Day 7: NYC

Wednesday 12th September: NYC

After a long discussion on the relative merits of car parking locations, we left the rooms where we’d stayed the night and we headed out to get some breakfast with our gracious and bubbly host, Eliana. In true New York style she took us to a café with incredible bagels and we sat in the sun making our plans for the day and feeling very cosmopolitan. Our next ‘engagement’ was a dinner party in the evening so we effectively had a full day of sightseeing and running around the city to look forward to!

Since some of us had never visited New York (or America) before, we were moist keen to visit the main landmarks, so we took the metro to Times Square to begin our tour of the Big Apple.  We walked down Broadway to Madison Square Gardens, and wandered in and around Macy’s for a while, before leaving James, Chris, Eug and Elianna, who headed off to see Once, an 8 time Tony award winning musical. Those of us with any taste (Ed: I’m going to leave this in despite being clearly untrue) continued on to the Empire State Building, then up 5th avenue to the Rockefeller centre where we spotted Mary Steenburgen. She was bitchin’ hot. Mike, David and Maggie went for a look at St Patrick’s Cathedral and met the others in the Apple Store at the corner of Central Park. The place was buzzing after the announcement of the iPhone 5 [PRODUCT PLACEMENT] just a few hours earlier, so we ventured into the park and set up camp to chill for a while beside the pond.

Later than anticipated, we rushed back to meet the others and take them downtown. Then, while we were desperately trying to hail a taxi, a miracle occurred on 59th street. Ayman, who‚Äôd been walking a little way behind, ran up to us and said ‚ÄòGuys… that was Bobby Mcferrin!‚Äô

Zain gleefully sprinted back to him and by the time the rest of the group had caught up, he’d already explained who we were and asked for a photo. Then something even better happened: he asked us to sing for him. After a short, hushed discussion we realised we had the exact parts to perform Jessie J’s Domino. David sang the solo incredibly well under the pressure of performing in front of one of the legends of a cappella. It was a surreal experience, and afterwards he was very kind, telling us we were “wonderful” and that our performance was a “real gift”. We gave him a CD, then after thanking him a hundred times, walked away completely starstruck.

We called ahead to the others downtown, and by the time we got there, they were slightly skeptical about our chance meeting. However, after producing proof in the form of photos and video footage (see Facebook), their looks of disbelief changed to shock and utter, crushing disappointment that they hadn’t been present (hope the musical was worth it guys).

(Ed: the musical was actually awesome too, but nothing on meeting such a huge idol. They are adding salt to the wound at every opportunity…)

Luckily, their spirits were raised by the sight of the huge spread that the hosts of the barbecue, the lovely Irene and Steven provided for us at their home in downtown Manhattan. Stuffed full of burgers, grilled halloumi, the first proper fruit and veg we’d had in days, some delicious chocolate treats and some very nice wine (award winning, from their family’s own vineyard), we each headed off to the families who were putting us up for the evening, content after an amazing (and very long!) day.

Maggie and Pete

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