New York

Central Park

Central Park, September 2001

I last left New York City in mid September 2001 – late, broke, and somewhat shaken up – but ever since I’ve wanted to go back.

Ten years later, I made it. If only for a few days, working.

Central Park

Central Park, June 2012

Not much time. Not much time even to do the obvious touristy stuff again, so I didn’t bother. Instead, took a walk uptown from Battery Park.

The WTC site is, of course, unrecognisable. In the months that followed the attacks the TV had shown the site over and over, but then as years passed, less so – to the extent that I didn’t know how far completed the new towers would be. The answer is that they’re massive, but far from finished:

One World Trade Center

Tower 2, out of frame to the left, is also an imposing, mirrored presence already. It remains unnerving to see the dividing line between surving areas I remember from before and the WTC site.

Way uptown, the Flatiron building and Grand Central were just as impressive as I remembered:

Flatiron Building

While Central Park (top) and the backstreets of Greenwich Village are calm and green, even in the midday heat. I’d forgotten about the crazy frisbee guys in the park – they were still there.


One thing I wanted to visit this time around, though, is across in Brooklyn. There are a lot of pizza places in New York, but only one that merits a documentary film, and a comment from the Mayor when its price goes up to $5 a slice. So to Avenue J and Di Fara, to eat this:

$5 Slice

Which was, yes, worth both the $10 (for two, I was hungry) and a 45 minute wait. More on Di Fara from the experts (“all I have to tell you is that there’s a really fucking long line for it. Isn’t that enough?”) here. And since I’d gone half way across Brooklyn, time to visit the rainy boardwalk at Coney Island, and the Cyclone:

The Cyclone

I was tall enough to ride, but it was very closed. As was pretty much everything else on the boardwalk.

And so back to Manhattan, back to work, and then back to the UK. A really short trip, but I’ll be back. Hopefully it won’t take another ten years.

Times Square

All © 2020 Tom Royal