I was a-hop with glee as I arrived at Penn Station around 1pm on Monday. I had caught the NJ Transit from Aberdeen-Matawan, the boys having very kindly lent me their SUV to drive to the station and leave in the car park to be picked up later, and an hour later was spat out into the seething mass of travellers at the New York end.
Apparently I still know Penn like the back of my hand, and auto-piloted in the correct direction for the Post Office exit, where I then stood and just stared at this corner of the city, taking it all in, and grinning like a loon. I took the photo of the school bus, above, because it reminded me that usually mundane things seem so other after you’ve been away from New York – or America – for a few months.
I had my usual upon-arrival-in-New-York errands to run, so cabbed it to my hotel, The Jane in the West Village, to deposit my luggage, before taking a walk up to 14th to my favourite $20 salon get my nails did – the prospect of hot weather in Charleston SC made a pedicure a priority.
Some days it really does seem as thought there is a film being shot on every corner in the city and, here in the West Village, a crew was busy flooding the street, much to the amusement of a large crown of gawping onlookers.
Mani pedi completed, I then walked outside to find the heavens opening: so much for the 75F sunshine of the weather forecast. One drugstore umbrella later, I was marching up Sixth to complete such exciting tasks as buying a SIM in T Mobile, and visiting both The Container Store (possibly one of my favourite US stores – I like to imagine how organised my life would be if I could buy everything in it), and Paper Presentation to stock up on my stationery.
With time running out before supper, I grabbed a cab to the East Village, where I asked it to stop on 2nd & St Marks, so I could walk through my old neighbourhood, en route to the restaurant.
I found the experience surprisingly emotional, especially when I realised that our old building had been completely revamped, with an excellent coffee shop on the ground floor. The rest of the block, East 6th between 2nd & 1st, where Jackie and I lived when we first arrived in the city back in 2007 was exactly the same: the synagogue in whose garden we used to release the mice from the apartment is still there, as are the myriad Indian restaurants and Lan Cafe, the excellent Vietnamese.
Memory lane tripping over, I carried on down to East 5th and A to Goat Town, a new-ish restaurant with a locavore policy, charming service, and a garden for growing greens out back. Lola was waiting at the bar, and Judy arrived minutes later.
They do make excellent cocktails there.
I’ll spare you the fuzzy photos of the food, which was excellent.
I badly wanted to check out the puddings, but was stuff-arama.
Afterwards, we hopped in a cab to the Lower East Side, (a few blocks south), to The Experimental Cocktail Club, where Judy had made reservations. The cocktails are quite extraordinary (I much preferred the New York one to the London ECC on Gerrard Street), and we really did round off a splendid evening in some style (and with gales of laughter).
So good to be back in the city with two of my dearest New York girls.
The Experimental Cocktail Club
Address: 191 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002 – you do need to make reservations here.
Address: 511 E 5th St New York, NY 10009
Telephone: (212) 687-3641
113 Jane St, New York, NY 10014
Telephone: +1 212-924-6700