It all started with Twitter correspondence between Rich’s sister, Lulu, and I a month or two ago. I had only met her via Twitter but felt like I knew her better than an online connection through Rich’s stories and by reading her blog Berry Diaries:
@BerryDiaries: @skattijay Any chance you and Rich could join us in New York 23 to 26th Aug to celebrate my 30th??
@skattijay: @BerryDiaries Aaah we will still have the owners on then 😦 We were thinking of visiting in Nov if you guys are around?
Lulu and her husband, Pete, live in London so I hadn’t met them yet and the last time Rich saw them was after their magical wedding last December. As the yacht’s itinerary changes daily, we weren’t able to make any concrete plans. A few days before Lu and Pete were due to land in New York City, we were berthed in our usual spot at Chelsea Piers but the yacht was headed back to Nantucket. SUCH bad timing!
Luckily the yacht owners scheduled a trip away for three days over the same weekend so Rich worked out a plan for us to fly over to Manhattan for two nights and surprise Lulu. Operation Surprise Lulu was in full force. Rich organized the United flights, I found a hotel and then booked a table for four at The Park in Chelsea on Friday afternoon. The table was booked under Pete’s name so the plan was that they would arrive at the table where Rich and I would be seated.
Unfortunately, our United flight from Nantucket to Newark, New Jersey was delayed by an hour so our slick plan changed gear. Pete and Lu punctually arrived at the restaurant and were seated at the table of four. Lu started asking questions about who they were meeting for lunch. She said she even started feeling a bit anxious while she guessed who the two mystery guests could be.
While Pete successfully managed to divert Lu’s questions, we shared a yellow cab with an Italian couple from Naples and tackled the Friday NYC traffic. Finally we arrived on 10th Ave in Chelsea and snuck into the restaurant.
Surprise! Operation: Surprise Lulu in New York City successfully completed 🙂
Hugs, tears of happiness and introductions kickstarted a jam-packed weekend of fun. It was wonderful to finally meet some of Rich’s family in one of my favourite cities and to share memorable once-in-a-lifetime experiences (more on that in the next blog post).