The Big Apple!
Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
89Trip End Ongoing
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6th April 2010
After bidding farewell to family and friends we finally boarded flight AA107 to NYC! An 8 hour flight and interrogation by US Immigration later, we walked out of JFK Airport to be greeted by the infamous energy of The Big Apple. Cop out maybe, but alas we joined the queue for a yellow taxi, and even this proved to be entertaining as one unlucky 'unofficial' Lexus cab driver abandoned his car for all of 5 minutes whilst scouting for a fare, only to return to an empty space; out of nowhere a tow-truck arrived, scooped it up and drove off!
20 minutes later we were on our way to 103rd Street, Manhattan, admiring the city skyline at night and equally impressed with the touch screen TV in the back of the cab on which we followed our exact position on a map of the city and were informed amongst other things of tomorrows temperature; 86oC
We arrived at the Marrakech hotel just after 11pm and checked into our room on the 5th floor over looking Broadway and above Starbucks. Our room windows opened right out onto the street and we could hear the subway trains making their way to downtown Manhattan and uptown to the Bronx.
7th April 2010
First stop on Lou's agenda...a skinny cappuccino and a raspberry muffin in Starbucks! Surrounded by lycra clad runners fresh from Central Park and people checking morning emails on their laptops. Walked through Central Park in scorching heat wearing jeans and carrying a jumper, we came across strawberry fields - a memorial to the late John Lennon. A welcome break from the sun, we sat on shady benches around a black and white mosaic dedicated to his memory.
We carried on down through the park past horse drawn carriages, cyclists, sun bathers and joggers to 7th avenue where the hardcore sight seeing began. We took in and admired, as you do, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the New York Public Library etc
8th April 2010
We had a nice breakfast at a little deli on Broadway and took the far easier option of the subway downtown to the World Trade Centre site. There is so much construction going on, including a 9/11 memorial, but it is still utterly unbelievable what happened here in 2001. There is a tiny, 250 year old chapel right behind the site which houses numerous personal stories and tributes, particularly to the firefighters that lost their lives. To find this right in the middle of a city like NYC, and knowing that this was the place where the rescuers rested, was really quite touching.
We paid a quick visit to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, to have a nose at the stock brokers in their snazzy coloured blazers! Backpackers once again and therefore ever in search of 'free stuff', the views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the harbour and the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty, all bathed in brilliant sunshine, were much appreciated!
China Town next, and rude not to indulge in some of the local cuisine which was delicious. After lunch we sat in a lovely square full of Chinese people, all singing, playing checkers - the trees are all covered in bright pink and purple blossom and it is gorgeous
Despite the blisters we carried on through Little Italy, SoHo, NoHo...all distinct areas of the city with their own personalities, and up into Union Square which again was full to bursting with people sitting, chatting, relaxing and impressive street artists. Once again wound up in Times Square for a cold beer, and paid a visit to the M and M store where we got a bit carried away with the 'pull your own' sweets and chickened out of buying them when they weighed in at over $12! Feet definitely not co-operating with the thought of a walk back uptown tonight, so jumped back on the subway and paid a quick visit to Duane Reade for a packet of $1 M and Ms and collapsed in bed.
9th April 2010
Had a bit more of a chilled out day. We spent a couple of hours in the park, went to Macy's and a few other shops in Times Square, contemplated the theatre but didn't go, and had a couple of drinks above a chinese shop watching the world go by. A really nice end to New York and looking forward to our flight in the morning to Seattle and picking up our car. But, already we are wondering whether New York can be squeezed into the itinerary when we come back to this side of the states in a few weeks! Doubtful, but wouldn't it be nice!