Next stop New York; although it took me an extra hour to get there after the flight was delayed leaving Toronto. By the time I got out of the airport bus at the Port Authority stop (on 42nd Street) I was unfashionably late for my dinner arrangement with friends. After a few minutes I managed to flag down a cab, but the driver sped off because I was slow in telling him where I was going and he couldn’t hear what I was saying. Welcome to New York!
Returning from the well-stocked discount clothing store Century 21 – self-styled as “New York’s best kept secret” – on Saturday afternoon, I noticed (thanks to Facebook) that a Swedish journalist friend was in New York as well. I sent her a message suggesting coffee or a glass of wine and shortly thereafter was invited to dinner at her friends’ apartment. The internet then played another role in the evening’s proceedings, in that I needed to find a wine shop en route to dinner. The Google search delivered a shortlist, as well as a map. By clicking on to their respective websites I was able to very quickly sift out the less likely prospects and settled on Union Square Wines & Spirits (www.unionsquarewines.com) as being the best choice.www.bluehillfarm.com/food/blue-hill-new-york). I couldn’t get a reservation for a table, but was advised that I could eat at the bar. Blue Hill is all about great, locally grown produce; their website even has videos of the farms and farmers that grow the food. Chef patron Dan Barber recently made it onto Time’s heroes and icons list, with a glowing commentary by El Bulli’s Ferran Adria.www.almondnyc.com), which is where I had a meeting over dinner on Sunday night. It had a depth of flavour to which there are no short cuts, and it had been reduced to the perfect level of concentration. Best of all, there was a generous serving of the sauce with my hanger steak and fries. Wine-friendly food doesn’t get much better than that!
There wasn’t a time of the day – or night – that drivers weren’t using their hooters to excess, sirens whined incessantly, but somehow I didn’t mind the noise. If only taxi drivers could hear me above it, before driving off!
There isn’t much I can say about New York that hasn’t already been said, and after only one weekend I cannot claim expert knowledge. However, the energy in the city is amazing, and the architecture blew my mind (I stood looking at the Woolworth Building for ages).
Friday night involved a visit to the wine bar Terroir (413 E 12th Street). If the preponderance of Riesling on the wine list doesn’t give it away, the very loud music certainly does; this place plays the revolutionary card in a major way. It would have been nice to be able to have a conversation, but the wines were great.
My initial plan for Saturday night had been to have dinner at Blue Hill restaurant (
It took me only a moment to change tack, but my spontaneity (in accepting the dinner invitation) was well-rewarded. I met a group of seriously interesting people, and had a fantastic evening. I don’t have a problem spending downtime alone while travelling, but it made a nice change to spend social time with other people (and that included Friday night).
I can recommend the Bordelaise sauce at Almond (
The recession has – apparently – taken the heat off hotel prices. I booked through Hotwire.com, which doesn’t tell you the name of the hotel until after you’ve paid for the booking. This system protects top-end hotels that don’t want to be seen to be discounting their rooms. All you know in advance is the approximate address, the amenities and the Travel Advisor rating. I ended up with a fantastic corner room at the Warwick Hotel (6th Avenue & W 54th Street).