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Manchester, England: A
By Michael Levy
born and bred in Manchester, I was surprisingly impressed on my last
visit. I now live in Florida and it is four years since my last
visit. Twenty years ago when Manchester was hobbling along as a
remnant of the industrial revolution, I had an amazing vision of the
Canal Street area from which I was conducting my textile business. I
imagined it as a club land, hotel and entertainment center.
Most of the fine buildings were in decay and I had the good
foresight to buy a few at what seems now to be ludicrously cheap.
There were a whole host of expert lawyers, estate agents, bank
managers, accountants, etc., unknowingly working for me, by telling
everyone how unsound it would be for anyone to buy old buildings, in
this rundown area of the town, frequented at night by rent boys and
prostitutes. These experts helped to lower the values of the
buildings as they advised the owners to sell to the stupid man with
a big smile on his face.
I sold the last building I owned in 1992 after I immigrated to the
USA. It was bought by a brewery that has since been taken over by
one of the largest hotel chains in the UK. The area has now become
the gay capital of Europe, filled with nightclubs, bars and a whole
array of nightly entertainment on the sidewalks by watching all the
gay folks strut their stuff. They certainly know how to party.
For the non-gay men who are looking for a sexy time, Manchester has
its fair share of escort agencies and many massage parlors that can
give Bangkok or Frankfurt a run for the money, so to speak. The
local Manchester Evening News has a page full of massage parlors,
making sure no red blooded male will go hungry. There are also many
discos with great rock groups and youngsters will have little
difficulty finding a mate to chat and enjoy whatever takes their
Some years ago, the IRA destroyed a large part of the center with a
bomb. It has all been rebuilt with great taste and style and my
hat goes off to the Labour council that have done a champion job of
overseeing the rebuilding.
For people who live or want to stay in a hotel outside the center,
there is a very efficient Metro tram service that runs from Bury in
the north to Altrincham in the south, taking in most of the city
center. It is a useful way of traveling around the city for those
who find walking difficult. Both Bury and Altrincham have
traditional English markets, Bury being the better of the two.
The shopping in the center of Manchester has changed for the better.
It boasts luxury stores such as Harvey Nicholls and John Lewis, as
well as cut-price stores such as Primark, where you can find good
quality clothing at ridiculously cheap prices, thanks to Far Eastern
For a good, all round walking tour of all the fine shops in the city
center, I suggest starting from the top end of King Street, where
graceful old buildings that once housed banks are now home to top
fashion shops. Walk down to Deansgate and meander on to the Old
Shambles. Then walk along Cross Street, stopping off at Marks and
Spencer for a sandwich and fruit juice, which you can enjoy sat in
St. Anne’s Square, where there are usually street musicians to
entertain you as you watch the world go-by. After a rest you can
walk up Market Street to Piccadilly Gardens, which alas, are no
longer gardens, but are well landscaped with agreeable fountains.
I stood next to a distinguished looking old chap with a small child.
We all were watching a few kids jump in and out of the fountain. The
old man remarked to the child, “Max, those children are prats”
The young tot gazed up with a serious frown and replied, “Yes
Grandpa, those children are prats” After a pause the youngster
asked, “Grandpa, can I become a prat?’
During your walk you will notice proud teenage girls and under
twenty-five women, who like to show of their assets. With low-slung
jeans with thongs showing, short skirts, low cut tops and bare
midriffs. It is a delight for the old codgers, sat around on benches
whilst their wives shop, to watch them swagger their bottoms and
bounce their boobs trying to catch the eye of their dream, hulky
dish. Mind you, I suspect most of the young men are more interested
in watching the best soccer team in the world ... Manchester United.
There is also the distraction for the lads of cricket that has taken
on a new life. England won the Ashes this year and Old Trafford
Cricket club hosted one of the matches. Rain did not stop play.
Outside the city center, it is only a fifteen-minute drive (in low
traffic) to the Trafford Park Town Center Mall. It is the biggest
shopping mall in Europe with a Venetian theme and a seventy-foot
spouting fountain. The shops offer a large variety of merchandise
and compares favorably with anything the USA has to offer regards
style, price and food court.
The city is surrounded by many testing golf courses, many parks with
large children’s play areas and fine museums and art galleries that
are all free to visitors. There are many casinos, a super new
concert hall, theaters, great restaurants and sidewalk cafes. The
China town district has some of the best Chinese restaurants in the
country and you can get a buffet lunch with 55 dishes to choose
from, for only five pounds ($9.00)
Manchester is located in the central part of the UK, even though it
is known as the North West and is a great center for visiting all
parts of the UK. London is only two and a half hours by train, but
if you go by road be prepared for slow moving traffic or even
gridlock because there are traffic jams on all main motorway’s
(highways) every working day of the week. I guess that is called
progress, but overcrowded roads causing many accidents is a poor
price to pay. BBC radio two, has half hour bulletins on traffic
delays. If you plan to drive anywhere, make sure you take plenty of
water and a few snacks incase you get caught up in the road mayhem.
The Lake District and the West Riding of Yorkshire have wonderful
countryside, are only two hours from Manchester and are well worth a
visit. In addition, no visit to Manchester would be complete without
going to Blackpool for the day. The biggest funfair in Europe and
many other attractions too numerous to mention...And super fish and
chips at the Cod Cottage.
The best months to visit are May, June and September. The kids are
in school, the weather should be fine and the hotels should offer
off peak prices. I was in Manchester in September, the weather was
sunny, cool-to-warm, and very few days of rain...Maybe even the
title ‘rainy city,’ is changing for the better.
Manchester is most definitely a city reborn. It still has high
crime, as do all big cities. However, it is sure to impress any
visitor. The new buildings have great style and the whole of
Manchester has a fresh sexy swagger and an air of confidence filled
with friendly people that will warm the cockles of your heart. Two
thumbs-up for Manchester as one of the best cities in Europe for a
business conference, a short, three-day vacation or a dirty weekend
break, leaving the kids with the grand parents.
All rights reserved.
Michael Levy is the author of six books. His new book is titled "The
Joys of Live Alchemy" The words Live Alchemy are an anagram of
Michael Levy. Therefore, in print and in life, Michael Levy is an
authentic living alchemist. He is an unusual poet, alchemy
philosopher and uncommon author, who writes from the heart and soul.
When the words "Inspirational books" are typed into a Google search
engine, Michael's website ranking is number one, out of many
inspirational web sites.
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