesday night.

As we've come to expect in the UK everything worked like clockwork yesterday morning: catching the shuttle bus to the airport early, checking in at the super modern and super efficient Heathrow Terminal number 5 and getting away on time under the direction of our rather jolly British Airways crew.

We landed in New York at the now decidedly dated JFK Airport a bit after 12.30pm local time. It was an easy entry through customs etc and in no time we were on our way, with 10 others, on Gary's Super Shuttle service into Manhattan.

It was sunny and warm in New York yesterday and we got a clear view all the way through Long Island, Queens, and Brooklyn to the familiar New York city skyline. The roads were crowded, messy, and new works everywhere, such a change from the order and relative calm of London. Gary really earnt his $40 US fare, negotiating the intense traffic of the Manhattan streets, dropping everyone at their hotels.

We're very happy with our apartment at 208 West 23rd Street in Chelsea, lots of character, a great bed, and plenty of space (for New York). There is no view, the window faces a void in the buildings so all we can see are brick walls and other people's windows. But the big advantage is it's very quiet, none of the constant sirens throughout the night as I remember from our previous visit in 1994 staying in the Park Central Hotel up on 57th Street.

We love this area. It's very cool, laid back and relaxed, no tourists (except for us). We went for a walk as soon as we'd settled in. Heading South down 7th Avenue it's easy to see that this is an upmarket residential area. This was an extremely good gourmet kitchen supply shop.

Lots of bars and casual bistros for the locals. These became more buzzy and fun for us to observe as the afternoon became evening.

The crosswise streets on the West side in this part of Midtown are mostly residential. I love looking at the buildings in New York, even the ordinary ones that people live in.

We turned right off 7th Avenue into W15th Street and walked a few blocks until we came to the intersection of Greenwich Street, Hudson Street and 9th Avenue, right near the famous Chelsea Markets.

Joel and Imo had told us not to expect a fresh food market but rather a collection of high quality food vendors all selling value added products with an artisanal/organic/regional focus. We found a great fresh fruit and bread supplier for our stay in NY and vowed to return to the green table (a favourite of Joel and Imo) where we enjoyed a Captain Lawrence Kolsch beer (brewed no more than a day's drive from NY City) at happy hour prices!

There is also an award winning seafood supplier that sells freshly prepared meals as well. Can't wait to try these amazing sushi and sashimi varieties. We enjoyed seeing a Mr and Mrs Costanza type middle aged NY couple tucking into a big fresh lobster salad at this store.

However our best find was the West District Food Market on the corner of W15th and 7th Avenue...a beautiful upscale deli with a thousand foodie products to tempt and inspire. We made our selection of breakfast basics to tide us over and wandered home, still intrigued by all the new sights and sounds around us.

We were too tired to last much past 8.30 last night (our bodies are thinking this is 1.30 in the morning!)


Maxine said...

Hi Judy and Rob
Off to a great start in NY. A very enjoyable blog. The food choices look amazing. Hope you catch up with the new time zone soon.

ps. so glad you met Timothy Richards from Gawsworth House. No visit to the UK would be complete without seeing him in action.

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