The Christmas party was in full swing when someone suggested that we all go and check out the â€œawesome penthouse with the million dollar viewsâ€ that was currently for sale in the building.
Apparently, before she moved out, the neighbor next door who weâ€™ll call Sue, just because clearly sheâ€™s behaving illegally, had discovered that it was empty, carded the lock and had a good snoop around, possibly using the fridge for overflow over Thanksgiving, and storing a bike in the second bedroom.
That Sue had broken and entered a penthouse came as no surprise to me. The woman had form.
4th of July, she broke into an empty rental apartment, this time on the ground floor, so that people could use the bathroom during a firework viewing party. â€œYou have to pee in the dark,â€ she told me, my mother and Hilary, â€œbut itâ€™s worth it not to have to walk up the stairs.â€ This is debatable.
Back to the party, we were keen as mustard to see the penthouse, and filled up our glasses to sneak over there in the dark. Floor to ceiling windows greeted us, looking straight across the river back to Manhattan. Itâ€™s an insane view. It really is. We drank limoncello cocktails and gazed at the lights. People were quiet, just standing and staring at the city.
â€œIt never gets old does it?â€ said Jon.
So though itâ€™s exciting to be flying home tonight for London and Christmas with our families, itâ€™s good to know that New York will be waiting for us when we get back.
Gingerbread Cookies (makes anywhere between 12 and 24 cookies, depending on the size of the cutters)
A few Christmases ago I was given a set of cookie cutters shaped like famous New York landmarks. So I make gingerbread Empire State Buildings, then pretend Iâ€™m Godzilla, demolishing them. Probably thatâ€™s more information than anybody needed to know about me.
Suffice it to say, any cookie cutter shapes will do.3 cups flour Â½ tsp baking soda Â½ tsp baking powder Â½ cup brown sugar Â½ cup molasses 2 tsp ginger 2 tsp cinnamon Â½ tsp ground cloves 1 stick (1/2 cup butter) Â
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until fluffy
- Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices
- Add the egg to the butter mixture, then the flour until just combine
- Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour to make it easier to roll
- Flour the work surface and roll out the dough to about half a cm thick. Stamp out shapes and put on a baking tray covered with parchment. Chill for 15 minutes until firm
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350f
- Bake the cookies for 12 â€“ 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the cookie) until crisp
Ice with confectioners sugar mixed with lemon juice to form a thick paste – and theme according to the Empire State lights, using M&Ms if you feel so inclined.
If You Can Make That You Can Make This
- Try these easy Christmas cookies