From mild to wild, from food experiences that range from hot dog stands, artisan epicurean markets, and pizza and burger joints to fine dining that’s so outrageously expensive, I warn you readers, it will break the bank New York has it all. From large department stores like Saks on Fifth Avenue, and of course that premier shopping emporium that is Macy’s – located right in the middle of a hyperactive Herald Square – to little pop-up stands; and, I have to be honest, a few seedy gift shops, peddling items more bedraggled than the rubbish I threw out during our house move, it’s fair to say the city that never sleeps is, quite possibly the most culturally diverse metropolis I’ve ever visited in my entire life.
And, even though I only spent a short time there last week, during what was a surprise whirlwind trip with my beautiful youngest daughter, without doubt, I loved every single minute of it – and I will return. However, due to the minus four temperatures, next time I grace the Big Apple with my presence it’ll be during their summer months.
Yes folks, a wonderful Mother’s Day trip to the city that never sleeps with my baby girl, (okay she’s 26, but she’s still my baby), was always on the cards. We’d chatted about it for years. However, noticing that mammy was in serious need of a pick-up, (due to a tough house move), taking matters into her own hands, Megan booked our flights, our hotel, acquired Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval for me, and, in her no-nonsense way, told me she was bringing my Mother’s Day surprise forward and advised me regarding what items of clothing to pack (warm, comfy clobber and runners). Yes, my take-charge, youngest deffo takes after d’mammy! I wasn’t able to come up with a valid excuse like, “I can’t leave hubby on his own with the dogs”…to which he-who-thought-he’d-never-get-rid-of-me insisted that oh yes I could! In fact, in order to make sure I left, not only the county, but also the country, he-who-yearned-for-bit-of-peace, drove me to my daughter’s city centre apartment the day before our trip…and legged it back to Roscommon!
Flying with Aer Lingus was extremely pleasant, and with a choice of in-flight movies, (including new releases and old classics), delicious food, refreshments and alcoholic beverages on tap, as well as sweet treats, all served by what has got to be the nicest, most professional crew I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking care of me, my seven-hour trip passed in no time at all.
My super-savvy daughter had booked us into a beautiful over-sized double room at one of New York’s finest hotels; spoiling me with what is arguably the most breathtaking views of Manhattan’s iconic skyline. And, even though we had a full day’s travel under our belts, we checked in, did a rapid make-up top-up, followed by a quick change of shoes, but wearing the same travel outfit, (my jeans were now more wrinkled than my face), off we went, into the cutting cold, to catch the 158 bus to downtown Manhattan for pre-show cocktails and to indulge in some of the most diverse gourmet vegan food either of us have ever experienced. Yes, No. 2 is also vegan, and sure with New York being home to some of the best vegan-friendly restaurants showcasing vegan menus galore, and, given the amount and the sheer quality of choice available, the pair of us could barely contain our unbridled enthusiasm. (Note to self: Have jaws wired shut for a month). If I was pushed on my favourite eatery, it’d have to be Le Pain Quotidien whose menu is packed with simple, yet elegant organic fare; I’ll tell you readers, their breakfast avocado toast followed by granola with bananas and coconut yogurt is, quite literally, to die for!
Having tried to get tickets for Jersey Boys, which, by strange coincidence had departed Broadway for Dublin that very day, we opted for Phantom of the Opera at The Majestic in Times Square; an area that is as insane as it looks on d’telly! This, anything-goes ‘crossroads of the world’ with its commuters, tourists, construction workers, street performers, (no Naked Cowboy, apparently it was too cold for him that day), and scammers, attracts over 50 million tourists annually; every one of whom seemed to be visiting on the same day as me.
But I digress. Now in its 30th year, Phantom, which officially opened at The Majestic on Broadway where it remains to this day, is a timeless story of obsession, winning both Olivier and Tony awards, and was, for both of us, an exquisitely crafted piece of musical theatre rendering us perched on the edge of our fifth row seats. Ben Crawford and Eryn LeCroy were mesmerising as the Phantom and Christine. This show was definitely the highlight of a trip which took in the Empire State Building, the heartbreaking Ground Zero where, visitors were so respectful, (and rightly so), you could have heard a pin drop; the New York Public Library, Grand Central Station, the art deco skyscraper that is the Chrysler Building and one of the city’s oldest and most historic buildings, the Flatiron. Sadly, due to time constraints we didn’t get to see the Brooklyn Bridge or take a bike ride through Central Park, meaning we’ve got a perfect excuse to return to the ever-changing fabulous fairytale that is New York City. Thank you baby girl; I had an amazing time.
Kerry, for the sake of the kids, tone it down a tad!
Due to what I can only describe as severe jetlag, I tuned into the Ray D’Arcy show to watch Kerry Katona’s (a stunningly beautiful woman, it must be said), brash, distasteful, car-crash behaviour during what was, for me, a highly uncomfortable interview. Now, as someone who has, in the past, interviewed Kerry for both print and broadcast media, I had hoped, that, given, (in her words) she’s nearly 40 and the mother of five kiddies, she’d matured a bit over the years. However, the queen of reality TV’s brash cringe-worthy technique of “I just marry ‘em, get pregnant, sell it to ‘OK’ magazine, and then get divorced,” and the way she threw shade at her first husband’s exes left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Look Kerry, no matter how much you may dislike your ex-husband’s former partners, no matter how draining or demanding you feel they may have been on your relationship with him, (and believe me I know all about the stressful tsunami that is a divorce), when speaking publicly love, it’d be wise for you to set a good example and remember that children learn about relationships through studying the models in their lives. And as you say you’re a “single mother”, that model is you!
Therefore, if you come across like a bitter, cold harpie, then it’s possible your beautiful kids may follow by example and use this type of conduct as a definition for their own adult behaviour; and that can’t be healthy hon, now can it?