The Big Five-O

Homeward Bound
Friday  24th May 2019

Today was our last day, which was a real shame. We still had lots more to see and do and so little time in which to do it all. Such as the Irish Memorial right in front of the hotel. We were always scooting off somewhere, and hadn't given it much attention. The same was true today.

After a shared room service breakfast we checked out, left our luggage with concierge and trod the now familiar route to the Church Street subway. We didn't once think about stopping to look at the stone walls of the Irish Memorial. Probably because it's what we see all the time at home.

We were on a mission to reach 727, Fifth Avenue.  My uptown girl had an appointment at Tiffany's, and it wasn't for breakfast!

The sales assistant we spoke to at the Tiffany on Wall Street had told us to go their flagship store on Fifth Avenue, then up to the second floor and ask for the floor manager. The pendant we had reserved would be there waiting for us. 

Stepping out of the elevator on the second floor, which we remembered meant the first floor up, we asked the first sales assistant we came across where we could find the floor manager. She very kindly took us to meet her.

I couldn't have imagined a warmer welcome if we were here to buy the crown jewels. Instead she fetched out the little plastic pebble on a string for us to have a closer look. We weren't under any obligation to buy but we couldn't resist the moment.

I just happen to mention that it was Julie's birthday and in a flash two glasses of champagne appeared. The fuss was a little bit embarassing but it was so nice of her to have treated us no differently to someone who may have just bought a $100,000 diamond necklace. Ot at least it felt that way. 

With the black laquer disc safely in the Tiffany teal blue fabric bag, inside a Tffany teal blue box, inside a Tiffany teal blue paper bag, we browsed the rest of the store. Up on the top floor were all the accessories, travel, pet, children, in order of appearance not importance!

Any ideas of buying a dog collar for Sylvester went straight out the window when we saw the prices!

Also on this floor was the Blue Box Cafe where you could literally have your breakfast at Tiffany's. Even this morning I was getting e-mails alerting me to an availability but by the time I followed the link it was no longer available.

We returned to the ground floor where we stopped to have a look at the biggest diamond necklace we had ever seen. We have seen the actual Crown Jewels in the Tower of London and this wouldn't have looked out of place in that Royal collection.

Julie's attention was then taken by a selection of diamond rings. Out of interest she asked the price. "This one is $68,000" he replied. It wasn't the biggest one there either! "Go on, treat yourself" he continued. We just laughed. "We could buy a house with that" I thought or may even had said it out loud, I can't remember!

Back in the belly of the subway we navigated our way to 34th Street / Penn. Station which was straightforward enough, being only a few stops back down the E-line. We came here because it was the closest station to where I wanted to go, Hudson Yards, to see a new ... I guess it could be called an art instalation.

With hindsight a taxi would have been better as Hudson Yards was still a good ten minute walk away. 

However, walking down 34th Street meant we did get a great view (behind us) of the Empire State Building. Also down there somewhere was Macy's, the huge department store that Julie would have enjoyed a perusal.  We spent a minute pondering a change of plan, Empire State & Macy's or Hudson Yards with its new weird art instalation thing.

We stuck with our first choice.  

The Vessel (as it's known) was the strangest of structures. It looked like a fir cone or a cocoon, into which you could walk up through its many levels to the top. It was created by a British designer called Thomas Heatherwick and his team of architects. 

To enter you needed a ticket. There wasn't a queue, it was free and the ticket office wasn't far away but I decided not to spend the next half an hour running up and down the 154 interconnecting staircases. Instead we chose to sit and marvel in amazement at its quirky beauty.

It really was quite striking. Its shiny copper cladding stood in contrast to all the blues and greys of the glass and steel around it.

I really liked it but it has had its detractors. In an on-line naming competition the most popular was the Giant Shwarama, refering to its resembelance to a lump of rotating kebab meat. (Although that's not as funny as Boaty McBoatface winning the UK research ship naming competition!)

Moving on, we joined the High Line club, a mile and a half of converted overhead train track that began at Hudson Yards (or ended here dependant on your orientation)  and rolled over abd above the streets of New York all the way down to 14th Street.

We had originally thought of walking its entire length back towards the hotel but scrapped that idea because we felt were running out of time. 

Instead we just walked the small section that looped around a construction site (I think they're in the process of building a subway station for Hudson Yards) and back to the entrance/exit on 34th Street.

The High Line itself was filled with shrubs and small trees which gave it the look and feel of a park, a really nice idea in the middle of this concrete landscape.   Although in places it looked very unkempt and scruffy.

Back on 34th Street we walked towards Penn Station, all the while trying to grab the attention of passing yellow cabs. It didn't happen right away, and (again) just as I was reaching for my phone to open up the Uber app we managed to catch the attention of a friendly yellow cab driver.  He hurlted us back to our hotel as if we were being chased by the police which was perfect for us!

In fact we were back at the Conrad sooner than we thought, so we decided to have lunch at the hotel before heading for the airport.

Other than breakfastand in our room and the complementary Birthday cheesecake we hadn't eaten at the hotel. Julie ordered a chcken dish which she thoroughly enjoyed whilst I fancied pizza.

It arrived pre-cut, a personal bug bear of mine. How can they assume how I like my pizza cut!? Anyway after reminding myself I wasn't in Naples I calmed down and ate it all. 

After eating I still hadn't satisifed my craving for pizza. It was just a little meh.

With our bill paid we collected our luggage, stood outside the Conrad and waited for a yellow cab to turn up. This time it literally was less than a minute before we were sat in the back of the taxi making our way to the airport.

In an added bonus we took the scenic route, driving over the Brooklyn Bridge and through the streets of Brooklyn's neighbourhoods.  

The diversion was due to a road traffic accident on the usual route. We soon joined Atlantic Avenue, a long straight road out of the city. Whilst it felt a lot longer it still only cost us the legally bound fixed price of  $52 plus tolls to airport.

At the airport we checked in our luggage and headed for the security gates. Leaving the USA was much easier than entering. Within a blink of an eye we were airside enjoying a beer and some fried food.

I even shared a bench with fellow Welshman Jack Daniels (well, his grandfather was Welsh so that's good enough for me!). I've always talked about visiting the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee and Julie's always liked the sound of New Orleans. A roadtrip through the Southern States may well be our next American adventure!

Whilst I was chatting with Jack and sampling his Rye whiskey I mistakenly thought we were celebrating my birthday and not Julie's, and bought a bottle of the exclusive Sinatra Select for my growing collection. "It'll be an investment" I justified to myself. 

Julie's anxieties were now building and building. I think we boarded the plane just in time. Another hour or so and she would have reached meltdown.

She stared out of the window at the sun setting beautifully over Jamaica Bay as we said our goodbyes to New York. It had been an amazing few days in a city that overwhelmed us with how comfortable we felt. It will go down as our favourite city and we'll undoubtedly visit again soon.

  Back to index >>>  

ęCopyright 2000 - 2020