Monday, 9 July 2012
New York in style
As I mentioned a few posts ago, the last time The Doctor and I spent a night in Manhattan was in 1995. En route to stay with his relatives in Virginia and on a student budget, we stayed at the YMCA, sleeping in bunk beds and breakfasting on blueberry pancakes downstairs. Our evening meal out was at a greasy diner off Times Square (which was still quite run down in those days); all I really remember about the meal is spotting a cockroach cross the floor.
Fast forward almost 20 years (gulp) and I still have a relationship with the YMCA (or the Y, as you call it round here. And you definitely don't start singing the Village People song when you mention it - that joke is far too old). But now my children go to summer camp there, and when I was booking a night in the city for my husband's fortieth birthday, I thought I'd go slightly more stylish.
Ever since seeing an episode of Sex and the City in which Samantha (I seem to recall) tries to get access to an exclusive rooftop pool, I've had a yearning to take a dip in one of these. So I picked our hotel on that basis - the James, in Soho, whose rooftop splash pool becomes a trendy bar by night. Both experiences were equally memorable; sipping cocktails overlooking the roofs of Manhattan as the sun set over the Hudson, and taking a surprisingly cool plunge the next morning on a steaming day when temperatures topped 95 F.
I loved the hotel and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to NYC as a couple. (It says it's child friendly, but I'd have liked to see what our fellow guests would made of us had we pitched up at the chilled-out pool with the Littleboys). As usual with boutique hotels, the room was small, but beautifully decorated. The dark wood bathroom, complete with organic toiletries, and the square, light filled bedroom with its huge windows opening onto the Cityscape (see below - with Wimbledon on the TV) appealed to me far more than a massive Marriott bedroom (although eating our room service breakfast on the teeny table the next morning was quite 'cozy'.) There were other good touches such as free wine or coffee in the lobby, and bike rentals.
For our evening meal, we went to the Union Square Cafe, a real New York foodie destination recommended by several friends. From the superb bread and olives, to my soft shell crab and the panna cotta we shared for dessert, all was utterly delicious.
Walking back downtown to our hotel, we sauntered carefree past tree-lined residential streets, hip boutiques and cool bars. As walks through the city for us normally involve trying to coax Littleboy 2 to walk, and preventing Littleboy 1 from ordering a hotdog from every street cart, this was one of the highlights of the evening, right up there with the rooftop margarita.
We had less than 24 hours in the city, before rushing back to Long Island to pick up the boys from their sleepover, but for once, we had done New York in style. And, while he may be turning 40, (and it's not long for me either), for a moment it was as if we were both wide-eyed twenty year olds again.