Empire State

Nicholas Quirke was in New York on 6th December at a time when the political landscape was causing distress to his friends and every day brought fresh turmoil and concern and coloured every interaction. Gun crime and random acts of cruelty were much on Nicholas’s mind as again they walked past the spot where John Lennon was shot out side the Dakota and on into the park where Lennon’s memory was enshrined in Strawberry Fields. He and Jenny breakfasted early in the park as the dogs happily mixed with other breeds.  The plan for the day was to visit the Empire State Building. They purchased VIP tickets which was a little like speedy boarding though a lot less stressful. and meant they sped up to the 80th ahead of the queues, were given swift passage to the observation Deck on 86 before making the final ascent to 102. The views were spectacular and Nicholas was a little giddy with excitement as he pushed his GoPro selfie stick out over the parapet. The lure of the gift shop proved to much for both as they succumbed to some rash purchases. It was not the type of venue he could leave without finding a new addition for the ‘Shelf of Shame’.  Nicholas had become a little obsessed with New York set movies and on this day as they lunched in the beautiful, atmospheric and unique Korean Vegan restaurant Hangawi, it was ‘Barefoot in the Park’  which came to mind. They removed their shoes at the door and sat at  a sunken table where the waiter knelt at his side to take the order. He was not one to take pictures of his dinner, but so sublime was the food and the environment he was compelled on this rare occasion to make an exception. That afternoon was an expedition to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty which meant the dogs had to be put in a papoose and a shopping trolley to be transported on the subway. The experience was a little underwhelming as the Statue appeared a tiny speck in the distance and he was unable to get closer as the last ferry had sailed. It seemed an ironic physical embodiment of the American Values the current administration seem hell bent on destroying. On the journey home Nicholas witnessed the arrest of a young man . It was his last evening the ‘Big Apple’ and any sadness he may have felt about leaving evaporated when on a late night dog walk they encountered a charming young lady called Kylie who quizzed him about his trip and he became animated and excited that the next phase of the Odyssey would  begin the next day as he collected his car and began his drive across America.



  1. Hey Nick, I’m really enjoying the blog so far. Feel like I’ve been with you. Seeing the Empire State Building brought it back to me. We were on the top of it five years ago first thing in the morning of L’s 60th birthday. And I did a drawing in my sketchbook of the view (or tried to!). Thinking of you. Looking forward to the next chapter.

  2. The food looks amazing and sounds like a perfect final day. Also excited to see the new addition to the shelf of shame

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