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In Brooklyn we trust

So, remember earlier this year when I said we weren’t going abroad this year but asked you not to quote me on it, because, you know, just in case? Well, I hope you didn’t quote me on it, because we’re going.

We honestly weren’t going to … it’s just that we got these travel vouchers as a present last year and just last week got around to reading the small print and lo! it turns out they expire in November. So that really leaves us with no choice, really. No choice at all. Except that we’re choosing to not use the vouchers to travel to the European destinations they were intended for, but to head for the Big Apple instead. Of our four girls, three have been to New York this summer, and they’ve all raved about it. In fact the two oldest loved it so much that one of them is planning to do a portion of her studies there this winter and, if she still loves it, to actually move there next year to study more, whereas the other has just accepted an au pair position there for the next twelve months, so she’ll actually be there when we go. I’ve been to New York several times, but mostly as a transit passenger; only twice have I spent any time there and I can safely say that it’s my favourite city. EPI, meanwhile, has never been – and out of all of us, he’s the one who probably should have got there a long long time ago, simply because he and New York are the perfect fit. I know this already.

So anyway, as soon as our panic about the tickets subsided and we made the calm and rational decision to throw our financial caution to the wind, YT got on t’Internet to find us a cosy little place to stay. Despite last summer’s home exchange fiasco I went for that option first, only to find that, unsurprisingly, there were no takers [short notice an’all]. Plan B was to search for places within our rather limited price range [the Waldorf Astoria was removed from the list], of which thankfully there seemed to be plenty; however, as the day wore on and reservation forms were returned to us with regrets, it dawned on us that, by golly, Manhattan looked like it was going to be stuffed to the rafters with tourists in September, with no room at the Inn for poor EPI and YT.

After nearly two days of obsessive Internet searches and persistent emailing, YT finally managed to track down the only Bed and Breakfast in the entire Greater New York Area that a) had vacancies for the dates we wanted to travel; b) did not get ‘STAY HERE IF YOU HAVE LOST THE WILL TO LIVE!’-sorts of reviews on tripadvisor.* The only problem was that it was in Brooklyn. Brooklyn! – which I have to confess I knew nothing about, except that it was not Manhattan, which was enough. And yet, our options were rapidly diminishing, and the vultures were circling around the room in Brooklyn as we deliberated – just that morning, the proprietress claimed, she’d had four inquiries about the room, so if we wanted it, we’d better move fast. So after a spot of frantic emailing with Cassie [whose input was invaluable] and a bit of cursory checking of travel times and subway lines, etc. we took a deep breath and booked it.

In the few days that have passed since then, I’ve become increasingly pleased with our ‘choice’ [figuratively speaking]. Everyone says Brooklyn is great – it’s where all the artists went when they were driven out of Manhattan by the high rents, and it has a lot of great little restaurants. Plus, we can get to midtown Manhattan easily enough on the train. The clincher? After I’d booked the room it suddenly hit me that both EPI and I are currently reading books that have ‘Brooklyn’ in the title – me, The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster, and EPI Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. So we’ll just call it fate.

A quick weather search turns up a severe weather warning in New York due to heat – set to go up to 100°F today. Yowsa! That’s, like, nearly 40°C! Sure hope it will have levelled out by the time we get there, and am already counting my blessings that we’re not travelling in the summer. Here it’s been a fairly gloomy day, overcast with rain and temps around 14°C [55F]. So very pleasant actually, comparatively speaking. The sun came up behind the clouds at 4:55 this morning, and set a few minutes ago, at 10.09 pm.

* A couple of years ago I stayed in a hotel in London that I can safely say was the most horrific hotel experience of my life. I wrote a review about it on tripadvisor, and the ‘will to live’ remark was the actual title of the review that was written before mine. It was really that bad.