Drama Inside and Outside The Cheesecake Factory

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April 17th 2022
Published: April 19th 2022
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Easter BonnetsEaster BonnetsEaster Bonnets

So that is what the Bonnet Parade is all about.
I was up early again and headed out to another spot I like in Brooklyn for some more pictures back towards Lower Manhattan, where there are the remains of an old wooden pier in the foreground. It is obviously a popular spot as there were some other photographers there with me.

I headed back to the hotel and, unlike after the earlier visit to Brooklyn, the trains were still quiet. It is Easter Sunday and it seems to be the one day (that I know of at least - I've not been here for Thanksgiving or Christmas) that "the city that never sleeps" partially sleeps.

The Easter Sunday highlight is the Easter Bonnet Parade from St Patrick's Cathedral. We were not completely sure to expect as parade to us is a line of themed floats moving through the streets. Actually (and this shouldn't have been hard to work out) it's a time when everyone parades around in Easter Bonnets. These varied from a token gesture by some up to some massive, imaginative, spectacular displays. People were more than happy to pose for photographs and selfies - I think they saw it as a complement on the quality of their
Easter DogEaster DogEaster Dog

Even the pets were taking part in the Easter Bonnet Parade.
bonnet. It was all definitely worth seeing although social distancing was, again, not a consideration and our son and daughter were not completely convinced that it was worthy of their valuable time away from the hotel Wi-Fi and the shops (those that were open).

We went back to the hotel to pack and it was pretty much the first time we had put on the TV, which always takes some getting use to. There are the constant drug commercials (pharmaceutical, not the type we can smell everywhere we go), all of which seem to have side-effects up to and including an agonising death. There are the near constant news stories about "Former president Trump", who seems to get a lot more coverage than current president Bidden. By the way Donald, you get zero coverage outside of America. American politics has got nothing to do with me, but I can’t believe how something as long-standing as "the Grand Old Party" has been completely hijacked by this man. There were also stories of another two mass shootings, following on from the subway shootings in Brooklyn that we had heard about before we arrived.

There were also some stories about the
Marching BandMarching BandMarching Band

Music during the Easter Bonnet Parade.
current "sky high" fuel prices, which have now hit a near record high of $4.08 per gallon. It took a bit of maths, but I think that works out at £0.82 per litre, which is about half of what we are paying in the UK at the moment.

When we checked out we were hit by an unexpected $35 per room (we had two) per night in hotel taxes. Not to mention the ever necessary tips.

My wife and I walked back to Hudson Bay, where there was a huge modern art sculpture called "The Vessel", which we wanted to see. It is actually a complicated set of staircases and, I am led to believe, cost $200 million to build. Unfortunately, it was closed, apparently due to people throwing themselves off it. We could walk around the safety of the base though and up a few of the steps.

Hudson Bay is also the start of the Highline, which is another one of our favourites. This is a former elevated railway that is now a path down to Chelsea, the old meat production area. It is a great way to walk away from all the traffic and
Lower ManhattanLower ManhattanLower Manhattan

A favourite view from Brooklyn.
without the constant stops at the traffic lights. It was spoilt a bit in places by some tatty and seemingly quickly constructed scaffolding walkways. I'm not really sure what the point was to be honest.

Our son and daughter did not come with us for a walk on the Highline - particularly our daughter as she is still nurturing the mental scars from when we walked it one February with the minus 19 centigrade winds coming off the Hudson (see Man Versus Nature, With a Daughter as Collateral Damage).

Once we got to the bottom end, we turned around and walked back along it again up to Hudson Bay and then through the streets to Times Square. We tried to go to a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, but, unlike the UK these seem to just cater for takeaways - there's no where to sit down. We also made an obligatory visit to one of the "I ❤️ New York" gift or, more accurately, cliché tat shops, but we like them none-the-less.

We met back at the hotel for a quick drink at Bar 54 and then we got a taxi, which we had pre-booked it with the hotel. Despite us treble checking before we booked
The VesselThe VesselThe Vessel

Inside the sadly closed structure in Hudson Bay.
it, this ended in the same "we were told it's a flat rate including the tip" argument as the last time we took a hotel taxi (see Tips, More Tips and a Moody Ukrainian Driver). This driver was a lot less miserable than the last one though.

Rather than going straight to the airport, we went to our daughter's favourite American restaurant, the Cheesecake Factory. There are none in Manhattan so we had booked the one in Queens, which is in the right direction for the airport. Apparently there are none in Manhattan because New York is the home of the cheesecake and the Cheesecake Factory might find themselves getting some very close and very critical scrutiny there.

It does not just do cheesecake though. The menu is huge and features our daughter's favourite, the Mac and Cheese Burger. Disaster though - there was a problem with the frying station and there was no Mac and Cheese Burger as the ball of mac and cheese is fried. There did seem to be fries, however, which seemed odd. There was a near mutiny, but, apparently it didn't ruin the holiday, although it was close.

There was a lesser drama going on outside whilst we were
The HighlineThe HighlineThe Highline

Looking back towards Hudson Bay.
eating, with three police cars, several police officers and a woman whose handbag seemed to be getting a lot of attention.

All the menus in America have calories on - if you're worried about that sort of thing try not to look at the figures on the cheesecake menu as you won't be eating any if you do.

We were worried about being able to get a taxi big enough for four people and four suitcases to get us to the airport, but we got lucky. One was actually right outside the restaurant, but something seemed to be kicking-off there so we gave that one a miss. Fortunately, there was another and, although he was in the process of finishing for the day, he was happy to fit in one last run to the airport.

We packed some cheesecake into our hold baggage, as we didn’t wan to have to explain it to airport security, although we are not optimistic about what state it will be in when we got to London.

According to the signs, there's a $13,910 fine for misbehaving in the airport. Whilst I always appreciate precision, we were wondering what the science
Street ArtStreet ArtStreet Art

Viewed from the Highline in Chelsea.
was behind that very exact figure.

The bag drop was fine, but the shambolic security combined with passport check was complete carnage, with seemingly random partitions pushing people in all directions. As it's the British Airways terminal, I felt like explaining that inflicting chaotic queues on the British just isn't Cricket (a more international version of Baseball) and I would be happy to advise them on how to do it properly. I decided against it as I don't have $13,910 spare. We were just about to go through the scanner when they decided to only let through the women. I wondered if it would be worth $13,910 to shout out "what about non-binary?"

Luckily my wife and daughter were able to get through rescue our bags whilst my son and I were waiting and then whilst I was explaining what irony is and writing them a cheque.

It was a sad goodbye to New York as I ❤️ New York.

Follow-up: The queues for immigration at London Heathrow were absolutely horrendous, but they were organised.

Further follow-up: The cheesecake was battered but edible and more than worth the diversion.

Further, further follow-up: I later
Is it Art?Is it Art?Is it Art?

Not sure what has happened here.
found out that at sometime on this trip (probably the Top of The Rock) I managed to pick-up Covid, but, thankfully, there are no tests required to enter the UK now.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Weed ShopWeed Shop
Weed Shop

Again, please can you do something about the smell.
I ❤️ New YorkI ❤️ New York
I ❤️ New York

We have the same kind of tat shops in London.
Chrysler BuildingChrysler Building
Chrysler Building

Viewed from Bar 54 in our hotel.

Some of the options to choose from at the Cheesecake Factory.

At least were not going to Seattle. We couldn't work out if it is leaving 20 hours late or four hours early.

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