Big Man on Mulberry Street

And as if by magic, it’s the working week again, and I’m back from a holiday that seems all the more dreamlike than California did last year. I went for a long walk around my neighbourhood last night and was immediately struck by just how quiet this place is, how little goes on when compared to the 24/7 full on noise and smell that New York shoves at you. I think that is why I prefer it to the West Coast, on reflection: there’s no hiding how shabby and unkempt NY can be, despite numerous attempts to cover it up. It’s that mate you have that never shows up to formal events looking immaculate, and you love them all the more for their refusal to play to situation. My daughter found the town genuinely frightening, and I can now understand why. For me, it’s a lot closer to my personality than I’d casually care to admit.

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I’ve not mentioned the apartment we stayed in, which was found via AirBNB and proved to be the master stroke for the ten days away. Apart from spotty WiFi there was pretty much nothing wrong with the place: huge, comfortable and allowing us not to have to play to a Hotel’s schedule or menu. It gave ten days where we could find a haven amongst what was often a chaotic city, quiet reflection in often debilitating heat and humidity. Most importantly however we could wash clothes, cook meals and eat pizza as if the place was ours. It gave the kids their own rooms too, which if we’d had to pay for the privilege in a hotel would have effectively doubled the price of the Holiday. I can fully understand why the Leisure Industry sees such a threat in private rentals, as the NY Yellow Cabs view Uber as threatening their livelihood. The Yellow Cabs may have an app now, but if you won’t let us specify a large car to take our bags to the Airport? You’re no use to us. There’s a lot of lessons to be learnt as the concept of ‘holiday’ changes, and not all of them will be learnt.

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I need to document a few last things: the experiences at Ground Zero are still quite fresh and raw, and with 15 years coming up next month, I think I might hold back on that until the correct time. The number of Space Shuttles I’ve seen now is two: we ‘did’ the USS Intrepid as our last day (and the Enterprise by definition), with the evening on Mulberry Street so I could cross ‘eat Cannoli in Little Italy’ off my Bucket List. Of all the things I did in the ten days it will be the Egyptian collection at the Met that sticks most in the memory, but the evening walks that struck at me most deeply. The city is its most seductive at night, and I am a sucker for a romantic gesture.

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I’ve got a lot of new stuff planned, which I’ll clue you in on starting when School does next month. For now however I am content to keep plugging away at the various strands of life already being worked on. That means I’ll be doing PT later today, editing Bond before lunch, and generally attempting to make sense of the mess that is my life in between. At least now I can be confident I’ve found a part of the US I’d not grow tired of living in. All that’s left now is to fill in some of the gaps in between.