There remains very little still to tell which is probably why I waited until I was sitting jetlagged back at work in the UK before writing it up.

I didn’t have much difficulty getting up at 5.30am – in fact I’d lain awake for a little time before that in anticipation of the alarm on my phone and in the event turned the damned thing off before it sounded. Downstairs to checkout, I asked the guy behind the desk where the best place to get a cab would be at this time in the morning.

Eighth Avenue,” he said pointing up the street, “You don’t get one in thirty seconds there, you ain’t got no arms!”

He wasn’t wrong – I got a cab about ten seconds after arriving at the corner of 20th and 8th. So there then followed the journey back through and away from the city that - as it can be on many holidays - was somewhat melancholy.

I got to JFK in plenty of time; check-in and the security checks so very fast and efficient that I obviously hadn’t needed to get there two hours in advance (unlike Heathrow on the way out when the two hours proved just about the right amount of time).

Boarded the plane in plenty of time and found I was sharing the cabin with a party of Orthodox Jews in full regalia. This meant of course that I wasn’t the only one having a special meal. I would mention at this point that American Airlines were very good in this matter – for a start they remembered that I’d ordered a vegetarian meal unlike many other airlines who always seem to forget no matter how many times you tell them.

The flight was without incident – annoyingly the last half an hour of it was spent circling above London waiting for a landing slot. Very frustrating! As we circled I spotted a number of other planes doing the same – one disturbingly close.

So that was my trip to NYC. I’m definitely going back very soon.

Three days is too short for this trip really. I haven’t really gone out a huge amount or done anything specific. Just been soaking up the atmosphere. Which is enjoyable in itself. Last night just sat out in the courtyard and chatted to the other patrons, before going off to bed when they shut it down.

Times SquareThis morning I caught the subway uptown to meet Cathy’s other cousin Olivia, her husband James, their two kids and Susan again. We ate breakfast and then went out into Central Park. Weather grey and sticky although the centre of the park seemed to be in scorching sunlight. Headed down to Times Square which isn’t a square really. It has that strangely scary thing of big tall buildings behind which are even bigger, even taller buildings. It gives you vertigo even when you’re standing at ground level. Like seeing something behind the sun.

Went to the cinema, then headed back downtown and got the Staten Island Ferry in both directions for the views. Then subway back to the hostel where I now am. My last night and the last time I’ll be typing this in New York itself. Early start tomorrow.

Way too short a trip, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I’ll be back.

Fall OutAfter another breakfast which was in no way, shape or form in line with my dietary regime back in the UK, I set off for another day’s wandering about. I hadn’t gone out the previous night, but I figure I’m on holiday. I don’t have to do anything. In some ways this trip is just reconnaissance. I’m sure I’ll be back.

Being Sunday morning the streets were deserted, which was interesting. I headed across to the Flatiron Building and then down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square. Then it was east, north and east again for a while until I found myself in East Village in general and St Mark’s Place in particular.

Grafitti Wall
What was interesting about this walk was that even though the geography of the streets is fairly scientific, the character of these areas varies wildly. These changes continued as my route into Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, SoHo and finally the edges of The Meatpacking District (I kid you not).

Here I visited Cathy’s cousin Susan who lives on the top floor of a small block of flats in the implausibly but wonderfully named Bleecker Street. After that, back to the hostel, where I am now. Evening beckons.

The annoying thing - one of the annoying things for there are several – about travelling alone is that you don’t get to appear in any of your pictures, and as a result, they look like just anyone’s pictures, with nothing unique about them save your perspective.

Anyway, spent most of yesterday evening in the hostel’s courtyard talking to some of the other occupants. Quite a few Brits, some Europeans and some Koreans. Was too tired to do anything about going out last night and got a relatively early night.

Visible Empire State BuildingThis meant a relatively early morning. Had breakfast at a nearby cafĂ© and then walked uptown towards the Empire State Building. Luckily it was still early enough for ridiculous queues not to be an issue – and in fact within half an hour of arrival I was at the top. There was a strange quiet calm up there as if people were afraid to raise their voices in case the laws of nature suddenly noticed what they were doing so far from the ground. Rather hazy, sadly.

Back down and after a visit to a bookshop got the subway down to Wall St from where I walked to Battery Park. This being Memorial Day Weekend, there seemed to be quite a lot going on, what’s more half the park was cordoned off due to building works. Walked over to the Staten Island Ferry, but by then it was too crowded so I thought I’d go another day – perhaps one when I can get there early enough. Instead I walked around the southern tip of Manhattan to South Street Sea Port where I headed inland again. Some more wandering brought me to an Indian Restaurant where I had an adequate curry before catching the subway back here. No plans for the evening yet, but I think there’s going to be a shower in the not too distant future. It was another extremely hot day.

Some considerable time later although strangely around two and seven hours at the same time.

I can’t access the wireless here so will have to upload later.

Driving from airports into city centres seems to be the same the world over. Aside from the driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road and Duel type lorries, the route the airport bus took from JFK to Manhattan was more than a little similar to the A40/M40 and A4/M4 routes into London. Until skyscrapers loomed on the horizon and the bus dived into the Queens Midtown tunnel and emerged into Manhattan itself. Somewhere hauntingly familiar from TV and yet – despite having visited it as a child – somewhere that on some level I’d always had doubts about being real. I’ve been dreaming about visiting here for ten years or more and spookily there were one or two street corners and buildings that I remembered from those dreams.

Back in the real world the traffic was heavy. Just like London really! It took ages and a change of bus to get to Penn St station from where I planned to walk. And boy was it hot.

Hidden Empire State Building Walking down 7th Avenue I did experience a couple of waves of mild euphoria and realised I was grinning – something about the energy of the city washing off on me. Or was it the jet lag? Whatever it was it reminded me of the way Brighton used to make me feel when I visited from London. Arrived at the hostel and checked in – simple but functional. And you can just about see the Empire State Building from my window. It’s there, honest, behind the trees!

I need to seek out food and water.

Halfway across the Atlantic and that roar is beginning to get to me for some reason. It’s somehow more than just the noise of the engines, it’s a symptom of sudden change, I’m passing though a transition between states, not just from one country to another but from regular life to holiday life. Even if this is only going to be a short one.

Of course this doesn’t just happen with planes. I experience a similar phase shift if I catch a train up to London after work – the change from work being to play being. But on planes it lasts much longer and that’s why it’s more noticeable. Miles up in a metal tube.

The Man in Seat 41 AThe person in front of me is one of those – you know the type, they recline their seat back as far as it will go and then some at the first opportunity. I wonder how he’d react if I suddenly whacked him on the top of the head? Best not to I think.

Newfoundland has appeared on the left hand side of the animated flight path just as Ireland’s disappeared off the right.

ETA 3 hours 28 minutes. Ground speed 466MPH, outside temperature –50 degrees C. About to enter an area of “moderate turbulence”, we have to remain in our seats... hmm maybe I shouldn’t have finally started watching Lost a couple of years after everyone else last month.