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New York 2004

New York with Liz and my Parents 2004 |

I decided to spend a romantic few days in New York with my girlfriend... and my parents... From the first moment you see the city's iconic outline from the freeway it overwhelms you. And no more than after I first arrived at my hotel just off Times Square – the flashing neon adverts made it brighter than the surface of the sun and was juxtaposed with my previous month in New Zealand where the population of the country is a quarter of NYC's. After convincing the concierge that I wasn’t some ‘tramp off the sidewalk’, I was reunited with my parents and then headed straight to bed.

I found that visiting New York was a bit like being drunk (which I can say safe in the knowledge that I was sober most of the time while I was there...). What I mean is that everything moves in a blur and it all seems bigger, grander, faster and more exciting than anything you’ve seen before. Yet at the same time it’s all so damn familiar – you’ve been there vicariously a thousand times before in films and TV that you forget it’s a totally alien city.

We did all the major attractions that you might expect and I loved them all. The view from the Empire State Building was unbelievable, as was the tour of Liberty Island (even though we couldn’t go up the Statue). Ellis Island was moving for me as my Great Grandfather passed through its gates in the 1920s on his way to settling in America. The museums were all obviously world-class – MOMA, the Guggenheim and especially the Met, complete with its original Egyptian Temple transported brick-by-brick from the current site of Lake Nasser. My other favourites were walking through Central Park in the rain, watching the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and the brilliant tour of the UN Building which was fascinating ; I’d definitely recommend it to everyone and anyone.

Liz’s highlights (as always) would probably be a) the shopping (Century 21 is everyman’s worst nightmare – like a 4 storey TK Maxx the size of a small industrial estate) and b) the food. Breakfast was had in our favourite diner with blueberry pancakes; lunch in one of the city’s coffee-shops; and dinner in a restaurant. My favourite meal has to be my sandwich at Roxy’s on Times Square, when I made the mistake of ordering a ‘snack’. It turned into the largest beef sandwich I’ve ever seen...and it came with a side salad...God Bless America...

Locations Visited: New York

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