Downtown, Street Performers, Chili Dogs & More

Trip Start May 04, 2012
Trip End May 10, 2012

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Flag of United States  , New York
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday, May 5 dawned dreary and cool under a forecast of sunny and 70. We never did see the sun, and at times almost broke down and bought hoodies. 

After breakfast we headed back to Planet Hollywood in Times Square to exchange our city tour vouchers for tickets. In the double-decker bus we drove through the theater district, Times Square, Empire State Building, Greenwich Village,Soho, Korea and Chinatown, past the new World Trade Center and down to Battery Park.

The World Trade Center Sphere is temporarily located in Battery Park. This 25-foot bronze sculpture is now a symbol of strength and perseverance. There is a controversy over where it will permanently be displayed. Some want it to be kept in Battery Park, but another location, while others want it placed back in Memorial Park.

Then we transferred to another bus for the Brooklyn bus tour.  The tour was the stereotypical Brooklyn native (that's all we'll say about that).  We drove past South Street Pier (17), and then over the Manhattan Bridge.  We saw beautiful brownstones and graffiti covered buildings and the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.  The Botanical Gardens covers 55 acres and is adjacent to the local zoo.  We learned that every borough has a zoo. (It's illegal to cut down a tree in your yard if it's still alive, according to our airport car driver...just one the many tidbits of information he shared with us.)

Pier 17 is a hotspot for people on the weekends with restaurants and entertainment, but not just buildings, there was a sea of food trucks.  One can understand how food trucks have become the rage with the IPhone App Trux Map to locate food trucks in any major city.

After returning to Battery Park we needed a warm up and found one of the hundreds of Starbucks nearby.  We decided to visit the Museum of Indians of the Americas, not to learn about the Native Americans, but to view the architecture of the original customs building.  The museum is part of the Smithsonian and getting into it was as difficult as going through airport security.

On our way into the museum there was one of the many weekend festivals and markets that we had to explore for treasures.  Bonna thought she was at the Mesa Marketplace only rather than snowbirds manning the booths, they were of Indian and Asian descent.  Sadly, we found no treasures and left without spending a dime.  What's happening to us?  When we had enough shopping we decided to find our tour bus.

On our way we saw a crowd gathered and went to investigate.  There were six black (according to them) dancer/gymnasts.  They were performing capparera (we think) and were amazingly talented.  As they were getting ready for their grand finale, one of New York's finest walked up and stopped the show.  Who knows why?  With that we walked back down through Wall Street and over to Battery Park, where we got onto the bus. 

After a boring ride with no narration we got off at the United Nations, but it was closed. So we decided to find food at Grand Central Terminal (Station). Lots of food choices, but we settled on chili dogs after sampling four different chilies.  Not a top culinary experience, but not to be thwarted, we headed for Juniors, a famous cheesecake bakery.  We settled on cherry cheesecake and shared one piece....aren't we good girls?

Sally wanted to see the New York Public Library, which was also closed.  Behind the library is a lovely place called Bryant Park.  It was filled with families and tourists enjoying the late afternoon. The most unusual thing were the public ping pong tables.  We've been impressed with how many small, but popular parks there are throughout the city.

We wanted to do some people watching over a nice, relaxing glass of wine.  But it was not to be...we waded into the masses of people where we felt like fish swimming upstream and all we wanted was to find a place to watch the Kentucky Derby and enjoy a libation.  But no, half the world must have been in Times Square and the adjacent streets.  We quickly decided to escape the crowds and walk back towards our hotel, expecting to find that perfect bar.  On the way we walked by a group of people camping out on the street. They told us they were waiting for the auditions for America's Got Talent and that it could be up to 4-5 days!  That's dedication or complete insanity!!!
Now, here we sit enjoying a drink and writing our story in our hotel lounge. We'll close and retire to our room until tomorrow when we face another day among the masses.  We really are enjoying this bustling city with people from all over the world....we're just suffering from sensory overload!
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