It's now Saturday and the big apple has become more than that fleeting catch of the eye that strangers do. Everyday she draws you in, leaving you wanting more...
We are up early..."Ms Roling if you don't get up soon I will be very disappointed"!
Today we are playing super tourists, zooming through some of Manhattan's most popular tourist spots at the speed of light. Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Wall Street (aka the financial district) and later that evening we have a 26 course meal at a 3 star Michelin restaurant in Brooklyn booked, so grab a coffee and a couple of ginger nuts folks, this could be a long one.
We hit the pavement by 8.30am and it seems like we are the only early birds, it is surprisingly quiet. We hail a cab...Great lady of hope here we come (Statue of Liberty).
We get to the ticketing office and it's ghostly quiet - maybe she doesn't work Saturdays?? We grab our passes and head for what is now almost part of of our every day life...the security check and on that why do people decide these are a good place to organise oneself???
I won't bore you with all the facts about the Statue of Liberty, but just one for old time's sake. She is thin enough to be a catwalk model in Milan...as she is only the equivalent of 3 pennies thick and her copper exterior has corroded her to the imposing green we see today. Okay that was two.
It's a strange thing seeing something you know so well in the flesh for the first time. She is more impressive up close and personal and she very much has a sense of welcome.
Liberty Island of which she calls home offers great views back to Manhattan.
I cant help but think - she would make a great Sunday Roast!
A note from Chief Proof Reader Nicole: I just told Alex that I didn't understand his previous joke and asked him to explain. He said "She just looks like a lovely lady, she's welcoming you, saying 'come come'". Ok.
It's now 10.30am and it is if this heat wave we find ourselves in the middle of is now applying the gas torch, Roling is finding shade at every opportunity and I'm playing the push the sunglasses up my face game.
We head back to land, it looks like the pain of getting up early has paid off, the queues to the statue are now winding back on themselves and around vendors, it looks to be at least a 2 hour wait.
We decide to head to Wall Street, on the way Ms Roling insists I try a giant pretzel, in short it's like eating card board I can only assume the nutritional values are in keeping with its taste.
In 2 hours Manhattan has come alive and it's now I realise how many visitors this city gets, there are I love NY teeshirts on every corner and every 2nd person is wearing one. There are queues at every known tourist spot, with the familiar clicking and beeping sounds of digital cameras, this must be the 2nd most recognisable sound in this city (after the honking).
We have now navigated our way to Wall Street, I'm left with a "Is that it?" feeling. It's so often spoken about and I guess I had built it up to be this wide open grand space. But it's no more interesting than walking down High Street in Auckland. So I take a few pics you know the I have been here done this pics, the brief visit puts us ahead of schedule.
We wander in and quickly wander out of Tiffanys, the prices are out of control. This shows the power of a luxury brand. So as you can guess this tight Scotsman did not purchase even the token Tiffany earrings!
We head to Ground Zero.
Walking the streets that played host to the haunting images that were beamed across the world, showing innocent people distraught, injured, covered in dust sends goose bumps across my arms.
The streets are narrow, you feel claustrophobic when walking them and I wonder how is it these buildings are still here?
We visit the small 911 museum run by the friends and families of the victims, and saw items such as the twisted pieces of steel that were once an intricate part of a tower, and a severely melted and deformed part of an aeroplane window. But the most chilling was seeing personal items, business cards, teddy bears, wallets of people that went to work one day and never came home.
Ms Roling and Cam spent a bit of time in this museum last time and recommended seeing it again. It is a very authentic, touching tribute and not remotely touristy or tacky. It's a very humbling experience and Ms Roling would recommend it to anyone visiting Manhattan.
We leave the museum and head towards ground zero, I'm genuinely intrigued as to what the have done to pay homage.
After more security checks and disorganised people fumbling around like lemmings we make it into the brand new memorial park.
It is a simple but peaceful place with rows of trees and grass areas for people to sit and reflect. There are two huge square multi-layered waterfalls that you look down on. One for the North Tower and one for the South Tower. They are sunk into the ground so water flows from ground level down and then into the 2nd smaller square.
The names of the people lost are etched into brass plates that border all four sides of each waterfall.
It is simple and tasteful and I feel a fitting way to remember these innocent victims.
I feel for you New York as I get an overwhelming sense you are still mourning your two sons (the Twin Towers).
It's now a blistering 35 degrees and I'm worried Ms Roling may melt if she is subjected to anymore sun.
We decide to call it a day and head home.
We are determined to nail the subway this time. We have had, well some confusing rides and it would only be fair to say we resemble Meer Cats when entering street level - eyes wide open, with our necks craned, heads, twitching from side to side to see if we have reached our intended destination.
I must confess Ms Roling was chief navigator and she did a FUCKN epic job. It has only become evident to me - I suspect everyone else that knows me has known this for some time - that my onboard compass is broken and if there is a wrong way to be taken I will successfully navigate my way to lost town.
I have to ask, Mum, did I play with magnets when I was little?
So Ms Roling successfully got us back to W 14 street lets hear around of applause for the Roling!
We quickly head home to get in our sunday bests as it is business attire only for our next part.
We shower, Ms Roling makes her 4th costume change - Lady Gaga eat your heart out and I enter into a one sided argument with the ironing board. I suggest in my finest french, the ironing board needs Viagra due to its flimsy disposition.
Looking the part we hail a cab, I'm in a suit and the temperature is still mid 30s...I align all available aircon vents towards me.
We head over the somewhat wonky looking Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn. A quick time check, yip we are good. The most important thing is we are on time.
Caesar, the man behind Brooklyn Fare'sChef's Tables, is a stickler for ceremony hence business attire only and punctuation. If you are late and miss a dish or two, there is no refund, no catch up. You simply miss those dishes!
As we are early we head down the road to a little bar and enjoy a pre dinner cocktail, also hitting the waitress up for some will we get home safely on the subway later?
Answer was "yeah sure you'll be fine" and as I'm writing this and not in traction this suggests she was right!
We head back to Brooklyn Fare feeling slightly peckish...just as well.
To give you an idea, you sit around a half circle stainless steel bench, there are only 18 people and you watch Caesar the chef create, what can only be described as art for the mouth.
As there were 26 dishes in total I can't remember them all but caviar, sashimi, escargot (snail), octopus, and balsamic ice cream were some highlights.
I order a bottle of 2001 vintage Bordeaux and two glasses of champagne to start with.
The gentleman next door whom I got to know quite well, commented on our wine, "Oh you got the... great choice." He was a wine connoisseur - that ran Canadian wine tasting evenings - my limited knowledge would see us through two courses.
As in any semi formal occasion...you need an ice breaker to loosen up the room, and I was it.
So, we were into our 6th dish using chopsticks and as brilliantly coordinated as I am I have never mastered the very simple art of the humble chop stick.
I had until now managed albeit not very elegantly 5 dishes, when a tuna dish was served. The waitress advised the group this can be difficult to eat with chop sticks and she will if we liked get some forks.
At this stage no one wants to be the first to blink. So I raise the white flag and "yes please!" "I can't take this anymore"... This is met with giggles from the other guests and some join me and raise their flags too.
From then on we dine sharing tasting notes and other dining experiences. It is during these conversations I realise this place is very hard to get into, people have been on waiting lists for 6 months.
The dishes are all created with passion and flare, Caesar has an amazing talent selecting flavours that contrast and compliment at the same time.
I can only describe it as 26 mouth orgasms.
Joel, from Brooklyn Fare. Thanks for sneaking me in, I owe you a hook up!!
And so this concluded our 2nd to last night in New York.
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