New York, New York

Trip Start May 08, 2006
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Trip End May 06, 2007


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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Firstly, apologies for the horrifying lack of originality in the title of this post. I tried to think of something better but my brain is perhaps not as sharp as it has been. Those of you who have ever had the unfortunate task of going shopping with me will know that after a certain amount of time perusing shops and wandering aimlessly, my wits crawl into a fortress in the darkest corners of my mind and all that's left is a drone whose feet disobey him in every way. They are KILLING ME.

Anyway, yes I am in New York and yes, IT'S AMAZING!!! I am staying in a pretty cool hostel called 'Jazz on the Park' (although right now they are subjecting us to some very dodgy ska music). I got a free cinnamon bagel and a cup of tea this morning and then set off on my grand expedition.

The hostel is in 106th Street near the top of Central Park - a sprawling expanse of greenery, rocks and lakes which I have yet to explore properly. I walked towards Midtown past countless intersections, traffic lights, apartment blocks and signs that said, curiously, 'no standing'. Finally realising that they meant no parking *snigger* I continued on towards the city centre, hoping that I wouldn't get nicked for some random offence I didn't know about... For the 'Land of the Free' there are an awful lot of rules you have to follow - but more on that later.

Nothing I've seen on TV or in films has prepared me for the vastness of the place. Everything is set in a grid structure with numbered streets and avenues which makes it easy to get around (along with the use of my 10 ton Rough Guide of course). There are an astonishing amount of taxis around that blare down the crowded streets at 512mph, honking their horns at anyone who lingers at a green light for more than 2 split-seconds and performing handbrake turns around every corner. The number of people is just completely bewildering - we're talking Oxford Street on a hot summers day, on every street - and every one of them is practically running to get from place to place.

I proceeded down Broadway to Times Square which, and I'm sorry to burst your bubble here people, is a bit rubbish. For a start it's a rectangle, not a square. It's a bit like Picadilly Circus but with hundreds of those TDK screens instead of just one. I took a couple of pictures for good measure, carried on down Broadway to the Empire State Building, went up to the 86th floor observatory and marvelled at what lay before me. You can see absolutely everything in New York for miles around up there. It felt like I was playing Sim City. Take a look at the pics and you'll see what I mean.

Next I went to find a bar that was recommended in the rough guide. There were building works going on there and there was just some Spanish dude in there polishing tables. It was a really quaint place with wooden interior which is probably really nice when it's full of people and the music's blaring but when I went it was a little spooky. Very nice ale though, and it gave me some time to read through the guide and reflect a little. Everything moves so fast around here there's never really a chance to stop and think.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around Downtown, in Chinatown and Little Italy, then up 5th Avenue which is kind of like New York's Oxford Street, although bigger, gaudier and much more intense. I went into Trump Towers (as in Donald Trump) who's walls were completely furnished in marble with a massive lit waterfall running down them.

All in all - a tiring day, and the relative quiet of the hostel provided some much needed respite from the manic pace of life in Midtown.
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Where I stayed
Jazz on the Park Hostel

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