Friday, 1 March 2013

Four internet-free days

Sunday 24th – Wednesday 27th February 2013

So, it's been a while! I hope you are well – we have a lot of catching up to do!

I will miss things out, purely for your sanity (and my terrible memory), but here is a very brief overview of my first four days here in the Big Apple.

Me, terrified, at (nearly the top of) the Empire State Building!
Sunday was a totally manic day – we decided to go and explore the local area, our main objectives being to buy New York City Passes and to see Times Square. As it turned out, we achieved both of these things and more, all before 2pm (when we went back to the hotel and promptly fell asleep!) Due to some disastrous map-reading on my part (which is impressive considering NYC is built in straight lines), we completely bypassed Times Square and found ourselves at the south end of Central Park, having visited the Empire State Building, NY Public Library, the Chrysler Building AND Grand Central Station en route. Once we'd fought our way through the hordes of horse-drawn carriages and pigeons, we found a map and realised what we thought was Broadway was actually 6th Avenue. Luckily we were close enough that we could walk back to the hotel along the right road, so we managed to visit Times Square before going to Macy's (that was particularly traumatic – whoever decided disco music, fluorescent lights and make-up counters was a good idea is just mean) for giant pizza and sugar-cinnamon bagels. After all the excitement, what we needed most was a trip up the Empire State building – I was traumatised enough, so the thought of being 86 storeys above ground level didn't faze me at all! I think in total today we walked about 8 miles, so I was glad to get back to the hotel for a lie down!

Me & Lady Liberty- my ears were cold
On Monday, we were hoping to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty but these have been closed since Hurricane Sandy hit at the end of 2012, so instead we took a 2 hour cruise around the south of Manhattan, passing the Statue of Liberty, the Financial District, and turning at the UN Headquarters. I managed to position myself right at the front of the boat, so had the best view (which was awesome apart from the fact it was FREEZING!) After we'd warmed up with lunch at Subway, we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for a couple of hours. The art was great, but my favourite thing about MoMa was the Security Guards – they all seem to have a really wicked sense of humour – hiding behind installations and jumping out at each other, high-fiving small children and generally having fun! We walked home down 5th Avenue and saw all the shops and a true representation of what NYC is like at rush hour!

Tuesday, we had decided, would be a lazy day with a well-deserved lie-in. So of course I woke up at 4am. I gave up trying to sleep by 6am so instead enjoyed a couple of hours sitting in the hotel lobby working on a presentation I will be giving next week. After breakfast, we walked to Central Park where we visited the John Lennon memorial (Strawberry Fields) and then carried on to the American Museum of Natural History. We went to the planetarium and then wandered round the very random collection of installations – we liked the dinosaurs best. We left mid-afternoon to walk back through Central Park to the Rockefeller Center. Since I went up the Empire State Building, I didn't really have an excuse not to visit Top of the Rock, so after a Starbucks, we took the lift up 70-something storeys to the outdoor viewing platform. The views were incredible, and it was nice to be able to see Central Park as well as the Empire State Building. We walked up to the very top, which had even more amazing views but I didn't like because the fences were only waist-height. After some faffing around in the shop at the top, we walked back out onto the viewing platform to find that the sun was setting, so we hung around to see the lights of NYC – AMAZING!!
The lights of NYC

Alice In Wonderland - Central Park
Wednesday was the day I discovered my waterproof jacket is not waterproof. This was the day we walked 60 blocks to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), so I spent half of the day dripping everywhere. The Met is HUGE – I am pretty sure no-one has ever actually seen the whole thing in one day. We spent about 1.5 hours in one section before realising a) we were hungry, b) the cafeteria was on the other side of the museum, and c) we'd only done one corner of one (of three) levels. While we were having lunch, we planned our strategy and decided the best approach would be to just visit the sculpture, weapons and Egyptian exhibitions. Even that took the best part of 5 hours, so we were glad when we left that it had stopped raining and we could walk home via the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.

So, a very brief overview of four very manic few days in New York City.

Tomorrow – a taxi ride, a new hotel, meeting some wonderful people and the real reason I am in the Big Apple!


1 comment:

  1. Knees are knocking just thinking about all those tall buildings. Apart from that it all sounds very intellectual - all those museums and galleries. Great pics! :-)