Now for some good news. At Heathrow I heard our names being called out, would we make ourselves known to to a member of staff. Our lucky day: we are being upgraded, not only that but in bulkhead seats so plenty of room to stretch out; what a difference this makes. Bigger seats, better food and when you arrive you feel better than in economy - better air quality, I guess. Luckily, the hours flew past and before we knew it, it was time to fasten our seat belts for landing.
The next bit I wasn't looking forward to, we had been warned that passport control JFK was slow and difficult, my worst fears evaporated. The queue we were in was very short; I think it must have just opened before we arrived. Lucky us. My turn. I said to the guy behind the screen that it was my first trip to New York and could he make it easy for me, photo taken in seconds, I was through.
After a good few hours of sleep we were ready to explore, so we turned left out of the hotel and headed to Washington Square Park. There was an arch similar to Marble Arch in London and just behind it the beginning or the end of 5th Avenue. Famous, though I couldn't see why.
One thing that became obvious was that you are never out of eyesight of a Starbucks coffee shop, there must be hundreds in this city - in fact there are 212 on Manhattan.
We wandered up 5th, as it shall now be called, and we caught our first sight of the Empire State Building, looming that bit higher than all the rest; with the sun shining on it it did look quite impressive, even if I say so myself. Marching on and up 5th we come across the Flat Iron building and it's obvious why it's so called.
We walked back to the hotel, you see much more walking than you do in taxis or on the subway. This was a good idea to work off some of this monster sandwich, but by the time we got back to Washington Square Park I still hadn't finished mine so we sat down for a while, it was too much for me. We decided to wander around Greenwich Village which was right on our doorstep. What is nice about the village is that it's low rise. I much preferred this area, full of bars and restaurants falling out onto the street. I knew I would like it.
We opted for a carafe of wine in a Greek restaurant with seats outside; a bit of sun and shade suited us both fine. We polished off the carafe and, by the way, the sun was well and truly over the yardarm. We headed of in search of a restaurant for dinner. One thing became very apparent: New Yorkers eat early, restaurants were already full and it was barely 6pm. By the time we were ready to eat the rush would definitely be over. We both fancied something typically American, to eat something like a burger or a New York strip (a steak) so this one should be easy. It was choice after choice. This one a typical diner but not quite it, that one a bit too sleek. We passed lots on our way back to the hotel to change for the evening’s entertainment and knew it wouldn't be a problem other than making a choice.
At about 7.30 pm we hit the streets again but first off a nice chilled glass of white wine in Greenwich Village. It was beginning to get dark by now, the sun hiding behind the buildings. It was about 8pm and the restaurants were much quieter than earlier so we wouldn't have a problem where ever we went. We chose a very trendy though on the inside very dark place; so dark I had to read the menu by using a candle that was on the table. We both chose the New York strip and we were not disappointed.
Dinner over it was time for a bar, by the time we were installed and took our first sip we noticed that most others had been there for hours and were very merry but to us it was still so early. A cultural difference.
We ordered a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and settled in to watch the antics of the drunk New Yorkers. Well, it was like a chimps tea party; suits and ties when they arrived but by now a raucous rugby team. By 11pm things started to thin out; staggering in stilettos they headed for the door (and that was only the men). We were getting tired by now. After all it had been a long day so we finished our wine and walked back to the hotel, day one a success.