Squirrel spotting and $6 ice-cream.

Trip Start Aug 13, 2007
Trip End Nov 12, 2007

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Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We started the morning with breakfast at a café on 34th Street. Later the kids & I went to Kmart (similar to NZ Kmart - but LOTS bigger!). After dropping our purchases back at the hotel we walked to the Empire State Building which is close by. We took our photos inside by the model of the building, but decided not to go up because of it's reputation for loooooong queues. The kids and I went into the very impressive New York Public Library which was just beautiful inside & out. Everything inside appeared to be made of marble, and polished wood. Up at the top floor were amazing gilt ceilings, huge arched windows, chandeliers, and long wooden tables & chairs with lamps on them - a perfect reading room.
Kate was not happy by this stage - sore legs & complaining of the heat, it was admittedly a very hot day with a clear blue sky and a very warm breeze. We took the subway further up 5th Avenue and brought a huge hot pretzel each (they were about the size of a large bread & butter plate and cost $1.50). It was nice just sitting on the bench watching people go by, eating our pretzels and looking down the long canyons of skyscrapers.
Then we arrived at F.A.O Schwarz, a famous New York toyshop - remember the floor piano in the Tom Hanks movie 'Big'? Kate got to dance on the piano, what a buzz - Josh said his feet were too sore. We were greeted at the door by a real-life 'Toy Soldier' who welcomed us into the store. Inside we were overwhelmed by the huge array of soft toys, both 'kid' size ones for sale, and massive display ones which included upright bears (taller than me!) giraffe's, dragons, tigers, polar bears etc. Joshua designed on a computer a Hot Wheels car, which was then produced on the spot for him - it came in a display case with a certificate & a key ring. I bought myself a 'Mommy' smurfette (I used to collect them as a kid) which I thought was appropriate for me! We went down to the café thinking we'd have a coffee while the kids had an icecream. Sitting at an amazing counter with heaps of multi-coloured marbles set into it, we were gobsmacked at the menu prices - $5 for a drink of soda (translated: fizzy drink) $6 for a single scoop of ice-cream! So the kids had tap water & we had a coffee - still came to $6.50 though. Must have been some pretty special ice-cream for that outrageous price!
Across to Central park, which was lovely & green & cool. Oak trees everywhere and horse & carts lined up at the edge. Inside the park we finally saw our first squirrels - I was a bit worried that we wouldn't see any, and Kate was really looking forward to it. They were smaller than I expected, probably about 25-30cm long with a 20cm bushy tail. Boy they were hyper! They darted here, there & everywhere and even climbed up the fence in front of us so we got a close look at them. Kate & Josh started tossing them scraps of pretzel and thought they were just delightful. The kids had a short play at a playground we found - Kate got a little burst of energy there - and then we headed back to our hotel room on the subway.
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babieemelly on

Hi Alvrez family! I found your travel blog while searching for pictures from the TN/NC area and I decided to start from the beginning. I'm only on the second day but I'm really enjoying it! I was born and raised in NYC so I'm fascinated by reading other people's reactions to it. I knew I had to leave a comment after reading you paragraph about the squirrels. We see lots of them running around all the time and don't think twice about it. The fact that visitors would seek out the squirrels made me realize how much I take a lot of the sites of New York for granted. It was just a really cool thing to read. New Zealand is a country I've always wanted to visit an it's funny to think about what common things to you I'd seek out and comment on during a trip. It's fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

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