After having to repack my small case due to picking it up while unzipped we walked the 4 blocks to our hotel, a very luxurious and ideally located 50 story building called the Flatotel
. (Costing only around £400 for 3 nights). The room was huge and could have easily slept all 3 on the King size bed but instead we took it in turns on the sofa. No sooner had we dropped our bags off me and Rich hit the shops and tried to get our bearings in the city while Dave slept off his hangover, we soon found Grand Central and found the train we needed for our evenings entertainment...our first ball game at the New York Mets. Having grabbed a bit of food and pulling Dave out of bed we crammed into the hot metal tube and stood for the 20 minute ride to the Citi Field. The experience was well worth the $20 entry fee even though we were up in the Gods with the moths attracted by the floodlights but we could easily walk close to the action to get some good pictures. The Mets Lost 13-0 to cries of 'Mets Suck!' from the drunken and annoyed crowd. The game lasted over 3 hours and it was past 11 when we were back in hotel room, although me and Rich thought this too early in the city that never sleeps and walked the 2 blocks to Time Square to see all the lights and sights including the Naked Cowboy, Elmo, Buzz, Woody and many other street artists.
The next day Dave was pretty much back to his usual self but still with no appetite, so we decided to head up the 70 stories to Top of the Rockefeller which was just round the corner from our hotel. This was $25 but had great views of Empire State Building, Central Park and across to the Hudson River
. Following this we went to the Empire State then back towards to Central Park as we had done a lot of walking in the baking 90 degrees concrete oven. Here we saw Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon by Yoko Ono, Central Park Zoo, and the Boating Lake. We missed out on hiring a rowing boat in Orlando so thought this was a good relaxing way to spend an hour, a few near misses later and with no-one falling in unfortunately we were back on dry land and heading back toward the shopping district and then to the hotel. Our feet had taken a battering on the streets of New York so while Dave and Rich watched Olympics on TV I decided on a relaxing bath with a beer and music to wind down. Our first proper night in New York began with the search for a restaurant which didn't cost an arm and a leg, our search wasn't too fruitful at first until we stumbled upon a nice Irish Restaurant with a friendly Irish waiter and a good selection of classic meals. While drinking Guinness and Magners we discussed our plan for our last full day in America knowing that it may be a while until we come back for a long road trip like this. Following our first full meal in a few days we headed back to Time Square so Dave could see it for the first time and Rich wanted to go to the large M&M store to get his girlfriend a present.
On our final full day we headed on the tube down to the World Trade Centre Memorial which Dave booked us in for yesterday, unfortunately as we got off the tube at Fulton Street it was chucking it down with rain, we thought we would head close to the sight and seek shelter to see if it would pass
. This didn't look likely so headed to a Starbucks for a bit of a snack and dry down. We did consider coming back tomorrow however we would have been kicking ourselves if we didn't go while so close so we rushed to the site through the rain and as by a miracle the rain cleared and we could take in the moving memorial site without running for shelter. Despite not having the Trade Centre Museum and surrounding 4 buildings finished yet it was still a spectacle and we were glad we stuck it out. Following this we headed down to the docks and got on a free ferry to Staten Island to get close photos of the Statue of Liberty, we immediately came back on the ferry and continued up Manhattan to Wall Street (the main financial district), where we saw that Manchester United had started trading today on the NYSE. A final bit of shopping on 5th Avenue at Abercrombie, American Eagle and Hollister then we went back to the room to get get ready for a more classy evening meal due to our relatively cheap day in New York City. After seeing a couple of Restaurants that didn't really take our eye we found the Empire Steak House on 52nd Street. This was a very posh restaurant and had famously hosted such celebrities as Ben Stiller, Mitt Romney and more recently (so we found out by our Waiter) Manchester United owners, the Glaziers. Here we had a set 3 course menu including Lobster soup, Filet Mignon and New York cheesecake, add to that a bottle of wine and whiskey and we were looking at a pricey meal. However it was well worth it and a fitting end to our holiday.
Our final day was filled with last minute souvenir shopping and more time in Central Park before one final stop in a Wendy's and a long walk plus subway ride to the airport. Here we waited over 5 hours with some duty free shopping, before a jet lag inducing flight brought us back to Heathrow, flying out at 10.30pm (US time) and arriving back at 10am (UK time) in only 6 hours. Massive lack of sleep as we didn't want to miss out on any films on the plane or the tasty food, such as chicken korma, tiramisu and apple oatmeal cakes. Had a good rest as Mr Wyles gave us the lift back up the Midlands and back to home comforts until back to the working world. Overall a quality holiday with lots of new places explored with interesting people and cultures.
Summary City by City
*Caution don't read while eating* After what we though was going to be a quieter night I woke up to cries of 'Oh Dave' from Rich as he looked down in disgust at the pile of vomit left on our hotel floor, it was either a dodgy chicken at the Mexican place or one too many Angry Orchards. Anyway after clearing up and checking out of what was a basic but well located motel we hit the road for our last drive up to the big city. After avoiding toll roads all of our journey we had no choice as we entered New York and after paying a total of $20 in charges we got into Manhattan. This was only half the journey though as we now had to locate our car drop off point on E 50th, with Jerry actually being no use today we ended up going round in circles until we got the old fashioned map out and found the Alamo car park.