New York Blog
Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
5Trip End Aug 02, 2009
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Arrived in New York at approximately 5.15PM after being in transit for 25 hours.
Gus, our greek taxi driver, drove us through the NY traffic to our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn in the Chelsea District on 28th street (btw 6th and 7th Ave), from JFK airport. Upon arrival at our hotel we were greeted by unfriendly staff at reception.
We were checked into a room on the 11th floor to find it was already occupied by another guest named Michael Scott. Not a great start to our NY experience.
Once our room was sorted out and had showered and settled in to our hotel we decided to fight our fatigue and hit the streets of New York.
We walked up 7th Ave towards Broadway and into the bright lights of Times Square
After buying a juice and walking the streets of Times Square we hailed a bike taxi to take us back to our hotel precinct where we partook in what hopefully would be our first and last McDonald's meal on our trip. For those of you wondering the cheese burgers taste the same in NY as they do at home.
Back to our hotel room where our beds beckoned. After some Facebook and Skype we finally hit the sack at 10.30PM after 30 hours since our last sleep.
Monday 13 July 2009
We woke up at 8AM and Skyped the family to say hell
Planned some tours for the week ahead and eventually left the hotel at 10AM to explore the Chelsea district of NYC using our walk tour guide.
On our walk opposite one of the largest apartment buildings ever seen we had breakfast at the Chelsea Square Restaurant for some eggs and bacon.
We walked the streets of Chelsea down to the Chelsea Pier which borders the Hudson River.
Walked along the river and found a cafe/bar on a floating platoon called The Pan. After having a coke and relaxed in the hot sun we continued our walk down to the helipad where we took a helicopter ride over Manhattan Island to get a birds eye view of New York, New Jersey and the Statue of Liberty.
After our flight we headed up 30th street and made our way to Times Square where we purchased our theatre tickets for Tuesday night for the Westside Story.
We then grabbed some fruit from a traditional NY street deli and took the subway and made our way downtown to the Greenwich Village district of NYC.
Upon exiting the subway at Canal station we set on another walk tour of the West Village
We toured the beautiful streets of Greenwich Village and at 5pm decided to grab some lunch at a trendy cafe called the Grey Dog on Carmine Street. We both indulged in some salads (no more Macca's) and for the next 1 1/2 we continued meandering the streets of the village passing a movie set (I think the movie was called The Bounty) and purchased some reading matter from the Biography Book Shop.
We finished our tour at a little restaurant/bar on 7th Ave where we had our first US beer, Samuel Adams Lager, before starting our trek back to our hotel.
After realising the blisters on our feet were getting the better of us we succumbed to the subway back to 28th street for a much need shower and freshen up. we must of walked about 15 kms today.
At 9PM we left our hotel and cabbed to the So-Ho district to dine in the Little Italy strip. after a bowl of pasta and a veal parma (Glenn had the parma) and a bottle of Italian red we went for a walk searching for a bar but found ourselves in a "dodgy" area of NY and decided to head back to where we started
We got back to Little Italy at 11.30PM and purchased some souvenir photos and hailed a cab back to 28th street. Still in search of a bar we walked past Madison Square Garden but still no music and no bar and at 2.30AM another day in NY comes to an end.
Tuesday 14 July 2008
Today started a little later than expected with a little jet lag taking effect. We left our hotel at 11am and headed to the subway to catch a train to the worlds business district. Our feet were suffering from the 25kms we walked the day before but like true Carlton champions we surged forward.
As we left the subway we headed to Battery Park where we witnessed the Statue of Liberty. We continued on State Street passed the Fraunces Tavern where George Washington made his farewell speech in 1783. We then headed up Pearl Street and viewed the very moving Vietnam veteran memorial. From there we headed up Beaver Street passing many iconic businesses until we reached Wall Street and the NY Stock Exchange which was surrounded by a security guard force
As we ate our lunch we brainstormed how we could bring this amazing food concept into the business district of Melbourne. After lunch we headed to Ground Zero to view the tragedy of the World Trade Centre. The site enormous and is currently under construction as a state of the art transport hub. We then grabbed a coffee at a dinner before jumping back on the subway to our hotel to freshen up for our night on Broadway.
A shower and shave later, us experienced subway travelers, headed midtown to the lights of Broadway and the Palace Theatre to view West Side Story. We walked into the buzz of the theatre not knowing where we would be seated only to find that our tickets gave us a gold class position a few rows from the stage and at stage level. Wetsside Story was absolutely brilliant. The story was captivating, the music fantastic and the acting first class. It was indeed a memorable performance which the Broadway gave a standing ovation to.
We left the theatre into the bright lights of Time Square to look for dinner and ended up in a pizza/pasta place where Tony had his first slice of US pizza and Glenn had meatballs.
Wednesday 15 July
This morning the alarms went off at 5.45AM.
We hailed a yellow cab and made our way to 125 Park Avenue to join our tour bus for Philadelphia. Our tour guide was Marco from Italy who ironically spent the day giving us a run down on Americas history. Phillie was a clean cut city with much history and we discovered a thing called the Liberty Bell which sat on the location of the first US congress and walked down the oldest American street. I hope your all impressed by our academic commitment to US history. We took an earlier lunch at another variety diner run by a lady reminiscent of Hong.
After lunch we had a brief tour of Phillie including running of the steps where Rocky Balboa famously trained. We both closed our eyes as we headed up the highway into Lancaster County and the Amish territory
We drove into the capital of the Amish county which ironically was called Intercourse. We then meet up with some Amish folk and we were put on horse and cart to travel down to an Amish farm. For those who don't know these people have a commitment to a simplistic life which involves having no electricity, cars or mod cons. This was such an amazing contrast to the bright lights of New York City. After returning to our bus we then stopped for an Intercourse break including home made lemonade and ice cream. Yes Intercourse was Plesantville. Back on the bus we turned our attention to sleeping and arrived in NYC three hours later at 7.30PM.
Back to our hotel for a quick shower and shave we headed down 28th street back on the subway and down to Greenwich village for dinner. We found our way back to the restaurant we first enjoyed a first US beer which was aptly known as the Good Restaurant. We both ordered New York steaks which were fantastic and consumer a Nappa Valley Cab Sav. We left the restaurant and headed further into the village and found ourselves in a jazz bar called the Garage where the cool sounds of NY were playing.
A Barardi and Scotch, $20 a shout, added to our enjoyment of the moment and a number of drinks later we left the bar at closing time
Thursday 16 July
Both of our alarms blasted in our ears to wake us from our slumber and we quickly realised that time was against us as we paid for and committed to go on a NY movie and TV sites tour and we also had to check out of our hotel room. We dragged ourselves out of the hotel room, checked out, dropped our bags with Leroy to look after onto the subway and out onto 42nd Street to begin our walk to where the tour was commencing. We took a brief detour into a breakfast diner and consumed a bottle of water and a fresh fruit salad which provided a great improvement to our well being.
We arrived at our tour pickup point to be confronted by a 100 person que which we joined
We left the bus on Madison Ave and called into the Eden gallery to view some modern art, headed west along 50th Street into times square and up to the David Letterman studio on Broadway to check out ticket availability for the show. Unsuccessful we headed back onto the subway to our hotel in Chelsea to collect our bags, hail a taxi and finally check in to the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Park Ave. The Waldorf is NY's oldest and established hotel with the grandest of entrances and decor.
We arrived in room 1755 and unpacked our bags and decided to have a 5 minute nana nap. Three hours later at 8.45PM we woke up to realise we better quickly make tracks to find a place for dinner. Now one other fact about the Waldorf that's worth noting, every time an American president is in NY this is where they stay and you would all agree that to get a glimpse of President Obama would be a special treat and we had that opportunity but missed out while we were sleeping
We then headed up 51st street and found an upmarket restaurant near the Rockefeller center and were able to get a table outside in the warmth of the NY evening. Our table was opposite the NBC studio and as we ate we witnessed the NBC staff setting up for the next mornings Today Show.
After dinner we headed west into Times Square and found ourselves at Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway which is famous for its "Happy Days" environment and the fact that all waiting staff whilst serving perform classic hits. A great fun place to have a drink. We left the diner just on midnight and headed back to the Waldorf for a much needed early night. The President had left the building.
Friday 17 July 2009
We woke up this morning and decided to check out what all the fuss was about on the exclusive shopping strips of Madison Ave and 5th Avenue
After walking and window shopping and occasionally stepping inside it was time to head back to our hotel to get ourselves ready for our trip to the Bronx to see the famous New York Yankees. Both of us had bought NY Yankees caps to help us look like locals but it wasn't until we got home Glenn discovered the price tag sticker was still on the front of the cap, so much for blending in. Like all the most successful sporting teams in the world the Yankees are navy blue and white so we both felt quite at home.
We walked six blocks from our hotel to Grand Central Station to catch the subway out to the game. As we said the Yankee Stadium is in the Bronx and it was apparent that when we arrived at the stadium that the surrounding areas were a lot different to Manhattan.
Before leaving the hotel Tony told Glenn not to take his backpack but defiantly Glenn took it anyway and as we were about to enter this awesome arena ( which only opened in April, the old stadium sits across the road holding memories of Babe Ruth, Micky Mantle and Joe DiMaggio) the security guard told Glenn he couldn't take the backpack inside and we were directed onto the other side of the subway station to find a place called Stans Bags where for a fee our bag would be stored
The Yankees were up against the Detroit Tigers and whilst the game was slow in patches it was just such an amazing experience to be there. Whilst Glenn was out getting our second hot dog for the night the camera roamed the crowd and Tony suddenly found himself up on the big screen waving to 60,000 Americans. The Yankees came from behind and won what was to become a rain interrupted game.
After the game we went back to our hotel, got out of our rain soaked clothes and headed downstairs to experience the life of the rich and famous at the Waldorf's main bar. After realising that our one scotch and one Bacardi had set up back $US 48 (before tips) we decided that we should end our experience there and go back to our room ready to listen live to Triple M's coverage of the Carlton vs Sydney game back in Melbourne. We were feeling a little peckish at about 1AM and decided to order room service as our baseball hot dogs hadn't filled the spot. At 2.30AM our room service waiter arrived with two over sized salads and accompanying fries. As the siren sounded at 3AM in NY after Carlton had kicked a nine goal final quarter to thrash Sydney we both looked at each other and decided that we had had enough salad and sleep was now our priority
Saturday 18 July 2009
This morning we decided to enforce a morning of rest. We awoke last morning and headed up Park Ave nue towards Central Park. We arrived at the corner of 59th and 5th Ave and witnessed a flurry of activity at the southern end of Central Park. We stopped and watched a group of "Homies" giving a break dance performance and then decided to hire a horse and cart to tour us through Central Park. Our driver was Irish and showed us the various points of interest through this massive parkland and twenty minutes later and $40 poorer we had completed a circuit of the park.
We then headed North along 5th Ave and along side the park where we eventually stopped at 80th street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was situated. Despite our reputation as art experts we decided that it was more valuable to spend our time heading to the Empire State Building which to date we hadn't climbed. On arrival at 34th Street we were confronted by huge crowds trying to get into the building for the view over Manhattan and we concluded that having flown by helicopter over the great city that lining up for three hours wasn't warranted.
We booked into one of New Yorks most famous steak houses, Bobby Van,s, and made our way up to the restaurant on 50th street. After an early dinner we continued into Broadway where we took our seats for the performance of Jersey Boys. From the beginning scene the show was amazing and we sat through two hours of some of the worlds most brilliant musical theatre. In the words of of Frankie Valli, Oh What A Night.
After the show we ventured to the Iridium Jazz Club in Times Square where we found playing seven of the worlds leading musicians in tribute to the music of Sting. The musco's included members of Stings original band, members of Blood Sweat and Tears and guys who had played with the Pretenders, Barbara Streisand and none less than Frank Sinatra. The Music was brilliant and at midnight the band left the stage and were replaced by a local Jazz group know and as the Jessica Jones Quartet. We were at home in bed by 3AM and reflected on how we had just experienced some of the worlds very best entertainment in one night.
Sunday 19 July 2009
Today is Sunday and our morning was dived between Glenn going to Times Square Church and experiencing the most amazing worship music with over three thousand people and Tony responding to his mission to fill the demands of his girls to bring home some special goodies. We reunited outside the Times Square Church at midday and lunched in a local diner before heading to Macy's, NY's most famous retail landmark where literally shopped until we dropped. We grabbed a cab back to our hotel where we gave our feet some recovery time from the many Km's that we had made them walk and then headed out East of our hotel to discover yet another and beautiful part of Manhattan. After reaching the edge of the East River we headed back up 49th street and dined at Wollensky's Grill on the corner of 49th and 3rd Avenue where Glenn had possibly the largest Rib Eye steak on offer in New York.
We strolled back to our hotel and on arrival spent some time discovering what this beautiful and historic hotel on offer. So here we are, our last night in NY before heading to London town.
New York, what a place, what a week!!!
Monday 20th July 2009
We awoke to greet our last NY morning. We decided that siteseeing had come to an end and it was time to get practical. We worked out we had a whole lot of stuff to be sent to Oz and we contacted the Waldorf "Packaging Service" to assist us. To went with Jerome to weigh our goods and packed them in a safe box and then we both borrowed a trolley from the hotel and wheeled our box down to Lexington post office to send it on its way to Oz.
We returned to the hotel and checked out and left our bags with Jose and then returned to one of NY's speciality shops to purchase some gifts for our loved ones.
We then did our last NY must do by entering the doors of Saks on Fifth Avenue where Glenn purchased a snazzy tie on sale, most importantly got his Saks bag. We returned to the hotel and Clete hailed us a cab to the airport. Our cab driver Salim shared cricket stories with us and took us on the scenic route to JFK airport via the backstreets of Queens. We checked in at Swiss Air both and before we knew it we were on our wayto Zurich saying goodbye to what was an amazing week in NY.