Old rough entry draft, few photos (Flashback)

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
overnight bus

Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Been over a year since I've been here but want to get rid of the entry out of the list of draft entries. Seems that I only ended up uploading photos from the first day and a half in New York so not so many photos. Also since I dont have the photos to jog my memory, some of the entries are probably a bit more brief and less informative then they would have otherwise been. Got to remember to revise this entry after I get home so you'll see a number of reference to my need to refer to photos to remember what I was seeing and doing..

Spent a week in total in New York and while the city was nice to wander I didnt find it all that exciting. Guess I only visited the city and didnt do the shopping, restaurant, theatre and other New York city activities. Also the hostel I was staying in only had two bed dorms and I didnt really talk to the guy I shared the room with. On top of that the hostel didnt offer any activities to get a taste of the New York culture. Guess I should have gotten my arse in gear and booked my accomodation earlier when it was still possible to get into one of the other hostels. Being in a bigger dorm with more people would of at least given me someone to drink with and maybe the staff would have been better at organising some activities.

Also for a city that is suppose to have so many people living in it, it didnt seem that busy or lively. Have been in cities with less people that seemed more lively. After talking to a few people I am guessing that this may of been in part due to the fact that New Yorkers seem to get out of New York during the Independence day holiday period.

All in all enjoyed the New York sites even if it was just a matter of walking around the streets looking at the architecture.

D1 - Southern End Central Park, Top of rock day + Night, St Patricks Cathedral, Byrant Park, Times Square
Arrived on the bus into New York city and while I couldnt check in until 2pm I could drop my bags off. Worth noting that the reason I had found it easy to get a room here was that the place had just reopened after being closed due to failing to meet fire safety regulation.

In the Manhatten area and can see blocks and blocks of skyscrapers with avenues running one way and streets the other in a grid like pattern. Since I'm here for a week and the metro has stations all over the lace decided to buy the 7 day metro pass so I can get around.

From the hostel headed to the southern end of Central Park which I've decided is to big to walk the length of given how late in the day it is. Park was nice enough with lots of people around the place also lots of skyscrapers around the outside of it.

Managed to find a few interesting spots around the park and lots of squirrels running around the place. Seems more like a small woodland than what I would normally expect in a city park. Also a lot bigger than I had expected at first.

From the park went back to the hostel to check in then headed to the top of the rock building. Ended up paying the money to have the ability to head up to the top twice. Once during the day and once during the night.

Had some nice views of the city from the top. Lots and lots of skyscrapers from the early 20th century. Given the building was fairly close to central park it gave me some nice views down into the park and of how the park was surrounded by buildings. Could also see the Empire state building which is certainly not something you can do when your standing on it.

After an hour or so headed back down, visited a nearby church and wandered the streets back to times square. At times square found lots of billboards and TV Screens advertising this and that. Also a fair few people walking the streets.

While wandering found a $1/slice cheese pizza place which had some nice pizzas and was about the only reasonably priced thing in the area. Spent a couple of hours just wandering waiting for it to get darker. Along the way passed through a park which had seats for people to sit, Wifi and lots of people playing chess.

Was starting to slowly get darker and had a bit of a wait to get to the top of the rock. Once here spent an hour or so watching the sun set, the sky get darker and the city light up. Lots and lots of lights all over the place with a few colour lights shining on buildings such as the empire state building.

Headed back down and wandered round the streets with the theatres on it as well as through Times Square which was lite up quite brightly. Also a fair few people out on the streets.

D2 - 6th Ave to Byrant Park, Battery Park, Govenors Island, Brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn
        Heights Promenade, Propect Park, Times Square
Started the day by walking the streets again. This time managed to find a streets that had been closed to traffic and had a number of food stalls running down the sides of it. While the prices werent to bad they were still more than I had previously gotten use to paying.

Spent an hour or so wandering the streets around 6th Ave ( I think) before heading down into the subway to head down towards battery park. Once out of this station I once again wandered the streets near the subway checking out the early 20th century architecture.

Had originally thought of doing the statue of liberty today but decided against it when I saw the huge line which looked a good 2hrs if not more long. Instead ended up taking the very to Govenors Island. Here I found a few colonial building from the time the place had been used by the military. Wasnt all that interesting a place though it did get me out of the city and gave me some nice views from across the sea back towards the city and the statue of Liberty. (Here is where the photos end)

After walking around the island for a bit caught the ferry back and made my way through the streets towards Brooklyn Bridge. Found this to be an interesting suspension bridge. Also found lots of people (locals and tourists) walking across the bridge.

Ended up crossing all the way across then made my way along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade which gave me some nice views of the bridge and the city on the other side of the river. From the Promenade decided to just wander the streets a bit. this is definately not the skyscrapers of manhatten. Very much a more suburban feel to the area with smaller buildings (though big houses).

Eventually made my way to Propect park which is a large park located in the area. Found that this seemed even more like a typical woodland than central park. Spent some time here just wandering round through the trees and past the lakes before heading back to times square are via the subway.

Again wandered the streets taking in the architecture and made my way through times square back to the hostel

Need photos to prompt my memory for extra info about today.

D3 - Harlem 135th to 172nd, Inwood Hill Park, Cloisters Museum, 4th July near Hudson
Today wandered the streets of Harlem. Caught the metro north to 135th street which got me into Harlem. One of the first thing I did was walk into a supermarket and as you can guess the prices here were a fair bit cheaper then the ones I had been seeing in Manhatten. Guess taking a metro trip out of Manhatten is worth the cost given the difference in the prices of goods.

No skyscrapers here with building all having a similar style and being around 5-10 stories high.

Saw lots of people in there sunday bests here. Had consided attending a local church service but when I headed towards the church found a line that was close to 1km long. Seems that doing a gospel service in NY has become a big tourist thing and am guessing big business as a result. Not sure how authentic it would be anymore. Have a feeling you would be better off heading to some small community in the deep south if you really wanted this kind of experience.

Given the line I had no intention of going in. Ended up just sitting outside the church for a while just watching the locals walking by and the service line being fed through the church.

From here Did quite a fair bit of walking stopping off at various points on my map that I thought might be interesting. Ended up covering over 40 blocks so did quite a fair bit of walking and just watching locals going about their business. Really need to the photos to remember details though.

In the end decided to head towards the river where there was a park. Had a few views of the river from here and made my way to a monastary that was in the area. Once again an expensive entrance fee but decided to pay it. Ended up finding the monastary was french in origin and had a museum inside. While it was nice its more the kind of thing you would go to visit in Europe than the states.

From here walked a bit more through some parkland and made my way to the metro. Since it was the 4th of July decided to head down to the river for the fireworks. This meant heading to the streets by the docks. While at first we were able to sit on the ground this later became impossible due to the number of people being packed into the area.

Lots and lots of people around by the docks though not sure why they were here since when the fireworks started the large building by the river obscured most of the view. Only the fireworks in the sky were visible and those closer to the river hidden. If I had realised this was going to be the case earlier I would have tried scoping out a better riverside location or even stayed in the parklands I had been earlier. At least they had some elevation  and would have given me a clearer view out towards the river.

Really need the photos to prompt my memory for extra info about today.

D4 - Area around City Hall Park, B&H Photo-Video
Had decided to buy a laptop so didnt end up doing to much today. To hot anyways to be to active.

Idea for getting the laptop was originally suggested by a guy I met in Chicargo. Didnt really think to seriously about it at the time but seemed to be a better and better idea as time passed by. America has lots of free Wifi and very few internet cafes all of which are expensive (ie. $6 or so per hour). Am sure rthat with the amount I used the internet that the computer would end up paying for itslef before I left the states.

Originally headed down to the stock exchange district to check out a shop there but the computers seemed a bit expensive. In the end ended up at B&H Photo-Video which is a jewish run shop with people dress in that certain jewish style (forget name) with the skull caps beard and long curly hair.

Found the shop to be interesting and pretty much ended up settlng for one of the cheaper laptops. Did though make sure that it had a reasonable battery life and a graphics card inside though. Part of the reason the shop was interesting was due to how you purchase a good. Here you first pick it out and show a shop assistent. They then send a request to the store room and a box pops up out of a shoot. This then gets put into a basket that is on a string and used to get the good to the cashier.

At this point you have a ticket and need to go to a cashier, Large booth  full of people where you pay and can then go and collect your good.

After making my purchase ended up heading back to the hostel to play with my new purchase. In the end spent the day setting things up, installing things and downloading some videos. While a part of the reason for this was that I had a new toy the other part was that it was so damn stinking hot outside.

D5 - Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Union Square, Manhattan Bridge, China Town ???
Once again headed towards the statue of liberty but made sure I got an early start today, unlike the other time I had headed down here. Still a bloody long line and a bit of a wait to get on the ferry heading out to the island.

Got the ferry out to the island and paid to just go up to the first level where you got a nice view back tot he city. Spent an hour or so wandering the island and the base of the statue getting some photos and reading about its history.

From here headed to Ellis Island where immigrants were once quarantined before being allowed to enter america. Had a lot of info about the history of american immigration but as for the building itself, not so interesting.

On the ferry one more time and back to the city where I wandered around the area near the ferry terminal before getting the metro to union square. Sat here for a while and a lot of alternate (weird) and homeless people hanging around the place. Pretty sure I then wandered the streets making my way to the manhattan bridge and passing through china town along the way.

Found a nice place for beef noodle soup here where I stopped for lunch and as in harlem found prices here to be a lot more reasonable than those in Manhatten. Ended up buying a bit of fruit for myself for a bit of a change.

Found china town to be pretty large (several blocks) with your typical china town signage, shops and hustle and bustle. Also at one point entered what use to be little italy but seems that its haye day is over and the place was being overrun by the nearby china town.

Once through china town walked up to the manhattan bridge and walked about half way across for the views of the Brooklyn bridge. After that headed back to a metro to another part of town.

Not really sure what I did after that (need photos again) but am pretty sure it wasnt much. Much to hot to be running around the way I had been. Pretty sure I probably ended up in times square again and had a couple of $1 pizza slices for dinner.

D6 - General Grant Memorial, Riverside church, Cathedral of St John the Devine,
        Northern Central Park
Once again took the metro north and started out by visiting the General Grant Memorial. This was a few blocks north of central park so decided to walk from here past a few sites then on into the park. Found the memorial to be small but with a couple of interesting statues. Really need photos to make any other comments.

Spent the next couple of hours walking through the neigbourhood here, through a park or two and past a couple of churches.  Ended up not being able to go intot he cathedral since there appeared to be some sort of service going on. Am pretty sure it was an african style funeral. Everyone was mostly dressed in white as is the tradition and lots of singing and dancing. A funeral here a a celebration of a persons life rather than an outpouring at a persons loss.

Got a couple of nice videos of the dancing and drumming though this was at a distance so as not to intrude. A zoom lens here definately would have come in handy. Again need photos here to jog my memory for more comments here.

Eventualy after a bit of zigging and zagging through the streets I made it into the northern end of central park. Spent a couple of hours here wandering. Found it interesting (especially at the lakes) to see haow the park was surrounded by a lot of skyscrappers, though not all as high as I expected. Once about half way through the park popped out again to one of the surrounding streets and caught the metro.

Not sure what I did that night though it was either, watch the movie Last Avater 3D, wander the streets near broadway and times square or play on the laptop because it was to hot and it had been a long week of walking around the town?

D7 - Conney Island, Empire State Building + Area NE of it
Today decided to catch the metro down to the coast and Conney Island. Stepping out here I found a beach, a long boardwalk and what looked like a 70s amusement park. Also a whole lot of strange looking people wandering around.

whole place seemed like it was fairly old and that it doesnt get the visitors it might once have gotten in the past. Guess with all the modern gadgets people have more options and less time to spend on the simple things. Have certainly found that in the poorer countries (I visit later) there always seems to be people out and about in the locals streets. People spend more time outside conversing with or watching neighbours though this is probably in part related to no Air Conditioning and not much on TV.

After walking down along the boardwalk made my way into the nearby streets. Seems that I had managed to find my way into the russian part of New York since there were a lot Cyrilic signs and food around the place. Also lots of bakeries so decided to buy myself a few perogy (buns filled with meat, cheese or something else and fried in oil). 

Still pretty early in the day so decided to head over to the empire state building and go up to its top floor which was going to cost me another $20. Once again had some nice views of the city streets below and since the building was in a different part of the city it gave me a slightly different perspective of the city.
Guessing (from the title I had given today last year) I then wandered the streets in the area NE of the empire state building and made my way back to the hostel. Guessing I was wandering the streets here checking out the architecture and many, many sky scrapers around the place. Unfortunatley, for now at least, to long ago to say much else without some photos to prompt me.

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