Tag Archives: Empire State Building

6 days in New York. Day 4.

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Recalled here with great respect and love for those people of Statten Island and America who lost their homes and their lives in the recent Hurricane Sandy.

April 2006.  Yesterday was a brilliantly sunny and very hot day at around 75 degrees.

Me and Patti took the subway to catch the Statten Island Ferry, one of the few things in New York which is still free.  We ferried past the Statue of Liberty which was most impressive and on to the island where we bussed around for a bit to get an idea of what it was like.  Statten Island is a totally different world to New York and in places, it is almost rural.  It is picture postcard pretty with wooden houses and porches and rocking chairs on the verandas.  American flags fly in almost all the front gardens so there is a great sense of patriotism there.  Everywhere was smothered in cherry blossom and the whole place looked absolutely gorgeous, I can well understand why New Yorkers buy there to live for the quiet pace of life and then commute to work on the ferry.  We shopped in a large and airy mall, it was nice to get into a cool place and it really reminded me of the malls in Australia.  We had coffee and caught the ferry back to the Wall Street area of New York.

We found a deli and had hot corned beef sandwiches with mustard and gherkins and went and lay in the sun on the banks of the Hudson River and sunbathed for a while in Battery Park.  I lost my umbrella which I was sad about as it was one I had purchased in America but as it happens, I really didn`t need it that lovely day.

We visited the Jewish Holocaust Museum which is a fantastically imposing piece of architecture and a most engaging and impressive museum.  We were shown round by an old lady called Rose whose picture is up on the wall of the museum, from when she was a little girl.  As an only child her Jewish parents shipped her away from home in Germany when she was 8 so that she would be spared the Holocaust.  She eventually wound up in New York aged 11, where she was raised by wonderful, adoptive parents.  Sadly, she never saw her birth parents again.  Both Patti and I cried whilst going round the museum, these matters always make me cry, just as they should.

Afterwards we dropped into BB King`s Diner in the heart of New York and in fact BB King was there the previous week so we just missed the great man!  They have loads of fabulous musicians making guest appearances there and I really liked the place, it had a great ambience.   Afterwards we got into one of those tricycles that are bike taxis and available for hire all over New York.  We were peddled by a very nice young Croatian geezer who took us to the Empire State Building where we queued for what seemed like an age, in windy  (no – that`s as in winding)  streams of people until we got to the lift which takes you to the 87th floor.  Wow!  You can go still further to Floor 102 but you have to pay a silly amount for the privilege.  The views from Floor 87 were so stunning that we really didn`t mind the wait.  Getting down again however, was a nightmare, it was terribly poorly organised and there was a massive crush of people all trying to get to the bottom floor.  Much of it was by stairs as there is no lift available for the downward journey, it was like being stuck in an Escher painting.  I would recommend visiting at lunch time if you are intending to go there as we were told it is very quiet at lunch time and no queues!

Tomorrow we are visiting the Tenement Museum on East Side and then dine at Katz which famously featured in the movie When Harry Met Sally, a proper Jewish delicatessen where I intend to eat liver and corned beef,

6 days in New York. Day 3.

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The following day we strolled to Green Street in upmarket Soho to find the gallery where my old school mate Paul Seaton sells his beautiful oil paintings.  They are mostly still lifes of old English roses that retail at around ten grand a painting.  It`s alright for some hey although I have to say he works like the proverbial mad artist and exists on black coffee and roll your owns.

We went to the site of the twin towers, a very large and at the time, empty space.  It was extremely moving and we were both somewhat emotionally overwhelmed.  We went into St. Pauls Chapel which overlooks the site, it`s lovely and is full of photo`s of fire fighters and full of love too. 

We walked on into ChinaTown.  I loved ChinaTown!  ChinaTown is full of vibrant colours and occasional indescribable odours coming up from the basements, dead chickens I think.  There are hundreds of wonderful shops selling gorgeous trinkets of every description.  I began to flag and so we bought ourselves a street massage.  A very old Chinese man sat us in chairs and we rested our heads and then he began to pummel us and slap us around a bit and dug his elbows into our muscles, it bloody hurt and made us go “Ow!” but it was incredibly invigorating and so we asked him to marry us and with happy smiles upon our faces we told him how much we loved him and asked us to come back with us to Birmingham where we would share him.  He didn`t speak English and so hadn`t got a clue what we were saying but we all smiled and laughed a lot.

Later we visited the Mahayana Buddhist temple in the bit between ChinaTown and Manhatten.  It is sooooooo beautiful in there, all reds and golds I loved it.  I love Bhuddism.  We also wanted to see the Jewish Synagogue in ChinaTown but it was closed so we had our hair cut instead, how spiritual can you get!  It was lots of fun getting our hair cut by two young Chinese men who didn`t have a word of English.  They asked us lots of questions in Chinese and we asked some back in English and spent the whole hour in fits of the giggles.  We both looked fab` dahhhhhhhling.

We shopped for shoes at a “WORLD FAMOUS STORE” called Store 21 which was dreadful and cramped but came highly recommended by the New York wide Zaggatt survey.  The staff were amongst the most miserable specimens of humanity I have ever encountered so we put a suggestion in their suggestion box to the effect that smiling is quite a nice activity.  Hah!

We lunched in a café on Bleeker Street and then walked to Manhatten Bridge, very wow that bridge.  We walked along Broadway which is lovely.

In the evening we visited the Rockefeller Centre called Top of the Rock which is situated in mid-town Manhatten next to RadioCity.  We went up 67 floors to the top, where interestingly, it was snowing!  Yes it was!  And the view of New York is absolutely stunning, the Empire State Building right in front of you and the whole of New York splayed out beneath, all lit up and totally spectacular.