An Englishman in New York

David Millner

Actually this was not my first visit, I have driven under the city on I95, the Interstate Highway – New Jersey Turnpike, also sailed a yacht from Cape Cod through Long Island Sound, the fast flowing East River, then through “The Harbour”, home to the Island of the Statue of Liberty, and out under the Verrazano Bridge (the New York marathon runners cross it), and into a marina in Brooklyn. That was another story.

Also I have had two amazing views of the city from the air, leaving JFK airport by night, and arriving by day over a white snow and ice landscape. Like Valletta, New York City has two long sides of waterfront.

This time I wanted to explore the city centre on foot on a bright but freezing cold February day. Leaving Penn Station, I found myself in 8th Avenue and stopped in a traditional Deli for a hot chocolate drink. Refreshed, I cut across to 7th Avenue (Fashion Avenue), Broadway, and past the famous theatres where classic shows like Annie and Chicago are long running. So that was Times Square! Then 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) with the Radio City Music Hall, and at West 50th Street, between 6th and 5th, The Rockefeller Centre, with its Top of the Rock Observation tower.

It is difficult to be lost in New York in the numbered grid system of streets.

In the cold air I was glad to warm up in the H&M clothes shop, again later in the welcoming Barnes & Noble Bookshop and Cafe. 5th Avenue is like the main artery, the fashion shops, and to the north is Central Park.

One gem I found was the New York City Libraryjust walk into this elegant spacious building, see the ceiling frescoes and many public rooms. Grand Central Station is another.

Still on 5th Avenue going south one should find The Empire State Building at West 34th. With so many high rise blocks, I walked right  past the entrance without realising that I was just across the street from this 1250 foot (381m) tall 103 floor landmark of mid-town Manhattan.

Take the trip to the viewing platform at the top to see for miles.

Continuing south, the open space of Madison Square Park allows some relaxation.

It was then time to dance an afternoon tango Milonga at the Triangulo Dance School, until 8.30pm, in the crowded and intimate space.

After meeting some locals in close embrace, I walked back to Penn station to catch my Long Island Rail Road train out of ‘the city which never sleeps.

I did not mention coffee, available everywhere, the life blood of New Yorkers, and of course there is much more to see – shows, museums, music clubs, the Hudson and East Rivers, Liberty Island with the statue of Liberty… shops to visit, bargains to be made, luxuries too. Check it out for yourself.