I'm an exhausted alien in New York

Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, June 7, 2010

I had heard that you could get rush tickets at the theatre if you went down early in the morning- so 9am Friday, I sat myself down outside the Ambassador Theatre to try and get a ticket for Chicago that evening. I was first in line, so I got the best seat available- front row, to the side. I could probably see about 80% of the stage, and the acoustics weren't all that great since I was underneath a speaker but I paid $36.50 and was sitting with people who paid $115! Anyway after I'd got my cheap tickets, I headed to Grand Central Terminal (the station is the post office next door!) for a free 90 minute guided tour. Unfortunately it was less of a tour, more of a talk- while we were standing up, outside. I relented to the heat and snuck away after 50 minutes to look round the impressive building myself. 

Since I've been travelling on my own (and have no money), I haven't been out in New York at night. So I wanted to make the most of my night out at the theatre. I returned to the hostel to get dressed up, and two hours later (!) started off my evening at the Museum of Modern Art, which is free on a Friday night. I didn't stay for that long, but saw a very interesting exhibition of about 300 photographs that had been taken by the same artist in the 1940s and 50s from all over the world. Before long, it was time to head to Broadway and Times Square for the show, starting at 8pm. It was so much fun seeing the place buzzing at night with theatre-goers, everyone dressed up, lots of limos driving around etc. And as for Chicago? Not bad. Not amazing either- I expected more, being the theatre-capital of the world. Maybe it was the show, maybe it was the seat, but I've seen better shows in London. Still, Billy Flynn was played by an actor from Gossip Girl so that was cool to see someone I recognised! I certainly would have felt short-changed if I'd paid full price for my ticket, but as it was, I'm glad I went. And of course, wandering through the blindingly-bright Times Square afterwards through all the crowds is all part of the experience. Unfortunately I forgot my camera- so vowed I'd return the following night to try and capture the scene.

I think I was still suffering the repercussions of having such busy first few days on Saturday because I couldn't quite face doing anything all that active. But I'm on holiday, so I don't feel bad about taking some time off! I spent the morning at the hostel, writing up my travel blog etc etc and then took the subway down to Battery park, at the southernmost tip of Manhattan. Instead of paying for the boat ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I took the free ferry to Staten Island and back, that sails right past. I planned to see a bit of the island while I was there but the buses and trains were so confusing/infrequent that I gave up and caught the next ferry back to Manhattan! It was such a pleasant afternoon, that I sat in the park for a while, and then eventually lay down- and fell asleep for an hour. Feeling somewhat refreshed and revitalised, I decided to hit the shops on 34th street (very similar to Oxford Street) and do a spot of window shopping. 

I have another second cousin, Nigel, who lives right in the heart of New York. Heart of NY = tiny apartment but I still wanted to meet him so he and his wife Louise took me out to a great Vietnamese restaurant in their neighbourhood. But before we went, Nigel took me up to the roof of their apartment. Who needs the Empire State Building? OK so it wasn't quite as high but you still got 360 degree views of the city, and since we were on the edge of a block, could see to the water in all 4 directions... pretty spectacular. You could also look down on all the other roof-top gardens and parties that were going on around the city. And Nigel offered to take a photo of me in front of the Skyline. Since I couldn't quite bring myself to risk asking a local to take a photo of me, nor face the embarrassment of taking one of myself anywhere, this was the first I had of me in New York! I ended the day wandering through Times Square again, soaking up the atmosphere and not feeling in the slight bit conspicuous taking photos- I was in good company with the thousands of other tourists!

Sunday can be summed up in three words: Church and cinema. I managed to cram in three church services (since I couldn't decide which to go to!) and watched Shrek 4 and Robin Hood at the cinema. My last evening away from home was spent... packing.

Finally, my last day abroad. I decided to celebrate with brunch in this really cute little cafe Penelope with yummy French toast.
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