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Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Start spreading the news
We're leaving today
We want to be apart from it
New York, New York

These Airwalk Trainers
Are tired and grey
They've been from East to West of it
New York, New York

I wanna wake up in my own bed
That doesn't squeak
And not wake from up a fire horn
But from a beep

These big city blues
Are melting a way
I'll make a brand-new start of it
Away from New York

If I can't make it here
I'll make it right back there
It's back to home

I've had to wake up
In all these cities that never sleep
And find i've had so much fun, tired and worn
I'm Missing pork pies, I'm travelling numb

These big city blues
Are melting a way
I'm gonna make a brand-new start of it
In old UK

And...we have made it there
and we've been everywhere
We're going home
U..K, UuuuuuuuK Bud dum bududum Bud dum bududum dum, budumbududum Bud.

Ok, done with my little bit of creation for the day. I expect its just my subconcious trying to make me feel better about returning home so please indulge me a little for my craziness. Our last day has been a bit of a self guided TV tour on our way through Ground Zero to Battery Park allowing us to view the Statue of Liberty.

Our walk in the freezing cold (-4C with a further 10 degree windchill) took us past Carries steps (from Sex and the City apparently - a 'No Loitering' sign suggests that the steps get their fair share of obsessives), the 'Friends' brownstone (which is on the corner of Bedford and Grove in a lovely quiet area of West Village, Manhattan), the Ghostbusters fire station (on North Moore St - awesome) and the Tunnel Authority (seen as the headquarters of the MIB). It wasn't anything of a big diversion from our actual route and so was worth doing. You could pay something like $40 for a similar tour and ours was free so good stuff.
We walked around Ground Zero which freaks me out a little. It's difficult to put a scale to the monstrosities of 10 years ago but seeing the new 'Freeedom' tower being erected gives some sense of scale to the towers that came tumbling down, and it is huge. The memorial I am sure will be a fitting tribute when it is finished - but for now is little more than a construction site. The new towers look like they are being built to withstand anything that can be thrown at them and they are taking a long time to build - I guess it's a project nobody wants to make a mistake on.

We had to queue out in the cold in Battery Park for quite a while to get on the Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry. We should have booked online. It was about an hour in all out in the icy winds and the relief to get into the security marquee was immense. I found it slightly amusing that the security for a sculpture was higher than that which we had to go through to go to the top of the Rockerfella Centre. But I guess that's the price of Liberty.
The ferry was busy, the island was freezing, the statue looks just like on every photo you will ever have seen but at the moment with the added bonus that you cannot go onto the plinth and there are a couple of JCB's doing some construction work around the statue - they help make some memorable shots. There is also a nice big cable slung from miss Liberty's arm (something I am sure they could have fed through the inside of the statue).
It was very cold, it is a statue (which didn't move at all - damn Ghostbusters misleading me again!) and if I'm honest I was just a little bit underwhelmed by it. I have decided that as much as I am a man of construction and feats of Engineering, I am much more in awe of the wonders of nature and the complexities within it. The statue is a very thin copper layer (two coins thick) overlaying a steel armature and for me, doesn't seem all that. It's just a little tacky and quite small. It is a perfect souvenir seller though I guess. Thankfully, the ferry costs a very small $13 which is quite a bargain and although we didn't stop at Ellis Island because it was just too cold, I would suggest when you take that into account the $13 is extremely cheap.

It's not been the most exciting of last days but then we didn't want it to be. We wanted to just see the sights, be able to say "we've done that" and well, we have. For me New York has been a lot smaller than I imagined and that is partially because the Empire State just seems to swamp everything else by so much; it has still impressed me though.
It's a grand place and the Manhattan skyline is just so impressive, It is iconic. New York is a place of movies and it is a place of so many different mixed cultures. We haven't felt at all threatened (except Kate on our NYE cruise) by the hard side of the city but then again we haven't strayed off Manhattan.

It is a fitting place to end our travels as it is hyped as being one of the most awe inspiring places and the fact that we have not found it quite living up to the hype shows how far we have come and gives an idea of the places we have seen.
New York has crazy traffic but it just doesn't compare to Vietnam or China; it has loads of people, but Beijing was something else; it has a skyline to behold, but Hong Kong is just taller, brighter and grander.

New York just seems a little hollow to me. It's a little too much about appearances and not enough substance; it's like the Statue of Liberty. I would love to come back and see it when we need a break from reality again, when we are fresher, but at the moment New York has become that friend you just don't want to see today; the one you like but just not that much because they are loud and brash. The welcome outstayer.

It's time to close the door and turn off the lights to New York. Time to pretend we're out for a while.
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