We S2 NY!

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Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our second day in NY was our only full day all four of us had together in this city.  As a result, the day consisted of back-to-back sightseeing adventures and attempted gastronomic missions. We were up around 8am and caught the PATH to the WTC to walk down to the Battery Park Ferry Terminal.  On our way we stopped for breakfast at a bagel place around the world financial center.  

Arrived at the ferry terminal and Statue of Liberty ticket office and was greeted with a snaking queue to board the ferry.  Apparently you can now purchase tickets online to enter Lady Liberty, but you have to reserve this way in advance as they only allow a certain number of people up there on a daily basis.  Think we queued up for about 40 mins or so until we actually boarded the ferry and it took about a 10-15 min ride to Liberty Island.  There's nothing much to do on the island apart from looking at the statue and New York City skyline.  There was of course the obligatory souvenir store and museum, but we didn't bother with them.  Spent about a good hour simply making full use of the photo op and being the photo enthusiast ended up with a hundred or so pics in total. There was another queue to get back to Manhattan but this was slightly shorter than the first and because we were on a tight schedule, decided to give Ellis Island a miss.

Next on our itinerary of the day was Serendipity Cafe for lunch.  This cafe is located at 60th street between 2nd and 3rd ave and famous for it's frozen hot chocolate.  I believe this store was featured on Oprah and in the movie Serendipity as well.  Very touristy, but why not if it's your first time in NY.  Waited about 20 mins for a table and ordered meals along with a frozen hot chocolate each.  I got mine with mint and it was very refreshing considering it was a hot and humid summer's day. The frozen hot chocolates are huge so make sure you're hungry/thirsty if you're getting one alone.  Meals at Serendipity were not outstanding unfortunately and service was ok at best.

After lunch we were off to central park for even more photo ops.  Again as we were pressed for time, we only stayed at the south end of the park, but we did spend in all a couple of hours just taking a relaxing stroll.  Was very nice to see summer flowers in full bloom and how green everything was, especially in comparison to the bordering concrete jungle.  

We then headed to nearby fifth ave for some window shopping.  Stopped by the Apple Store, NBA store and Abercrombie and Fitch where the girls seized the opportunity to take a photo with one of the store's half-nude models.  

Dinner time came quickly and we were off to Brooklyn to try out the much fussed over steak from Peter Luger's Steakhouse.  The experience was surprising.  Firstly, no credit cards were accepted and we had to rush out to an ATM.  I don't mean to be a snob or anything, but as a tourist in Brooklyn, we didn't feel the safest carrying a lot of cash around and having to take the subway.  The service at Peter Luger's was confusing.  We weren't sure if they were being sarcastic half the time and therefore meant to accept it as implied hilarity, or just plain rude. We decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.  As we were expecting a lot from this critically-acclaimed, Zagat award winning restaurant, we had to say we were slightly disappointed with the quality of the food.  It was good, but it wasn't the best thing ever.  I have to admit I actually preferred the steak at Smith and Wollensky instead.  Can't remember exactly how much our bill was but it was definitely more value for money than Sbarro, Times Square!

And that was the end of day 2, NYC.  The next day half of us left back to Sydney, and 2 of us remained in NY for another week before heading to Nashville, TN.

Lessons Learned
1.  If you're off to visit the Statue of Liberty, do so as early as you can handle it.  This will give you plenty of time and possibly avoid the hoardes of people/tourists coming at later times.  If you plan to do both Liberty and Ellis islands, probably make it a day trip to fully maximize your time and money there.
2.  If you want to enter the Statue of Liberty itself, visit http://www.statueoflibertytickets.com/tickets/ or http://www.statuecruises.com/ferry-service/welcome.aspx to buy tickets to the crown or pedestal of the statue.  Book this at least a couple of weeks in advance to ensure you get tickets.
3.  Central park could be a day trip in itself as well.  If you plan to see it's many famous areas, give yourself plenty of time as it is a huge city park to say the least.  It's pretty anytime of the year as well.
4.  If you plan to visit Peter Luger's Steakhouse and haven't been to Brooklyn, know firstly that Brooklyn is not in Manhattan and it may be harder to get to if you're not driving.  The closest station is about a 10-15 minute walk away, which is fine, but bear in mind that the area is a little dark and you should travel in groups.  Also, bring enough cash as they don't accept credit cards.

Experience Ratings
1.  Serendipity Cafe 6.5/10 I'm only giving this relatively high score because of their frozen hot chocolate.  It's pretty good, and the rest of the menu can't compare.  There's also a feeling of excitement having a meal in a famous place...
2.  Peter Luger's Steakhouse 7/10 food was good, but again, not the greatest.  Service could've been much better and didn't have to leave me guessing if they were rude or simply being true blue New Yorker.  Was also a little pain in the butt having to access cash last minute with their no credit card rule.  Honestly, I don't see what the major fuss is about this place.....
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