Monday, June 01, 2009
Our first two days in New York...
We flew with Continental Airways from Manchester and they were great; flight took off on time, crew were friendly and food not too terrible! We arrived at Newark to find it very hot & sunny at midday and got a cab to our hotel, the Beacon, on the Upper West Side. Just opposite was a fantastic market, the Fairway, an absolute paradise of grocery items. After quickly dumping our bags and shedding some clothes we went down the block to the subway station to buy our 7 day Metro cards; then it was off to Greenwich Vilage. We wandered through the streets and admired the houses and shops, stopped off in Washington Square for some water and the girls' first ever pretzel; then walked up 5th Avenue. I was intrigued to see an open-mouthed lion statue on the back of a truck, next to a wicker baby carriage!
We had a little wander in the park before heading back towards our hotel, stopping off for dinner at the "City Grill" on the way. We picked up some breakfast items at the market before turning in for the night.
The next morning was very hot and sunny and we walked to Central Park, passing the Dakota building. We saw John Lennon's memorial mosaic in the park as we entered. On a beautiful bridge over a lake I noticed a couple getting engaged; I was just too late with my camera to catch him down on one knee- it would have been nice to email them the photo!
Central Park was full of characters that day - a young guy doing yoga, roller skaters dancing to the music in their ears from Ipods, two young boxers sparring, even a wedding couple plus photographer! We saw another guy in a yellow robe doing very odd moves but a passer-by told us he was "there every Sunday; he's just attention-seeking!" While we were admiring Belvedere Castle across the lake, a guitarist entertained us with his beautiful playing - he wsn't busking, just enjoying himself under the willow trees on a beautiful day.
After leaving the park we had an unsuccessful hunt for the Broadway Diner, where Phil and I had eaten on our three previous trips. By then it was sweltering so we ducked into Grand Central station - one of my favourite New York spaces. We found some nice food there including great cupcakes. We passed Bryant Park behind the NY public library and I was interested to see they have racks of books for loan in the park - how civilised and how trusting! Refreshed, we took the subway downtown and the Staten Island Ferry. It was looking very stormy by then but although it rained in Staten Island by the time we got back to Manhattan it was obvious the rain hadn't travelled that far.
After a quick look at the statue representing (ironically!) world peace, which used to stand in the plaza of the WTC but was placed, battered but not destroyed, in Battery Park after 9/11 and now has an eternal flame lit before it, we got back on the subway. We had a Mexican meal in Caliente (Greenwich Village) with wonderful freshly-made guacamole, then went to the Empire State Building. Then we queued. And we queued...and we queued! It has never taken so long to reach the observation deck but we enjoyed the spectacular views before returning to the hotel and BED!