New York, New York
Trip Start Sep 02, 2009
72Trip End Oct 30, 2010
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Where I stayed
1291 Bed and Breakfast
We took the air train to Newark station, then the train from there to New York Penn station. It was really cool when the conductor stepped off the train and shouted, 'New York! New York!'.
Penn station was crazy. It was jam packed with commuters and we had no idea where to go from there. after fighting our way through the crowds, and walking in circles, we finally figured it out. We caught the subway to 59th Street, then walked to 55th and 8th, where our hostel was
Luckily there was a decently priced restaurant next door (NYC isn't actually very expensive at all!), and after 40 winks and a chat with Ramiro, a lovely Argentinian guy staying in our apartment, we finally had something to eat. After food we went for a walk, but as we had no map and therefore no concept of where we were, we decided to call it a day and start bright and early in the morning.
As we only had two days in NYC our strategy was to get up and out as early as possible, and to stay out until late (taking full advantage of the fact that it's the city that never sleeps). The next day we did just that and, having bought a map, we realised just how close we were to all the sights! Awesome!
Our first port of call, and one place I have always wanted to go to, was the American Museum of Natural History! When we got there I instantly knew what it was I wanted to see: The dioramas and the dinosaurs!
The museum was massive and absolutely amazing! I could have stayed there for weeks, I just wish I'd taken my sketch book. The dioramas were awesome and really cleverly done with beautiful backgrounds. But even better than that were the dinosaurs. It was so surreal to see the humongous skeletons towering towards the ceilings. It really was a childhood dream come true.
After the Natural History Museum we walked through Central Park. It was a lovely walk, though it would have been nice to have had more time to explore it.
Next up on the itinerary was 5th Avenue. We walked passed Tiffany & Co, Trump Tower, and after eating at a manically busy (and confusing) deli, went to the Museum of Modern Art. The MoMA was... interesting. I wasn't sure what to think at first because a lot of the art seemed very obscene and confusing, but there was a great kitchen exhibit and the top floors held the BEST bit... two floors of masterpieces which I had only ever seen in books. I was giddy with happiness and couldn't believe I was seeing such amazing art.
It was getting dark by the time we left the MoMA and a perfect time to go and see Times Square
We entered the lobby and immediately started taking pictures. As we made our way to the elevators the concierge told us that there was zero visibility at the top. We um'd and ah'd about whether to go up anyway... after all, zero visibility had become kind of a theme during this trip, but as we were thinking about it our camera broke. Rubbish! We were gutted (though not surprised after all it had been through). I'd just quickly like to thank Lucy and Stephen (if you're reading this) for buying me the camera, it helped us capture some really amazing memories.
As the plan to visit the Empire State Building would have to be done another day, we decided to get a new camera right away. We still had so much more to see, and not having a camera was NOT an option! There are trillions of camera shops in NYC, but we got offered such a good deal at the first shop (using our Thailand bartering techniques) that we bought one then and there
The next day we decided to head straight to the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We were told it was a great (free) way to see it, and it was! The ferry ride was very blustery, and we got a good view of the statue. When we arrived on Staten Island we headed straight back to Manhattan: We didn't have the time to look around the island, and the Statue was all we were fussed about seeing.
When we got back to Manhattan we decided to walk back to Times Square, instead of getting the subway. First we explored the financial district and Wall Street, then we headed to Ground Zero. I wasn't sure what to expect, or how it would make me feel, and part of me didn't know if it was a good idea to go. But I'm glad we did. We visited the church where the fire fighters and volunteers rested and ate. The church had recently been restored but they had kept some of the pews with the scuff marks from where the fire fighters had slept, and set up sections explaining who helped out and what they did. There was an alter where all the missing peoples pictures had been put up and it was when I looked at that that it really hit home to me the reality of the event. It was very upsetting, but I'm glad we went to see it.
We walked on through Soho and Greenwich Village, and stopped to watch some dogs playing in a doggy park. It was so funny to watch all the dogs playing, and there was one dog in particular who was very frisky, which made us laugh.
Our next stop was the Empire State Building... again. After queuing for a very long time at five different points in the building we finally got to the first observation desk, on the 86th floor. It was extremely windy and busy, but great to see the panoramic view of New York. We saw Central Park, the Chrysler Building, the financial district, Brooklyn and I think the Bronx, amongst other things. Then we headed further up, to the top observation deck on the 102nd floor. The elevator was very small, old and basic, with an old lever handle to make it work which was operated by the attendant. Half way up the lift crawled to a stop and the attendant was pulling the lever back and forth trying to make it work again. Then after a minute or two he made a call and said, 'That thing has happened again. Yes, it's stuck again. You know, like what happened yesterday. It just wont work'. We all looked at each other and nervously laughed. Then after a few minutes the lift slowly started going up again, very, very slowly. We eventually reached the top, which was very small, and very high. We had another look around then headed back to the bottom. Thankfully there were no queues on the way down.
We visited Times Square again on the way back, then headed back out to pick up our train ticket to Montreal.
Although we didn't have long in NYC we had a really great time and I think we managed to fit in the key things. We were exhausted and looking forward to putting our feet up for 11 hours on the train to Montreal.