New York state of mind…

Having spent the past five days in New York, I am happy to be back on the island, away from the madness that is Manhattan Island. Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. I love that anything and everything is possible, there are endless choices, and you can lose yourself and get lost in New York all at once. But it can exhilarating and a little bit like madness at the same time, especially in mid thirty degree heat.

We walked miles in New York. I mean actual miles and miles. According to my iPhone, more than 80kms in total. For me, walking is such an amazing way to experience a place. I find using the subway can ruin my sense of direction, making me feel really disorientated, so I prefer to stick to foot and take it all in – sights, smells, sounds. It all.

I am going to talk a lot about food because let’s face it, I like food. It wouldn’t have been a trip to New York without an almost daily bagel for breakfast – the favourite by the end was definitely cinnamon raisin with strawberry cream cheese from Murray’s Bagels in Chelsea. Maybe more cream cheese than bagel, but who’s counting?? We also found some really good coffee (and I don’t mean Starbucks – you can’t count that as coffee anyway).  Bluestone Lane is a neat little Australian cafe in Greenwich Village that does a fab flat white and brekkie.

One of my favourite food experiences would have to be the visit to the infamous Katz’s Delicatessen – the home of ‘that scene’ from When Harry Met Sally, and of course, home to the coveted Reuben sandwich. The Reuben is two slices of rye bread packed with corned beef, pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and Russian dressing. And you can’t forget the side of pickles – it wouldn’t be an American institution without pickles (I hate pickles by the way). From the moment you walk into Katz’s, it’s an experience to remember. You take a ticket, join a queue to line up at the counter and eagerly anticipate a taste of the juicy smoked pastrami as you watch your knife-wielding meat cutter make your sandwich to order in font of you.  I had the pastrami sandwich – pastrami (like a whole cow’s worth) and mustard in between two soft pieces of rye. And the verdict. AMAZING. Honestly blew my expectations out of the park (but no, I didn’t relive or reenact the scene from that movie).

We also got to experience Momofuku Nishi – a canteen style noodle bar, that’s no regular noodle bar. The chef, David Chang, has numerous restaurants and has recently made history co-creating the “Impossible” Burger – that looks, smells and maybe even tastes like meat, but contains no meat?!. But, I didn’t get to try that, so back to the noodles….  These were tasty to say the least. The signature dish – the Butter Noodle with chickpea hozon and black pepper was my favourite – flavours to tantalise your tastebuds for sure and the noodles were like a chewy texture. Yum!

I adored the Chelsea Market and in fact visited three times. It’s a bustling urban food market packed with different vendors offering every type of food imaginable in a stripped down brick industrial building. It’s also right next to the High Line, which I think, is one of Manhattan’s best assets. It was a railway from the 1930s – 1980s and today is a popular public park and gardens for thousands of people every day which elevated views on the city.

It wouldn’t be New York without visiting Times Square, Central Park, the Guggenheim, the Flatiron building, Union Square, Little Italy, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, World Trade Centre site, Broadway, Grand Central Station, and many more sights, but in my opinion, they pale in comparison to a trip up the Empire State Building. With breathtaking (and palm sweating) 360 degree views of Manhattan and beyond, it was totally worth the $32.

Shopping. Well I don’t think I could talk about NYC without a mention of shopping. New York’s discount department stores – Century 21, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom Rack and great places to hunt out a bargain and did not disappoint. I just would have liked longer to shop!

This trip to New York was 16 years after my first – in the year 2000.  While a lot of things felt familiar – the smells of the subway, yellow cabs lining the streets, food vendors on the streets and people everywhere, it was quite a different experience. But it’s nice to be back on the island with its population of a mere 65,000 and I know I’ll enjoy listening to the tree frogs singing as I fall asleep tonight.

Kiwi in Bermuda.