It’s a year since our Big Trip to New York, possibly our last family holiday.  Possibly our last foreign holiday, come to that.

Some readers insist on maps showing my destinations.  So here’s America, just below Canada.

New York1

We’d had to cancel our US trip the previous Autumn after the Primera collapse, and I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer to try again.

A first trip to NY, NY had been high on the bucket list, just below the Scotch pie at Arbroath.

Empire State human – Human League
In the clouds – All About Eve
Typical New Yorkers

Grief, New York in June was busy.  How could you possibly keep 2m distance ?

When I walked past the Fort St George in Cambridge last week they were filming a video about their social distancing steps.  You can see it here, but be warned it’s on the S*n website.

Partitions have been placed between tables so customers can maintain a safe distance
No thanks

I want pubs back, but Clumsy retiredmartin is the last person you want to be in a pub with observing social distancing rules.

Last year in the Metropolitan Museum of Art I stepped on the rope and very nearly sent the planets flying.


Would you trust a man who accidentally destroys planets with your ropes in a pub ?

Frankly, all the best pubs are shoulder to shoulder, even when you’re sitting.  That applies as much in Cambridge as London and New York.

The Cock Inn, Hackney

I didn’t make it into Jack Dempseys near the Empire State, but I bet that’s going to have a challenge.

Keg Bass, apparently

But we did make the Ear.

Don’t walk past

No greeters.  No arrows. Tables you can sit at and just drink. Mexicans in hats. Screaming babies. Millennials drinking mineral water. And ears.

2019 and all that

Oh.  And Bass.

Had worse on cask

Not, y’know, REAL Bass.

But good enough. A bit like the chicken biryani from the carts on Wall Street.


I’d go back tomorrow, if it was the same as it was last year.  Here’s hoping it will be again.


  1. I trust you didn’t forget to round up that bill to at least $60, to include that tip which American bar staff expect/rely on.

    New York remains on the joint Bailey family bucket list, providing they allow me entry, after my implied criticism of low wages for bar and restaurant staff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After living in the US of A for the best part of 20 years, my sister still can’t get used to tipping. “Just pay your workers a decent living wage,” she says.

    Another strange practice is adding tax to the final purchase price – guaranteed to catch you out when you go to pay for the weekly grocery shopping at your local friendly Walmart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now THAT is annoying. Jeans priced at $39.99, you get $40 of notes and they add on state taxes at the till so it’s $47.39 or something.

      I just found tipping irritating, always having to have a spare dollar to give to the barman when you order a drink.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Especially when you’re sitting at the bar, and the bar person has poured your beef from a tap on the wall immediately behind him/her. I wouldn’t mind so much if that person had actually expended a bit of effort.

        Worst example, from my last trip, was going to pick-up a pre-ordered Chinese take-away. It was my treat, but my brother-in-law suggested a 15% tip. For what? The man behind the counter wasn’t the chef who put the effort into preparing the food.

        My sister and I were not amused!

        Despite this, I’m still determined to revisit the United States; but only when Trump and Covid-19 are consigned to the history books!


  3. I had a couple years there where a publisher was flying me to NYC for these book conventions, three separate trips altogether. Gave me a much better appreciation of the city, oddly enough, than I’d had on earlier visits that were longer in duration. On the last trip I walked from midtown all the way down to Battery Park, stopping for a drink or three along the way. Good times!

    Glad you enjoyed your visit, even though Bass on cask remains a distant dream for us Yanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a really insightful comment about getting more perspective from a few short trips than one long one, Mark. I feel the same; every time I visit a UK town, e.g. Whitby or Wolverhmpton, it helps build up more of a picture.

      If I had time in the US I’d definitely pop back to New York multiple times; we “did the book” as it were, but barely scraped the Bronx, Union City, East Village etc.

      Midtown to Battery Park at the ferry to Staten is a good 90 minutes walk; you’d have earnt your beer.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Mark and Martin, this is very true. On that initial visit, everything seems strange and unfamiliar, but each subsequent visit, even if they’re only short ones, really helps in getting to know a place – far more so than one long, single trip.

        Liked by 2 people

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