So we all decide that we should get the day underway early.
Much to our dismay, but not surprise, we are on the train and it is 11am.
We’re headed to the Chelsea Markets, which were once upon a time, the National Biscuit Company, more commonly known at Nabisco nowadays.
We’re greeted with the skeleton of what was once a mammoth building, which stands to reason that with a name such as the National Biscuit Company, and based in NYC itself, it should have needed a substantial footprint.
The various stores all try their own hand at creating a new and fresh face for themselves, so as to entice both the locals and surprise visitors with the all too well known New York creativity. We pass a Japanese inspired Mexican restaurant. That’s right… a Mexican, Japanese restaurant. Like, little sushi tacos… How is that? But, people are lined up for it.
There is another spot that is doing mini donuts with a choice of toppings. Tiny donuts. Little toppings, and they are 6 for $6. They are making a killing. Its mental.
Were keen for a decent coffee. We haven’t had a really good coffee for weeks, so we do a google, and there is a place in the Chelsea markets that we really like the look of. The guy is a smart ass, but we all like him, and he is even surprised that I didn’t ask for a flat white (which is non existent in Canada and the US). I like this guy. We get chatting and we find out that less than 10m from us, is YouTube’s head quarters, and just across the road is Google’s HQ. This is just surreal. The internet giant of our decade is literally just across the road.
So, we head into this little area with all these smaller stores, and there is an iPad set up, showing people pictures of the stores and people that either work in them and the customers. I’m flicking through the photos, and I spot this picture of someone that I had seen earlier in our trip. I rack my brain, and it clicks. This guy in the photo is the same guy who I saw on the train on the first day we were here. We get on the subway, and among all the passerbys, there is this one guy who is dressed immaculately. Has a gold broach on his coat collar, a guess bag, and everything about his style is immaculate.
My mind ran wild with all the prospects of who he might be, the life he has lived. Is he a Harvard Graduate? He holds himself well, and looks as though he should be law student or an intern of some description. Then, as fate would have it, I find him again in the Chelsea markets, and he is a little store owner. No bigger than 10sqm.
Assumptions. They’re powerful. That’s my lesson for today.
Were headed to the High Line, which is a decommissioned train line, turned into this park walkway, which is 1.45 miles long. It winds between buildings and sneaks little views down various city streets. Damo and I keep stopping for pictures. Ladies didn’t. Damo and I then are left to our own devices, which isn’t a good thing. I sneak up to Damo and take his hand in mine, and say to him “Hey Baby”. Without flinching, he intertwines his fingers between mine. We decide that the both of us are going to eyeball every bloke that comes past. Every 5 or so blokes will frown at us, and look us up and down.
The entire time. Neither of us break eye contact with the blokes.
Its grand. The awkwardness is grand.
We reach the end of the High Line, and make our way to the subway station. We’ve got a booking for this restaurant called Serendipity, which coincidentally featured in the movie called Serendipity. The wait list is 3 hours.
We decide that we are going to head there, put our names down for a booking and then come back in 3 hours time and eat at the iconic restaurant. We arrive, and Bec and Allison head off to make the booking. Mean while, the daughter of Ralph Lauren started a candy store way back when, and it literally has everything that you could possibly imagine there. It’s called Dylan’s Candy Store, and if you want anything, even pizza chocolate bars, you can pick it up from Dylan’s.
We get ice creams, chocolates and begin our wandering of the streets.
We mozie on through the heart of NYC. Our eyes are turned skyward most of the time. Occasionally, we’ll look around to find ourselves either a person short of our posse, or the only one left from the posse. Either way, not ideal in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world.
But, the sight of the looming buildings is a new sort of mesmerising.
My eyes are turned to see the buildings towering over me each turn we take. Each building showcasing its own unique form of architectural uniqueness. We zig zag our way through the city, Damo and I forever stopping to capture the things that catch our attention, and the ladies forever waiting for us to catch up.
We turn onto 5th Avenue.
The way the 5th Ave was explained to us, is that if you want your brand to mean anything in the world, you need to have a store on this street. We turn the corner, to find Coach greeting us. There is this whole window set up going on. I know that there are going to be better and more impressive window displays, but this is still bloody good. The items of clothing are passing by the window on a conveyor, but almost a steam punk kind of conveyor.
We walk inside, and you are met with this T-rex made out of leather handbags. Whoever put this together is a legend and a genius. It doesn’t take much to make a store stand out, but they certainly have made something stand out.
We toy with the idea of blowing $1000 on a handbag, and then move on to Rockefeller square. For those who have read about it, the ugly christmas tree in Montreal is pretty similar to the sadness of this tree. Its branches are sagging. Its not a great sight. We are inching through the throngs of people like sardines. Everywhere you look, your eyes are met with buildings at the end of the street, before you see the end of the people surrounding you.
It is actually that tightly packed.
We head down to the ice rink, but it is even tighter packed. We pass a sign that says exit only. The only issue with that sign, is that there is a copper standing right next to it, who isn’t even fighting the hoards of people walking directly past it. I hear a variety of snide remarks from him to others as they pass by. I have no doubt that he has had a big day.
We make our way toward the freedom from the throngs of visitors and locals, alike. We’re hanging around the front of the Saks Fifth Ave building, because we conveniently found out that in the next few minutes, we would be greeted with a light show out the front of the building. From what I can gather, Saks Fifth Ave, Hudsons Bay and Myer are pretty much all the same shin digg hey.
We join the hundreds of people across the road, watching the performance from the department store mega-giants. Once the show is finished, we slip inside to make use of their bathroom facilities. Damo and I wait just inside. Once the ladies re-emerge, we head outside and are greeted with a sight that set Michaela alight. She is met with thick snow falling in the middle of the City.
I miss her excitement by about 30 secs.
Becka and I have just spent a month in Canada, where we had experienced snow fall like this on numerous occasions. I was genuinely surprised that this was Micky and Damo’s first time experiencing snow like this. It was a sight to see and experience for sure.
It’s nearly time for our booking at Serendipity, and we arrive to be met by all the other punters waiting for their allotted time at the iconic restaurant. We walk in, and there, before us is a gauntlet of people either on their phones, or wishing that they were. Just waiting. We get told that our table is about another 15 mins away. We’re waiting in the alcove, and there are multiple people who enter. We tell them that it is a 3 hour wait. They are not even phased.
This kind of reaction just excites us more. If people are ok about rocking up at 5/5:30, and finding something to do for another 3 hours after, then we are in for something good. Out table is finally called. We are seated and our eccentric gay waiter is great, but then he starts frequenting our table a little too often, and starts regurgitating all the jokes he has used before.
He still good though. We decide that he looks like a Kev. His name is Kev now. I can’t remember what his real name was, because I know that we asked him, but his answer was irrelevant. His name became Kev.
That is final.
I know he felt awkward about it, but we all felt good about it.
They say that their signature desert is the frozen hot chocolate, but seriously, that has nothing on the hot fudge sundae. Do yourself a favour, and me the honour, and just take my word for it.
We wrap up the iconic dinner and make our way to Hillsong. We get in line, when there is probably only a few hundred people. By the time the queue to get moving actually starts, I did a run to find out how long the line was. The run took me 1 min, 43 seconds to complete. I wasn’t sprinting, but I was running faster than a jog. It was 1300 people queued outside, around the corner and around the next corner to go to church. How mental is that?
The service was actually great. It was so amazing to be in a place where people were genuinely excited to be there for something other than themselves. It’s nice to see.
Hillsong ended up going for a good 3 hours, and my Lord, it was hectic. We met up with some of Micky and Allison’s mates from Hillsong in Sydney. They are visiting their bother over here. They’re a great family. I introduce myself by casually walking up behind one of the sisters, slapping my hands on her shoulder, and as she turns around, Micky says “Just don’t be your obnoxious self”, obviously not trying to hide from her friend that I was a little obnoxious.
I have a laugh, she has a laugh, and we are therefore acquainted.
The girls are knackered, and Bec, particularly is falling asleep standing up. Its been a big day, and a lot of walking.
The issue is that Damo and I aren’t ready to call it a day. We want to see more of Times Square. We jump on the subway and accompany the ladies to the stop where we part ways. Our respective partners encourage us to not spend money.
We know, as well as they know, that we are spending money. We offer them futile promises of not spending unnecessary money. Lets be honest. Its the first time that ‘The Lads’ have been able to spend a night together, and we are in NYC, and we are headed to one of the most iconic city squares in the centre of the world.
We are going to spend money.
We end up spending money.
I buy drinks, Damo buys food.
We watch Ronda Rousey get annihilated in UFC 207.
We walk the length of Times Square. It is everything that you think it is going to be. Every ounce of feeling tired is gone.
The energy. The atmosphere. The electricity is on another level.
We call it a night, and Micky buzzes us back in.
Come back tomorrow,