Holidays Our little holiday diary

New York Part One

Day One.

We know that this is out of chronological order but we feel that it is worth doing now.

We booked this as a 7 day holiday from 3rd to 9th September  back in March and then a works colleague of mine asked me if we had thought of being in New York for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We had taken a holiday in America 12 days after the attacks in 2001 and we felt it would be nice to pay our respects by being out there again. After many emails backward and forward we managed to change our flights and hotel booking to be there for the extra few days.

Our taxi picked us up promptly at 7.15am and for the hour and a bit ride to Manchester airport the driver never stopped talking. We heard about his family, his wife and three daughters, his holiday to Hawaii and the fact that they only have seven consonants, along his love of cooking and various recipes, nearly all to do with chilli in one form or another. Diane was quite happy to listen to him but I (Eric) got bored after about fifteen minutes.

Our Hotel

The flight was pleasant, uneventful and after arriving at JFK airport we got a taxi to our hotel in lower Manhattan (Chinatown). (I was surprised at how small JFK Airport really is). He charged us $45 plus $5 toll. We found out later that there was no toll on the route he took to the hotel. Point to note for future reference. As our regular visitors (if we have any) will know, this Chinese area for the hotel pleased Eric because of his love of all things oriental. We got there at about 5.00pm local time and checked in. The room was clean but basic. The lighting we were to find out was rather lacking and there wasn’t even a kettle or any facilities for making a drink although there was free coffee making facilities two floors down from ours. Our room was on the fourth floor and within twenty yards of the Manhattan Bridge over which the subway trains ran 24/7. (Pictures to prove it.) It was very reminiscent of our stay in the Motel 6 in Flagstaff. See California Part Three. They say that New York never sleeps, we now know why. We went out and had a wander around the immediate area to get our bearings and to buy a few essentials. Mainly booze of course and then back to the room for the usual nightcap.


Day Two.


After a quick trip back to the supermarket we visited yesterday for a few more things we had forgotten, we ventured out and bravely bought a seven day Metro Card for use on the subway and the local bus routes. (They turned out to be very useful). We had booked a 3 day coach tour from Monday to Wednesday to fit into this holiday and the pick up point was Canal Street and Bowery in China Town, so before we went anywhere, we wanted to make sure we knew where the pick up point was. When we were happy we knew where we were going to get the coach, we decided to go uptown to Central Park. We had already studied the maps carefully the night before as we do. Despite the weather forecast saying that we would have scattered thunderstorms, the sun was cracking the pavements (sidewalks). Rather warm to say the least. We entered the park via the south entrance avoiding all the touts for various horse and cart rides, trishaw rides, bicycle hire etc. and decided to walk anti clockwise round the park. No special reason, we just seemed to gyrate that way. We tried to find a military museum that was reputedly at the south east corner of the park. Missed it completely. Never mind, onward and upward (geographically speaking) stopping and listening to a number of entertainers, from solo violinist, groups playing pan pipe type music, male voice choirs and a harpist. There were other performers such as jugglers, mime artists, dancers. Plenty of pics along the way. On our way up the east side of the park, we popped out to walk a way along 5th Avenue just to be posh!! and of course to have a peep at the Guggenheim Museum. Back into the park to see and take pictures of the Alice in Wonderland statue, the Bethesda Fountain and numerous other statues. On our way past the boating lake there was a demonstration by the staff, protesting about something or other. The usual police presence and one of the policemen was kind enough to let us take his picture with me (Eric) for which we thank him. About two thirds of the way up the park we crossed over to the west side and went out to visit the Natural History Museum on the other side of West Avenue. Brilliant timing. It had less than an hour to go before closing time so they let us in free! We had to gallop round rather quickly but when it’s free it’s worth it. We saw all the main exhibits that Diane wanted to see, that was the main thing. Just as we came out of the museum and tried to cross West Avenue back into the Park, a convoy of motorcyclists came hurling past. There must have been between fifty and seventy five bikers on all manner of bikes from Harleys to road racers. They were weaving in and out of the traffic with no thought for other motorists and travelling at more than  50 miles an hour. Some were even doing wheelies. They didn’t even bother to stop at any red traffic lights on the way. It was then back into the park to continue our exploration. We stopped for a while to watch a few baseball games and it took some time before we could find Strawberry Fields which was created in memory of John Lennon, but we succeeded. It was literally just a bit of a field on the east side of the park, not very well looked after. It did have a paved area with IMAGINE written in the middle of it though. Across the road from here facing the park, on the other side of West Avenue is Dakota Apartments, where John Lennon used to live. We carried on down the west side of the park and came out at Columbus Circle. We made our way down Broadway into Time Square. We could hardly move because it was so crowded. We found a gift shop and bought postcards to send to our friends and relatives . We always try to get them early so that they arrive where they should before we get back home. When we asked for postage stamps to go with them the shop keeper quoted us $1.50 each to send cards to the UK. We were suspicious and refused to pay that amount. (See New York Part Two). We will get stamps at a real Post Office. We were now getting very foot sore and decided to call it a day and make our way back to the hotel. It took a little time to find a subway, they seem to be very well hidden, just a couple of green balls on posts to denote where they are. We finally got back and limped into our hotel.  When I took my trainers off, one of my white socks was soaked in blood where my toes had been bleeding.  We worked out that we had been walking for over eight hours. No wonder our feet were sore. I was going to include a photo of my toes but they are not a pretty the best of times!!

Not to worry, a few drinks will soon put things right!! And so to bed.

New York Part Two is now ready if you can be bothered

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