It is great to be in New York again. It is so good to catch up with old friends, though now we are spending more time in the Northern hemisphere, we are seeing our US-based friends a lot more frequently than in past decades.
We are staying at Joan's - she is at her summer house in Putnam Valley so we have the place to ourselves (I say "we are" - in fact I am writing while I am still here, but Barry has left - he has already returned to Berkeley to get set up for his semester's teaching.) We went to Jay and Ellen's for brunch on Sunday, all-American blueberry pancakes, sausages and maple syrup. We last had the pleasure of their company in Melbourne in February, when they finally made it down under to Australia and New Zealand . Ben and Lissy joined us for a while when they returned from visiting Lissy's sisters and their families in the Washington DC/Maryland area. Here are Jay and Ellen and Lissy, sitting on the deck, and Ben and me in a tiny video Barry shot by mistake, .
Later we came uptown to Joan's apartment and I gave the kids some stuff we had brought for them, including a photo album from Ben's childhood, which we all enjoyed looking through. Ben and Lissy had taken their first ever Zip car to Maryland (a short-term rental, modelled on bike pools in European cities) and found it a great success and reasonably priced. They had to return the car to its garage in the Chelsea area - not the nearest to their apartment, but the closest place which actually had a car available at the late stage they had booked). The fuel and tolls are included in the tariffs, paid for by a card which comes with the car, and you are meant to leave it at least 1/4 full, so we detoured via a gas station to fill up. I forgot to note the price of petrol, which is still considerably lower than in Melbourne, I believe, and way lower than anywhere in Europe, of course. We are considering using a zip car in Berkeley, but there are no garages close to where we live, but maybe with further research we'll find somewhere more convenient to our house.
Bob and Emily met us at the garage after their day's activities which had brought them into the city, and we walked down and randomly chose a restaurant that looked good for dinner together. With Daylight Saving, it doesn't get dark till nearly 9, and it was a balmy evening though we did encounter some thunderstorms on and off during the day and when we were on our way home. I decided to go all Sex and The City and ordered a Cosmopolitan as a pre-dinner cocktail. It was very ordinary, certainly not worthy of its delicious reputation: the food was also very ordinary, the great quantities not compensating for the lack of any flair in the cooking or presentation. We won't go back there again! The kids walked home, and we dropped Bob at Grand Central to catch the train back to Briarcliff while Emily brought us back uptown to Joan's, where she spent the night with us, as she needed to be in the city the next day anyway. Sorry, no photos as I forgot to take any!