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……..
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.