Tiffany’s is nestled next to Trump Tower. Why was I surprised at their proximity? I don’t know. For a place so full of sights and spectacles, how could I wonder at the seeming incongruities of locale, of what-is-where-and-why?
We pushed our way through the rotating doors (New York is full of them, and I lived in perpetual fear of getting my fingers or soul trapped within their geometric alcoves) to the showroom of counters full of sparkling diamonds, obsessed and leaned over by tourists, hoisting their backpacks over their shoulders, dreaming of purchases. Jasmin and I visited the upper levels which were thinner of people, and from there I saw Central Park; a stone’s throw away, and I thought to myself, I’m just as content with the view.
On this particular afternoon we explored the streets above East 57th Street. Catching the train up to 86th, we walked across to the Guggenheim, that marvellous building with its undulating, inviting curves. Except it was closing time, and I was only allowed a quick shot of the interior before the security guard turned us outside again, to join the masses of other people taking a moment to rest before deciding where we would all head to next. It was the time of day where even the street vendors had called to an end to business, packing up their affordable prints and reproductions with quick expertise.
Thirsty, and not quite ready to call it a day, Jasmin consulted Yelp! (a worthy travel investment) and we headed down a block or two, past impressive stone buildings with brass plaques of names with the initials ‘M.D’ behind them, to Caffe Grazie. Just off the corner of Madison, it was sedate and contained; a place for locals. There we enjoyed our cocktails (the whisper of cheaper, generous alcohol portions in the main proved correct in our US travels), listening to the conversations of our neighbours. One man was huddled over his laptop, asking everyone for housing advice ahead of an impending move to the city. Where should he live? Which commute was kindest? Safest? Quietest? I got to wondering where I would want to live if faced with the prospect of moving.
A television was playing the news above the bar. At that point, Mitt Romney was just wrapping up his European trip; commentators debated its success. Behind us, two waiters debated the same.
‘There’s no way he’s going to win the election,’ said one with conviction. ‘No way.’
The sun was dipping in the sky as we decided to make our way home, cutting across Central Park to reach the more direct train line. The air was mild, peppered with the crack of baseball bats as people practised on the fields.
And I thought, this is perfection.