NYC - home of thousands of light bulbs!

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
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Trip End Feb 06, 2010


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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New York City – what an amazing place – we woke up early because I had booked a 6 hour walking tour about 4 months ago so had to go even though we felt pretty exhausted (only got 4 hours sleep after being up for 27 hours) but we had paid for it and damn, we were going!

Met the tour guy at 10am (there was a couple from Scotland also) and we started off walking through all these parts of New York – Times Square, Central Park, Little Italy, Chinatown, Financial District (took a photo of Charles & Wicket outside the Stock Exchange building and is attached) and heaps more, it was fantastic – we finished with Ground Zero and it was amazing to see the progress they have made on the memorial – they say it will be completed by 2011 – 10th anniversary of the twin towers tragedy. I was glad we ended with this and didn't go half way through because all through the walking tour we were laughing and being funny and cracking jokes and it was really hard to be jovial after that – I even felt bad about taking photos, I felt I should have had more respect but I wanted to have a historical account of the current site now and then when we return to New York, it should be completed. I was glad we went there though as I wanted to pay my respects to those Australians who died in the tragedy.

The tour was amazing and if any of you are ever going to the Big Apple – you really have to do the walking tour, there are many places that the buses cant get to but you can when walking. The guy who ran the tour was really interesting and knew heaps about the city. They don’t take you to Ellis Island or Statute of Liberty because this just eats into the tour time.

We didn’t finish till after 4pm so by then (and after the twin towers site brought us back down to earth with a thud) we were pretty tired, both of us had managed to pick up a cold in Newcastle after the wedding and Bill seems to have just about shaken it (typical, fit as a Mally bull) but I was going downhill quickly so back to the hotel room – no more sightseeing today for us. Once again, my "GPS" (Bill) got us from point A to point B with amazing speed and accuracy – he is so good at reading maps – most women, especially me, have what I like to call “map disorder” now I know some of the women reading this will dispute and maybe some of you are fantastic at reading maps and referdexs but me, when I am directing Bill in the car with the referdex (street directory) I have to turn the book when we are going left and turn the book when we are going right to get my bearings (I have even been known to lose the car in a public car park and spent 1 hour trying to find it in one of the busiest shopping centres in Brisbane – talk about embarrassing!) so it is so good to hand that “batton” over to Bill as our chief navigator.

Bill went out and bought a pizza and we stayed in the hotel room trying to get the strength to actually chew. Went to bed and that was the end of day 1 in New York.

Observations:

New York is a really cool city, heaps of people and even though some people told us that they can be rude, we didn’t find that at all (we had about 1 person who was indifferent and 1 who was downright rude) but we think, in a city with 6 million people (5 boroughs) thats a credit to the city. Juliani the ex-mayor did a lot for the city (and everyone seems to love him), he cleaned up all the dangerous parts of the city and crime has been in a steep decline ever since – I think we felt just about the safest we had in any other city (except for Newcastle) and that was really comforting – we still continued to stay vigil just in case but we never had a single person accost us or ask for money or try and do the hard sell (which was what we were expecting)

You really have to be careful stepping out onto the street because as you would know, the drive on the wrong side of the road (sorry, just a joke hahaha) they drive on the right hand side of the road and as Aussies, we are used to looking left more than right and then stepping out but once we got used to that, it was fine – just had to keep that in the back of our minds.

There is a cop just about on every street corner and when the ambulances and police cars come through, they get out there with their white gloves and wave their arms around (I wish we had got it on video but having trouble keeping the battery charged up – the charger we managed to get in Newcastle only does half the job but thats better than nothing at all). Its really a sight to see, total poetry in motion, nobody was staring as much as we were, they are used to it but we just couldn’t believe the “dancing and jiving” movements they were performing, it was like a modern ballet almost.

Due to the obesity problem around the world (apparently especially in the US although in New York we saw hardly any overweight people) instead of sticking their heads in the sand (like Australia sort of have) they are tackling the obesity problem head on and are in this amazing “health kick mind set” where everything you buy has the calorie & fat content, they have a lot of take away shops that are signed “500 calorie shop”. Apparently the use of trans fats in cooking (whether it be pact food or fresh food) is illegal and there are huge fines, I think thats amazing that they are really trying to solve the problem.

Bill will never complain about the roads or the taxi drivers in Brisbane again, the pot holes are big enough that we are sure a truck could fall in and you wouldn’t even know it – again, all drivers here have learnt to drive from the “Barcelona school of crazy & dangerous driving” but it seems to work, we didn’t see one accident (god, do they know how to beep their horns – they were never off them, especially the taxis – crazy time).

As I said, we felt safe but we also felt like we belonged, “not a square peg in a round hole” and I suppose this may be hard for some of you to understand and I will try and explain – the city has a “vibe” you can feel it, you can taste it, you can almost see it, its like an aura - most cities have this as well but in NY, we felt we fitted into the vibe, we didn’t feel like outsiders, we felt like we were part of the city and the city was a part of us (sorry if this doesn’t make sense). Nobody looked at us sideways, everyone we spoke to wasn’t amazed or amused by our accents, they just acted as if they conversed with Aussies every day (and they most probably do), nobody was rude because we were not “locals” they just treated everybody in exactly the same way.

It is so easy to navigate around New York, especially Manhattan, where we were, all the streets have numbers for their names – like 46th street and 53rd Street, and of course they follow each other. The same as the cross over streets, like 5th avenue, 6th avenue, so easy to get around (although I am sure I could mess this up and lose my bearings because the building are so huge, and I mean huge, they just about reach the stratosphere, again thank god for Bill, my own human GPS).
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