A city that never sleeps - NEW YORK....NEW YORK
Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
81Trip End Dec 10, 2008
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We just had the best day!! Love New York! We decided to do a whole day and so caught the ferry about 9.45am and headed straight for Times Square with all its billboard glory.
We had promised the kids we'd visit Toy 'R' Us store that we'd seen from the bus yesterday. Well as luck would have it, it was one of the first things we came across. Now, being the biggest Toys 'R' Us store, it is worth some credit and a look, so into the 'parent trap' we embarked. The first thing that hits you, is the Ferris Wheel , right in the middle of this 4 storey establishment. So, after the obligatory commercial photo shoot (you get used to that everywhere you go in this country), we did the ride. It's very clever marketing actually, because as you ride around, it stops at various points, so you get to see what's on every level, and as you can imagine, we got lots of "can we go there?" , "I'm definitely going to see that!" etc, etc
After deciding to divide and conquer (Gary with the boys, me with the girls), we spent the next 3 hours in 'toymania'. They had everything! Some unbelievable giant leggo creations, to a Barbie House, to a real life 'Elmo' etc, and a whole separate section for the girls, with dressers and pink heart mirrors, where you could dress up, and have a hairdresser and make-up artist do your hair and make-up, and even have your ears pierced. We spent loads of time there. Although, Gary had 3 of them, and me only 2, us girls still took longer .... surprise.
After that marathon effort , we headed to M&M World - yep it's just what you think. Candy covered chocolate. They had some cool stuff but overpriced. The fluro coloured sweatshirts were USD140, and the bags/purses (which I really liked), were $250, if you wanted the full glitter jacket, it was a mere $3000. So, consequently, I came out with two packets of M&M's to share, because our next stop was the Hersheys shop... sounding good so far huh?
To add to the sugar high, we took a ride up the Rockefeller Centre, right to the top. Incredible. And yes, even Tara and I went on it (which for Tara inparticular is nothing short of a miracle). As you get to the lift, you do a 'history' walk, with lots of photos and excerpts from the build. I'm not going to bore you with the details, but it's fair to say, Rockefeller took a huge risk building that from his personal funds, with only one tenant, who weren't exactly a sure thing anyway, but it was obviously a risk that well and turyly paid off
We had a walk down 5th Avenue, as you absolutely have to do, and we ventured into Saks (a New York Institution). We actually got talking to a really nice man in the Louis Vutton section, so yes, they are definitely normal people, but in, what has to be, one of the most beautiful, (I'd like to use the word 'precious' ) buildings.... I guess similar (but everything in more abundance) to Smith & Caughey - dignified, gracious, full of glorious chandeliers, ornate mirrors, and perfumeries. We ended up on the 'shoe floor' .. (quite by accident of course), and Gary (God love him), found him and the children some seating space, and let me wander around from Miu Miu to Chanel , to Jimmy Choo .... and dream.....
By the time we did all this and headed back out onto the street it was dark, and it was abuzz. The temperature was very mild, and everything was alight. Of course, it was election night and the anticipation in the air was obvious. We had a quick bite in Times Square at TGI Fridays - a very basic and just OK meal in Times Square - for USD140 + 15 tip, it wasn't worth it, but hey, that's New York, and it's all about location
THE ELECTION: I have to make a special mention of this, simply because of its significance. To be in New York, at this time, was a once-in-a- lifetime event. Over the last couple of days, all the TV stations have been broadcasting live: ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS etc. You could walk along by the Rockefeller Centre, and right there, next to you were lights, cameras, and the 'front lady' seated and broadcasting.
We decided to make Times Square our destination point for this night. They had seats in the middle of the square with large (and I mean LARGE) screens broadcasting live. The atmosphere was electric. CNN (who'd set it up) were giving away bags of popcorn and hot chocolate and we squeezed into some seats, (yep all 7 of us). It was fantastic. We have learnt so much in the last few weeks about the generations that have come before, and the fights that have had to endure (think Rosa Parks, Martin Luther etc); we realised for the first time, the real significance of this election to the American People, and how the dreams of the parents and grandparents (black & white) were formatting right before their eyes. No wonder they are a people that believe in the impossible!
From the time JFK chose to put 'man on the moon', they have believed they can do anything, and us 'foreigners' we can be skeptical at times, but tonight they proved that the improbable is possible, with belief, hard work and team effort. This is a lesson for every man, no matter what his citizenship.
I know we drag our children along to all this, and they may not completely understand it, but we do know, that they will, absolutely remember this night, and when it happened, and the feeling of the people and the crowds that surrounded them. Again, I say, you cannot learn a feeling, you have to experience it.
We got the late ferry home (about 10.00pm) and watched the rest of it on TV. No doubt you had these pictures at home, but to see Rev Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, silent, tears streaming down the faces, as they absorbed the reality that the change and ACCEPTANCE they had prayed for, was eminent. Incredibly, incredibly moving. As someone said "this IS the peaceful revolution".
We were here, amongst it all. It will be remembered, as a significant turning point in America's History, and we're privileged to be part of it.
Forgive me, as I relieve this heartfelt message with some lightheartdness ...
Obama's camp has a slogan and chant, which I'm sure you have heard .... The 'yes we can' chant. I have to be honest, everytime I've heard it, it reminded me of 'Bob The Builder'..... "Bob the Builder, Can We Fix It?, Bob The Builder, YES WE CAN". I must have Mr Obama up about that, next time I see him.....