Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The US - Part 2 - New York

Wednesday 3rd October to Wednesday 16th  October 2013

Part 2 – New York

We had decided after last year, that this year we would visit New York; Washington was wonderful, but we wanted something bigger.

We were able to rent an apartment in New York for the 5 days that we were there – 3 double bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, dining room and lounge.

The location was not the 5-star one that you would always want – West Harlem – but the experience was simply great.

The people that we met in passing were friendly; there were no problems at all; the transport was excellent – the subway into central Manhattan was just 15-20 minutes; everything was at hand.

As we have done before, we sought out a tour bus operator so that we could use the hop-on-hop-off arrangements to see more of the city – both from the top of the bus and on the ground.

The one that we chose also included trips to Brooklyn and up to the Bronx.

Halloween is a-coming

The tour guides are all very good with their knowledge of the city and many many things that you simply wouldn’t know about if not for them.

The Empire State Building by day...

...and by night
Especially good was the guy on the Brooklyn tour – he was from Brooklyn (not from New York) and with a real Brooklyn accent. He also told us about a ticket place there that had cut-price tickets for the Broadway shows on sale each day long before the Times Square office was even open – so we went there (2nd morning in NY) and managed to get 4 good seats to Phantom of the Opera (for Saturday night) – 30% off – and an excellent view.

We did the Staten Island Ferry (free) which passes right by The Statue of Liberty (which had been closed due to the government shutdown); uptown, we went to Yankee Stadium; we did a bigger tour of Harlem itself; we did the east River – we went everywhere – all on the bus ticket.

Lower Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry

When we needed to use the subway we had our MTA cards – which at $2.50 a trip were good value.

at the 9/11 memorial
One surprising highlight was the HighLine – this is an old el-train track which was built and used for freight trains – now long since mothballed – but part of it has been refurbished into a walking track above the streets, where they have planted trees, shrubs and flowers; the old tracks are still there but it is now a walkway; places to sit down and relax; you can get something to eat and drink and just a great place for New Yorkers and tourists alike to take it a bit easier.

Taking the high life on the HighLine
The weekend we were there was the Columbus Day weekend – Sunday has the Hispanic community celebrating their culture and links with Spain/Mexico/Puerto Rico in a huge parade; Monday and it is the turn of the Italian community to do the same.

The Hispanic Parade for Columbus Day
Walking through Central Park is quite an experience – we went through different parts of the park – saw the John Lennon “imagine” tribute; watched people playing softball; saw people with remote-controlled sailboats on the lake; and people just generally relaxing and enjoying the good weather.

Central Park from the top of he Rockefellar Centre

Central Park and the sail boat lake
At no time did we feel any problems at all – the city felt safe and we enjoyed it all.

Celebrating 100 years - Grand Central Station

Under the clock at Grand Central Station

what must Teddy Roosevelt think about the company
(Museum of Natural History)
No doubt there are the usual problems that any big city has, but for it’s size and the sheer number of people there, it was such a wonderful place to visit and be part of – would we go back again – yes we would, but we have other places that we will visit first.

What can I say - I think they were looking for a discount!

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