Thursday, 27 October 2005

New York

19 - 26 October 2005

 After the adventures in the desert and the rainforest, I though it was time for a different style of challenge.

3 girls, 6 days, 1 city and 100's of shops!
Was New York ready for us? Its hard to say....

If you say New York to anyone they will defiantly think of shopping. Our first full day out and we hit the shops or tried to, only problem being that the shops don’t open until 10:00. We were a little put out but then we found out that most of them stay open until 19:00 or 20:00. 
If your looking for your Tiffany’s or Prada then 5th Avenue is the place for you, but if your after little boutiques then you want to go down to Greenwich Village and SOHO where there is an impressive choice. 
You also have to visit Macys and Bloomingdales. I loved Macys, I could have spent days lost on any of the 8 floors. Bloomingdales was smaller but still many floors! 
If you want real value for money though, you want to take the time to go to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. This is about an hour away by bus (just go to the main bus terminal – but be ready for big queues, go early), and cost about $37 return. We spent the whole day there and were impressed by the range of shops – some 200! Be warned thought – it is outside, so not brilliant in wet or cold weather.

Sight seeing
Who could go to NY and not do a bit of sight seeing? We filled our days with it. Our first stop was the amazing Central Park. I really could not believe how big it was. It might only be a few blocks across but it is about 48 blocks long. The huge rocks that are scattered about are perfect for climbing and sitting in the sun.
New York from above
We then went to the Empire State Building. We booked tickets on the internet before leaving England – it says you can queue jump this way, but we found it didn’t really help as the security checks still held us up. Still we managed to get to the 86th floor just after sun set and the view was amazing. If you want to learn about the city I would advise you to use the Audio Tour. It cost $6 and gave me so much information – things that I wouldn’t have had the patience to read about. I also found it was a really good way to start the holiday as it gave me a better understanding of how NY is laid out and where everything is.
If you want a good look at Manhattan from the water there are plenty of trips and tours, but we did it for free on the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry goes every half hour and takes half an hour to get to Staten Island. We ended up going on a wet day, but we still got some wicked photos. We also saw Manhattan from above the water by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Again it was a dull day but the views were very impressive. We also visited Grand Central Station and the Crysler building foyer. I think my companions may have been a little disappointed with them both as we’d heard how impressive they are, but if you think of when they were built I think they were both pretty cool. 
Another very NY sight was Ground Zero. This was quite moving. I remembering seeing the devastating event unfold on the TV and then here we were. They are just starting to rebuild so this huge hole in the ground will soon be filled in. I’m glad I saw it before they built anything on it.

I only managed to visit 3 galleries while I was out there, and due to time scales had to fit them all in to one afternoon. The first was The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (the Met). I was looking for American art, and after much searching did find it, but I saw much more European art than I was expecting. Their collection of Tiffany Glass was stunning and they had some beautiful collections of paintings. I would have loved much more time here.
Inside the Guggenheim
I then walked to the Museum of Modern Art or MOMA. Don’t walk to the MOMA from the Met unless you have to. It took me half an hour of fast walking and left me feeling too tired to enjoy the art. The MOMA is free from 4pm on a Friday afternoon. Be ready to queue to get in, but it is worth it. I saw many works that I had studied but never seen for real, including Bacon, Pollock and Kerdiskie. 
I then moved on to the Guggenheim. This is back up near the Met (I didn’t walk but took the subway) Again they have a pay what you want on Friday afternoons from 18:00 (thought there is a suggested rate of $5.40?) Again there was a queue and again it was well worth it. The gallery itself is a work of art, and while I was there was filled with Russian art. I was very impressed at the quality. I would advise you to take the lift to the top then walk down, after all the other walking of the day I couldn’t face the climb up. It took me about 2hr including all the rooms off from the main walk way.

The Empire State Building
Ohhhmm! Bagels! I’d not had bagels before but I think I’ve been missing out. Toasted bagel and cream cheese is soooooo nice. Now you know what I had for breakfast, a lot. We went to the Star Stage Deli most mornings, but there are enough deli’s in this city to find a nice one for all breakfast and lunch requirements. (man their sandwiches are big.) There are also plenty of places to choice from for dinner, we went to TGI Friday, ?apples, The Red Lobster and other random places. The food in all of them seemed good. I was disappointed not to make it to dessert very often. Too make up for this we made a stop at StoneCold on Time Square. This is an ice cream parlour and my god it’s good. You can choice from a good selection of ice cream flavours then add what ever sprinkles you want. But here is the difference – they don’t just sprinkle on top they really work it into the ice cream so my Caramel Latte ice cream had walnuts all the way through. Soooo nice.