Trip Start May 01, 2006
122Trip End Sep 01, 2006
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The New York sightseeing bus has two loops: the uptown loop where we were and the downtown loop where the shopping was. All of the buses have live guides who informed the customers loud and often that they were "service industry personnel" like waiters and so they lived off tips. You would think then that this would make them more motivated to entertain their customers with interesting facts and stories. Not so! Most of them spoke in monotone with very little enthusiasm and just rattled off a set spiel. One or two (we had about 10 different guides in 2 days) even interspersed the spiel with their own personal tidbits so that by the end of the ride we had their entire life history as well as that of their grandparents and great grandparents
We shopped some more but try as I might I just could not bring myself to buy clothes. As soon as the rain eased off we jumped back on the bus so that we could sit on the top deck and perhaps get a halfway decent view of the city. We hopped off at Ground Zero and wandered around the hole in the ground. I was rather surprised that there was very little fanfare about the place and the tiny display was very understated.
We needed to rest our feet and I needed caffeine but unfortunately the BOSS spotted Century 21 (the clothes shop that Debbie had recommended). It was horrible!! Really really horrible - but the BOSS was in heaven. Every inch of the floor space was jam packed with clothes racks but all jumbled together in utter chaos. There was no size order or categories - all the old lady swimsuits were mixed in with the teenager jeans.
I spotted a D & G t-shirt at 85% off - it was a $29.99 bargain. Now if I had a calculator I could probably work out that that t-shirt started life at $300 - that'd be $2 for the t-shirt (20c of which was paid to the Vietnamese child who sewed it up) and $298 for the D& G label
We reboarded the bus to complete the downtown loop - and as it was still not raining we did it on the top deck. The clouds were beginning to lift and we could see the Empire State building from downtown. By the time we got back to midtown an hour later the clouds had lifted completely so we rushed over to join the line for the observation deck on the Empire State building. The line moved excruciatingly slowly so by the time we reached the top of the tower it was nearly dark. It was still a great view though. We were absolutely famished by the time we left the tower and decent restaurants are few and far between. Lots of burger or pizza joints but no "real" food. We eventually found a salad bar which did a brilliant buffet and afterwards we caught a cab back to the hostel.