My 48 hours in New York coincide with a security lock-down. On the day before I arrive police shoot and detain a man suspected of planting bombs in the city. The FBI are busy. So too the Secret Service. On this day Barack Obama and Theresa May are addressing the UN General Assembly. It is his last appearance there as President, her first as Prime Minister.
It means gridlock for midtown Manhattan. My Bangladeshi taxi driver defers to his traffic app, which seems to be promoting the virtues of walking to my hotel. I take his advice and head out into the midday humidity, lugging my suitcase through the Brownian motion of sightseers, office workers, exercisers and traffic cops. My hotel is opposite the Argentine embassy, an elegant turn-of-the-last-century brownstone humbled, like every building on this block, by the skyscraper on the other side of Fifth Avenue – Trump Tower.
There’s no escaping The Donald. Cardboard face masks stare out from the shop window displays of tourist tat. At the Lincoln Center – where I’ve come to see if Sky News’s coverage of the migrant crisis can scoop an International Emmy – he is the butt of jokes of varying quality and viciousness.
There’s time to kill before the ceremony. I squeeze in a visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Neo-Gothic architecture may be timeless but the building runs to a breathless timetable. Masses every 30 minutes in the morning. There is construction work going on somewhere in the vaulted vastness. An angle-grinder strikes up in the short gaps between services.
Time is precious in the city that never sleeps. And so to the 21 Club, for a lunch put on for Emmy nominees. Outside the club, a Prohibition-era speakeasy turned swanky watering hole, lighting rigs illuminate the building’s façade. In one of the dining rooms inside, Tom Selleck is being filmed for an episode of Blue Bloods.
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