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Missives From The Big Cheese
 

Queens At Sea

12 May 2009, 21:52

Har har me lovelies.

Yes, you can infer from that that I’m back from one of my sailing trips. This was a combination of old ground and new territory. This was our second transatlantic trip on the Queen Mary 2, and the dozenth or so trip to New York, but the first with family (his) in tow.

Himself, his mother and his sister and I set sail on the second of May, heading for New York. I’d like to say that it evoked feelings of what generations of our predecessors did, but as loyal followers of my blogs will be aware, the QM2 is not what you might call a famine ship.

The voyage was great – opulent luxury, extensive cocktails and long lingering moments of utter bliss, indulgence and relaxation. I pillaged Southampton for magazines and devoured my Gay Times, Wallpaper and New Yorker at every opportunity. Heavier tomes got abandoned in favour of anything with nice pictures in.

We got a few good sunny days where reading on deck as possible, and a few were too windy and wet. Although the less clement weather may have spoilt it for some, I relished the reminder that we were at sea and subject nature’s forces. It was made me want to snuggle up and suck on a fisherman’s friend.



Highlights included a Martini Mixology masterclass, which due to some error in scheduling was attended just by us two. Professional as ever, the show went on and I staggered to dinner eight martinis the better. We also attended the daily ‘Friends of Dorothy’ get together in the cocktail bar. It was a little like watching a car crash – that many rich, elderly and predatory queens in one place was thoroughly intimidating and not really our scene. One gentlemen managed to drop in to conversation several times that unlike us he was travelling first class. He entreated us to try his dining room, but then followed this up say saying, ‘but of course you can’t’. He went on to tell us how fabulous he looked last night, and that this would only be topped by how fabulous he’d look tonight. Not wanting to be topped by him any further we made our excuses and left.


Arriving in New York by ship is a fabulous experience – the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance to the left, Governor’s Island beside you, and the Manhattan skyscrapers across the water.


We stayed in the Millennium Hilton. I don’t know if it was a mistake or a sign of the extreme recession hitting American tourism, but we got a fantastic rate - €124 per room. We also got the best rooms in the house – two corner rooms on the top floors. The views over the Hudson, Ground Zero and East River were stunning.


Without wanting to be vulgar and talk about money too much, this trip was partially motivated by thrift. As you might imagine Cunard ticket sales have slowed, so fares are at an all time low. Add this to the weak pound, and the whole gig cost the same as a week in Ibiza.

Our first night we had dinner at the Twenty One Club. A former prohibition speakeasy, it oozed atmosphere and style. We had a marvellous early bird and headed to Broadway for our show. We saw Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward. It starred Angela Lansbury and Rupert Everett. Everett was good but Angela stole the show. She was energetic and hilarious. I think this was my third time seeing a different production of this play, and I’ve yet to tire of it.


Next day we hired a car and drove to Woodbury Common. I’m not sure if there was a mix up or what, but I ended up getting a people carrier / small bus. It was about the same size as an Irish county. I had to drive this monster the length of Manhattan, and halfway up New York State, and back again. Driving in Manhattan is not for the faint hearted, but I managed to get from A to B without killing anyone. I went a bit nuts at the outlets and bought enough clothes to see me though to next year. All of which cost a fraction of the price here.

The following day had a bit of a late start which put an end to our plans to attend a Pentecostal Church of Jesus service in Harlem, so we kind of drifted around for a while, before abandoning our ladies and hitting town. We started off in Beauty Bar – downtown near Union Square. It’s an old nail parlour and beauty salon where they mix super cocktails and give great manicures. Just watch out for the smell of acetone. We then headed for a Bar called Marie’s Crisis near Christopher Street in the Village. That was just supertastic. It’s as gay and camp as Christopher Biggins at a scout jamboree. It’s a stinky subterranean dive-bar, built around a piano. The pianist plays various show tunes to which half a dozen alcohol-sodden regulars shriek and jazz-hand along. I just loved it, but especially the bitchy comments, like;

‘Oh, you’re just super darling’,

‘He’s even better when he’s passed out’,

‘You should know, you stinking whore’.

After the big bear barman with the Blue Oyster moustache started buying me cosmopolitans, himself suggested it might be time we moved along, so we got the subway uptown to our perennial favourite, Brandy’s Piano Bar near 84th Street. I don’t really remember, but I’d say it was probably fun too.

Our final day was spent having a picnic in the sun in Central Park. We hired a couple of boats and rowed around the lake. That was great, but by the time I made it to the airport the stench of stale sweat, last night’s martinis and asparagus wasn’t as endearing as I had hoped.

After a thoroughly uncomfortable flight home during which I envied the space and luxurious conditions afforded sardines I have reluctantly resigned myself to preparation for work tomorrow and planning my next holiday.

16 Comments
The Coroner
12 May 2009 @ 23:25

made me want to snuggle up and suck on a fisherman’s friend.


giggle
Thomas
13 May 2009 @ 00:09

The voyage was great – opulent luxury, extensive cocktails and long lingering moments of utter bliss, indulgence and relaxation.


Awww - glad you had a such a good time.
Fetch
13 May 2009 @ 01:36

He went on to tell us how fabulous he looked last night, and that this would only be topped by how fabulous he’d look tonight. Not wanting to be topped by him any further we made our excuses and left.


Sheesh! You'd think you'd have been able to see how fabulour he looked last night when he was topping you, but i guess you must have been blind drunk.

Glad you had fun. Welcome back to the nuthouse

fetch
Mystic Zig
13 May 2009 @ 13:05

One gentlemen managed to drop in to conversation several times that unlike us he was travelling first class.


One gentleman would have woken up alone in the sea if i had been there.
Sounds like you had a great time, i cant wait to hear Parkers side of the story.
Welcome back.
Hex
14 May 2009 @ 21:07

Sounds like you had a fantastic time. Really enjoyed reading all about it.
Cheezypuf
14 May 2009 @ 21:09

Thanks for the feedback guys. Bit disappointed Sash didn't post he was sorry to hear my fortnight in Bournemouth didn't work out
Stewie
14 May 2009 @ 21:23

Glad you had a great time, Cheezy. Loved your blog. Welcome back.
Flame On
14 May 2009 @ 21:58

The flight back must be a bit of an anti-climax after swanning about on a liner.
Cheezypuf
14 May 2009 @ 22:02

It was

I kept waiting for the ship's fog horn to sound and was wondering what time to get dressed for dinner. However there are three lounges in JFK terminal 4 and I cleaned them out of gin and tonics and nibbles before the flight so that numbed the pain a bit.
Elat
15 May 2009 @ 14:49

very very sexy blog cheezyanus!! glad ye had fun! i'll be in NYC in 4 weeks time. like totally excited n' junk. must note one or two of those bars and see if they are suited to my artistic temperament.
Butters
16 May 2009 @ 01:07

Great travel blog that doesn't make me feel envious in the least,no siree,not in the least.
Elat
16 May 2009 @ 08:54

Not at all butters with that very memorable trip to morroco that put all gaireans off the country for a lifetime.
Wheelie Bin
16 May 2009 @ 21:07

Great write-up, sounds like heaven. I've never been to New York.
Jupiterkid
17 May 2009 @ 18:06

Great blog Cheezy. You really seem to love cruise liner type holidays. Travelling to NYC in style on the high seas is a very civilised way to voyage to the Big Apple.

I must get my ass over to NYC soon - it's been years since I was last there.
4Paul
20 May 2009 @ 15:18

Some people have a horrible life as I begrudge
A great bit of writing Cheezy.
CeeDee
23 May 2009 @ 14:21

A great read and great pics. Glad you had fun!