The Big Apple!!!

New York Travel Blog

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Top of the Rock

After an OK flight and a long hot subway ride, we finally arrived at our hotel on the upper west side on Thursday at around 7pm NY time (ie. midnight!). First stop was, of course, Times Square. It's like Piccadilly Circus on acid and despite being about 9pm, was still packed and buzzing. After dinner in a sports bar right on Times Square we had a wander around the nearby streets and found a bar for a beer before the extra five hours finally caught up with us and we got a cab home. By now, we'd decided to stay on in New York an extra day to make the most of it, ditching Chicago in the process.


Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning we went for a traditional diner breakfast near the hotel, every bit as cheesy as you'd imagine and dirt cheap compared to the UK.

We then headed to South Ferry to take the free (we are on a budget after all!) ferry to Statten Island, getting great views of the skyline (and the heavy smog) and then hopped on the same one coming back, for great views of the Statue of Liberty, which is phenomenal up-close.


From Battery park we headed through the financial district and ground-zero. Having seen plenty about 9/11 and the huge-scale disaster it was, it wasn't until I was up close that I'd realised the sheer scale of what had happened. It's pretty harrowing. Even now, with a completion date of 2012 for 'Freedom Tower', they're only rebuilding as far as ground level. Lunchtime beckoned, so it was off to Little Italy, which, is alot smaller than imagined. Partly because it's being swallowed up from all angles by the vast Chinatown.


Little Italy is in fact only one street, but with loads of restaurants we were soon on the Peroni and Pasta. We got the subway to Grand Central Station and had a coffee on one of the verandas in what is a magnificent building, before heading up to 50th to see the Rockefeller plaza and intending to go to the 'Top of the Rock'. Deciding we'd had enough walking and sightseeing for the time being it was back to the hotel for a siesta.


With recharged batteries we went back down to the Rockefeller to go up to the 76th (ish) floor. It was dark by then and the views over New York were incredible. We had dinner and found a little Irish bar showing all manner of sport and even opening early on Sunday morning for the Newcastle-Sunderland game - perfect.


Saturday brought even better weather so the shorts, flip-flops and milk-bottle-white legs (Em's of course) came out. We got the subway (which is great and cheap, if a little run-down) to 14th to explore the fancy and clearly quite affluent areas of West and Greenwich villages and the Meatpacking district. Em took a great deal of pride in pointing out Sarah Jessica Parker's house where Sex and the City was filmed! The inevitable happened and it was off to Times Square for a little bit of shopping. Shattered from walking mile upon mile, we went back to the hotel for a siesta, fully intent on bar-hopping later that night, only to wake up at about 6am on the Sunday having slept through an alarm. Truly rock and roll.


All was not lost though, as we were in a fit-enough state and awake enough to go to Friday night's little Irish bar to watch the match (8.

View over the upper west side from Belvedere castle, Central Park
30am kick-off!). I know what you're thinking, but it wasn't pre-planned and Em was a willing companion. Honest. After a dismal game and some greasy breakfast we headed to Fifth Ave where Em nearly wet herself with joy. I caved in under some intense pressure and we had a look around the shops including the awesome NBA store and the not-so-awesome (for me anyway) Tiffany's. On the plus side, should I ever 'pop the question' I know exactly which ring to get - all I have to do is find $110,000 first!


We walked through much of central park before heading back onto Fifth Ave to head to the Guggenheim. Central park is so huge that it's easy to forget you're in one of the worlds biggest cities. Not being ones for too many museums we only really wanted to see the outside of the Guggenheim but it was undergoing renovation so it was a bit of a disappointment as it was totally boarded up! Instead, we walked back across central park to the huge American Natural History Museum to learn about Dinosaurs.

Very cool.


So, after a pretty intense and exciting three days in a fantastic NYC we're off to Boston tomorrow, where high on the agenda (for me at least) is a Celtics or Red Sox game. Only the coach journey to get through...



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Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock
View over the upper west side from…
View over the upper west side fro…
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Fifth Ave
Fifth Ave
New York
photo by: herman_munster