08 May 2008

Last Day, Last Burger

Oh, how I hate going home after a great holiday, even though on this occasion "home" is my parents' house and even when the weather is as pleasant in England as it was in New York. Still, yesterday passed all too quickly.

I had insisted on eating pancakes with bacon and maple syrup before leaving the Tristate Area so we breakfasted at Europa Café, where I drank a truly awful double espresso and ate some pretty good pancakes. We have been up the Empire State Building many times before but this time, decided to try the Top of the Rock (AKA the GE Building) at Rockefeller Plaza. It was actually much more pleasant than the terrible queues of the ESB and besides, at the Top of the Rock, you can actually take photos without them being ruined by the glass and, of course, I came one step closer to my goal of making a fool of myself in all of the world's capital cities by appearing in yet another "magical, flying photo."

It was then time for some power shopping and I frog-marched myself down Madison Avenue (no sign of Don Draper, sadly), through Grand Central (no sign of Clive, sadly) and into Madison Square Park. I had been meaning to try a burger from the Shake Shack in MSP for some time now, especially as most NYC restaurant guides recommend it as one of the top three burgers in the city. I arrived at lunchtime and the queue was insane - indeed, I ended up waiting for 40 minutes; worse, I was stuck behind a group of i-bankers, who were spending their lunch break checking their BlackBerrys and talking about differentials. Hot. Luckily, Shake Shack provide entertaining "trivia" boards to read while you are waiting ("the angles of the Shake Shack are designed after what famous NY building?"), as well as "Shack-Cercise" boards to stop you getting DVT. I was busy trying to finish my book so I didn't have to pack it later on, anyway.

Eventually, I got to the front of the queue and was presented with a GameBoy-like device, which the cashier said would buzz when my order was ready. Buzz it did and the burger was delicious. Worth 40 minutes? Well, MSP is very pretty in the late spring sunshine and there are great views of the Flat Iron building. I'm not sure I'd be prepared to wait so long in winter but on a day like yesterday, sure!

Refuelled by the burger, I then ambled through Chelsea and the West Village, stopping at Joe for an iced latte - this time, fortunately, Subway Dude wasn't there and I could write and drink in peace. After almost losing my sunglasses, it was time to catch the subway back up to the hotel for a last spa sesh and refuel at the lounge, before we headed off to the airport.

We went into the BA lounge at JFK for a pre-flight dinner and G and T. Dad had used air miles to allow the brother and me to go business class so we didn't need to worry about getting upgraded. I slept extremely well for the entirety of the six-hour flight before arriving at Heathrow and enjoying a reasonably decent cappuccino, along with a bacon sarnie and a copy of the Grauniad.

It sucks so much to be back and yet, all good things...

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