There is much more that’s old about New York than new.
It’s just that we don’t always see it.
Walk through Broadway as I did en route to my Kimpton Hotel in Little Brazil, or 130 W 46th Street and you can’t fail to notice the giant billboard for Hamilton.
It is, of course the hip-hop musical that has taken the world by storm and it is playing at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
It’s the hottest ticket in town and you’d almost need to be the President or Vice-President to get one.
Veep Mike Pence did, and such is the status that the actors in Hamiton have that they felt empowered enough to lecture him on his politics.
His big pal, the Greatest Living New Yorker, wasn’t impressed and dissed their stand on Twitter demanding – hilariously – that they apologise.
Shame there’s no evidence he’s ever seen the production because The Alexander and The Donald have much in common.
Both are big business, both half-Scottish and both ladies’ men, both egotists and both bestrode their age.
And yet just before the musical reconnected Americans with Hamilton, appartchiks were planning to have him replaced on the $10 bill.
It would have been a particular kind of humiliation for the man who saved the nascent Union from bankruptcy and set up the financial system.
The one that has served The Donald and countless others so well.
And yet other than on Broadway and on the $10 bill where in New York will you find ‘The Greatest Ever New Yorker’?
The best place to start is Central Park.
Another Central Park celeb
You’ll see a steady flow of tourists stopping by to pay tribute to John Lennon who only actually lived here for a few years.
He was always going to go back to England anyway and wouldn’t have been any good in a war.
He’d be lying back in bed talking about, well ‘giving peace a chance.’
Where would the New Yorkers and the Americans have been with someone like him?
Hamilton, by contrast, fought bravely in the defence of New York.
And represented them proudly in government, both here when New York was the nation’s capital from 1875-1878.
And in Philadelphia and Washington DC.
Where is Hamiton, though?
He’d appreciate a visit.
His statue is in Central Park, on East Drive, opposite 83rd Street, on the way to Harlem.
And seeing as you’re in the neighbourhood and it’s a Saturday then why not sign up for Jimmy Napoli’s Outside In Hamilton tour http://www.hamiltonsnewyork.com in Washington Heights and Hamilton Heights.
And find out more about this larger-than-life character.
Visit the actual Morris-Juliet Mansion that Washington chose as his HQ at the Battle of Harlem Heights.
And where Hamilton was by his side.
It was later the home of one-time Vice-President and our hero’s nemesis Aaron Burr.
And it was from here that Washington and Hamilton looked down the peninsula to Manhattan burning in the distance.
Some bigger buildings would block their view today.
Jimmy’s hour-long, one mile walking tour will take you to other important landmarks in The Great Man’s life, including the restored Hamilton Grange National Memorial.
If there’s anything he’s missed out – and there won’t be – you can always catch up at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 226 W 46th Street.
My VIP pal
Again you’d probably need to be pals with the President or Veep to get a ticket.
Good job I am.
The Commander-in-Chief has a pitch on Times Square, near the Naked Cowboy, but more appropriately near Hamilton.
And it’s a beautiful pitch… a beautiful pitch.
How to get there: New York is served by airlines from airline. And you can get pre-clearance from Ireland. And by bus and trains if you are in the US. I took a Peter Pan bus from DC. It takes nearly five hours.
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door
Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, 1883
And earlier in the poem dedicated for the new Statue of Liberty which would sit on the Hudson Bay, a gift from America’s old allies France…
‘Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand. Glows worldwide welcome.’
Today those same French must wait at least 30 days along with the rest of the European Union, or those in the Shengen free-travel zone.
And I did get offered a chance this week to talk to VIPs who were wired to the moon this famous day 50 years ago.
And the special event is being held at the very minute too 50 years ago when President Nixon made his historic phone call to Neil Armstrong.
Unfortunately I couldn’t hotfoot it over to the Richard Nixon Library in California for the exclusive event this evening with such short notice.
But we are friends from our meeting at IPW, the American Travel Fair in Anaheim, and I’ll get there next time.
Amid the great outpouring of national joy at America beating the Soviets to the moon some thought that Richard Nixon was being rewarded for what was John F. Kennedy’s great vision.
But that’s where the Nixon Library will put you right… the Nixons and the Kennedys despite standing against each other in the 1960 election became great friends.
Dick and John were both Cold War warriors, genuinely liked each other and Pat invited Jackie and the kids back to the White House when they moved in.
It is a myth that America is short on history – well, I would say that being an American History graduate.
And the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, 37 miles south-east of Downtown LA is where to go. Visit http://www.nixonfoundation.org to learn everything you need to know about the only Californian-born President.
And http://www.visitnasa.com for everything NASA related… there are 14 Visitor Center and space shuttle locations to complete your passport.
No, I’m not going all German on you though there would be no harm in that.
It’s just that the Morgan Hotel celebrated its first birthday since its reopening with a gala night and I awoke giddy of head and ready to share with all I met.
Alas this time breakfast wasn’t in the hotel, as it was back in February, but back home here in Greystones where The Scary One was scaring up some poached eggs on toast to soak up the FIVE cocktails from the previous evening.
If you want a reviving breakfast after a night on the town then The Morgan is ideal. It is a positive oasis from Temple Bar.
You’ll sleep like Rip Van Winkle with nary a sound from outside and the staff are super-friendly even remembering us from our visit in February.
The Morgan is continuing in real birthday mood with a sale with rooms for €149 per night. Book by July 31. Visit http://www.themorgan.com.
And watch out too for my review from earlier this year of The Morgan Hotel which I’ll get to work on soon. Well, it is the weekend!
The Travel Bible
It’s the definitive Book of Irish Travel.
Travelbiz.ie and its The Irish Travel Directory & Diary 2019.
If you’re not in it you’re not in Irish Travel and there I am – and I swear it was the first page I opened to.
Close your eyes and pick
Do you do the same?
Close your eyes in the departure lounge in the airport and when you open them fix them on the first destination you see on the board and decide to go there.
I’ll tell you what… I cheat too and look for the American destinations.
American Holidays has bumper family holidays for next Easter.
You’ll build memories that last a lifetime and myself and Daddy’s Little Girl will always have our ice skating experience at the Rockefeller Centre in New York.
American Holidays has New York Family Easter Break from €909pp with flights from Dublin to New York, five nights at the Sheraton New York Times Square, travelling April 2020. Based on two adults and two children sharing.
I dare say La-La went to a good home but the Son and Heir was beside himself in Donegal when he was a toddler and the Yellow One went walkabouts.
As dutiful parents we did, of course, return to where we thought he’d dropped it but it was late and so it was a case of Good Night Teletubby.
It has seemed like it’s been Good Night Teletubbies too for today’s toddlers with Peppa Pig moving in on their manor.
But that’s probably premature. The Teletubbies ARE alive and kicking at Alton Towers Resort and CBeebies Land just two and a half hours from Holyhead, and Irish Ferries will get you there and give you this great offer.
So that’s a return car ferry, two-day park passes to Alton Towers Resort & CBeebies Land and a three-night stay in the Tillington Hall Hotel. From €595 for a family of 4.
You’ve got 12 themed areas that contain 40 different rides of attractions. CBeebies Land is located within Alton Towers and has 14 rides and attractions including the Teletubbies Big Band Live Show and the Peter Rabbit Hippity Hop ride.
Well, if Majorca’s good enough for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.
Don’t be put off by the Magaluf of this world, Majorca is a varied and beautiful island, full of unspoiled beaches, great culinary delights, olde world towns and stunning mountains.
TUI has seven nights Dublin to Majorca, staying at the 3* Protur Bahia Azul Apartments in Cala Bona from €489pps for August 27. To book visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
And the Champion Golfer is…
I’m up in Royal Portrush for the weekend for The Open. And staying in the Clayton Hotel in Belfast tonight ahead of tomorrow’s final round.
With bumper crowds over these four days of competition it will be a reminder to those of us who already love the north and an introduction to those who don’t of all it has to offer.
Portrush itself is a gorgeous town and it’s worth going even when the golf isn’t on so that you can get a chance to check out Portrush Whiterocks Beach, Barry’s Amusements, Dunluce Castle and the Causeway Coastal Route.
I’ll share with you the tips I give to the winner when I return.