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Phespirit goes to the U.S.A.
New York     November 1999

Phespirit and company crossed the Atlantic following the vapour trail of James Bragg, their emigrated friend, on towards America. Jim had gone West with his intended, Nola Bernard, seven weeks earlier and would be tying the knot one week hence. Whilst the wedding would take place in Hackettstown, New Jersey, the in-coming guests seized a chance to warm up on Manhattan Island first.

And so it came to pass that Phespirit, Jonathan Gale, Kirti Lad, Sonita Madhar, Annette Mann and Aron White jetted in from London, Kirsten Connor and Tom King jetted in from New Zealand, and all eight set about 'doing' New York.

Fortuitously, this jollification co-incided with a mini heatwave in the city, which considerably improved the prospects for sight-seeing, shopping, mooching and loafing. All the usual tourist stuff was checked out: Central Park, Liberty Island, Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Tiffany's and Macy's, plus various well-known streets and avenues, all done in the twinkling of an eye.

Probably the best of all times was had at the top of the World Trade Center (107th floor, building one), getting nicely toasted in the Windows On The World bar and the Wild Blue restaurant - good food, good wine, good service, big prices - before cabbing it uptown for more drinks at Balthazar on Spring Street. Each morning, hangovers would be gently nursed over coffee and omelettes at the aptly-named 'Little Place' on West Broadway below Warren.

By the end of this all-too-brief stay, Phespirit felt cosily at home with the character, layout and routines of New York; he was sorry when the time inevitably came to move on, but some unfinished business in Hackettstown continued to beckon for Phespirit the Usher .....

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