I don't recall exactly what time Davy arrived but I'd fallen asleep in my clothes, (boots and all.)
It was Frank Sinatra that woke me up, 'heaven, I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can barely speak...' my mobile phone ring tone sang, 'I seem to find the happiness I seek, when we're out together dancing cheek to cheek'....I answered a little dazed...
It was Davy..."oh my God! are you actually here?"
I ran down stairs and there he was, waiting in reception like it was the most normal thing in the world.
"I can't believe we're in New York!" I squealed hugging him tightly.
"You were asleep weren't you?" Davy asked with a knowing Irish grin.
"I had a late night" I shrugged trying to look innocent.
"Why doesn't that supprise me? trust you to find a party on a Wednesday night...lets go for a pint and you can tell me all about it"
We dumped his bag in my room and headed out on to West 94th Street in search of local hospitality.
We found an Irish bar not far from where we were staying and settled there for the duration, we had intended to have a quick pint and go exploring but it was only Thursday. We had big weekend plans and besides, there were some incredibly drunk locals who were entertaining us no end.
A pretty American girl, immaculate in a glamorous cocktail dress was screeching at her boyfriend whilst stumbling around delirious with the heel of her shoe in her hand,"oh myee Gaad! my heel snapped off honey, I've broken my gaad damn shoe!"
Her beau looked bored and continued to watch the football game glassy eyed with his head propped up on one hand while he vaugely waved the other in her direction, motioning for her to sit down.
Meanwhile a fat guy in shorts and a baseball cap (it was December!) tried quietly and tentatively to chat her up whilst keeping one eye on her boyfriend the other, nervously watching the door.
It was like being in an episode of some far fetched sit com! New York so often makes me feel like I'm in the middle of a film set.
Davy and I observed and giggled and chatted and then it was after 1am and we realised we hadn't eaten.
We asked the landlord where we could get food from at this time of night and after the obligatory, I'm Irish, you're Irish, where do you come from chat with Davy, he produced a Mexican menu from under the bar, we ordered, and ten minutes later a courier arrived with nachos and quesidia in little foil parcels :-)
The morning After the Night Before...
I was excited about taking Davy to my local diner for breakfast, I knew he'd love it as much as I did. No one does breakfast like New Yorkers.
On previous visits I'd sat at the counter and chatted to the waiters but this time we chose a booth, we ordered blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, home fries, coffee and fresh orange juice, and perused the New York Times. What better start to a perfect New York day?
The weather was mild for the time of year and we decided to go for a walk in central park.
there was magic in the air again that bright December morning, and we came across, quite by accident, a bronze statue of Alice in wonderland sat upon a mushroom.
It was really was quite delightful and instantly my favourite line from the book sprang to mind.... "the time has come the walrus said to talk of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings"...I know it's supposed to be surreal but when I first read it, I simply thought, 'what wonderful conversational topics that Walrus suggests,' I had new red patent leather shoes with ankle straps and bows on the front, I'd just discovered that sealing wax was different from candle wax during a project on Victorians at school, and our neighbours were growing cabbages and marrows in their garden, I think I was 7 or 8 at the time.
A little later we stopped to admire an apartment block with a penthouse roof top garden.
"Next time I come here I'll be staying in your penthouse Gill, cos you'll have one one day" Dave quipped with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.
Just then we noticed a majestic bird of prey with a huge wing span glide right off the top of that penthouse and into a tree in the Park, we observed it for a while awe stuck before we noticed a couple of twitchers with enormous telescopes right behind us.
"we've been here everyday this week hoping for a glimpse of him and you guys just happen to be walking by when he arrives, must be your lucky day" one of the bird watchers remarked.
It turned out that the bird we had been so fortunate to observe was 'Pale Male' a daring red tailed hawk who has managed against the odds to thrive in New York City and has become somewhat of a local celebrity by all accounts.
Complete with his very own swanky penthouse nest over looking central park and paparazzi photographers camped out in the bushes with telescopic lenses waiting for a glimpse of him, he seemed to me, every bit the handsome wild thing you would expect to solicit such a glamorous lifestyle :-)
We left the park refreshed and wandered aimlessly around Tribecca for a while, window shopping and stopping for coffee and cake in a little gallery cafe where we admired tiny sheep sculptures and photographs of India.
Davy had a friend, George, who he'd met when he was travelling, George lived in Manhattan with his Italian wife Stefania.
They had kindly invited us over for dinner that evening and I was excited about meeting them.
We took the subway the rest of the way to the lower East side.
Dave and I tried in vain to pick up a nice bottle of wine for dinner in a local shop but everything was either German or in a carton so we opted for some bottles of beer instead, it was George's birthday and it had occurred to us a little too late to pick up a gift for him, choice at the 7-11 was limited but we opted for a bouquet of bright blue flowers, "blue for a boy!" I exclaimed excitedly when I noticed the bouquet.
We found their apartment easily as Davy had been there before, it was one of the cleverest, quaintest spaces I have ever been in.
Their entire apartment was smaller than my average sized bedroom at home and there were two people living in it!
There was a cabin bed with a desk underneath it and various musical instruments hung from cleverly constructed hooks and pulley systems on the ceiling.
When we arrived Stefania put the flowers in water and George assembled a low table from different bits of wood which he produced from various nooks and crannies around the room, he then arranged cushions about the table to create a lovely dinning space.
It was quite wonderful and certainly innovative. George is a furniture designer and he had made excellent use of the tiny space with very clever storage and shelving.
Stefania was in the kitchen (which was in the bedroom...) she is a chef and dinner smelled fabulous!
The reason they live in the smallest apartment I have ever seen?
Simple. It's rent controlled and it's in Manhattan.
George has lived there for years and If they moved now they couldn't afford to live on the island so they sacrifice space for the love of Manhattan. I would do the same in a heart beat. (Only I'd have to rent a storage unit in Brooklyn for my shoes;-)
We were treated to a wonderful pasta dinner followed by apple and Cinnamon doughnuts and herb tea. It was delicious and I felt blessed to have spent my evening with three such lovely people.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the blue flowers Davy and I had bought for George were now quite white and the water they were in had turned electric blue! We all laughed and laughed and then we arranged to meet for drinks the following evening.
I had a hot tip on a swanky cocktail bar not far from George and Stefania's apartment and there was a good chance that they might not have been there before.
To Be Continued...