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My holiday was characterised by images from two favourite Leonard Cohen songs: New York is cold but I like where I’m living, from Famous Blue Raincoat; and I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, from, well, his famous song Chelsea Hotel.

I did like where I was living: a fourth-floor walk up that took me up and into a beautiful studio apartment in a pre-war building in West Chelsea, a glorious part of Manhattan, unfamiliar to me.

And it was cold: bitterly, bone chillingly cold. I woke to -3º New York mornings and the gauge barely grazed 3º degrees at noon. Curiously, the below-zero

temperatures and the icy winds that streaked through the avenues of this, my all time best city, did not become the chief protagonist in my holiday play.

The weather had a bit part; a player that was more white noise in the background than fire-truck, nerve-jangling loud. The thing that makes New York winters bearable is the light; it’s gloriously sunny no matter how freezing. The thin, wintry sun with its dazzling rays provides light and, perhaps as importantly, more hope than heat. Hope is an important element in this Donald Trump-besieged city, where bewildered New Yorkers wander through their city, looking suspiciously at their neighbours, wondering who among them voted in the monster Trump. The US President has few supporters in the Big Apple, every New Yorker will tell you as they bemoan his presidency and all it stands for. Probably the most frightening thing for the people I talked to was Trump’s undisguised racism. One of that number, a staunch Republican and self-confessed Clinton and Obama hater, who is generally vocally critical of the Democrats and all they stand for (things like social justice and taking better care of ...

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