Holidays Our little holiday diary

New York Part Three

Day 6.

After the last three very hectic days, we had a long lie in and didn’t surface until about 11.30am. Had to go down two floors to get our free morning coffee from the machine in the hotel lounge area and finally got out at 12.30, onto the subway and straight up to Times Square. Found a very nice fast food joint called Pax Fast Food at the corner of 6th Avenue and West 40th Street. We bought a couple of very nice made to order salads (we chose the ingredients ourselves and very healthy) and went across the road to Bryant Park where we found a table and chairs to eat. While we were there, we were asked to move by a film crew who were doing a film shoot for a department store and were wheeling a giant model called Marina through the park to where we were sitting.  (see the pictures in the gallery) We think they were advertising mobile phones (cell phones). It passed a very pleasant hour or so. We then wandered westward towards the Hudson River and the USS Intrepid. A USA Aircraft Carrier now permanently berthed on the river and has a variety of US aircraft on deck. (Big toys for big boys). They also have a Concorde. A friend of mine at work had told me that a Space Shuttle was on view, but when we asked about it, we were told that is going to be on display from some time in April or May 2012. Typical of us, we never get anything right!!  We had a good wander round and finally got thrown off at 5.30pm. We made our way to the Rockefeller Centre but we felt it was too late to go up as the view wouldn’t be as good as it could be because it was so late in the afternoon. We decided to come back another day only earlier. While we were in the area we tried to find the Rand McNally map shop and failed miserably. We also tried to find a novelty shop in the same area with the same result. While we were wandering round, we found out it was New York Fashion Week. Would you believe, the fashion statement seemed to be Wellington Boots! Whatever next. We should have guessed with all the weird and wonderful sights walking up and down. We dared to go into Bloomingdales, but only to have a look around, not to buy. Back to the hotel via a sandwich shop and so to bed.

Day 7.

Had another lazy start to the day. It must be the coach trip catching up with us. We’ll be alright once we get moving. Today, we decided that we would travel south and after catching the wrong trains a couple of times we finally managed to get ourselves to Battery Park. In the park we saw hundreds of Stars and Stripes flags and the stripes had the names of all the people who had died in the 9/11 tragedy. We were making our way to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. We had considered doing the Statue of Liberty Boat Tour but we were told that it cost $20 so being true Sanderson’s we decided to go over to the Island by way of the Staten Island Ferry which is FREE. We got a fabulous view of the statue both ways, although it was a little distant for photography.  We didn’t stay on the island for very long but we enjoyed the trip both ways. We made our way to ground zero but couldn’t see anything because it was all boarded up. We did see the Freedom Tower which is being built. Off we went again on the subway, obviously getting lost a couple of times,  back up town to Pax Fast Food to get ourselves another great if rather late salad lunch. Had a nice stroll round the Times Square area taking in all the sights, not as busy as we expected and we could move very freely. All in all, a relaxing day.

Day 8.

As it was Saturday, we thought we would go to Coney Island for a day out. Jumped onto the subway for the three quarters of an hour ride. Got there only to find that it had closed for the winter the week before we got there. Isn’t it just typical? Not only that, but the famous Coney Island Sign (seen in so many New York/Brooklyn films) has now disappeared. All there was to see were a few rather weary looking market stalls. Just like being at home really. Never mind, we had a wander along the boardwalk. Took one or two pics and made our way back to the subway only to find that the trains had been cancelled for some reason and we had to take a shuttle bus to Prospect Park and pick up the subway from there. That took us a total of one and a half hours. We made our way to the where we might find the Flat Iron Building. After a lot of wandering about, we found it and then struggled to get any decent pics of it because the sun was in the wrong position and put everything in shadows. Grand Central Station was next on our list of places to visit and we weren’t disappointed. What a majestic building and very, very clean. A credit to New York. We then went more or less round the corner to the Public Library where there was a choir singing outside. Very moving.  As we made our way to 5th Avenue we stumbled across a parade of fire fighters marching along commemorating the 343 fireman who died in the 9/11 tragedies. Once they had passed, we made our way to the “Rock” to see about tickets for going to the top. Once we had sorted them out we went to the Chrysler Building only to find that it was closed as well. Diane was extremely disappointed. This was one of the main buildings she wanted to go into and up. Not our day was it! To end the day, we actually had a proper meal in a steak house which was very nice and filled us up for the rest of the day.

Day 9.

Today is 9/11.

There must be something special happening to remember this day. First of all, we went to the local

Supermarket to do some shopping. We then made our way down to ground zero but couldn’t get anywhere near. We asked policemen, security guards and locals if there was anything special to mark the day but nobody seemed to know. It was a day for immediate family and relatives only. We respected that and went up town. The plan was to go up the Empire States Building but we were told that if you go up it, you can’t see it so we went up the Rockefeller Building and had a fabulous view of it and the New York skyline instead. I don’t know whether I have mentioned it, but I work for AXA, a finance company, and while we were up the “Rock”, we saw the top of the AXA Finance building in the next street. Boring eh!! It had been a very quiet and subdued sort of day. Maybe it was the right mood considering what day it was.

Day 10.

Going home today, so we checked out of the hotel but left our luggage there as our flight wasn’t until later in the day. We walked down South Street to Pier 17 and the Sea Port then on to Wall Street. Had a good wander round. Took a few more photos before making our way back to the hotel to collect our luggage. We asked the hotel staff to order a cab for us and a limousine arrived soon after. A very miserable driver got out, opened the boot (trunk) then totally ignored us and left us to put our own luggage in, while he continued talking on his mobile (cell) phone. After about twenty minutes motoring we passed a sign for La Guardia Airport. I was quick to remind the driver that we were going to JFK Airport. Not a word from him. We finally arrived at the right airport. NO TIP for the driver. Once inside, we found the check in desk only to be told that there was no such flight back to the UK on Delta Airlines as our ticket indicated. After a number of phone calls by the desk staff, we were told that we were to be transferred to a different terminal and rebook with Air France. No problem we thought. WRONG. We were booked to fly into Paris France before onward flight to Manchester. Because there was a strike by the airport groung crews, the flights to UK kept being put back. We were originally supposed to arrive in Manchester at about 8.30am. We finally arrived home at 7.30pm. What a trek!! Still, it was nice to be home.

 

Summary.

Diane had said she wanted to go to New York for a few years but I had resisted. I didn’t fancy the idea of wandering round a big, overcrowded city with very tall buildings making everything seem claustrophobic and everyone rushing around being generally unfriendly. I obviously gave in eventually.

I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the buildings are very tall, but I think, because the streets are nearly all straight, you can see the sky at the end of them which makes a tremendous difference. It felt fairly open and the buildings were very impressive. There seems to be a lot of greenery all over the area. Central Park was brilliant and it helped by going on a Sunday when all the families were there. The three day coach trip also helped by breaking up the holiday into parts so we didn’t get chance to be bored. The iconic sights were all that we expected.

I was very disappointed with Chinatown where we stayed. For those of you who have read about us and know about my love of the orientals, you will be a little surprised by this admission but it has to be said. Not only was the area very dirty and smelly, but the people were not at all friendly. We would have loved to have spent more time and money in Chinatown but there was nothing to encourage us to linger. Residents please note. It costs nothing to be sociable.

Would we go again to New York? In all probability, yes, but just for three or four days. Mainly to do the things we missed this time.

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