Day four, Stateside – brunching, shopping and good old-fashioned boozing

The novelty of waking up without a pancake or alcohol hangover got day four off to an excellent start. Jen had booked a table at her favourite brunch spot in Manhattan – The Park – for midday so we took the Path train to 14th street and walked there in glorious sunshine. The Park is a stunning restaurant with a large outdoor conservatory area where diners can sit and enjoy their meals as birds tweet and fly around above them. The food is as much of an experience as the setting, with The Park famed for its delicious brunches and complimentary banana bread. We had Mimosa cocktails (the same as Bucks Fizz) and I tried French toast with vanilla maple syrup for the first time (which was absolutely heavenly).

After brunch we crossed the road to the High Line, a raised walkway that runs across several blocks allowing visitors to take in the city from a different viewpoint. We walked up and down for the best part of an hour, stopping to bask in the sun and chat to a couple who were taking their five month old baby out for his first experience of spring weather (particularly poignant when you consider in his short life he’s already lived through a hurricane ripping through his city).

With the High Line ticked off we strolled the few blocks to Jen’s workplace where I left her and carried on to the central shopping street of Broadway. Within minutes of walking into Bloomingdales I felt overwhelmed and hastily beat a retreat back out onto the street. Captivated by a top in the window of Guess I wandered in and was promptly attacked on all sides by overbearing shop assistants asking if I needed any help. My stress levels rose instantly and, far from feeling assisted I actually felt more stressed than I ever thought it possible to feel in a clothes shop. Fortunately I managed to hold my nerve and resist most of the purchases suggested by Edwin, my flamboyant assistant, but I did succumb to three little tops that will be oh-so-perfect for Glastonbury in June….

I emerged from Guess feeling thoroughly drained and desperate to get off Broadway, so started making my way to Jen’s restaurant for a drink and something to eat. Unfortunately en route I was distracted by a Calvin Klein sample sale and somehow coerced into buying two dresses (neither of which I could really afford, but they were half price and designer…)

The restaurant Jen works in is a lovely little French bistro called Vin et fleurs. I settled myself at the bar and ordered a glass of Chardonnay and a cold plate of vegetables with a side of the famous mashed potato with truffles that Jen had told me I had to try. I got talking to JD, a friend of Jen’s who works locally and regularly comes into the bar for a drink, and the lovely bartender Daniel, and before I knew it the evening was drawing to a close and Jen’s shift was about to end. Barry, who was in the area, popped in for a drink and when Jen finished the three of us headed down the road to M’Ladys bar for a nightcap.

When we walked into the bar, however, we saw JD, and half an hour later Daniel walked in so rather than having one drink we ended up having quite a few and not leaving until 3am! It was such a fun evening and I’m so glad I got to experience a typical night out in downtown Manhattan with the locals. 

One thing’s for sure: I’m really going to miss this place and all the people I’ve met here. 

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Jen and I on the High Line in Manhattan

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