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New York Travel Blog

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Grand Central Station. We did the cliche thing and met under the clock at 6pm.


Our first day in New York we decided to take a walk and just soak up the atmosphere.  We're staying on 42nd street and
its only a quick walk to just about everything.  We walked down 5th Avenue but there was a parade - maybe something to
do with Columbus Day which was the next day.  Looking for Rockefeller Centre, Dim saved me from asking for directions
from the security guard.  The guard wearing the Rockefeller Centre shirt and standing in front of an enormous sign
spelling it out.  We headed down to the ice skating rink that I remember from movies like Sunday in New York.  It
looked exactly the same as it did in those 60's movies.

We saw Carnegie Hall and then had lunch at a small deli.

Rockefeller Centre
  Off to Times Square where we sat and soaked up the hustle
and bustle of this advertising overload.  In every direction, enormous billboards and plasma screens blurt out this
information overload.  We snapped away as good tourists do but then felt this overwhelming urge to see every show and
purchase everything from expensive perfume to electrical goods.  Ah, the power of advertising.

Billy arrived and of course we had to head to one of the one billion Irish bars which line these streets.  Meeting extra-
verted, loud and mentally ill New Yorkers is unavoidable.  It wasn't long before we had Fred telling Dim and I how we could
both be actresses.  Billy smirked away as I was told how much like Ann Margaret I was (only blonde, not a redhead like her)
and Dim had the best delivery ever.

Carnegie Hall
  I guess he was right  with Dim - she eventually gave him an excellent spiel about
why he should be taking his meds.  Funny!

Next day it was breakfast at Tiffany's for us.  I had my 'special moment' as I bought a pair of earings.  Holly Golightly
summed it up when she said "nothing bad can happen at Tiffany's" - she was right.  I renamed it, 'Shell's Happy Place'.
We went down to Battery Park and caught the Staten Island ferry.  It was absolutely freezing.  We huddled
together as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty.  Afterwards, we walked past Ground Zero and it was very grounding. 
Having never seen the twin towers, its hard to imagine the enormity of them falling down where we walked.  A pile of
dust and rubble lay in their place as workers set about constructing Freedom Tower.

Subway steam with a NY taxi.
  We walked and walked that day -
through Soho and Greenwich Village. 

On Tuesday we went and saw Dim's mate Derek who is Production Director at a small theatre in the East Village.  We
all agreed that East Village was our favourite part of NY.  Very St Kilda-ish and arty with a bit of grunge and character.
Derek showed us around his theatre which is where they filmed the original Fame.  We then went for a walk around East
Village and Derek showed us Katz diner.  This is the home of the famous Meg Ryan's fake orgasm in When Harry Met
Sally.  Back to Soho and Greenwich Village where we found the Spotted Pig, Bono's bar.  We had a few beers here and
chatted to a couple from Galway.  They gave us some great restaurant tips for our planned fancy NY dinner we all
wanted.

Times Square
 

That night we went to the Gramercy Tavern which was everything we wanted in a fancy NY dinner experience.  We
dressed up and dined in style.  Then it was off to our favourite irish bar again, Annie Moore's, right round the corner from
our hotel - where, by now, the two barmen (Jonathon and Nicky) knew our names and our drinks.  I was allowed to pour
a beer which Dim drank.  It was closing time and I have to admit, there were other punters there who wanted a special
Shell poured beer but I left them wanting more and we headed home.

Wednesday we headed straight to Central Park and wandered the many walkways that line the
lakes within this park.  It's an absolute marvel to have such a huge park in the middle of such a bustling city.

Chrysler building
  We
visited Yoko's tribute to John - a garden within the park, Strawberry Fields.  An enormous mosaic with Imagine embedded
in it and trees from over 100 countries throughout the world.  It's opposite the Dakota building where John was shot and
where Yoko still lives.  An amazingly beautiful building!  We took a horse and cart through the park and up Central Park
West.  We were in the residential area of the likes of Sting and Madonna.  After that we walked into the upper west side
looking for a diner for lunch.  We found Big Nicks.  A small dingy little place where we had the most awesome lunch. 
This was also where the Midnight Cowboy was filmed.  It's amazing to stumble across places like this.

That night, we caught up with Derek again who took us on an East Village pub crawl.

Me and Billy
  We started at the International Bar
which can only be classed as a dive.  A true dingy, dark and seedy small bar.  We loved it!  Walking to our next bar we
passed another dingy corner bar all boarded up where the Rolling Stones held an impromptu gig in the 60's.  Opposite
was a shoe store which was formerly a pub which held the likes of Coltrane and BB King.  We were now on the street
where Andy Warhol used to romp.  Then it was off to the Grassroots Tavern.  This place was our favourite bar (and
believe me, we've seen a few).  For this was the drinking hole of Jimi Hendrix.  It was grungy and dirty and sunken below
the streets and just had this hard rock feel about it.  It was opposite this store called Search and Destroy which was pure
hard core punk.
Happiness is a little blue box!
  It felt like we were in Camden in London.  Anyway, wooden tables at the Grassroots Tavern
meant that every man and his dog had carved their name into it.  So, Dim, Shell and Billy were added to it.  We met up
with 5 of Derek's mates at another irish pub and had a few beers with them.  Then it was back to Annie Moore's
as we reminisced on Billy's last night in NY. 

The next day we were shocked.  We'd been enjoying weather in the high teens.  Nothing too warm but great sightseeing
weather.  But with a top of 40 degrees at 3pm (ok, that's 4 degrees celcius!!!!!) we were mighty cold.  Having
not even packed a jumper, it was off to GAP for a hoodie and then some gloves.  Absolutely freezing is the best way
to describe this.

FAO Schultz Toy Shop
  Chilling winds and constant rain.  The New York Helmsley Hotel didnt let us down with complimentary
umbrellas which got us through some shopping in St Marks Place in the East Village.  This is the Camden area I spoke of
with punk shops and awesome music stores.  Tattoo shops and boutique clothing.  A real blend.  I found a shop with
some Blondie tops and chatted to the guy who owned it.  He knew Deborah Harry and Chris Stein and used to hang with
them in the 70's.  I stood there in awe listening to his stories....green with envy.

Today's our 2nd last day in NY.  We hit 5th Avenue with gusto.  Abercrombie & Finch was by far the most fascinating.
This is the only time I've had to cue up to get into a department store.

Statue of Liberty from the ferry
  But this is no ordinary store.  Models are paid to
stand in the doorway.  Each staff member is another model in the making.  It's as dark as a nightclub - you can hardly see the
clothes (how old do I sound!!)  There are 4 stories to this complex with A&F fragrance pumped throughout to suffocating
levels and music as boppy and loud as any club round the corner.  30 minutes did it for us and we couldn't wait to leave.
Expecting to have our wrists stamped on leaving, we exited back onto 5th avenue. 

Tonight we headed out to Harlem to join Derek and his wife Mary for dinner at the Dinosaur BBQ.  I joked about this being
carnivores paradise, Dim being vego and everything.

At the Spotted Pig bar in Soho
  We weren't far off, I ordered something called "bad ass pork ribs"
and the meals were enormous but nice.  Strolling through the streets of Harlem was fantastic.  We saw the original
Cotton Club which was just round the corner.  After that, we walked past the Apollo which is where the Jackson Five found
fame and the likes of James Brown and the Supremes called home.  The grafitti that lined these streets is pure art!

Tomorrow we fly home but not before doing the Sex and the City tour.  Complete with cupcakes, shoe shopping and a
complimentary cosmopolitan, it promises to be all that.  We havent seen half of NY but we haven't stopped either.  It's
been a full on week full of historical tid bits round every corner.  The soundtrack to this trip has been endless tacky Broadway musical songs and Frank Sinatra.

Pulling a beer at Annie Moore's
  The cuisine's included pretzels, brownies, pizza, burgers, street meat and more.  We've sampled some of NY's finest beers and still not found one as good as a VB.  I dont feel disappointed at not having gone up the Empire
State building (just after sunset to meet Tom Hanks) or wandered around the Guggenheim or MOMA.  I think I'll be back
one day to do all that and more.

 

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Grand Central Station.  We did the…
Grand Central Station. We did th…
Rockefeller Centre
Rockefeller Centre
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Subway steam with a NY taxi.
Subway steam with a NY taxi.
Times Square
Times Square
Chrysler building
Chrysler building
Me and Billy
Me and Billy
Happiness is a little blue box!
Happiness is a little blue box!
FAO Schultz Toy Shop
FAO Schultz Toy Shop
Statue of Liberty from the ferry
Statue of Liberty from the ferry
At the Spotted Pig bar in Soho
At the Spotted Pig bar in Soho
Pulling a beer at Annie Moores
Pulling a beer at Annie Moore's
Imagine.  Strawberry Fields
Imagine. Strawberry Fields
Cruising down Central Park West on…
Cruising down Central Park West o…
The Dakota.  Former home of John L…
The Dakota. Former home of John …
Central Park
Central Park
Carving our names in the table at …
Carving our names in the table at…
Shoe shopping....punk style.
Shoe shopping....punk style.
Search and Destroy at St Marks Pla…
Search and Destroy at St Marks Pl…
Pizza
Pizza
Derek and Dim on the subway
Derek and Dim on the subway
Harlem at night
Harlem at night
The original Cotton Club
The original Cotton Club
At the Dinosaur BBQ
At the Dinosaur BBQ
Dim - a legend everywhere!
Dim - a legend everywhere!
Harlem art
Harlem art
Harlem art
Harlem art
Do you know these two women???  We…
Do you know these two women??? W…
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photo by: herman_munster