Sunday, 1 June 2014

NEW YORK,NEW York, so good they named in twice


Except it should be Q York as will become clear.
An inauspicious start when misdirected to the taxi rank and had to walk 3 sides of Penn station in extremely hot weather to find a 100 yd chaotic queue with no dispatcher organising the proceedings. However finally got to head of queue to get non-english speaking cab driver who appeared to have no knowledge of Times Square until I suggested that we get out and go find someone who did when he suddenly remembered ' oh that Times Square'. To give him his due he got us to 47th street kamikaze style for $8 before the gridlock occurred when we could see the hotel. .....and despite my suggestion that he pull over and we would walk, this apparently impugned his professionalism to be able to deliver us to our destination so we sat immobile in the centre lane, unable to leg it (GF) , and had to pay $12 + tip .
Hotel however is a little gem, boutique style, incredible foyer with floor to ceiling  free standing tropical fish tank and about 100yds from Times Square.. Rooms are small but TV is large and a Bose radio, and perfectly OK.
So we changed ( left Washington cool,now hot) and walked to  TSquare which was manic .,.crowds unbelievable, US soccer  team on live TV in preparation for world cup....then up to Central Park, where after an ice cream sitting on the grass we gave the GF her biggest wish and had a horse and carriage ride through the park.. Then walked back down 5th Avenue, with detour into Saks for brownie points. Back to hotel via deli next door where a very large 32oz can of Bud cost $2.75. Recommended dinner venue, Frisco's , but sudden thunderstorm forced us into Italian on 49 th  street which was good. Rain cleared by the time we left so walked back down 6th. Avenue Avenue of the Americas, which is much better than 5th. Love the skyline at night. Crowds are unbelievable.
Sat morning, decide to forego hoponhopoff which are touted everywhere but seem stuck in traffic and go native. Buy Metro card for seniors which gives 1/2 price fares. Head to Battery Park for ferries, initial problem with weekend rail maintenance forces retrace to another line but finally arrived and buy tickets for liberty island and Ellis island. Crowds are enormous. Queue for security airport style check, refuse to remove belt as shorts will fall down and make guards laugh (!), queue to get on ferry, queue to get off ferry, queue for lunch, queue to get back on boat for Ellis island, queue to get off, queue to get back on,queue to get off, queue to get into Metro........we spend 5 hours doing Statue of liberty and Ellis island but well worth it, very evocative and it means we have finished our coast to coast journey. Can't believe the crowds. From South Ferry we head to Greenwich Village and spend a couple of hours round Washington Square, great street entertainment, and Bleeker Street where I spend $50 on blues  and jazz CDs and could easily have spent $500. Have early dinner next to ex folk club now comedy club, Cafe Wha  where Dylan played his first gig  along with anybody who's anybody. All the old folk clubs long since gone, want to go to Blue Note jazz but cover charge $110 + dinner + drinks each.
Head uptown and do Empire State for sunset . queue for tickets, queue for security check, queue for lifts to 80 th floor,queue for lifts to 86th floor, shuffle round observation platform 10 deep trying to get close to edge,queue for lifts to go down even walking down stairs between 86-80 but having to go to back of queue when we got there. But it was a fantastic view .....$26 each (snr) and took 2 hrs. mainly queueing. Box ticked. Walked home up 6 th  Av and bought another big Bud.

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