For the first time since 9/11 I am staying in the Battery Park/Financial district in downtown Manhattan. What an amazing transformation! Streets are clean, plants are all over, walkways are wide and full of pedestrians. There are bike paths and prams with nannies on every block. Restaurants and elegant stores are mixed with local entrepreneurs and pizza places. Nail shops abound.
Staying at the Conrad which is on North End Street and is a modern, elegant hotel with a great rooftop bar, as well as a friendly and helpful staff, is a perfect location for meandering and remembering. A block away from Ground Zero, one is always close to the new World Trade shadow. Across the street is the monument to the Irish Potato Famine and the Nelson Rockefeller Park as well as a ferry station. In addition, there is an amazing new shopping center named Brookfield Place. With numerous shops, such as Burberry, Theory, Vince, Michael Kors, and an amazing eatery and food store called Le District (their pain au chocolate transports one back to Paris) it is a bustling center still being developed. The outside space to sit and people watch as well as to enjoy the water and boats even has a dock for private boats.
We decided to walk the 8 blocks to Nobu Next Door so we headed up to Hudson Street. I was wearing a new pair of Louboutins, which are exactly the same as a pair I’ve had for 10 years. Although I had had a drink earlier in the day, walking in 4-inch heels is normally not an issue, I seemed wobbly. My right foot couldn’t quite function and kept semi-collapsing under me. As soon as my companion commented on the clean sidewalks and repaved road, my foot totally turned at the ankle. We stopped and I took off the shoe. Low and behold it was not the afternoon Cosmo that caused my right foot to be uncertain but the heel of the two-week old shoes on their second outing had come off! Now for the gentlemen who have never worn 4-inch heels, you might not know that it is impossible to keep one shoe on and the second one on or off. So off came both shoes. I, therefore, personally experienced the clean sidewalks and repaved Hudson Street!
Nobu showed it’s true colors. We were two blocks away so we walked and I entered the wonderful restaurant holding my shoes. With my apologies, I showed the shoes and asked if I could still eat there barefoot or if I should try to walk with the broken shoes to our places at the bar. With charm and grace the hostess told me not to worry and seated us at the best seats at the bar – which happened to be beside the kitchen and in a secluded corner so I could rest my injured foot on the bar rail!
We proceeded to have a wonderful meal. Sea urchin shooters, jalapeño yellowtail, tempura soft shell crab and tempura lobster with a creamy spicy sauce. There was no room for the Wagyu beef or any dessert.
Luckily a cab was outside instantly so I didn’t have to walk the 8 blocks back to the Conrad. To my amazement, once we were back in the room I washed my feet and there was very almost no dirt on them which is a true testament as to how much Manhattan has improved in the past 14 years!
Lesson learned – with new shoes on a walk longer than two blocks always have a spare pair of flats in the large purse!