Monday, March 20, 2006
Neiw Yoirk Repoirt - Part 2
"Hey! I'm walkin' here!" As promised in my earlier New York report, here is the details of where we went, what we saw and what we thought. Empire State Building This was totally excellent! If you walked left out of our Hotel to the corner of the block, you could see the Empire off to your right. It was really close! Right next to a Starbucks too! We went first thing in the morning on Tuesday after a bacon/egg/cheese/bagel/coffee combo deli breakfast. As it was so early, we pretty much went straight in and straight to the top for a clear view as far as the eye can see! I have some great pictures and will post them to my Flickr when I get a chance to re-install Photoshop to my PC and "tart them up". It's an amazing building too - art deco to the max! Grand Central Terminal This was also a cool place to "hang out" and "people watch". It was only about 15 minutes walk from out Hotel too. The main terminal was totally breathtaking and almost like a cathedral. We took photos of "the clock" for our kids after they saw Melman the Giraffe smash his head into it on the cartoon, Madagascar. We had lunch in the food court downstairs on the same day and went back for breakfast there too the next day for another sesame seed bagel/cheese/bacon coffee combo thing. Totally delicious! Nice to see people going about their normal day to day business too. Saw some snooty business men getting their shoes shined as they totally ignored the person doing the work! Financial District/Wall Street We took the Metro from Grand Central to Wall Street to check out the Stock Exchange which we thought we might be able to get into to see the action from the public viewing gallery. Of course, it was closed after 911 - but our guide book we had borrowed was over 6 years old!! We got to see some "financial types" getting filmed outside the stock exchange and then photographed by the press, guarded by some butch SWAT types with automatic machine guns! One of the them was a kid called "Zack", or so his gold plated name badge told me. He was obviously with his parents and had a look of "made for life" all over his smug little weasel face. We asked a security guard who they were, but he just gave us indifference. "Jus' some more rich people". Liberty Island From Wall Street we walked through Battery Park to the ferry to take us to Liberty Island to see the Statue Of Liberty. The security to get onto the ferry was more invasive that it was for us to get onto the aircraft and into the country in the first place! I had to remove my belt and shoes to get through the scanners and x-ray machines. The statue is pretty cool close up and it was a real nice day too. From then on, the week got hotter. We had got tickets to go inside the statue, but after queuing for ages behind another 30 people, we then found that the people a few feet in front of us were told that they would be waiting an hour to get in. As my legs and lower back were killing me from walking so far, we decided to head for the "Tat shop" and head back to the mainland. We got some nice photos there of the brown smog hanging over the city too. Ground Zero We walked from Battery Park up to Ground Zero to see "the hole". It was quite odd really. To think that there were 2 massively tall buildings in such a small area is amazing. And to think that they had been destroyed without causing much (or any) damage to nearby buildings was also amazing (read "conspiracy"). The whole area seemed very quiet too. There were lots of billboards up showing designs for what was to replace the buildings. Not sure which one is going up though. At the moment, the hole is just full of what appears to be air conditioning ducts! Soho/Greenwich Village We walked uptown from Ground Zero to Soho and Greenwich Village, bits of which reminded us of Camden Market and Covent Garden. We took a much needed respite in a coffee shop with a giant slab of carrot cake and a seat in the window so we could see what was going on. The wife shopped, I yawned and ached and we made our way back up towards our Hotel. We rested for an hour and watch crap US TV and then headed out to a buzzing steakhouse where the smallest steak was 6 inches diameter and 8 inches deep! I had a massive burger and fries which was my first real big American portion. Great food and a great atmosphere! Macys/Saks/Bloomingdales The first day (night in UK time) we got there, we dumped our suitcases, looked for something to complain to the hotel staff about in the room (found nothing though!) and headed out for a walk and some food. We stumbled upon Macys a few blocks away and the wife settled into what would become the main theme of the week. Shopping. Macys was ok, but not quite what I expected. I was lead to believe that it would be like Harrods (to which I have never been) but it only sold clothes! Bloomingdales was the same, but Saks (of 5th Ave) was a real classy joint! The decor in there was really nice and on one floor, we turned the corner to see Roberta Flack doing a PA for the store. So we got to see her tho! And she was very good. Tiffanys Breakfast not included! We went to Tiffanys twice. Once to look. Once to buy. I was under the impression that it was going to be very posh and when I saw the security guard on the door, I expected to be turned away as I had holes in my shoes (more on that in my next posting). The shop was cool and the staff were pleasant too. Obviously used to tourists cruising in to take a look at their wares. We went back on Thursday and I bought my wife a bracelet for her birthday we had been looking at for a while (at the cheap fakes on eBay). Central Park We walked from our hotel, all the way down Broadway, looking for a toyshop that was mentioned in the guide book we had, which don't forget, was 6 years out of date. Needless to say, by the time we hit 97th street, we decided it was not there any more. We got to see a hotel we nearly booked into and were glad we did not! We cut through east across into Central Park and rested a while. Well... I rested a while with my sore legs and back. We then proceeded to circumnavigate the Jackie Kennedy Onasis resovoir, against the wishes of the signposts and sour looks from the joggers who were nearly bumping into us. We tried to get into the Guggenheim but it was closed on Thursdays. Damn guide book again! We carried on down and ate pasta for lunch in the basement of the Metropolitan Museum. We tried to blag our way into the main exhibits for free, but got caught. We then stopped at the Woolman Ice Rink and Central Park Zoo, for more Madagascar related photos, on the way back "downtown". New York Central Library This place was cool. Very very nice inside and full of people with their Apple Notebooks studying. I wanted to be one of them! The main reading room was amazing and was very nice. We went back again on Friday for a free piss and a sit down to kill time before our flight (as we had run out of cash too!). We got to watch some breakdancing street performers outside. I'd give anything to be able to windmill.... Times Square Flashy. Very flashy. Avoid if you have photo-sensitive epilepsy! My mate Ghone, said before I went that Piccadilly Circus was much better. What a twit! It was very impressive. We also got to wave at the kids back in the UK via the Times Square Earthcam Webcam! Toys-R-Us was disappointing as were most of the shops there. We ate in the Hard Rock Cafe there as we couldn't be bothered to walk anywhere. We were seated in the Madonna and Velvet Revolver area, close to James Brown's suit and some of Elton John's too. Well... there's my quick recap. I have missed so much, but you probably never read it all anyway! It makes me want to go back there again! Buy me an Apple Powerbook, a large Mocha, sit me in a New York Deli and I will be a happy man!