After several months of hiatus, I'm back! And I'm in New York!
I arrived in New York city on Friday evening, in pretty good shape thanks to a surprise upgrade to business class on my flight. The Upstaters (my sister and her husband) flew down to meet me at the airport and we dragged our luggage out to Uncle's place in New Jersey, which would be our base camp for daily forays into the Big Apple: just an hour on the bus each way.
I had a short list of four things I wanted to see or do in NY city: one of the big art galleries, Central Park, Greenwich Village and a Broadway show. We easily did all that and more, but there's still plenty to see next visit! All the photos are here, in my Flickr account.
We headed straight for Times Square where we sipped coffee and watched the world go by. From Times Square we took a stroll uptown to the Rockefeller Centre. The Museum of Modern Art turned out to be the gallery of choice, rather than the Met, and it was all I thought it would be. Seeing first-hand original artworks that I've studied and written essays about was awe-inspiring. It's such a great collection of iconic works. When the security guards threw us out at closing time, we headed downtown to Chinatown for dinner. Much to my delight, I found several stores and street vendors who were selling the delicious hot coconut milk tea that the Dude and I fell in love with in Shanghai. I bought a cup for the Upstaters, who declared it delicious (although Pierre said it would be better without the "gloppy shit" in the bottom).
On this fine sunny Sunday we elected to visit Central Park, only to find that half the park was closed to the public because of a Puerto Rican parade. Still, we walked through Strawberry Fields (and saw the Dakota apartment block where John Lennon was shot), strolled around the Lake to the Bethesda fountain and visited the Belvedere Castle for a great view of the Turtle Pond and the city skyline over the park. Shakespeare's garden was lovely, with lots of flowers in bloom. From Central Park we dropped in at the Waldorf ("where folks sit around all day") for high tea. Heading back downtown we went to Battery Park and visited the World Trade Centre site before going to Little Italy for dinner al fresco.
Greenwich Village was ticked off the list today: Washington Square, NYU, the Stonewall Bar and various other sites. We ate lunch in a bar that was showing the World Cup, but just missed the Australia vs Japan game (that Australia won 3-1, and apparently John Aloisi made a hero of himself again). In the afternoon, we took the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island to get an education in local history and some photographs of an iconic landmark. For dinner we found a little cajun cafe called Great Jones, so I got my first taste of gumbo and cornbread.
Now with thoroughly sore feet, we had tickets for a show on Broadway this evening and everything else on my list done, so our first stop was NY Choppers, a custom bike shop famous among bikers like the Upstaters. Just down the road we ate lunch at the Hello Deli, which is apparently famous because it is a regular segment on Letterman. The owner was happy to pose for photographs with the customers, all day. And the sandwiches were good. Next stop was the South Street Sea Port, where there was an exhibition of plastinated human bodies similar to the one I saw in Sydney with the Aforementioned Engineer. The Upstaters were keen, so we checked it out. Afterwards we went to Union Square to meet my fellow blogger, Kevin, and get the lowdown on what we had missed from a true New Yorker! Last stop was Times Square (again) for a piece of New York pizza and some cheesecake to complete our sampling of NY cuisine. Spamalot was our Broadway show of choice (due to a long-term Monty Python indoctrination) and we were not disappointed, apart from the fact that the big-name stars (Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria) had been replaced by lesser-known performers. We finally made it back to New Jersey and fell into bed, knowing that the next day was just for travelling.
Now we're upstate, in sunny Colden where the temperature is (uncharacteristically) supposed to hit 90 degrees in the next day or so. (That's about 35 degrees for those who think in Celsius.) The Upstaters have family visiting for the Father's Day weekend so tomorrow looks like a grocery shopping day.