Ok people, here it is…our last day had arrived. BOOO. I felt weird and sad, yet determined to smash the shit out of it. Our flight wasnt until the evening, so we booked our transfer for 4pm, and then set off early doors to cram in as much as we could.
Our Day 6 tick list:
- Ellens Stardust Diner
- Chelsea Market
- The Highline
First stop: Ellens Stardust Diner. Frankly, this place turned out to be like my own personal Mecca and I am gutted that I waited until the last day to visit it. This place is super famous within international theatre circles, so I had heard loads about it for years, and it was, quite literally, the first thing that I wrote down on our “to do” list, when we booked the holiday. There was a small queue when we got there, but it moved very quickly, and we were soon settled at our table, ready for breakfast and some stagey entertainment.
For those of you that dont know, Ellen’s has performing waiters and waitresses. They are all are either aspiring Broadway performers, or ex-Broadway performers who are bussing tables in between jobs, so they are absolutely BRILLIANT. You’re basically getting a free show whilst you eat (I had pancakes the size of my head, if you’re interested) and it’s such a great way to spend your time if you like live performers. They sing a combo of pop hits and musical theatre, but my favourite was OBVS the latter. At one point, they did an ensemble piece with 4 of them singing One Day More from Les Mis, complete with the iconic wafting of the red flag at the end, which both cracked me up and filled my heart with joy. I wanted to stay and eat more, JUST so I could hang out there all day, but nope, we had more to fit into our day, so we paid up, I whacked $20 into the collection bucket (which goes towards paying for their singing classes and whatnot) and off we went to our next stop: Chelsea.
We still had dosh on our Metro card from earlier in the holiday, so it was a very swift and easy journey back downton to the Chelsea market. I had been recommended this place by another friend (thanks Victoria!) but didnt know much about it, so I was full on expecting a traditional outside market…not quite like Del-Boy, but more like Borough market I guess. What I was greeted with was a really upmarket (pardon the pun) parade of independent shops, artisinal food cafes, organic poncey chocolate houses and all manner of trinkety things. We didnt buy anything, but it was a lovely place to wander around for an hour or so. Not to mention beautifully decked out for Crimbo. There was also a woman walking around in a ballgown made entirely out of fairy lights – I’m not sure what she was advertising, but I DO know that I want her job immediately.
Ok, so…..this was it….time to head back uptown and simultaneously tick off the FINAL thing on our list – walk the Highline. This is an old monorail line thats been converted to a (very long) garden, that starts at Gansevoort Street (its essentially 11th Street, although it isnt called that, because Americans are mental and inconsistent) and ends at 34th Street. The entrance was right by the market so we hopped up and strolled along the route all the way to the end – it’s a really chilled and efficient way of walking uptown; it avoids all the constant stops at all those bloody intersections for a start. I reckon it would be more picturesque in the summer because obviously the flowers werent in bloom, but it was still nice! The views get a lot better once you get back uptown near the end of the walk, as the Highline becomes parallel to the Hudson and you get some nice views of it.
We walked the last 6 blocks uptown to our hotel on 40th Street, via a quick stop at Maccy D’s OBVS, and succumbed to the fact that it was time. Time to collect our luggage. Time to leave this magical place. Time to go back home to a house that is still filled with painful memories. But, like my darling Mother said, you cant escape things forever. You have to go back home someday. And those painful memories will fade with time o’ course…so it’s cool, I can deal with it. But I’ll tell ya something…going through that process of dealing with loss and entering 2017 in a weird Dad-less state, will be a helluva lot easier since having this NYC experience. The more cynical amongst you might be like “yeah, chill out, its just a holiday mate…”….but for me, it was so much more than that. A real dream come true, and a tonic to my broken heart. It created memories that I’ll never forget and I am genuinely convinced that life doesn’t get much better than walking through Times Square at Christmas, with your Mum, towards a Broadway theatre where you are about to drink multiple pints of wine.
As my Mum said about halfway through the holiday, “I feel like I’ve found a part of myself that I lost a long time ago.” And that, my friends, is the magic of New York.