Today we got up early with the intention of taking a helicopter trip over New York in the afternoon. Our morning plan was to go cruising the rivers and bridges of the city. The Hudson River is four blocks walk down 42nd Street from 8th Avenue so of course we had to stop on the way to eat! When we enquired about the helicopter trip it was another twelve blocks walk so we ditched that idea as our legs were developing muscles that even Superman would be proud of.
Actually we were absolutely knackered and falling into our bunks each evening but it was totally worth it. Sleep is quite sporadic in the hostel on account of (mostly) pissed young girls coming in at four or five o`clock in the morning and falling about, putting the light on and off, banging the door, screaming, laughing, crying, talking loudly, rambling mindlessly, we have been most patient and reasonable. This morning we lost our cool though. Since they have completely ignored the fact that we are sharing a room, Patti and I got up at 6.30am and made a lot of noise, rustling, sorting, coughing, laughing, singing, tripping over their bags and yelling, “Oops!” and telling one another jokes until we had woken all of them up.
Yes I know, It`s childish.
We took a cruiser down the Hudson River past all of the Manhatten skyline which is a treat in itself. We sailed on into the East River past a tumble down beautiful brick building that was once a hospital where people with leprosy were looked after. It`s going to be demolished which I think is a terrible shame. Eventually we reached the Harlem River and sailed on past Spanish Harlem where there is a rose….. alongside Harlem itself, back around the Jersey Pallisades and Inman Park (my married name was Inman so that was rather nice). Both these last two places I mention are quite staggeringly beautiful and I wasn`t expecting so much wild countryside in New York. It was a fascinating trip under some magnificent bridge architecture and we both really, really enjoyed the day. It was sunny to boot!
Tomorrow is our last proper day before catching our flight home. my own bed! My own bath……..
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,