Remember those weeks that turned into months when there were such tight constraints on our social movements that we weren’t able to so much as go to our friends’ houses, or even sit with them in the open air? When going out for lunch seemed as exotic as flying to Milan for Fashion Week? During that time, I would plan where I would like to go, much of which seemed like a pipe dream in those days when I’d get excited about a trip to Waitrose. My most adventurous idea was sparked at first by watching Pretend It’s a City on Netflix. I thought I’d like to go to New York, stay in the Chelsea/Village area, and hang around in case I could see Fran Lebowitz. Go big or go home, as they say. Well, I don’t, but some people do.
I thought about my plan some more, and eventually mentioned it to my good friend Jenny, who as well as being my partner in crime on various rock-music-related trips, is also a travel agent. We booked a hotel and flights. We made arrangements to meet up with some old chums from our Aerosmith days, friends who live in Manhattan, and also one of my clients who lives nearby.
Here we are with Nancy and Becky, in Osteria 57, a lovely Italian restaurant on W. 10th Street. While we were waiting for our cab to take us back to the hotel, Nancy got talking to a lady with her dog outside an apartment block, when out came the doorman, who was the lady’s brother. He was wearing an Aerosmith T-shirt, so we told him we were also Aerosmith fans. He said he’d been to over 300 gigs, and had been a fan club member since 1983, named his children after the band members, and if he knew us better he’d show us his tattoos – but our cab turned up, so that pleasure was denied us!
I had dinner with one of my clients, Kate P. Adams, who as well as being the author of the delightful, funny, elegant Charleton House Mystery series (read about Kate and her work here) https://www.katepadams.com/, also proved to be the most charming dinner companion a girl could wish for.
One of the things I love about this city is the buildings of old New York, the sort that you can imagine in an Edith Wharton novel, and particularly the ghost signs which are plentiful because businesses move premises all the time in this ever-changing metropolis, and leave some of their story behind.
On our last night we went to the Waverly Inn, which I especially wanted to visit because I’d seen Fran being interviewed there, sitting under a cartoon of herself on the wall. Our friends who live in Manhattan made a booking and met us there. Jenny managed to get a photo of me sitting under that very cartoon, although afterwards I was reprimanded by the sommelier (the shame!) because apparently you’re not supposed to do that, although he was very nice about it. It was only when I investigated the place further that I discovered that it’s frequented by celebrities, and there are always paparazzi outside.
So, I went big – and then I came home. And that’s enough excitement for a little while. But I’m already making notes on my to-do list about where I’d like to go next.