Friday, 24 August 2018

My New York Diary: Day 4

Day 4: Coming Home

We had reached the last day of our holiday, but we were not ready to give up on New York just yet. It was the only day that we set out with a destination in mind for breakfast: Pershing Square, a restaurant under the Park Avenue Viaduct a few blocks from our hotel. My parents had been there for breakfast on their previous New York visit, and they tell me that, when they had caught their first glimpse of it, there had been a sign outside proclaiming that they served 'the best breakfast in New York'. There was no such sign there this time (had they been dethroned?) but we went in all the same. And I am so glad that we did. While we decided what to order, we saw other meals being taken out to customers at neighbouring tables, and every single serving looked ENORMOUS. I decided on brioche French toast with maple syrup and bacon, and a pot of warming cinnamon tea.

Look at the size of that serving! Plus it was probably the crispiest smokey bacon I have ever had, and I doubt I'll ever eat bacon the same way again. I feel like my most vivid memories of New York are all food-related. I'm pretty sure that that's not a good thing.

After breakfast, it was time to head back to the hotel and pack our bags. We spent the last hour or so combing every inch of the room, making sure we left nothing behind, as well as taking our last photos of the view beyond the window. I would miss that view, but I would be lying if I said I would miss the height. Knowing that we were so high off the ground had been making me dizzy, and my brain was tricking me into thinking that the building was blowing in the wind, so even when I was lying down in bed, I felt like I was on a boat. I'm 99% sure that it was all in my head, but still.

Once we had checked out of our rooms and left our bags in luggage storage, we set out to do a spot of shopping, another aspect of the New York trip that I had been looking forward to. We walked up Fifth Avenue until we reached Tiffany & Co. just before it opened at midday, and we waited outside alongside many other eager shoppers until the doors opened.

Although I had been curious to see the Tiffany store and simply to walk around, I couldn't have imagined how beautiful it would actually be. I hadn't even planned on spending my money on expensive jewellery since a cheap pair of earrings from New Look will satisfy me just fine. However, once we were inside and browsing the contents of the glass cases, I knew that I couldn't leave empty-handed. If you are a jewellery fanatic who is on holiday in New York and has some extra cash to spend, it seems only natural to get yourself something timeless from the iconic store. As tempted as I was by the adorable Tiffany x Steiff teddy bears (way out of my price range, but something that I would have bought in an instant if I had had the funds) and the Tiffany-blue pen, I ended up getting a pair of earrings, which I will show off proudly in my next (and probably final) New York post, in which I will just talk about my final thoughts and my lovely souvenirs. I can safely say that they are among the most elegant and beautiful earrings that I own, and I've worn them almost every day since I've been home.

We spent most of the day browsing the shops on Fifth Avenue, although our time was limited since we had spent so much of it in Tiffany & Co. No regrets. The only other store that I was dead-set on visiting was Sephora, a store that we don't have here in the UK and which also stocks Fenty Beauty. After months of having the brand hyped up on social media, I was desperate to try out the products in person, so I spent the ten minutes that I had in Sephora swatching every Fenty lipstick that caught my eye. They were so beautiful that there was no way I was going to leave empty-handed, so I shelled out $18 on a new lippy. As with the earrings, I'll show it off in my next post, but rest assured that it's stunning.

After a quick dive into a pharmacy to pick up anti-sickness tablets (I was getting nervous about the flight home and felt like I needed some stronger meds) and a hasty trip to Shake Shack, we made our way back to the hotel for the last time to change into comfy clothes for the long haul flight. To our surprise, we had the same driver waiting to take us to the airport that we had had when we first arrived in New York, and he asked us about our trip. He was amazed that we had walked everywhere and had not at any point taken the subway or rode in a taxi. Gave me a weird sense of pride, if I'm honest.

Our journey through the airport was relatively quick, and we had some time to browse the disappointingly small (if I'm honest!) selection of duty-free shops before spending some time in the much lovelier airport lounge. I was hungry enough to load up on carbs before the flight, but I also caught myself stressing about a seven-hour journey to Heathrow.

Eventually, we made it onto the plane. We took our seats in Premium Economy (comfy chairs with more legroom than in Economy - result!) and settled in for the overnight flight. Dinner consisted of tomato and mozzarella, chicken and herbs, and a square of chocolate cake - very tasty but not quite as photogenic as the meals in Business Class, hence the lack of photos. The flight itself was actually very comfortable, especially since the cabin was dark and quiet to allow everybody to get some sleep. I may not actually have slept, but then again, I hardly ever sleep on any mode of transport.

We arrived back into the UK at about 8am on Monday local time, and this is where things start to take a turn for the worse for me. Tired and dehydrated, I went into a panic before the plane bound for Aberdeen took off from Heathrow. I was suddenly very aware that I was trapped in a metal tube that was about to take to the sky, and I was so afraid that I was going to wet myself or throw up or something equally embarrassing that a member of the cabin crew (her name was Kate and she was a godsend) took me to the back of the plane, gave me a bottle of water, and comforted me. We were on the tarmac for ages before we took off because of other planes taking flight, so my fears that I was holding up our plane were thankfully all in my mind. The flight was actually fine once we were in the air, but I was still plagued by memories of all my dizzy spells in New York, as well as how tense I had been on the previous flights when going through turbulence, times when I had tensed my whole body so hard that my muscles had been aching by the time I left the plane. Since we've been home, I've been to see both a doctor (for ongoing symptoms of labyrinthitis) and my hypnotherapist (for the anxiety that is getting in the way of me enjoying myself) and things have calmed down. Hopefully the next time I go on a plane or a train or a boat, I'll be able to keep myself calm and collected.

Anyway, we were back in Aberdeen by early afternoon, and from there it was a half-hour drive (shoutout to my dad for still having any energy left in him to drive) to our house. The afternoon dragged as we all tried to stay awake. We all watched Night at the Museum for the first time in years just for the hell of it, seeing if we recognised any aspects of the American Museum of Natural History. The holiday suddenly felt like it hadn't actually happened at all, like we had all just been watching movies set in New York for the last four days. It felt like I had just hallucinated the whole experience, despite the fact that photos of the city were clogging up my phone. All holidays seem to end with this doubt. Did it actually happen? Was it all just some amazing dream?

However, the souvenirs that I brought back from the States confirm for me that the holiday was definitely real. But I'll save all that showing off for my next (and final) New York post.

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