I really love hearing about people's trips. I absolutely love New York. (I have the t-shirt to prove it ) It's a shame that my trip there didn't really do it justice.
Thursday was Statue of Liberty Day!!
Now, as I said, Garry is a creature of habit, and he’d found somewhere that he likes breakfast from (the aforementioned combination of a deli, a subway, and a KFC). I don’t really mind as I’m also a creature of habit, and eating pretty much the same thing everywhere (a mixture of pancakes, French toast, bacon and croissants – sometimes bacon on a croissant, yummy!). We’re booked in for the 10.15 timeslot on the ferry to Liberty Island, so we were up and about a bit earlier – I wanted to get there at about half nine, so we had time to pick up our tickets at castle Clinton (although we had the NY passes, I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to get into the museum with it as nobody could give me a straight answer – I was right, the pass is for the Island only, so for the extra $12 a person its well worth it). We go though the groovy air blowing security, and we’re off! Slight moment of stress as Louise informs me that last time I knew which side of the boat to sit on for the best photo opportunities, but this time I’d forgot and not looked it up. An educated guess says sit on the right…
A good guess later, and we’re on the island! We walk straight up the middle section and around, taking lots and lots of photos as we go. I remember how annoying at was last time we went for the couples taking photos of themselves in front of liberty, so I offer to help out and must take an extra ten pictures of people I don’t know…
We stop off at the restaurant before going into the statue, and grab a drink. I went in for a snack and lou asked for onion rings. I have no idea why but I assumed she meant tha crisp packet sort, so returned and told her they didn’t sell them. She told me I’m special…. I think she meant stupid…
We go into the museum and the ranger is just starting a new tour, so we join that. He spends about 20 minutes talking us through the various bits on display, and then encourages us to view the rest on our own. We gladly oblige. Then it’s the long winding staircase up the original Eiffel tower (Gustave Eiffel made the inner structure for Liberty in 1884-6 and liked it so much he transferred the design into the Eiffel Tower).
After what felt like a hundred pictures we went over to Ellis Island. I’m sure you could spend all day here, but we only spent about an hour looking around the main sections. It’s a very nice place, and amazing how many people, even those who don’t live there now, can trace ancestors back to that place.
Back on dry land, we grabbed a hotdog (or cheese pretzel, if you’re me), peeked at the Sphere from the World Trade Centre and jumped up on the subway to Ground Zero. It’s a little less sombre there now, and more of a manic building site. You can still view the entire area, although some of it is covered just so you don’t get covered in debris. I’d say that freedom tower is currently 25-40 stories high, and will only get higher!
Another subway ride later, we’re back in times square. The NY pass we had gave us $10 per card off a meal at Planet Hollywood, so it’d be rude not to use it! It’s happy hour, so I soak in an Appletini while we’re there too.
Back to the hotel to ditch the old folks ( ? ), and we’re freshening up for our show. Me and lou had discussed ages ago that we should go see Wicked together, so we bought tickets in advance rather than try the TKTS booth (good job too, the show is sold out 99.9% of the time). When there, the usher is very nice and talkative, and tells us the name of the bars that the cast usually hang out at after the show (one was called 21, and has 21 small jockeys on the stairs outside the bar). He also informs us that his mom still works at the Gershwin theatre too, and he must be 45-50… he also tells us that their 8 shows a week gross $1.2 million a week or more… that’s a lot of money!! (Wicked sidenote: the original Glinda, Christen Chenoworth, is now in Promises Promises, also on bradway, alongside Sean Hayes - Jack from TV’s Will and Grace).
The show was awesome. We’d both seen it in London, but this was better. Glinda was ace, I love her hair tossing routine. She also over camped up her role, and it worked really well. I will always think that act 1 should end 10-15 seconds before it actually does, but that’s just me – I’m a clever chap, once she declares war on the wizard I know it’s on, I don’t need a bunch of munchkins reinforcing it and threatening to bring her down. That scene was more about her, and didn’t need it. That’s my ONLY complaint about that show. Anyway…
It’s over two hours long, so when we get back to the pub Garry’s finishing off his last drink, and Carol’s already called it a night – and we’re shattered, so we head off to bed too. We’re going cruising tomorrow ?
Fantastic reports I would love to do new York some day :)
The 21 Club is where the actors in an opening night play traditionally gather to wait for the critics' reviews... More than one play has made it (or not) based on that system.
Friday was the last day of manic activity – the plan was to spend the last two days chilling in central park. We knew the weather was going to be a bit rubbish at the start of the week, so we crammed the indoor stuff in at the start, so we could enjoy the sunshine when it arrived on Wednesday afternoon / Thursday. After the Statue of Liberty yesterday, we got up as normal and had breakfast at our usual spot, ironically bang opposite our old hotel (Milford Plaza, which is next to Phantom of the Opera). I’d called circle line the night before from a payphone (took me three attempts to find a working one!), and they advised we arrive at least half an hour early to allow for ticketing and boarding. Cruise was at 10am, so we got there at… about quarter to nine!! But it’s a good job we did, there was already a line at the ticket office. Once again we handed our cards over, and got to do some more stuff for free. I love this pass!
The sun is shining already, so me and dan go looking for a drink while the others wait in line. They do $7 souvenir cups with unlimited refills. Bargain!! We get on the cruise ship and as we’re at the front of the line pretty much, we have a choice of seats – top deck at the back it is, good views, lots of sun! The late comers are trying to find anywhere to sit / stand on the top deck, and they’re told to find a proper seat or go down to the lower floor. This seems to annoy some folks, but they’re back up later to take photos etc. Our guide is a cool rocker looking dude (goatee, pony tail) called Malachy Murray. He has a book out called Unique New York, something he reminds us of at least seven times during our three hour cruise. Upon googling him, he’s also been in several TV shows and has written a short film). He tells quite a few stories (he’s a native New Yorker), and generally makes the trip really fun. We’re supposed to go all the way around the island, but the Hudson River is closed while they repair a bridge, so we’re going around as far as we can to it, then back on ourselves, and a bit further up than we started from. We see some really cool things from out on the river, including some unique views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Liberty and Ellis island, New Jersey… and some less desirable (but still interesting) sights, like the waste disposal / recycling place on the edge of the island, which has its own park on top. The sun is blazing, and nobody has sunscreen on – pink faces all around, and some amusing tan lines for the girls who weren’t expecting such strong sun.
Three hours and several book plugs later (along with a plug for his radio show), he encourages everyone who has the time to spare to check out the attraction next door: The USS Intrepid, which has been converted into a museum, along with a concord donated by BA and a USS Growler submarine. Louise is upset that it’s not yellow, but hey, it’s free with our pass, so we’ll pop in for an hour. Or three! The Concord is pretty basic, you go in one door, walk through it, and out the other. The seats are protected by plexiglass, you can’t touch anything in here to be fair. But its cool to walk through.
The Growler was interesting for us, as Lou’s granddad was in the Merchant Navy, and this is how he lived during WW2 (amongst other battles, he was in the MN his entire working life). It’s a decent size as subs go, with three toilets and two recreational areas to the 80 odd people on board. The real attraction is the Intrepid, which has a selection of fighter planes on the deck (including a Black Widow, which looks awesome), and a museum inside the vessel. Lou stocks up on her pressed penny collection too, she’s trying to fill her book before we come home ?
It’s gone four when we leave and we want to spend the late afternoon / evening up at the Top of the Rock, so we decide to eat before doing anything else. We walk back towards time square, and settle on a deli called PAX, which I remember from our last trip. We have a slice of pizza each, and lou is once again amazed that just one slice of pizza is bigger than her face!
We’re going out for cocktails at Moda after the Top of the Rock, so we head home to shower and change. I enquire about transport home, and they can book us on the shuttle for $22 a person – or for $130, we can have our own limo. There’s six of us… not exactly a tough one there. Same amount or less, but we get our own limo back to the airport too? Go on then…
Back to today: TotR is awesome- Empire State should really replace their cage system with plexiglass like this. I’d never been up here before, and we get there at sunset, so catch the amazing red moon too. Sadly my camera had just decided to stop turning on while on the cruise (for no reason), so we’re down to three cameras – but they’re all just point and shoot. Nevermind, some pics still came out well. The glass was making it hard for everyone – the snap happy regular photographers flash’s were reflecting off the glass all the time, making it hard to focus and adjust.
We head to Moda and get our free drink with the coupon in the pass book. Then we treat ourselves to a few more cocktails (the one I’m drinking has four shots of different Rum in), before moving on to something a bit closer to the hotel – House of Brews, just a mere block away. This place is quite a nice regular bar, and is showing UFC on Saturday night. I make a note to head back for that ?
I remember the beer (Summer Ale, and Blue Moon) was good. That’s all I remember. I have no idea what time we got in. I just know that we all paid for it on Saturday…
Isn't the Intrepid amazing? The first time I saw it, whoooeeee! HUGE doesn't quite describe it. Then again, I can't imagine landing a plane on that deck!
I've never "cruised" in NYC. Nice report!!
Saturday was our first ‘lie in’ of the holiday! Well, The first day we weren’t up at seven anyway – we’d all had a good drink last night, and we were only doing central park today, so we didn’t get up until 8, with the intention to meet up in the lobby at 8.30- it was MUCH closer to 9.15 before we headed out. We weren’t feeling too clever this morning (its not Friday night without a hangover on Saturday!), so we avoided breakfast, and just dawdled over towards Central Park. In spite of being here several times before I still couldn’t find the zoo at the first attempt, so we ended up asking someone who looked like they’d know (the big green ‘park ranger’ TShirt did it for me). We were at the zoo by about 10.30, perfect timing for the Penguins being fed ?. They were all very happy looking penguins, even the one scruffy looker who stood out like a sore thumb amongst them. We watched these for quite a while, and by the time we’d finished watching them and gone to the bathroom, it was sea lion feeding time!!
This lasted about 25 minutes, and was very fun to watch. It’s no SeaWorld, but good fun nonetheless.
It was midday now and we were starting to feel human again, so food was on the agenda. We all had chicken strips with fries – not the best brunch ever, but it beats the fry up I would have had back here!!
We decide to make the most of our zoo ticket by going to the childrens zoo. I fed a sheep, and posed for pics on some of the kids ‘attractions’ (ie giant spiders web), as they’re better than the grown up ones…
It’s somehow mid afternoon already, so we buy a map from the Dairy Visitor Centre and realise the park is bloomin huge!! I’ve never been further up than Strawberry Fields. And today is no different, as it takes us forever to wander around to the 9th avenue side of the park, and we pop over to the Dakota building. Garry gets chatting to the security guard, and we take pics from just about every angle – but there’s not a lot of space around, and it’s just a building, so they’re not that great to be honest. We head back to the park and pose over at the Lennon Memorial, and sit down for a while to soak in the atmosphere (very peaceful, with a guy playing Beatles music from a boombox somewhere nearby).
We walk back down to the hotel, and freshen up – tonight’s the last night, so we’re going out for another sit down meal – they’d liked the look of Ruby Tuesday’s, so that’s where we’ll go!
We stroll down Broadway to Times Square, and stop and pose for the Forever 21 billboard again – this is quite cool. Where Virgin Records used to be in Times Square, half of it is going to be a Disney Store (opening in the Fall – the 5th avenue one is already closed, meaning NYC currently has NO DISNEY STORE – shocking), and half is a fashion shop called Forever 21. The billboard above it is a massive screen, and theres obviously a camera pointing over the road to the area near the entrance to the Marriot / Street by TKTS steps. Then about once every two minutes someone walks on the screen and takes a Polaroid picture of the people below, and show it slightly magnified on screen. Clever stuff. We’ve been doing different poses all week, today is YMCA. We’re easily amused.
Ruby Tuesdays was very nice – the salad bar here has the nicest croutons ever, the garlic biscuits they serve are to die for, and the fillet steak was the best I’ve had in a looong time. We were cautious not to order starters (just the salad bar), as three courses is proving to be too much for us, and I need cheesecake…
Carol was getting tired (she has pins in her foot from a fall last year, and very soft bones, so walking all day causes her pain, which she largely ignored but occasionally the swelling beat her), so Garry walked her back to the hotel, while the four of us had a quick look around the m&m store and Hersheys. He then met Lou and Vicky in the Irish bar, and me and Dan went back to the house of Brews to watch the UFC. This was a unique experience for us, as its usually on at 3am over here on ESPN, so watching it as we would football (in a bar FULL of men – I counted 5 women max) was kinda cool. They also got very excited when overweight boxer James Tonney got beat within two minutes. I bet they won’t be laughing when they find out how much those two minutes generated for the former heavyweight boxing champ…
The fights finish up at 12.45, so we head straight back. Sadly, we’re going home tomorrow :(
Central Park is incredible. Most people do not realize just how enormous the place is. All protected land too, and right smack in the middle of Manhattan!
Sounds like you had a very nice visit!
I guess we’re now on Sunday, which is sadly our last day ?
We again gave ourselves a bit of a lie in – getting up at around 8, as we wanted to be packed up and out of the hotel by about 10 (check out was officially at midday). To say we struggled to get everything in our cases was an understatement – they were all rammed, and the hand held scales indicated we were all JUST under our limit.
We left the bags at the hotel, as the limo was picking us up from there at half three. We intended to find the place we ate at on our first day, as in spite of how busy it was, their home fries looked the nicest. But as we turned right out of our hotel, we realised the “no parking Sunday – you WILL be towed” signs all over the place were there for a reason – there was a massive market running all the way down broadway, from above our hotel down to times square. They had everything – clothes, jewellery, food, you name it. We decided to grab some food from here and sit on the many tables and chairs now dotted around times square. We all had various crepes, I had a strawberry and chocolate one, lou had a cheese / mushroom / spinach one. Yum Yum.
We had seen in our new york pass book that you could have a free 3 hour bike ride with the pass, so went off in search of the place (listed in the book as 330 west 46th, at 12th avenue). When we got there it was closed, with the premises moving to 200 (or so) west 58th – RIGHT NEXT to central park. It was midday before we got there. Grrrrr….
We got our bikes and initially WALKED them to Strawberry Fields – Carol and Garry weren’t cycling, and had arranged to meet us there, but you aren’t supposed to cycle clockwise around the park, so lou wanted to walk it. We met them, arranged to meet again at the hotel later, and off we went!!
In case you missed the weather forecast, it was HOT. So hot the horses weren’t allowed to work. So hot we had to stop for three drinks breaks in the two hours we spent cycling around the park – it’s a good six miles (apparently) around the edge/track, and we really felt it. The highlight for me was moving out of the way for a ranger van in the middle of an open road, and some angry new Yorker coming at great speed from behind me, and in spite of me being a farily big guy and impossible to miss, she came… oh a good TWENTY FEET away from me, then started cursing at me? Apparently we’re supposed to be telepathic to cycle here, as well as giving her 98% of the road space (you’d have gotten a bus between the two of us, you’d think I crashed into her!). After her little rant (which she slowed down for) I just put on my thickest accent and said “alright luv, just calm down a bit” – she didn’t know what to do, so angrily rode off ?.
Theres a swimming pool at the top end of the park!! Darn, I’d have loved that had we not been about to go home. Ah well, I’ll know for next time!!
We stopped for an ice lolly at about 100th & central park avenue…
We returned the bikes at around 2.20, and walked back to the hotel (stopping off at the cheesy singing diner next to Mamma Mia to get some more pressed pennies). We met Garry and Carol in O’Lunney’s for one more drink, then headed off home in the limo at half three. Check in was easy and painless, and we had a lot of time so we hopped on the air train to terminal A to go to Burger King. Back in Terminal C, we grabbed some duty free stuff for the family, and waited to board our overnight flight home…
All in all, we had an absolutely fantastic time. I did a lot of stuff this time that I’d never done before, made some funny memories (garry making up stories about king tut out of the hieroglyphics in the exhibition was priceless), and came out a worn out, but very happy bunny. I cant wait to go back again!