There is something strangely unique about New York; it’s rather like a vacuum packed London, all the good and bad bits squeezed together into a pulsating, squealing, squirming mass. As soon as you step outside your door you are hit with the chaos of the streets with every person rushing from one place to another, the filthy litter blowing into doorways where lost souls have made their homes and shoving, brusque rudeness. It can take its toll on anyone, irrespective of how sturdy a disposition they may have. And yet, there is a different side … ask anyone for help and they’ll do more; they’ll smile, chat and ask questions, and when you take the trouble to instigate a conversation with a stranger, you’ll have a new friend for life. Perhaps New York is a sheep in wolf’s clothing after all and not so frightening underneath the snarling exterior.

We are exactly halfway through our posting here. Eighteen months gone and eighteen to go.

It has been a rollercoaster which sounds so predictably trite and yet … what with the usual frustrations of settling into a new country, we have had however the antidote of parties in Central Park, people of every nationality to meet and learn from, the beauty of the towns we’ve explored, the outrageously glamorous Hamptons, the museums and theatres … it’s been everything and more than we’d hoped for.

Within weeks of arrival we had an electricity blackout that wiped out the entirety of Hell’s Kitchen all the way to the Upper West Side. This hadn’t happened since the early 1970’s. The chaos that ensued was staggering. That’s a lot of people stuck in a lot of elevators.

After 24 hours we decided there were only so many games of Scrabble we could play, so walked down the 49 floors to the nearest bar until a couple of hours later our legs had stopped shaking long enough for us to walk back up again. Had we known that was the start of many, many games of Scrabble in future months we might have invested in a larger scoring pad. As I type, we are exactly 77 games a piece. That’s 154 games in the Coronavirus Challenge. That’s a lot of Scrabble, a lot of checking the dictionary and a lot of expletives.

For a time we were slap bang in the epicentre of America’s coronavirus. So we battened down the hatches, took to Zoom like the rest of the world and watched the Navy hospital ship ‘Comfort’ sail into and then finally out of Pier 90. All faintly surreal, like seeing Florence Nightingale float up the Hudson dressed in white. We watched the news desperately, religiously day after day and as life crumbled around the planet all we really wanted was to be closer to our family.

And then, Trump vs Biden. I shall refrain from any political ramblings, but again, we are witnessing extraordinary times.

Suffice to say it’s been an interesting time with ups and downs like everyone else, but a time for plenty of reflection and thought … And dare I say it, thank God for Scrabble.


45 thoughts on “Manhattan”

  1. So during the scrabbleathon what was the best invented word? And what is the German word that stands for that moment when you realise the word you just made up actually exists? And which body part did you consider most expendable when you realised it was time for an amputation supper to avoid lugging groceries up 49 floors?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha!! Oh you’re so right about climbing the stairs! As we were going up we kept meeting people coming down; I don’t think since then we’ve ever met so many people in our building. We kept stopping for a chat! With the Scrabble, eventually we had to buy the Scrabble dictionary … there were otherwise too many German, Latin or French words that we had inadvertently made up (and frankly, too much cheating!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps it’s possible to eke out and dissolve any faintly undesirable habits? For example, I forget to close drawers which must be quite annoying. However, now that I’ve realised I do this, I’m trying to get better (I’ll admit with limited success but the intent is there …)


  2. You write so we’ll and effortlessly, I felt transported. My two short visits to New York were sufficient to say I’ve been there, but of course a drop in the ocean of seeing it. My mother and I did watch a musical, and I got to go to the United Nations.

    Your post so eloquently touches on the deal nature of the place as hard and soft simultaneously. The people are the huddled masses for sure, kind and cruel. Here in Texas they’ll seem to be friendly (the Pueblo native word Is the root) whilst stabbing you in the back.

    I’m glad you are surviving the plague and amazed it’s been 18 months. Sad I probably won’t get there to meet you and go for a long luxurious bike ride. Also though i follow you I’m a horrible reader, for which I apologise.and seek your forgiveness.

    Regarding Scrabble: I’m glad it sees you through. I once won against professor in Vermont but I may have employed some illicit means to do so. No partners for it now though. Keep calm and Scrabble on!

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    1. Oh you’re lovely – as ever. I think to go to see a musical in New York is one of the best things to do … it’s very special. And to see it with your mother makes it all the more so. I bet she loved it.
      You don’t need to apologise for anything! It’s so lovely to hear from you and I have a lot of catching up on your posts to do as I’m behind and want to know what you’ve been up to! Most importantly though, I trust you’re well? Ps very impressed with your victory against the professor! X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Only because you bring that quality out. Somehow some bloggers are just simpatico. Thank you very much. I’m covid-free and mostly well, I’d say. Sure I’ve got issues (get some tissues) but I’m fairly fortunate even while unemployed. I may have snuck a Q or Z, though, but even that takes skill and stealth. Stay well, dear Katie (and the captain, isn’t it?)

        PS. I’d have to search your blog and my memory to recall if you’ve ever posted your photo? Is that you’re private or just shy? ;~)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re right, I never have posted a picture; the reason being at the time was due to an ex of my husband who is probably reading this anyway! Now however, I probably could do a photo …
        I’m glad you’re Covid-free though … that’s important; it’s a nasty one!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. i figured as much, so certainly don’t do that on my account. the mystery is scintillating! maybe you’re a hairy dude like me! LOL. tho i do have a gmail. should you ever care to correspond directly..

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right … they were shaking and wobbly and a real mess! Funnily enough it was the going down that was worse but I don’t really know why, but at least we got out of the building for a little bit!


  3. Good to hear from you Katie, I feared you’d given up on blogging as you you used to post regularly. Have you tried any other games than Scrabble? We try to encourage our kids to play “old fashioned” board games and card games, to get them away from screens. Must have played about 5000 games of Uno in the last half decade!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been a little weighed down with bits and bobs rather than doing what I enjoy (ie blogging) which seems a little daft looking at it now. I love the old fashioned games—we used to play Rummy with my mother a lot. Happy memories. I think Uno sounds good and one I haven’t tried! Hope you’re well and all’s good?


    1. Ha!! No we haven’t! We’re still on the old scrabble. I watched a series called The Queen’s Gambit recently and got very excited about the prospect of learning chess but sadly I don’t think the other half is quite so enthralled with the idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not much to catch up with. A lot of movie posts to keep things ticking over. Have been back at work since May as part of a skelton crew keeping the labs running. Had a number of covid scares among the team but so far have been unscathed. Just not in the mood for blogging!😍

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      2. I get that. You’re good though to have kept at it; I don’t think I have the same discipline as you. Glad you’ve remained COVID-free, that’s a relief. We’ve been a bit trapped over here, but did manage to get back and see my boys a couple of times. Hope all is ok on the home front. X


      3. Well we have not resorted to scrabble yet. She always slaughters me anyway despite her dyslexia. Bit demoralising that.
        I hated working from home for those 8 weeks and there is a limit to how much I can do without lab access so was glad to go back in May. My wife was laid off in March but will go back when things pick up (she is self employed but with only one client). She has done some voluntary work meanwhile. Hope you stay safe.x

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