So long pals
Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
13Trip End Nov 13, 2006
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Brooklyn, in the rain, the sodding wet rain, the consistent solid rain, the rain that fell all day long, rain, rain, rain. Okay, you get the point. After I changed into dry clothes and made the subway to the other bus pickup spot, and walked to the appropriate place I was soaked again. Wet jeans, and wet socks through my heavy boots, there was water creeping down my front despite 2 jackets, and about 5 layers. Yuck!
2 1/2 hours later after the Brookyn tour I was a happy man. - with a wet bum. Why, the man with the mic that's why. We had a bus guide like none other
Good thing we had him as there was sod all to see out the windows. Being on the lower level of a bus in the rain it just fogs up and we had to do our best job of imagining the wonder of Brooklyn out there. I kept opening my window a few inches to peek out, so not to get soaked any further. No matter though, we learned everything you could possibly wish to know about the Borough, once city of Brookyln. If it was a city in it's own right it would be America's 4th biggest. It's part of greater New York now, along with Manhatten, The Bronx, Queens and good old Staten Island. It used to be a rough neighborhood, but no more, now it's condominiums everywhere and the price to live there is skyrocketing. It was the running joke of the tour, everytime we;d pass something that used to be a fire station, a funeral parlor, a hospital, a warehouse... guess what it is know folks.. Chorus.. condos! For those unaware, a condo it an apartment which you buy, not lease
So what more about Brookyln. It's a great place by all accounts. Every time we went by a famous actors old house, or place of a film set he's give us the lowdown.. here is the bride on the French Connection where they did the car chase, here is the bank Al Pacino held up in Dog Day Afterboon, here's Barbara Streisands old house. She was a good Brookyln girl. I know her well. He seemed to know it all this guy. He radiated Brookyn and had a noticeable downturn in happiness once we hit the Manhatten side again.
Straight after getting of the bus we went into Roxy's deli for a hot coffee and a mountainous cheesecake to get us feeling a bit human again. One the way out we heard the call 'anyone want tickets for the Letterman show tomorrow night' We answered that call and scored ourselves some free tickets. More on that later.
Next day and strangely sunny again, as if the rain had never happened. Out last one in NYC so we had to try and squeeze the 10 million things on our list not covered yet before going to the Ed Sullivan theatre at 2 - 3pm to get our tickets for Letterman. Since it was sunny we went for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Same topic, but new chapter, what the heck. About 5000 people per day went through Ellis island for the immigration checks before onward to freedom and new lives. Freedom for the most part of working in overcrowded factories and servants for the most part as they didn't speak English or have any skills to speak off, but hey lets keep it positive. There were of course those with trades and so on, but many were from Eastern Europe and just peasants. If they didn't have any disease or mental issues they were probably al right though and got though the crude tests to become Americans. A massive number of residents today can trace their ancestry back to the Ellis Island immigrants between 1880 off and 1924 I think, when they finished using it
Back on dry land, and back to 57th and Broadway for the taping of Letterman late show. This was the cream for us. A little extra something for our last night in NYC. We both watch the show on and off so it was a blast to be behind the scenes. I've been inside TVNZ so see tapings before of NZ funniest home vids etc. But this was on a much bigger scale. The Letterman show is well, a genre all or it's own now I guess. If you like it, you'll like to got to a taping. You won't like standing in line for an hour to get in, but it's worth it. The house band entertain you before and during the add breaks and they are darn good. They played Green day and Lep Zep and Chicago covers. The guests on the show were Keifer Sutherland and ?? Jessica Fisher?? from the American version of the office. Keifer came across and a calm, cool, well mannered family man and the other girl was sweet and not short on confidence. Dave was slick and funny as always as was the running of the show. They have it down pat to the second which was impressive and we both rolled out of the theatre with big grins on our faces.
For our last night we went to do some final shopping in Bloomingdales and were fleeced of plenty of money swanky New York style then went for dinner at an Orgainc Vege place and met up with Clare's friend again in the super trendy in a grunge/high fashion way East Village
So my wrap up, well overall I loved it. I'd go back in a minute. There is far to much to do, far to much to eat and far to little time to do any of it. You could eat out every night of the year and keep finding new places. I'll be back, but like silly old Arnie. I think it's a great city. We did our best to see what we could. Poor Clare was poorly with a bad cold the whole time, but as you've seen she didn't let it stop her. The only thing was we didn't get out that much at night, but as we did so much in the day we were stuffed anyway. We did try to go to a gig, but we didn't realise that 9.30pm means 9.30pm here so we missed it. If I think of more to say I will later. Also there will be photo's added. You'll notice some from London and Czech already. The welcome image is Cesky Krumlov. It was my first impression on the town as we waling in with out heavy packs but I had to stop and take it leaving the group behind. It seems a long time ago now.
Next reports will be from Auckland.
Ian & Clare