16/09/2009 - Last full day in NY, so we decided to go shopping!
. We plodded up and down 5th and Madison Ave and then round Saks, Macy's and Bloomingdales and came away with a $10 pair of sunglasses! Maybe we have been spoiled by the shopping in London, but we felt the stores were no different to those in the UK. However, we did stumble across a beautiful Japanese department store called Takashimaya. We decided to stop off there for lunch in the tranquil tearoom cafe - a decision we would later regret! The food was great, but the lady who served us was a bit rude. When we came to the pay the bill, we didn't have enough to pay the usual 20% tip, so we left what we could and walked out. Big mistake. The waitress came running after us through the store, to tell us that service wasn't included in the bill and we hadn't left her enough tip! We were a bit shocked, but told her we were sorry we didn't have anymore cash. 'Credit card!' she demanded! People were starting to stare and I got annoyed at this point. The service had been terrible anyway! I told her that we didn't have credit card that worked in America and that leaving a tip was not compulsory. 'But this is New York!' she exclaimed, before turning on her heels. This wound me up for the rest of the day! New York's culture of excessive tipping is annoying to say the least. Surely waiters and waitresses are on a basic minimum wage - that's the law isn't it? They must make a fortune from tips on top of their wages (this particular waitress probably makes $100 an hour in tips) and they don't pay tax on it- do they? Anyway.....
As it was our last night, we decided to eat locally at a Serbian restaurant on our street (the one where Jude Law was the other night!). We had one of the best meals we've ever had...a perfect ending to our memorable stay in NYC.
15/09/2009 - Caught the bus from Avenue B through Lower East Side down to Brooklyn Bridge. The walk over the bridge was brilliant, although having seen over Manhattan from 'Top of the Rock' yesterday, we kind of felt like we had seen it all before! Saying that, it was still an experience. Continued on into Brooklyn Heights - a middle-class neighbourhood where a lot of the Manhattan financiers live. Very pretty area, if a bit bland after Alphabet City (where we're staying in East Village)! Had a lovely lunch (again!) and caught the subway back to EV. Went out to Little Italy for dinner and visited the oldest Pizzeria in New York - 'Lombardi's'. After eating an enormous pizza, we came across a local street festival in honour of San Gennaro. The atmosphere was like an Italian carnival with food stalls, music and amusements. Not many tourists, but lots of locals - real Italian New Yorkers!