Friday, December 23, 2016

New York - Redbury Hotel, Midtown Manhatten

We’re in New York.  We arrived last night at the Redbury Hotel at 1 am.  Our Philippines airline flight was delayed in Vancouver  by cargo loading.  The flight itself was terrific.  Great service. Incredibly friendly staff. Very helpful.  The meal was superb.  I had beef and Laura had seafood.  But what was amazing was the service and the inflight supper. I felt liked I’d stepped back in time.  So often it’s just a visa card sandwich now on Canadian flights.  This was instead reminiscent of the elegance I loved flying in the Orient.  Laura was surprised at how gracious the steward was .
Superb landing.  JFK Airpor t4 and 1/2 hours later.  Lots of security in the airport. I was very thankful I asked where Canadians went and was told to go with the US.  Laura doesn’t have Nexus so I went Hoi Polloi forgetting how much faster Nexus service is.  A couple of little boys ahead of us doing a great job of staying awake were less sullen than I was by the time we got through customs. It really wasn’t that long.  And then that feeling like Christmas. Seeing our bags had arrived as well.  I’ve lost a bag and had mine arrive late a couple of times so it really is like greeting a long lost friend when you actually see your very own luggage on the carrousel.  
Coming out of the airport I didn’t see where the buses were or the directions to the train. The taxi station was right there.  It cost $59 to get to the Midtown Manhattan hotel. It’s a fixed $52 rate with Toll.  In the guide book I’d read that we could have got downtown by another conveyance for $20 each.  The speed and comfort of the taxi ride was worth it.  We got to ride in the Midtown Tunnel and see a lit up bridge and a few skyscrapers on the way in.
Our little 4 star hotel we got at a less that $200 a night thanks to Flight Centre was a real find at Christmas.  New York holiday season rates  and availability are normally really terrible.  The reception was delightful.  The rather droll black taxi driver had difficulty finding the entrance. “I’ve lived here all my life and I am going to find it.”  There was a lot of construction scaffolding about so it was difficult to see at night with only a little entrance, 29 E 29th Street.  But he found it.
And now we’re here.  All the amenities. More and more as I can afford it I start my search for hotels at  3 star generally. Lonely Planet is my favourite guide.  It’s an age thing. i’ve stayed in everything over the years but cockroaches and bed bug bites have lessened my enthusiasm for some kinds of adventure.  Mostly I like cleanliness and security and mostly that’s what I’m paying for.
The last time I was in New York for a week of sightseeing and taking in the Broadway shows, I saw Applause with Lauren Bacall and Jeremy Irons and loved it. That was some 30 years ago. I will never forget seeing the white tile bathroom floor of the hotel we were staying in go black to white when I turned on the light  at night. A carpet of cockroaches scattered instantly revealing the white tile again as if they’d never been there.  My second wife never did thank me for showing her the magic trick that light did to the bathroom floor.  Welcome to New York we thought.
Here we don’t have any friendly vermin and I’m thankful. Given the problems that people have with bed bugs in downtown Vancouver I really don’t want to take vermin back to Canada with me.  I’m thankful to Flight Centre for vetting their places.  I’ve had years of excellent flights and accommodations thanks to their knowledge and care.
Now it’s a sunny day.  We’ve slept in.  Last night I went next door to the Wolf Tone’s Irish pub and bought some great pub food. On Park Avenue at the corner of 29th there was this 7-11 type place on steroids with organic foods, tables, delli, all night and very impressive. I just bought some local Brown’s cream soda but was impressed with the choice and all night availability.  Back in our hotel room Laura and I ate and watched the Late Night Show.  They actually had a flash back with David Letterman. And we are here. I know I’ve been to New York a few times since 30 years ago but that was work and it was no more than weekends.  This is an actual holiday and it doesn’t get old.  Just thinking of all the television shows and movies we’ve watched set in NewYork over the years and we’re inside the tv set as it were.   There’s little flashes of good feeling. Laura looks great too.
I laugh because here I am in my 60’s and yes I was here in my 30’s.  Romance and youth.  But I’m still a boy on the inside. It’s great to be here with a beautiful girl.  I’m beginning to realize my parents never ‘felt’ old doing all their cruises late in life.  It’s a true blessing. The movies show the young but really ‘youth is wasted on them’. I think of the ongoing love affair of our friends Ganesh and Anita.  “She so exotic looking,” Laura says.  She’s always been beautiful and Ganesh is such a gentleman.  And yes we’re older but never too late.
There’s a timelessness about this part of life.  The only horror is looking in the mirror and coming to terms with the internal world and "whose the fat old grey hair” looking back at me.  I really could get back in shape. Laura says the girls say “we’re going to get out sexy back”.  I just think I’ll avoid mirrors and consult an obstetrician.  Just read Carolyn’s post on Facebook and yes it’s the holidays and I really do plan to enjoy egg nog so thanks to her encouragement I’m going to enjoy this week guilt free.  January is impossibly distant.
Laura has just got out of the shower.  “It’s so clean.” she said. “And they have a great hair driver.”  She’s easily pleased.  “No cat hairs here,” she says. “I can lay my clothes down anywhere.”  I like a Safe in the room.  The building reminds me of one I stayed in in Washington. Old.  Brownstone. Like those in Russia and Amsterdam where you realize that the actual building has been here decades to hundreds of years but its been re purposed and renovated over and over again.  It’s 2017 inside but the brownstone building itself was built before the 50’s and maybe even earlier.  Being in New York is like being at the centre of a hive.  I feel that way in London too.  I slept well with all the millions of consciousness around me.  The funny thing I actually dreamed of the new President Trump welcoming Canadians.
Laura’s nearly ready so we’ll be off for a spot of sightseeing. CATS tonight at the Neil Simon theatre.  Our first show.  Maybe we’ll see the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building.
This is really starting off as a great vacation.  Thank you Flight Centre. Thank you Redbury Hotel.
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