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4 April 2015

New York April Showers

I'm back in New York after the longest absence for some years (OK, only 13 months, but New York is very missable). My parents arranged a nice little family break over the Easter weekend. We arrived very late on Thursday night, which meant a long queue for taxis into Manhattan but a fast journey.

Yesterday morning, I eschewed my morning run in favour of some great coffee at Little Collins, which is on Lexington between 55th and 56th Streets. Little Collins is easily my favourite coffee bar in Midtown and they usually have a couple of different pourover varieties, as well as the most beautiful espresso machine. They also serve various Aussie breakfast dishes and sandwiches. I went for the (less Aussie) PBJ, which came with homemade jam and which was topped with coconut. Delicious. My coffee — a Colombian Tito Raúl — was top notch, as ever.




The next task of the day was to queue for on-the-day tickets for a show. After a half-hour wait of uncertainty in the rain, we eventually succeeded, of which more later. It was time to head downtown, but first we spotted a photo op with a Don Draper cutout on a bench near 50th Street on Sixth Avenue and some new street names in honour of the start of the (second half of the) final season of Mad Men this weekend.


The rain didn't interfere with my shopping in SoHo, although it wasn't very pleasant, but it did affect our ability to secure a table at a few of the restaurants I had earmarked. Instead, after a quick drink at the Spring Lounge, we went to a place called Tartinery, which, unsurprisingly, serves tartines, as well as salads, juices and sharing platters. I was in serious need of protein, so I ordered a cobb salad, which was really tasty. The basement of the restaurant is light and airy, with the tables centred around a tree. Tartinery is on a quiet block of Mulberry Street and is a great place to stop off for a quick, quiet lunch away from the bustle of Broadway and Spring Street.


By this point, I needed more coffee and so I wandered up Broadway to Hi-Collar, a Japanese coffee and dessert bar on 10th Street near First Avenue. There are only ten or so seats at the long, shiny bar, so I had to wait a bit to get a seat, but it was worth the wait. They offer a whole host of brew methods, and so of course I picked the most exotic: the siphon ($5.80). Once you have selected your brew method, you then need to pick your coffee variety, and I went for a single-origin Misty Valley Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia, which was from 1000 Faces Coffee. You can't beat a siphon for the theatre, but the coffee was great too, and it was lovely to sit and relax and the minimalist but beautiful surroundings of Hi-Collar.



I just had time to catch a subway uptown and get changed in time for our pre-theatre dinner at our family favourite, the Trattoria dell'Arte on Seventh Avenue. It's always hard to decide between the hundred-and-one-layered lasagne and the epic pizza (never mind the other menu choices!), but yesterday, the pizza won out. I had the margherita with burrata mozzarella ($25), which was delicious, and, to my relief, only very large, rather than the almost-too-big-to-fit-onto-the-table size it used to come in. The staff are all friendly and treat you like regulars even if it's a first time, and the food is very good.


We then fought through the heaving crowds of Times Square (the rain plus the fact that it's the Easter weekend make that part of town even more of a nightmare than usual) to the St James theatre, which you may recognise as the theatre in which the movie Birdman was filmed. We went to see a show called Something Rotten, a tongue-in-cheek musical, set in 1595, about two brothers who want to come up with an idea for a play to stop a certain William Shakespeare getting all the glory and all the money. They consult a soothsayer to find out what Shakespeare's most famous play will be so that they can steal the idea, and he comes up with...a musical called Omelette. Cue plenty of egg jokes, Hamlet jokes and, especially, musical jokes. Something Rotten is still in previews, but we had a great time and so did the entire audience, many of whom were on their feet and clapping within minutes. There are some good meta songs, good performances and a lot of fun. I highly recommend it!



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