Our flights (first to Calgary, then to New York), were relatively painless. The in-flight entertainment system was glitched on our second flight, but I did manage to watch No Reservations (the head chef in a kitchen of that size wouldn’t also be the pastry chef). There wasn’t any food served, however, so I settled for a $2 Cup of Noodles.
We reached JFK earlier than anticipated, and queued up for a taxi right away. It was pricier than the $7 transfer from AirTrain to the subway, but we thought it be worth it on night one. Besides, a ride in an iconic yellow cab was a must at some point. $45 plus tolls and tip later, we arrived at what would be our home for the next six nights – The Pod Hotel.
Mack in the taxi
In front of the hotel
Easy to miss, we were immediately greeted by a doorman who took our bags (unfortunately for him, we had no small bills to tip him with). Up on the twelfth floor, our room was a lot bigger than the photos on their website suggested. The safe was a handy feature for Mack’s electronics, as was the desk/workstation. Downsides: the room was bloody hot (we ended up keeping the bathroom window open throughout the week), the walls were paper thin (which did allow for some comedic eavesdropping on our second neighbour, a glass salesman from the Midwest), and the shower was peppered with fruit flies (still better than cockroaches, shudder).
After a quick peek at the very cool rooftop patio (spying on neighbours, a la the Naked Man in Friends
, was a possibility), we headed to the nearby Waldorf Astoria
. This was the first of a few Serendipity
locations we would visit, a testament to Mack’s love of the movie.
Mack at the Waldorf (looking nothing like it did in the movie)
With doormen seemingly blocking the entrance, we snapped a quick photo and vowed to return on another day.
Next was dinner at the Burger Joint, which was, as I had read about, unassumingly located behind a brown curtain in the lobby of Le Parker Meridien. It had the feel of a “best kept secret”, with dim lighting, faded media posters on the wall, and bustling business. Our fries ($3) were served in a small brown paper bag, and resembled a less salty version of those found at McDonald’s, while Mack’s grilled cheese ($5) and my custom cheeseburger ($7) were wrapped up in paper. The meal was good, but really not worth the price.
Mack at the Burger Joint
Me and food (photos like this will form a pattern)
At Starbucks (photos with the Red Cup will also become the norm)
Then, after more walking on the too-blustery streets of New York (reminding me very much of London), we arrived at Mack’s Mecca – the Fifth Avenue Apple Store
. We posed outside the famous glass cube, then walked down the winding staircase to the floor. It was after 10pm, but full of customers (probably because nothing else in this area of the “city that never sleeps” was open). Mack played around with a few gadgets, then left happily with an iPod Touch (paid for by Santa, minus the 8.375% sales tax).
Late night browsers
Mack checks on Podcast Spot
One happy customer!
We made our way back to the Pod, and “buttoned down” (tm glass salesman Daniel Sherman) in preparation for our first full day in New York.