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New York City

Monday 13th April, 2009

Here we are in New York City.  We left our Somerset NJ hotel around 11am and stopped for a Wendy's breakfast and a Wal Mart stop (sorry Geoff). 

It was then a 60 K drive into NYC.  We came through the Lincoln Tunnel which was not as bad as it has been on previous trips and although we again were forced left when we came out of it when we wanted to go right we did find the hotel - the Affinia on 7th Avenue corner of 31st Street on the opposite corner to Madison Square Garden.

Parking outside the hotel was impossible so Scott lugged the bags into the hotel whilst I drove the block 2 times - traffic is amazing and pedestrians do as they please.  Lots of tooting of horns and changing of lanes with no notice - driving is just a bluff and you have to join right in and bluff back.

So after 2 laps of the block Scott got back into the car and we headed for JFK Airport to return the rental car.  The GPS seemed to take us a strange way and we ended up on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and found a major holdup due to an accident on the Kosciuszko Bridge - we went about 3 k's in about 30 minutes.

Ended up getting to the rental car place at 3pm and then caught the Air Bus to Jamaica Station and struggled through the instructions of how to get the Long Island Rail Road back to Manhattan. 

The hotel room is great - very roomy and so well located - 15 minute walk to Time Square.

Scott loves the walking and just barges his way through the crowd like the New Yorkers do - he thinks there should be a computer game - virtual tourist New York where you have to walk the streets through the crowd and deal with the traffic.

Tomorrow night we go to a Broadway Show, Mamma Mia and Wednesday night across the road to Madison Square Garden and NY Knicks.

Fire tender backs into the fire station at the WTC site
Fire engine at the WTC site

Tuesday 14th April

We didn't use today as well as we could have but we are OK with that.

Before Scott woke up I wandered down to Macys and around the block a few times just checking things out.

Scott and I had breakfast at a Dunkin Donut and then tried to master the Subway system to get down to the World Trade Centre.  We got there in the end - the area around Ground Zero has changed a lot since I was last there in 2006.  You use to be able to walk around the site along the pavement and there was an area with signs depicting the events of 9/11.  As progress is coming along on the new site at Ground Zero the pavement is blocked for safety reason and there are tall barricades up.  You can no longer see much but it was good to be there and see how things are going.  There is a fire station right across the road from Ground Zero, I suspect they were not much help on the day because they would have been covered in rubble.  As we were leaving a fire tender backed in to the station and everyone, including me, was taking photos.

Afterwards we caught the Subway back to the hotel and rested up a bit.  We are both very tired from the constant travelling.

Around 6pm we started our 20 minute walk to Time Square and more specifically the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway to see Mamma Mia!   Along the way Scott bough a slice of New York pizza $4.50 for the slice but it was big and when in New York........  It was drizzling and some of the shops at Time Square, I remember a Virgin Mega Store and a big book shop were no longer there so we were in Time Square a bit early and it was wet and cold.   We went into a delicatessen to be dry and a little warm and spent $19 on a slice of very nice cheese cake and 2 shakes.

At 7:30pm we went to the Theatre and saw Mamma Mia.  3 years and 1 since I last saw it in 2006.  Back then I was the one who didn't really want to see this show but enjoyed it the most.  Again it was a great show - a good way to spend 3 hours.

After the show we decided to walk to the Empire State Building - it is open to 2am.   When we got there we found it was closed due to the bad weather - we will try again tomorrow night.

We walked back to the hotel and that was our day.  The hotel room is OK but very noisy.  I am not sure you can blame the hotel for that - there is just a constant flow of sirens going past and the tooting of horns.  We are on the fifth floor, I would hate to be any lower.  The emergency vehicles have a siren and then a sort of fog horn they blast as they go through intersections.  I guess you get use to it.  Overall though a great hotel and I would stay here again any time.


Scott outside the apartment used for the TV series Friends
Friends building

Wednesday 15th April, 2009

Today we took the subway down to South Ferry, right down the bottom of Manhattan Island and caught the ferry across to Liberty Island.  We walked around the island and checked out the Statue of Liberty.  We couldn't go into the statue but it was good to be on the island and up close to this famous monument.

On the way back to South Ferry the ferry stopped at Ellis Island.  I had checked this one out in 2001 and as Scott was not that interested we didn't get off the ferry.  At South Ferry we caught the subway train back up town.  Scott decided to get off in Greenwich Village and we walked the streets for afew minutes before he pointed out a block of apartments which was used for the outside shots of the apartment used in the TV series Friends.  Back onto the subway and back to the hotel.

At 6:30pm we wandered across the road from our hotel to Madison Square Gardens - they call it the most famous sport stadium in the world.  We watched an NBA game between the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.  Nice to watch a game at the stadium but as games go both Scott and I were not all that impressed.

After the game we walked back to the Empire State Building and this time it was open for business.  Took no time at all to get to the 80th floor but then a 20 minute line to do to last 6 floors.   Great view.   Most impressed with the number of planes stacked up in the sky waiting to land at the 3 nearby airports.

Scott bought some more pizza on the way back to the hotel where we arrived around midnight.

Tomorrow we head for San Francisco.