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The Rock-itt : March 2010
For those who missed the trip report last month we were in the South of England taking in the delights of Brighton. This month we go trans- continental, we're off to New York. I had made the mistake a while before we moved down to Oz 10 years ago of taking my daughter Lauren to New York for a holiday. The first time she experienced it she fell in love with the 'Big Apple' and it took a lot of effort to bring her round to the fact that we were emigrating to Sydney and not New York when the move came. Since her first visit to New York, she has talked of little else when suggestions of where shall we travel to come up. Times Square, hello World! My wife decided to stay in the UK with her Mother so it was to be a Dad and daughter week in the States. I booked our hotel about three months in advance and got a really good seven nights for the price of four deal at the Park Central Hotel. It cost us $1900 US for a large room with two queen size beds and a bathroom right by Central park on 56th and 7th Avenue, just opposite Carnegie Hall. (The hotel not the bathroom!) We flew on a Tuesday from London, Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic. I booked my return trip a couple of months up front and got it for $550 US. We had a great stroke of fortune with Lauren's flight; my mate Keith Peacock had some spare Virgin Air miles so we got it for free! I have a few mates in New York and my best mate ,Brad Misell picked us up at JFK and whizzed us straight to the door of the Park Central, nice one Brad! The first night we discovered the Deli just 100 metres down the road and I found the Irish bar just across the road so we settled in really quickly. Find your local Deli, and then get on with your holiday, here's ours! Lauren had done a great job of preparing her itinerary before we left home and I was happy to tag along to various art galleries, museums, and film and TV hot spots. 30 Rock -- The Building Lauren is a huge fan of the TV show 30 Rock so the Rockerfeller Centre and the NBC store, which is part of the studio complex, was an early port of call. I am very privileged to count songwriter/performer, Jimmy Webb as a friend and it was a really exciting co-incidence that he had a gig in New York the second night we were there. It was at an intimate dining club called Feinstein's at The Regency. I had even brought a suit with me just for the occasion. Jimmy had arranged a table and dinner for us and it turned out to be a really flash place with only a small exclusive audience, we just about passed muster and Jimmy was sensational, as usual. Imagine being able to hang out with the guy who wrote Macarthur Park, Wichita Lineman and Up, Up and Away amongst many others, it's amazing and he is a lovely man. Certainly a huge highlight of the trip, hopefully he'll be performing here in Oz soon. Me with Jimmy Webb on his last visit to Sydney, shocking self portrait! The morning, after we acquainted ourselves with the subway. It's real easy and great value. If only someone had been as forward looking in Sydney and given us our own subway, too much to hope for I guess. We went down to the East Village to check out some trendy galleries. I was last in New York ten years ago and it's amazing how they've cleaned the place up. No sign of trouble for the visitor, we felt safe and comfortable wherever we went. Apparently the down side of making the city safe is an absolutely Draconian attitude to drugs, even the smallest amount of weed will get you stuffed in choky for a few months. Sounds like a great idea to me, I'm too high on life to be bothered with all that bollock. Art having been ingested, we took the subway up the Harlem, always a dodgy place to go on previous visits but this time it was great fun. We went to find the house that the film 'The Royal Tenenbaums' was filmed in and around, and as you can see by the picture, we found it! I was up for banging on the door and asking to be shown around but thankfully Lauren said no, she had other plans. Just a little further down the subway line and adjacent to Columbia University stands another TV icon - the diner from Seinfeld. It's also famous for the Suzanne Vega song, Tom's Diner! Alas, the interior is never used on the show but we went in anyway had a great meal.