Wow, where to start with this one!?
By the time we got into New York and found our way to the hostel (Note, NY Metro and backpack don’t mix well!), it was getting into the evening and we were knackered, so we had a quiet night and went to bed early.
Bright and early, we were off and away to Wall Street and the Stock Exchange (as seen in The Dark Knight Rises – eek!) to look around the downtown area. We had a long wander around the area, taking in Battery Park, Castle Clinton, the Irish Potato Famine Memorial (who knew!) and the big golden bull.
We went for a walk out over Brooklyn Bridge, and had just started heading for Chinatown when the heavens opened, and a subway station was more inviting (even if incredibly hot at all times…). The HI in New York organises loads of things so we went out on a pubcrawl around the hostel with a few fellow travelers. They told us Sundays were pretty quiet…. we disagree! After a night with Aussies, Brazilians, Americans and a very boring Dutchman, along with a Commonwealth vs Italy pool tournament at 3am and Abby’s inevitable friendship with the only gay guy there, we got to bed at God knows what time and barely made it to breakfast the next morning.
Feeling a little fragile we made our way to the Empire State Building, where there is nothing like a two hour queue to perk you up! 100% worth it though – stunning views from the top (but very very high up for those not so fond of heights…). Descending again half an hour later, we noticed that our tickets got us 10% off purchases in Macy’s. It would be rude not to!!! With wallets a little lighter, and Abby proudly clutching a Macy’s paper bag for a photo opportunity we wandered up to Times Square.
Photos (and in Abby’s case previous visits) do not prepare you for the madness of full size Smurfs, Sesame Street characters, naked Cowboys and M&M world! Entire walls of M&Ms!!!
The next day we went off on a walking tour of Greenwich Village – we had signed up at the hostel along with a few others but nobody else showed up! So, we were treated to a personalised tour of The Village with an aging Hippie called Evan, who knew everything about the area – even if we did have to stop to get his prescription en route…. Highlights included: The Friends building, The Sex and the City house, CBGBs (the punk bar where the Ramones and others started), Jimi Hendrix’s recording studio, and the numerous bars that Bob Dylan et al of the folk scene got their breaks. We went for at Lombardi’s, Little Italy, the oldest pizzeria in America. We are learning – we split a small pizza and were both very full. Still not sure how American’s can eat so much!!! The evening entertainment was the New York Yankees! Who lost. Colossally. Oops! Still, given that we didn’t know what was going on half the time, we had fun with our foam hands and hot dogs!
The next day it was all a bit rainy. Irritating because we were getting on a boat and visiting the Statue of Liberty. Before that though, we went to the 9/11 memorial, which was the sombrest part of our trip, but we’re both glad that we saw it.
Getting on the boat it was starting to rain quite hard! We’re British though and had umbrellas, so on we went! We even soldiered on through a half hour audio tour around the outside of it! It is a very impressive statue – you can see why it was a symbol for the immigrants as they came in – but boy did the audio guide ram that home! The boat then took us to Ellis Island, where the Museum of Immigration is, and we both discovered that we wouldn’t have been allowed in because we sing to ourselves sometimes, which is a sign of madness, and also because Abby is not married and therefore an immoral woman. (Tell them something they didn’t know Andrew – Abby)
The next day was our last in NYC 😦 We went back down to Times Square to try and get Broadway tickets but the office didn’t open when we thought it did! So, we went souvenir buying, and walked up to Central Park, passing the Rockefeller Centre, Trump Tower and Abby’s favourite bit – Tiffany’s! When she’d finished pretending to be Audrey Hepburn, we got up to Central Park for nice walk, a picnic and some terrapin watching (and a big rat but we don’t mention it!) Once we were done there, we went BACK to Times Square and this time managed to get half price tickets for Chicago (You’ve never seen someone as excited as Abby before a musical, and this was no exception). After a burger and a drink in the Hard Rock Cafe(as well as Andrew drooling over a lot of guitars played by the likes of Tony Iommi, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Elvis and a lot more) we were sat in our seats for the show. In Abby’s words: it was super-duperly amazing! (Because Andrew hated every second, obviously, which is why he was singing the songs all of yesterday! – Abby)
And so, after an awesome six days, we said a sad farewell to New York and headed for Washington DC, and you’ll just have to wait for that one won’t you!
Abby ‘Roxie’ Tomkins and Foam Handrew.