A few random thoughts about New York to round off the holiday blogging.
When we were in New York a year ago, drinking was virtually a sin in theatres and you weren't allowed to take drinks to your seats. Verboten! This year the theatre bars can't do enough to encourage you to drink, drink, drink and it's all down to the invention of themed plastic tumblers with rather chunky and inelegant anti-spill lids. Trust American ingenuity to find a way to make money in a dry desert. Dezur said that these tumblers were common in theme parks so it looks like they haven't so much been invented as imported. But hey, I don't mind. The trick seems to be that you pay an extra $5 for your first drink (which covers the cost of the tumbler) and then you get $5 "discount" on your second drink when you take it back to be filled up again.
I collected four in total from six theatre visits, so not all theatres do it. The best were from 'La Cage' with a purple 'La Cage' logo/motif and from 'The Addams Family', a black one with 'define normal' in white lettering on the side. Two of the others just used the logos of the theatre chains. Surprisingly, 'Spiderman' didn't have the tumblers which is, quite frankly, astonishing given that the theatre was milking every other avenue of making money from merch.
I discovered an all-year-round Christmas shop on 7th Avenue (between 55th-56th Streets). The Christmas Cottage is a small shop but is full of glitzy Christmas decorations and stuff, as well as a few Easter chicks for good measure. I was delighted to find it when we went for lunch with Suzanne at Molyvos, a Greek restaurant next door, and, since we were early, she intuited that we'd be in the Christmas shop. And we were. I obviously had to buy something so bought three ornaments for my next tree - they're still wrapped up and won't be unwrapped until 12 days before Christmas when they're put on the tree. I've been to the all-year Christmas shop in Toronoto, but didn't know that New York had it's own. I should've guessed really.
We walked all the way down Bleeker Street to find the Biography Bookstore only to find the whole block is now a housing complex. So we kept on going to the lower end of Broadway and found the New York University Bookshop, just along from Washington Square. Clearly, everywhere needs to make some money but this "bookshop" was full of clothes and seemed to have more floor space dedicated to racks of sports clothes and jackets and all things non-bookish than it did for books. I should've taken a photo of the thin racks of books down one side of the shop with the majority of the floor-space taken up with expensive NYU-themed clothes. Maybe the books were downstairs or upstairs or hidden underneath the clothes? I don't know.
When I got home from the airport I found that my suitcase was unlocked. Like everyone else on the planet, I always lock my case before checking it in and it's passed over to the baggage handlers. Don't you do that? At home I realised that the lock wasn't on the case and when I opened it, found a note from the Transportation Security Administration saying that, to protect me and my fellow passengers, my case had been searched and that, if my case was locked "the officer may have been forced to break the locks on your bag". Excuse me, no-one forced anyone to break the lock - you could've paged me at the airport and asked for the key. The note went on to say that the TSA is not liable for any damage. Of course.
Now, part of me is a bit miffed that someone has rummaged in my case without my knowing and has put me to the trouble of having to buy a new lock. But what really annoys me is the slap-dash way my case was searched - or rather, wasn't searched. I know that only the very front of my case was searched because everything else was in order at the back of the case and the straps that hold everything secure hadn't been touched. I could've had anything at the back of my case. Or maybe it was because dirty underwear and socks were at the front and top of the case and they didn't want to wade through my used smalls? Either way, I consider that to be highly unprofessional. And I will make sure dirty underwear is always the first thing that assails anyone on opening my case in future.
Now that I'm all un-packed and back to normal I've realised that the chilly New York weather has bestowed on me the blessing of a cold. So I am typing with a streaming nose and sore throat. I have my lovely big and glossy book about Fra Angelico (which weighs a tonne) from the Met Museum to leaf through while curled up on the couch. And I still have to download my photos so watch out, there may be more New York themed blogs to come. Maybe about the emergence of a late Spring with the drifts of daffodils and crocuses emerging in Central Park? Let's see...