The one an only time I have been to America was to visit New York in February 2005 and it was magical.  There was snow.  Who knew how beautiful a city can be in snow.  London is just awful.  Christo’s Gates were in Central Park and what an eye-opener that wonderful breathing space was.  What hit me more about the city than anything else was

how old it was – I thought it was going to be full of sky-high greenhouses and was unprepared for Gotham City.

MoMA was newly opened and I found it one of the most beautiful new buildings I had been in.  So full of light and air, and I loved the use of its spaces that made not only the galleries, but views across and over, around and through the interior.  Really beautiful.

By contrast was the Frick Collection full of amazing masterpieces and hardly another soul.  So rare to be in an art gallery with great works of art and not be surrounded by swarms.

Highlight after highlight.  Our tour of the Tenement Museum, one of the most fascinating and important historical buildings I have ever been, reduced me to tears.  An extraordinary gem shining like a candle in the darkness of Trump’s night.

We happened to walk past Barnes and Noble, and Lauren Bacall was signing her autobiography.  I never queue down a street for book signings.  I queued.  I still can’t quite believe the words:  I have met Lauren Bacall.

Another book evening in a little independent bookshop.  Author Sherill Tippins talked about her wonderful book The February House.  Biography, history and gripping story-telling of a real house in New York inhabited by the most extraordinary bunch of people.

We walked and walked and because our guides were  New York friends, we wasted no time.  Every meal was an event.  Breakfast in a hotel (we weren’t staying in) was one of the best meals of my life. Lunch in Katz’s Delicatessen was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.  WHAT IF I LOSE MY TICKET??? (I didn’t but was still traumatised)

I got called “homie” by a man who picked up my dropped hat and felt I had made it.

The irony of it all was I had the worst chest infection of my life while I was there – probably from the plane’s air-conditioning.  But I was so, so happy I couldn’t be miserable.

So many other small moments.

I never saw Times Square or the Statue of Liberty.

I remember it like it was yesterday and I’m sitting here smiling.