Sass and the City

As my good friend Michelle said this weekend ‘there’s something about New York that reinvigorates you and gives you a bit more sass’ and boy is she right!

We’re fresh back from a fantastic weekend in New York; it was my third time there and without doubt it was the best. I’d been in need of getting my ‘sass’ back – I’d been feeling tired, I think I’ve been giving off a bit of a ‘vibe’ recently and I needed some re-energising, and there is definitely something about the Empire State that brings that energy.

Our journey started on a high when we got to JFK and saw Brian May sat in the baggage hall waiting for his cases to come. I was so star struck I couldn’t bring myself to ask for a photo so took this sneaky one instead. He’s had a terrific weekend by the look of his Instagram account – but was it as good as ours?!

Brian May at JFK – too star struck to ask for a photo!

Our hotel in Midtown was an inspired choice, overlooking the Empire State and Chrysler buildings and as the location suggests was perfectly situated for lots of walking – and lots of walking we did, over 22 miles in just three days! On our first day alone we went to the Flatiron, up the Empire State, along to Chrysler, Grand Central Station, Trump Towers (well we had to have a nose!) and Central Park before stopping for our first wine / beer of the trip. Over to the Dakota Buildings and Strawberry Fields (and another wine stop) and then down to the Highline, Chelsea and the wonderful Chelsea Market (and The Tippler cocktail bar) before having an incredible steak at New York’s oldest steak house. Phew!

On Day 2 we took the subway south and went to catch the Staten Island Ferry (tourist tip – unless you actually want to stand on Liberty Island don’t bother paying for the official tour, you see the Statue of Liberty and a fabulous view of Manhattan for free on the ferry!) Took a trip to Wall Street, a drink in the famous O’Haras and looked at the impressive Freedom Tower before heading to Time Square where me met some new pals!

We then walked over to Perry Street… now, for the uninitiated you may wonder what the relevance is of this West Village street… well it’s home to the character of my fictional inspiration Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame! I have absolutely no shame whatsoever in saying that I ADORE the series and I love the life style of those ladies… and whilst I may not have the cash to be on first name terms with the staff at Prada nor able to spend my hard earned money on Manolo Blahnik shoes I do love Carrie’s lifestyle – using the inspiration of what’s around and writing about it… which is kind of what I do! I should probably have been wearing my floaty skirt for the photo (which admittedly is staged on the house next door as you’re not allowed on her steps – miserable owners, why buy the apartment when you know people want to see it?!) but I figure all that’s missing is the laptop, the designer clothes and non windy hair and I’d have nailed it ha ha

We continued with our SATC sass with an incredible Italian (lunch..!) feeling very much like we were in a tv scene! The restaurant was called ‘Extra Virgin’ which obviously relates to the oil!

Day 3 we took it a step further and hit the shops after an early breakfast at Friend of a Farmer. We both picked up some fantastic new outfits and came back to the hotel feeling very sassy indeed! On our final night we headed to the wonderful River Café located beneath the Brooklyn Bridge with night time views over Manhattan and splurged on an incredible meal at quite simply one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Before flying home last night we went to my previously favourite eatery in NYC – the wonderful Rice to Riches rice pudding shop!

And of course there was the wine. We spent a fair amount of time in the wonderful New York Wine Exchange meeting the hugely inspiring owner Paul – a Harley Davidson enthusiast who travels the world in between running his five amazing wine shops. On his recommendation I’ve picked up what I hope will be a super Groth 2014 Cab Sav from Oakville in Napa. In Morrells we were delighted to meet the super friendly Paige who was more than generous with her extra pours of the Shramesberg Blanc de Blancs in what was one of the most beautiful wine bars and accompanying fine wine store I think I’ve ever been in. And there was a lovely trip to the smaller Gramercy Wine Shop where I’ve picked up a couple of great mid range Finger Lakes Cabernet Francs which I know I’ll enjoy. Too many others to mention but I can safely say that my North American wine knowledge has been greatly enhanced by this trip!

Despite this huge amount of activity this weekend has been just the break I needed. Michelle also said (she says a lot of great things!) that there is something about New York that ‘inspires you to be a better you’ as backed up by Alicia Keys who says ‘these streets make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you’ and it’s absolutely true. The New Yorker’s are incredible – so friendly, happy and polite and you really can’t visit this city without taking a part of its heart back with you.

Michelle and I obviously spent a huge amount of time just chatting the days away about everything and between us we came up with our ‘New York’ resolutions – little things that now we’re back we’re going to live to, I said at the start of this blog that I needed my sass back. I definitely have my ‘inner’ sass and energy thoroughly restored which should translate to my ‘outer’ sass! And on her first every visit to New York (as part of her 40th birthday celebrations) I think Michelle has come back just as inspired.

A break is as good as a rest as they say…