New York

Dear All It's been a fun time so far. My friend, Rich, who I met on the plane has now gone home and so I am left without an English friend!! My trip to Cincinnati (for my cousins Barmitzvah) on the weekend will make up for this! Anyway - what has happened since the last letter? The weekend was good, wet to the Empire States on Friday afternoon but couln't be bothered to wait in the queue as it was a hazy day. Instead, we went to the Marriot Hotel in Times Square. They have a restaurant on the top floor that rotates and gives superb views around the whole of Manhattan. A drink is cumpolsory and so we sat (Rich, his brother and Ruisha( a friend of Rich)) admiring the view and becoming slightly dizzy. After moving downtown for a brief tour of Grenwich Village and Soho, we met up with Rich’s hosts (David and Noriko) for a viewing of the Museum of Modern art. Dissapointing! Two floors were closed and what was left was viewable in an hour! At least it was free. We made up for the dissapointment when Rich took us all out for A Korean meal (a thankyou to his hosts and a thankyyou to me for the discount a Brooks Brothers - well I try!!). The meal was fantastic - Chinese with spice - tons of food and lots of different tastes. Time out to explain David and Noriko. A lovely couple that Rich met on his travels in the Far East. They are very much in to the Japanese life (Noriko was bor n there) and David gives a great guided tour around Manhattan. They are slightly Sohoish in their outlook on art an current issues but just a very nice couple - oh well! We all met up the following day for a trip to Coney island - a place I had only ever heard about in the Woody Allen jokes! It is about a mile of sandy beach set about groups of hot dog stands, arcades, rollercoasters and beach volley ball. We walked down a pier where the islanders were fishing for crabs and flat fish - with remarkable success! By the looks of the pier, it seemed that many of them lived there in the cardboard boxes and broken water hydrants acting as showers!! A mini Waterloo Bridge! David then took us to a Knish restaurant (apparently a Russian Jewish dish) where five of us ate our fill for ten dollars - as I always say, you get what you pay for, the sacrifice was taste! Backtracking for a moment to Wednesday, when I met a cousin for the first time - Saul Rosenberg, from my Dads side. We had a meal and talked about everything and anything! Cool guy - about 37, English at Cambridge (and PhD) now working for McKinsey. Anyway, he went to Florida for a week and left me his appartment keys. Saturday night I went up to the upper west side to his appartment - very nice! I cooked myself the first decent home meal in three weeks - the vegetables in the local shops were fantastic - okra, aubergine (of all sorts), chilli etc etc. It was so nice to just have my own space again! Watched Citizen Kane and feasted on George Soros’s critical view of economics - I know how to have a good time!!! Jumping around again, I went to Bryant Park to see Dr Strangelove. Beside the film being fantastic, Sellers especially, the park is incredible. Right in the centre of manhattan, there are free films every Monday night to which about a thousand people must flock! You can see and hear everything. About two hours before the film, a massive storm hit town. The thunder and lightning was incredible, I was drenched while walking home from work - ruined my trousers! Not a chance of catching cold though, it was at least 28 degrees whilst it was raining!! It just never cools here - it stays above 20 during the night. It was for that reason that I was a little hesitant about going on the blades, but then I saw how many people were in Central Park. What an incredible park. If there is one thing that I would bring back - it would be the park!! The rollerblading is fantastic, there is a roller disco, slaloms and plenty of people just exercising on them. Needeless to say that I have spent considerable amounts of time on the blades! Much more to come. You may be wondering why this e-mail is so bloody long - well, that’s the only bad part. The job is boring!! No pressure, no big money to play with and no one inspirational to watch. I’ve done most of it before and on a bigger scale. Brooks are still trying to adapt to M&S (eight years after take over!!). The fabrics and garments are great, but not enough to keep my interest!! Have spent most my time feeling fabric and picking out patterns - not really my view of merchandising! Oh well. So, what am I going to do. I am going to get my self in to their Internet. Despite what I thought, their operation is only starting and so it should be fun! See what happens. More on this when it happens. One more little story and then I will let you go!! Sitting in Central Park on Sunday, sweating from rollerblading and listening to a group of Puerto Ricans playing music and dancing. It was quite a sight and I spoke to a guy sitting next to me who told me that they celebrated every year in this fashion. A few people were drinking beer and it all looked like good fun until....the NYPD came along and shut it all down! It was on the grounds that drinking in public areas is illegal - new rule from the Mayor. It was all a bit of a farce - racial accusations flying through the air. The whole exercise seemed completely bizzare and to no effect. The tourists (me included) were annoyed at having the music closed down as the whole spectical was fun to take in. There are so many rules here that make no sense - and, you guessed it, the most annoying of which is the 21 year drinking age. It is not just the age but the fact that I get asked for ID everywhere I go - so strict! Well, and i have to say it, New York is great, but it just seems to have so many problems, both in its running, identity and laws! Give me sane old London any day! Compared to New York, Londons air is like a swiss mountain top! Well I hope that you are all well and if I get myself in to gear, I will write a few personal e-mails. This newsletter is also a kind of diary which is quite fun to keep! Take care all, Robin p.s. thanks for all the mails - keep them coming!

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