New York, New York!!

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2012

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oh my word, I have just had the most incredible day... I could not have chosen a better end point to the best adventure ever! I've just got back to the hotel room and realized I've been on my feet for close to 10 hours, yet it seemed like I only left this room 10 minutes ago.

I headed out just after 7 this morning. Only coz I didn't really sleep much and rather than waste any more time, I got ready and headed due south. I had studied the map last night so I had a pretty good idea of which direction I was heading in. Make a right out the hotel, walk about 50 yards and you're bang in the centre of Times Square. It looked so different last night with the bright lights and millions of people. Whilst the vibe was great, stepping off the Greyhound into that was a complete culture shock. This morning's leisurely, no pressure stroll was perfect. I was dying for a Starbucks vanilla latte but I decided I'd get that as a reward to myself after finding and going up the Empire State Building. Walking down from 51st to 34th Street, I was completely dwarfed by high rise buildings. BIG is an understatement. You can see very little sky and in some instances, you can't even see the tops of the buildings. I couldn't wait to be able to look at it from a bird's perspective. Except once I was on the 86th and then 102nd floor of the Empire State Building I realized that birds don't even fly this high. There's no bird shit up there at all! What a spectacular 360 degree view. The 86th floor is open but the 102nd floor is glassed in - and obviously air pressure controlled. Not for the faint-hearted or those afraid of heights (Lynda).

Then it was Starbucks time. I'd earned it! So I grabbed my latte and went around the corner in search of a city tour. I found one where my ticket is valid for 48 hours and includes the Downtown Loop, the Uptown Loop, a Brooklyn Tour and a night time tour. I'm not sure 48 hours is even enough with all the hop off opportunities en route. So starting off on the downtown tour, I hopped off at the World Trade Centre stop. Geez, was this an emotional experience!! Someone had mentioned to me before that the memorial site was a bit disappointing - I didn't think so at all. I thought it was a very humbling experience and that the enormity of that fateful day, that clearly affected the whole world, is beautifully captivated in this memorial site. The pictures give more detail.

Then I walked down to Battery Park and thanks to a tip from one of my colleagues (Thanks Vihann) I boarded the Staten Island Ferry which is free. Unfortunately the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island is closed because of Hurricane Sandy, but we did sail past her to Staten Island and back.

Then I decided to walk up to the Financial District (Wall Street) - it seemed close enough on the map. But the wind coming off the sea and blowing up the street made me even colder than yesterday - and I had 4 layers on. A lot of the businesses and buildings along the South Street Seaport side are empty and badly water damaged from Sandy. She really wreaked havoc in New York. Also one of the big problems was that most businesses, including the hospitals, have their power sources in the basement of their buildings. So when the 13 meter storm swells came in, the sea water sorted them out. There are massive mop up procedures underway at the moment.

Anyway... I got to Wall Street and realized I had braved the elements just to see a bull? Seriously! And that was also the last picture I was able to take before my phone signaled no more storage. I nearly had an aneurism. I had to find a Starbucks to use their wifi to sync to my iCloud so I can delete off my camera roll thereby creating space. Now I know the majority of you have no clue what I've just said, but trust me, it was reason to panic. Gosh and while I'm there I may as well have a vanilla latte perhaps? And a wee coz all Starbucks have public restrooms and since there's a Starbucks on every street corner, there's never any reason to need the toilet badly in New York City.

And I sat in there for more than 45 minutes trying to back up my phone and each time, the back up failed to complete. Plan B - delete some apps - which I did and I was good to go. Back in the bus, when it came, and then drove through Chinatown (told you every town has one), Little Italy, the East Village, past the United Nations and off again at Rockefeller Centre. I shmoozed around the shops there, watched a bit of ice skating and watched them sort the lights out on the Christmas tree. The lights will be turned on in the next couple of weeks and I'm sure that is going to be spectacular.

Then I made my way down to Central Park but it was getting a bit late. Nevertheless I checked out the horse drawn carriage rides - $50 for a short ride!! Then one of those bicycle guys came to try and get me to ride with him for a special price of $130 and I can get off twice. Seriously dude!! I'll walk around here by myself tomorrow, thanks. So I headed back up 5th avenue, past the Underground Apple store, to the Trump Tower. I mozied around in there a bit and then headed back down 5th, tried the roasted chestnuts (??) and then right to my hotel. Which turns out is just a chip and a putt from Central Park. So early tomorrow morning, I will hang a left and go around Central Park. Things I still really really have to see is Juilliard, the Chrysler Building up close, Macy's window displays, Madison Square Garden, Brooklyn if there's time, Harlem and if there are any other must sees that you think I must see (or eat) then let me know. After tonight I only have one day and one night left but if its do-able, I'll do it.

Till tomorrow...
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