Snow and Shopping

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End Feb 28, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New York
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Arriving at JFK airport our first task was to find our luggage.  While Mark was in the toilet Theresa went off to the luggage office and the lady took her office to a massive room full of bags and suitcases.  She easily found her own bag but Mark's was hidden so panic set in.  Fortunately she found it eventually and we needed to get a yellow taxi into Manhattan.
Our Vietnamese taxi driver dropped us off at The Gershwin Hotel and we set off for dinner.  We turned the corner into 5th Avenue and there in front of us was the Empire State Building, lit up in the darkness and towering into the clouds.  We found a Burger King and then headed back to catch up on our sleep.
When we finally managed to rise from bed the next morning we walked up to Macy's and the surrounding stores for a big shopping experience.  Macy's was huge so we spent nearly all afternoon there.  In the evening we met up with Theresa's uni friends, Hayley and Alison, who'd arranged to come to New York especially to meet us (and get in lots of shopping).  We had dinner at TGI Fridays near Times Square.  One of the waiters there compared us to Charlie and his Angels and offered his fist to Mark for some kind of recognition.  Mark had no idea what to do so he tentatively bashed his fist into the waiter's.  It was highly embarrassing for Mark but hilarious to the girls.
Alison and Hayley had got us some tickets to a Broadway show on the 24th so we met up at the Palace Theatre to watch Legally Blonde: The Musical.  This was Ali's choice but we all enjoyed it, especially the real live dogs that were part of the show.
After the show we went to Madison Square Garden to get tickets to the New York Rangers ice hockey match that night.  We managed to get four tickets sat together and enjoyed the game and the constant stream of refreshment sellers.  We found it a bit odd that the away team were not even mentioned by the PA announcers and the constant waiting while TV breaks delayed the game.  But we loved the fights, they're the best bit!  There were three fights in the game and the refs let them have a go before they jump on top of them to calm it down.
On the Monday the two of us went sightseeing.  First of all was a ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  We faced several security checks, most notably getting into the pedestal of the statue.  This process was tedious and over the top, worse than the checks at an airport.  The attractions themselves were far more enjoyable; we had an audio tour of Liberty Island as well as seeing the statue's museum.
At Ellis Island we saw the Immigration Centre and all of the processes the immigrants went through and the audio tour here was well worth the extra money to learn all about how to become a US citizen in the past.  From here we got the ferry back to Manhattan.
We walked up to Ground Zero to see the tributes to those who died on 9/11 and the construction of a memorial park with huge waterfalls to fill the foundations of the twin towers.  Last stop of the day was a trip up the Empire State Building.  There were more security checks and the officious buggers confiscated Mark's bouncy ball, as if he would throw it from the 86th floor of a building!!!
For dinner that night we ate at Junior's restaurant with Alison, Hayley and a friend of Hayley's called Wes.  The restaurant's specialities were 10oz steak burgers and cheesecake so we all had to taste them!
Our last full day started with a trip to Central Park and a spot of ice skating.  Mark had only been skating once before so most of his time was spent holding onto the sides.  He did manage a couple of circuits on his own at one point but it was nowhere near the standard of Theresa and the girls, or our new Jewish friends who had been offering advice.
We took the subway across to Brooklyn late in the morning as Hayley wanted to visit the Superhero Supply Company.  She thought she'd be able to find some pants with superhero logos on but an hour's walk later all we found were invisibility and mind controls, x-ray specs etc.  The shop runs a local reading and writing course which profits from the shop go towards, so Mark was keen to buy a T-Shirt so that the trip was not a wasted one.
Back in Manhattan it was back to the shopping.  Bloomingdales was worth a look but had lots of high price brands.  We had fun in F.A.O. Schwartz toy shop and Dylan's Candy Bar, and visited Abercrombie & Fitch, which was more like a nightclub than a shop with its near darkness and loud music.
Little Italy was the destination for dinner, in particular Lombardi's pizza restaurant.  This was proper pizza and between the four of us we had two large pizzas, "as big as car wheels" according to Mark, the biggest pizzas we'd ever seen.  Mark and Ali let the team down and left three slices to take away.
Once we checked out there was still shopping to be done at Macy's, the souvenir shops and the famous 5th Avenue shops.  We walked back to the hotel down Madison Avenue before it was time to go to the airport.  We tried to hail a cab but it was rush hour and 5th Avenue was a bad choice.  As our faces were freezing we gave up, went back to the hotel and ordered a car.  The time spent waiting for our flight wasn't as exciting as for previous flights because we knew it was all over and we'd be heading back home and then to work.
Thanks for reading everybody!
Love Mark and Theresa xxxx

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