I loved New York as soon as I first stepped out of a yellow taxi in 1990. So it was a huge joy to take Child One and Child Two and share my passion. For me it’s all about the architecture, the huge wide avenues, the vertiginous cliff faces of the office blocks, and the fact that it’s like being on the set of my thousand favourite films, from Manhattan to Enchanted. I feel as though I’ll never understand the people, in a million years, but the place does get me every time.
It is, of course, the perfect city for teenagers. You can shop until 8 or 9 at night, every night, and get any type of food at any ridiculous hour for a tiny price. Unfortunately for my two, they had me with them, so things remained on a pretty regular schedule. And, by the time night fell, we were exhausted anyway from all the walking. We went everywhere, from Uptown to SoHo, Westside and East. The highlights were:
A yoga class in SoHo run by my lovely friend. It felt very NY to be doing the downward dog with a bunch of genuine citizens.
Taking over the photo booth at SoHo House – we all crammed into the red plush booth to take dozens of pics until we finally got one we all looked good in! This was more fun than trying to lounge by the swimming pool on the roof – alas, Child Two was unceremoniously turfed out for being too young.
Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway, in The Cripple of Inishma’an. At first I thought the play, like the man (!) was a little slight. But I kept returning to it in my mind for days. One of those clever works that worms its way into your heart, full of gentle pathos and humour. Daniel was just brilliant in the role.
22 Jump Street at a Downtown cinema. Somehow this seemed quintessentially American – really quite a silly film that we all found totally hilarious, and full of machine-gun-fire fast jokes. There are loads of visual gags, too, which I’m looking forward to getting second time around on DVD. Plus the air-conditioning was bliss in the 32 degree heat.
Central Park – I’d never set foot here before but this time our hotel was nearby and it was splendid wandering through. Best moment was when we accidentally chose a wall near the reservoir to eat our huge breakfast croissants, only to find every professional jogger in the city running past giving us evil death-ray stares. Many had not seen carbs for decades. Snortle.
Barnes and Noble. I love this book shop and would quite happily live here. I bought a gorgeous edition of Call of the Wild by Jack London for Child Four and Peter Pan for Child Three. Both were leather and lavishly illustrated. B and N seems to have really embraced the idea of making books special in order to resist total Kindlisation.
The Frick Collection. This was my ex-mother-in-law’s favourite gallery in the world and I love it too. It was a pleasure to drag Child Two along – no need to drag Child One as she loves her art. My mother-in-law would have been so thrilled to see her beautiful granddaughters in this special place. Mind you, she wouldn’t have been so thrilled with me for divorcing her son.
There was plenty we didn’t have time to cover – Ground Zero (all right, so we made it to the Century 21 outlet right next door (think TK Maxx on steroids)), walking the High Line, doing the boat cruise thing. But that’s fine. It just means we’ll have to go back.