New York, New York
Trip Start Dec 12, 2008
28Trip End ??? ??, 2010
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So we got on the plane and apart from a group of girls sitting in front of us it was quiet and we got a bit of shut eye. (Although one of the girls had the worst laugh I have ever heard, everytime she laughed we though she was choking!) So we arrived at Newark airport and jumped on the shuttle, which we stayed on for an hour or so as the driver did not know where he was going. We were really glad we weren't driving in New York firstly because they are all mad and secondly because there are so many tolls to get into Manhattan its not funny!
When we eventually got there we dropped into the hotel to ask if the room was ready. It wasn't but is was only a few hours away so we went for a wander and have some breakfast in MacDonalds. The hasbrowns were really good! and we saw our first NYPD officer of which we would see many more. I managed to put a useless post-graduate fact into use that New York have the highest number of police per capita in the world, and it shows! they are everywhere! So eventually we decided to wander back to the hotel (mostly because there was a sign in Macdonalds that you were not allowed to loiter and that the maximum time it should take you to eat Macdonalds is 30 minutes). On our way back we got a bit lost. We didnt have a map and ended up going around in circles. Dan will disagree with me on this as I said 'we are lost' and he said 'I'm not lost, I just don't know where I am'.
After we checked in we had a snooze and then awoke refreshed..ish... The room was ok but the bed was so hard and the room was a bit cold but it was a place to sleep! A little later we got up and bought some unlimited Subway cards so we could get around without having to worry about going the wrong way. This was a really good idea as it took the pressure of paying for rides off and we could just go wherever we liked. So we made our way to the Empire state building and saw the line to get in... it was around 2.5 corners of the block, and I mean a New York block!!! However, we thought we had already bought the ticket and standing in the cold would be good practise for New Years Eve in Times Square so we lined up. We got excited when we made it inside in about 45 mintes, before we lined up for security, and then ticket checks, and the 1st elevator, and finally the second elevator... We got there after standing in line for 3 HOURS!!! So once we were up there it was dark which was pretty cool, we got to see the city at night which is when it is most spectacular. Although the view was great, there was not much information about the building, how it was built and used etc which was a bit dissapointing. Escepially seeing as we were standing in long lines for 3 hours, even info panels on the walls would have passed the time and given us the info we were after.
After that we made our way back to the hotel and fell into bed. Early that morning we got up to make our way to the statue of liberty. We got there and got to stand in ANOTHER security line for about an hour. We put all our stuff through the x-ray (they also wanted Jackets which was a bit unfortunate as we were wearing 3 each) and then they told us our laptop had drugs on it... well they looked at it for a bit and gave it back, so its all BS if you ask me. So we got on the boat and headed out to the island. When we got there it was VERY cold, the wind was totally ferocious and bit right to the bone. The statue was good, it was really good to see it up close, we did have a pass to go into the momument museum but it was another line in the cold and more security and you weren't allowed to take in anything and had to pay for a locker so we didn't go in. We hopped back on the boat and headed back to the main island. It was at this point it began to snow and it didn't stop until the late afternoon!
We then checked out Wall Street and Ground Zero, we couldn't see much there though as they were doing some work at the vistors centre. After that we headed back in the direction of the hotel via the shopping district of Soho so we could buy some more winter woolies as we were incredibly cold. We each got a nice goose-down jacket for around $200 which was good. We then went for a snooze in preparation for New Years Eve in Times Square.
We left the hotel around 5:30pm to head uptown to the square, at which time it was already 29 degrees F. we Subway'd most of the way, we got off at 42nd street which is where the actual Times Square junction is, only to be told the entrace was at 57th street! So we walked all that way which was good as it was a way to keep warm. We got there and we were eventually let in except that the size of the entrance compared to the number of people did not quite work out and there was all sorts of pushing and squeezing. We had to go through about 5 gates and everytime everyone would push through and then run to the next one to get ahead. We had no time for that so we just walked, but you have to push or you will get crushed. At one point Dan and I got separated at the gate and he got through but I was wedged right up against the side gate getting pressed into it. Luckily, I got rescued by a policeman.
we eventually came to our spot from which we weren't allowed to leave at all, not to get food or drink or to go to the toilet... which was around 6 hours so the waiting set in. There were people walking around with food for sale at massively inflated prices, we got some wings and fries for $10 as we were freezing and starving but I was too cold to take off my gloves so I got hot sauce all over them. All in all we were in a pretty good spot we could see the screen and everything but there was no sound. We though if we made it to 10pm we would be able to hear the entertainment but there were no speakers placed up times square. The really dissapointing part was that we didn't know who the famous people were and who was doing all the entertaining and important jobs until the next day when we read it online. We have never been so cold in our lives but we made it and we can say we were there despite the fact we would NEVER do it again! Standing still in -5 degrees for 6 hours without being able to hear any entertainment is not my idea of fun.
We made it back to the hotel by around 1 and tried to warm up! Which didn't work, I slept in thermals and trackpants and my fleece and was still a bit cold. The next day was our day to just check stuff out. We went back to Times Square to check it out during the day, where we treated ourselves to a bottle of red and a nice steak for lunch. We then made our way up to central park by which time it was dusk, it was really nice to have a wander in the park and saw some racoons and squirrels. We then made it back to the hotel to sleep as we had an early train to catch in the morning.
We did like New York, we may get to see it again briefly in the summer as it seem to be cheaper to drive from Ottawa to New York in order to fly to London but we will see. We would like to have some more wandering time there if we can. We didn't enjoy the security aspect of New York but if we were to go back we would not be doing the big tourist areas so that would not bother us. It is a unique place, but we found it lacked the vibrance of San Francisco for example, but it is hard to tell as it was cold an miserable and we were beginning to get tired from the uncomfortable hotel. But if we ignore all of those things, we did enjoy our time there.