Nicholas Quirke was surprised, on stepping out into a long and full day, in which he covered 16km,  by the clemency of the weather. He had been promised it would be lacerating cold at this time of year and had prepared himself with thermals and vests, scarfs, gloves and a beard warmer. He was however, overheating and occasionally felt a little uncomfortable as a result. The startling sunshine and blue skies of the day brought his first view of Brooklyn Bridge into sharp focus which was misted by Michelle’s emotional greeting after a 31 year hiatus. Michelle and Diana, who was to join them later had met Nicholas when they were travellers from America working at Alliance and Leicester in Temp corner in 1986. He had provided a safe harbour for their belongings as they toured Europe and a long friendship had been forged. They walked the bridge, saw some spectacular vistas of the famous  Manhattan skyline and enjoyed catching up on the nuances of their lives. Nicholas was keen to pay homage to 9/11 Ground Zero and see the Twin Towers memorial and was not expecting to be overwhelmed  by the powerful feelings that welled as they approached the site. He was not prepared either for some of the crass commercialism that existed around the memorial and was horrified to see a woman, recording her visit to this vast area of land where 3000 people died by posing  against the parapet wall, inscribed with the names of the dead, sporting a huge grin and waving ‘Jazz Hands’. Another confusing adventure in the subway led them to Times Square and Diana. It was really wonderful to be reunited with these inspiring girls. They lunched and then headed to The Rockefeller centre and Saks for some sophisticated and cheesy Christmas sights. Nicholas enjoyed the taxi ride to Greenwich Village and The Cornelia Street Cafe where he had reserved a table for them and Jenny for Monologues And Madness.. For nearly 10 years Nicholas had received emails from the venue which he had inadvertently signed up to. He had always read the newsletter of this performance venue with interest and increasing fondness and this intimate knowledge of the venue compelled him to visit. The programme, delivered by a largely mature group of actors and comedians delighted them all with varying moods of humour, political awareness and tenderness. He was introduced to the owner and writer of the Newsletter Robin Hirsch and shared his story. It was with heavy heart, aching feet and fatigue that they said goodbye and he got home and to bed,




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