“Local time is 8.45pm and the outside temperature is now 36°C. Welcome to Newark and thanks for flying Iceland Express.”

The heatwave battering the eastern seabord had already caught my attention some days before, but it was only when I stepped out of Penn Station in midtown Manhattan bedecked in 35kg of shouldered baggage (front AND back for the true Sherpa experience) that it really hit home.

The sweltering atmosphere and midnight bustle of the city was mesmerising: I wandered south for an hour or two once I’d offloaded bags to seek out a long-awaited deli sandwich and gawk at the crowds thronging the bars and clubs around Chelsea. At some point, reason caught up with me, and I drifted back along the tide of revellers to my hotel and a deep sleep.

I woke up full of beans and took off west to the Meatpacking District and its unique contribution to urban architecture: the High Line park. Formerly an elevated freight railway for, well, meat, it lay disused for many decades. In spite of dereliction and the beady eye of property developers, it survived the threat of the wrecking ball before its conversion into a narrow, lovingly tended stretch of urban greenery a few years back. It snakes through the cityscape of apartment buildings and old factories for over a mile: a surreal escape from the frenetic streets below.

My rudimentary geography of Manhattan led me towards Washington Square Park, past the Saturday morning chess hustlers and tourists, and onwards to seek out a real NYC breakfast.

Steak and eggs were clearly the order of the day, and I tried my hand at some track-motion photography while it settled. Results inconclusive.

I continued my adventures through Manhattan and Brooklyn on foot and via the underworld all day long, tramping around 8-10 miles in the balmy 40°C midsummer heat as only mad dogs and Englishmen will; for colour, I’ve posted a few more photos from the day’s exploration below. Soundtrack to my day thusly, if you’ve got access to Spotify.

Still to follow is an account of the centrepiece of my brief visit to NYC (in conjunction with my sister Clarabell’s excellent London-based foodie blog): the Foods of New York‘s Greenwich Village Food Tasting and Cultural Tour.

I can feel my just-fed belly rumbling in fond reminiscence!

Oh and I also appear to have moved to South America in the interim. Lots to tell!

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