Are we happy it is February? The shortest month of the year has finally seen Barbora and myself travelling up to the Big Apple. It was a fantastic trip and great to have Barbora finally in the big city she has always wanted to be in, although I think that far too many television series have been responsible. No need to name them!
We arrived on the Wednesday pretty drained from the travelling, but excited all the same. After a brief visit to the Rockefeller Centre, Barbora had decided that she fancied relaxing in the hotel for the evening. Later I met up with my son Samuel who had been staying with his auntie for the last few weeks. It was decided that we should head to the nearest music bar to check out some great Jazz. The chosen venue was the 55Bar in Greenwich Village to see Mike Stern, Richard Bona and Obed Calvaire. Sam had already seen them that week, so it came highly recommended. This was brilliant music, but I wasn’t just impressed by the drummer Obed Calvaire, the bass player Richard Bona was incredible. Check them out if you get the chance- totally fantastic!
It was Barbora’s first trip to New York and there is only one thing to do- take in as much of the city as you can. We decided to walk the length of Broadway and make our way to Battery Park so we could catch the boat over to Liberty Island. On the way down we took in a few more of the sights including Wall Street and the World Trade centre construction site. Walking the length of lower Manhattan had certainly got us ready for a Starbucks and something to eat, so after a quick bite, it was time to catch the ferry.
Getting up close with The Statue of Liberty is amazing. I had only been there a few months earlier, but I still have to grab my breath every time. The size of it always overwhelms me and you find yourself remembering how many times you have seen it on TV. Another advantage of being on the island is the view of Manhattan. Seeing the New York skyline is tremendous. After about an hour it was time to head back. The boat always stops at Ellis Island and I have not yet managed to get there. It is on my things to do, but you have to leave something for next time right? Back in Battery Park it was time for a proper meal, so I decided to head for South Street. There is a great restaurant where you can eat and drink with the full view of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s an amazing sight watching New York get dark with all the lights slowly coming on. That evening Samuel and myself chose to head back to the 55Bar. This time it was to see one of my increasingly inspirational players, Keith Carlock. For those who know me, you’re not going to beat Steve Gadd, but this guy flows like a light breeze across the drum kit. Keith was playing with Wayne Kranzt and Tim Lebreve. It was worth the queuing in the freezing New York temperatures to see equally great musicians.
The reason we made the trip to New York again was for Samuels audition at Berklee School of Music. Although my original plan involved driving from New York to Boston, I decided that a four-hour bus ride would be more enjoyable. Boston was a fantastic place and although we didn’t really see too much of it, I would certainly recommend a visit. The downside was the weather. I have never experience the cold so fierce than it was on our first day, but at least it gave Barbara an excuse to do lots of inside shopping. We enjoyed the pleasures of a fantastic Chinese restaurant that evening, drinking plenty of wine and catching up with each other. It sounds bizarre to say that, but we all work long hours and Samuel has been staying in America for some time. Plans for the future were discussed and we had a really fun night- very enjoyable! That evening we slept very well and woke up to another very cold day in Boston.
Berklee School of Music is possibly one of the most well-known and prestigious music schools on the planet. Samuel was to audition for a place that afternoon. At this stage we only know that the audition went okay, I guess it’s a case of…. Watch this space! Later that day we were back on the bus and heading back to New York once more. Luckily the bus was back in Manhattan time for a night out with Barbara. Bright lights big city, I don’t need to tell you everything do I?
A few days in New York are enough to inspire anybody. Whether it is the Music, fashion or just the buzz that comes from the sights, it leaves you wanting to come back as soon as possible. There were many experiences of that weekend I haven’t even written about, but each time I am in the city, I just want more. I have had two trips in three months and I find it exciting every time, but surely nobody can put up with that much Starbucks? A few days later we landed in Heathrow wondering whether the trip had actually happened. I love America and I guess I always will- but there is no place like home.
If you fancy seeing what we got up to, follow the link to my Flickr account.