Central Park’s most wanted

On my second trip to the Big Apple in 2003 with my 2 friends Dawn and Trina we decided to get up early and go on a boat trip around Manhattan and Ellis, Staten and liberty islands. It was an extremely cold day and one of the bridges was stuck with the ice and it took a little while longer than anticipated to return to our pier.

For some odd reason we didn’t eat on the boat despite it being a long trip, so by the time we were on dry land we were starving. Trina had heard of a pub in Central Park – The Tavern on the Green. It took a nano-second to realise this was no pub, especially when the manager took the time to show us around the crystal decked restaurant and the Lulu Guiness shop!

It was all going so well, we were all tarted up and smelling lovely from the freebies in the bathroom and comfortably settled in the top bar tucking into jacket spuds and sipping on cocktails.

Therein lay the problem! Dawn vs long island ice tea! At an alarmingly fast pace she became a semi-conscious wreck vomiting in the corner. I did my best for a while mopping up the sick and staying off the radar of the staff, hoping that she would recover and we could leave with no one being the wiser. But the very same manager from earlier in the evening spotted me with a handful of napkins from the loo and stopped me for a little chat about getting my vomit covered friend out by the back door as quickly as possible. Luckily Dawn was fully recovered the next day and we had a fabulous time the rest of the holiday.

So on the final day of our North American 80th birthday adventure my mum and I decided to have a stroll around Central Park. I couldn’t resist going back to Tavern on the Green to see if there were any photos of me and my friends as a warning not to let us in under any circumstances. But I’m happy to report there was no evidence of any wanted posters and we were welcomed in with open arms…. well not quite,  but we did find a lovely spot in the garden in the glorious sunshine where we could sit and people watch all afternoon.

We had time for a turn around the part of Riverside Park that was used to film the final scene of You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen and Joe finally get it together, before heading off for our flight home.

It was a perfect end to a wonderful holiday and I’m so happy we managed to go before all of the Covid madness.


“Don’t you just love New York in the fall”

It was a very long train journey from Niagara Falls to Manhattan, as we knew it would be. But it was fabulous, the train wasn’t too busy so we had a double seat each so we could spread out all our paraphernalia needed to keep us occupied for 9 hours. We had breakfast and lunch from the buffet car and once the sun came up we were treated to a variety of views along the way.

It was not our first visit to New York City, we first visited in March 2002 with my 2 sons and I returned in November 2003 for a 2 girlie trip with two friends. So we could spent the next 2 days mooching around and not having to stand in line at the usual tourist attractions.

This amazing city is the location of one of my favourite films “You’ve got mail”, in case you haven’t seen it the main characters Kathleen and Joe, played by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, are online friends who are unaware that they are book shop rivals in the real world. Joe puts Kathleen out of business when he opens up his book superstore, but in the end all is well and they get together and live happily ever after.

As we were staying in a lovely boutique hotel, The Belnord, in the Upper West Side we were well placed to visit the places used in the filming. Our first stop after unpacking was Café Lalo for a spot of dinner and cake. This is where Kathleen and Joe meet on their blind date. It’s a fabulously quirky café which has a very cosy feel with a relaxing atmosphere.  Next stop was Zabar’s supermarket, where Kathleen got into a bit of a pickle in a cash only line with a credit card. This shop is amazing, filled to the rafters with tasty goodies, we got a supply of munchies to see us through the last couple of days of our North American adventures.

On our last day we also visited Riverside park to see the place where Joe and Kathleen eventually meet properly at the end of the film.


I am a big fan of Sex in the City which is also filmed on location in New York City, so after a hearty breakfast at Alice’s Tea cup we went in search of the Magnolia bakery where the girls bought their cup cakes. This shop is a beautiful delight of cake heaven and it’s almost impossible to choose a favourite, we bought a couple to eat later after a wander around the places we missed on our previous visits. I did want to get a photo on the bench outside the shop, a la Carrie and Miranda, but someone was sat on it and showed no sign of moving anytime soon.


Before we sat down to enjoy the cakes we managed to work our way through our list of places we wanted to see; The Dakota Building, The New York public Library, Grand Central Station and The Chrysler Building. We had a pit stop in a little park to eat our fabulous cakes before picking up the High line and walked all the way down to the West 20th exit to visit Kleinfeld Bridal Shop of “Say yes to the dress” fame for a little peak.

I loved this day of wandering around in the beautiful sunshine, because we had no rush to get anywhere and no queues to wait in and no tickets to buy. We were able to take in the beauty of the architecture and the amazing mix of old and new.



Where were you when……(No 2)

On this day in 2001 the Twin Towers in Manhattan were struck by airplanes hijacked by terrorists.

When it happened I was in the middle of a run of night shifts. I would normally have still been in the land of nod at the time that the first airplane ploughed into the North Tower, but for some reason I can’t explain, I got up early from my slumber and turned on the TV just as the second airplane crashed into the South Tower.

My first thought was I was watching an afternoon ‘made for TV’ movie, it wasn’t until the monitor switched to a news reader did I realise that the images were real.

At that time I had already booked a holiday to visit New York for myself, my sons and my mum for March the following year. My oldest son, Scott, was very apprehensive about flying there after what had happened on 9/11 and he needed a lot of support and persuasion to go ahead with the holiday.

We had a fantastic time in the Big Apple and saw all the sights. But what struck me about Ground Zero was how dusty it still was after 7 months, it was like a blanket over buildings and streets. The site was still devastated with buildings half standing and rubble everywhere.

A year later when I returned with some friends, Ground Zero looked completely different. The dust was gone, the rubble cleared and some of the buildings were rebuilt. There was an exhibition showing the plans for the new tower and a huge wall covered with memorials and messages that were so moving.

Conspiracy theories aside, I will never understand how humans can plot and carry out this kind of terrorism and murder thousands of innocent people. Let’s hope and pray that we don’t have to witness the like of it ever again.