New York, New York
Trip Start Sep 14, 2010
10Trip End Nov 16, 2010
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In no particular order, here are some of the highlights we have experienced.
To get an overview of New York, we jumped on the red Hop-On-Hop-Off bus and could barely get Dawn off it - she loved it! We had great tour guides and learnt a lot from the three tours - Uptown, Downtown and a Night Tour. Jordan came with us on the tours and during the Downtown tour, we got off so he could show us around some of his areas
Sightseeing downtown over a few days included The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Immigration Museum at Ellis Island was well worth it and we were surprised at the size of The statue of Liberty, all of us thinking it was much bigger. The New York Stock Exchange is a beautiful building and it was fun to grab a photo with the Wall St Bull. We had been told Ground Zero has a big impact on you, but we didnt feel it, probably due to it being a big construction site now as they begin to rebuild. We met Bianca's friend Andrew in the lower east side and went to a great underground restaurnt called Bacaro followed by a bar. The West Village (Greenwich Village) is home to the original Magnolia Bakery, Carrie , Bradshaws favourite bakery! It still has lines of people waiting to get in and though the cupcakes were good, the banana cake was better! The West Village is quiet with beautiful brownstone buildings and has a slight bohemian feel with a great street market on the day we visited. It is very Sex and The City. New Yorks first skyscraper, the Flatiron building is distinctive with its triangular shape.
Midtown, where we were staying is the other classic New York - shiny skyscrapers, taxi traffic and thousands of people. The hustle-bustle was not as overwhelming as we thought it would be
Courtney was surprised that Times Square didn't look to be as big as it appeared on TV and whilst definitely not the best part of New York, there was something still fun about the gaudy billboards. 5th Avenue was given a fairly wide berth given our lack of funds, however Dawn and Courtney couldn't resist Tiffany & Co's 5 levels!!
One of Courtney's favourite places in New York was the 843 acres of Central Park, especially the horse and carriages, but showing concern for the horses, asked about their welfare before she would hire one, and only hired a horse she believed looked well cared for. We also took a pedicab ride through Central Park and in and hour, only covered 1/3 of the park, but managed to see the major sights including the Friends fountain and The Mall (the long promenade of the park often seen in movies and tv shows)
On Sunday, we visited Shiloh Baptist Church in Harlem for a gospel service. Though still a predominately African American neighbourhood, we saw little aspects of its reputation as a rough, crime-filled area. On Sunday morning, locals dressed in their church outfits including hats and suits reminiscent of days gone by, flock to their neighbourhood churches. After the servicce, a parade was in full-swing for Africa Day - an interesting look at their political wants/needs/etc.
We made a few observations whilst in New York. One of the first things we noticed was the garbage bags on the footpaths. Not sure why bins aren't used so if anyone can help us out on that, that would be great! The second thing we noticed were all the Starbucks! When people say they are on every corner, they're not far wrong! They are absolutely everywhere and have lines nearly all the time.It's been a bit disappointing not to see some different American built cars, but maybe when we head north to New England, we will see a few more American pick-ups etc.
We were aware of the bad bed bug situation in New York before we left, but it has just recently been on the news that Victoria Secret and the Nike store both had to be closed as they had become infested with bed bugs as well
Our visit could've been longer, but we kept an open mind, a fairly loose itinerary and we experienced a little bit of everything. After New England, we will return to Brooklyn to spend a few more days with Jordan to meet his friends and see where he lives and works. We caught up with Peter's nephew Christian who lives not far from Jordan and will hopefully see him and his wife again when we return.
But, for now, it is Good Bye New York and Hello New England, hopefully to catch the changing of the leaves and see the beautiful covered bridges in the fall colours!
Hope you are all well,
Love Courtney, Dawn and Pete