Jillian 18 – A New York State of Mind.

I know. Another travel thingy. But I can only report what the lovely Jillian tells me. And this is what I have for this week.

Not sure when this was but she was in New York for a week with a girlfriend and doing all the usual touristy exploring things including the 'hop-on / hop-off' bus and the theatres.

Cupla things were mentioned. Goes to 'People are the best things about anyplace' theory.

Jillian's friend fell over on a wonky ankle in the middle of the road down near the Wall St end of Manhattan island. She thinks it was near the 9/11 hole in the ground.

Going 'A over T' in the middle of any road in NYC can be very dangerous.

But people can be magnificent. Several immediately ran into the street braving the legendary New York traffic to help her up and onto the footpath. They were all so solicitous offering help and suggestions. One said some painkillers and a bit of bed rest, another said to bathe it in a VERY hot Epsom Salts mix.

Jillian opted for all of the above. They both agreed that this was a holiday not to be missed and a small thing like an ankle that couldn't be walked on, was not going to put them off.

Big Yellow TaxiSomeone waved down a taxi. A big yellow taxi, unfortunately no Joni Mitchell anywhere to be seen; and off they sped trying to find an open drug store to get some Epsom Salts. Not so easy.

Many were closed. It was after 5.00pm. And those that were open did not have the required product.

Finally the taxi driver found a place. Pain Killers, Epsom Salts, an additional pharmacist suggested jar of Arnica cream and a huge crepe/elastic wrapping bandage were purchased.

The driver refused any payment and THEN drove them back to their hotel 'The Iconic Broadway Plaza' in the flatiron district.

“I mean this is NY isn't it?” Jillian said. “How could this happen? They are supposed to be unfriendly, arrogant and generally weird? This is not what I expected.”

But there was more to come.

Theatres and shops and restaurants just had to be visited. Well why would you go to NYC and not do that?

But first – as promised, the hop-on, hop-off bus.

Hard to miss. Touts all over the streets have tickets for this historic double-decker bus which covers everything from Uptown to Brooklyn, saving you time and money.

Jillian and her friend found that flirting with the bus drivers was an excellent way to distract them from looking at and ripping off a section of the tickets. And, of course, drivers just lurved the accents.

On the bus there was so much more to see then the subway and it was much more fun. Except for the lack of the subway station hip-hop artists, but that is a story for another time.

Jillian and friend managed to use these buses to get all round the city without ever spending another dime. One ticket. Many trips. Now that is enterprising.

Next. After a show one evening they decided to walk home. They had been to The Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 49th St (You possibly remember 'The 59th Street Bridge Song'? But it wasn't as far north as that.)

After-all their hotel was located at the bustling corner of 27th Street and Broadway not all that far from the thriving theatre district located on Broadway between 42nd and 53rd Streets, known as 'The Great White Way'.

NYC is very easy to navigate as its roads, at least for Manhattan above Houston Street, are aligned on a grid based on the Commissioner's plan of 1811 which is comprised of 12 north-south avenues and 155 east-west streets. By the way - this is also explains why we have the SOHO area which is the part below Houston St Manhattan; (South Of Houston) an area of cramped and irregular streets. This was there long before the aforementioned GRID created in 1811 which area at that time was rural consisting of streams and hills populated by a patchwork of country estates, farms and small houses. History lesson over.

Our intrepid couple had to walk about 1 mile or approx 1.5km along some of the most interesting street-scapes in the whole world. Worth it for sure. As they approached 42nd Street – Times Square – the ankle pain dictated a rest. Deciding to stop at a place they had frequented once or twice already this trip and get a coffee, a sit-down and a Reuben Sandwich (a hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of bread); they were dismayed to see the queue facing them but disappearing away from them to the south. A long way to the south. At least a cupla blocks. Approaching the shop doorway, they leaned forward and peered inside, past and in front of the people in the #1 spot.

At that moment a huge voice welled up from the dim and wonderfully aromatic interior of this - it now seemed completely impossible - haven.

“Hey Australia?” it called. (By the way New Yorkers think any accent not British, Asian or European MUST be Australian. In this case they may have been correct, but it could be a long bow). However, back to the story.

Jillian and friend leaned further into the restaurant and found the source. A very large and jovial man they had met before, was crying out and beckoning them in with such delight and energy that they could not resist; and moving past the probably now mile long line, they sauntered into the belly of the beast.

Later Jillian said it might have been her earlier mix-up with the look-alike money and a possible $100 tip that caused all the excitement; but at this moment they were just overwhelmed by the love that was being pumped their way.

Of course, the celebrity mad New Yorkers began gawking, gesticulating and conferring about who these obviously famous girls were. Must have been some very special people as they had just jumped a 2 mile long queue of equally important NYC denizens. And by invitation from within no less.

Not what you know; who you know. Or the size of your last tip.

What the hey?

#ourjillian

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