New York, New York

New York Travel Blog

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JC and the Intrepid

Mental note to self:  Every port must be explored, regardless of how little free time I have!

This is the second time I almost did not follow this wisdom. The first time was in Kuala Lumpur, when we nearly stayed on board due to time constraints.  Today I had only 4 hours of free time and if I’d return to New York and had only 1 hour of free time, I would make sure I’d get stuck right in (and that’s what he said):

The sail into New York harbour was breathtakingly stunning. So you can imagine my disappointment in missing it. One of the crew members informed me that I would have to be on deck by 6:15 in order to see the French madame standing proudly on Ellis Island.

Empire State Building
However, by that time the Captain was pulling into our parking bay, alongside the retired Navy vessel, the Intrepid. The Intrepid is actually an aircraft carrier which is the proud home of the British Concord, over 25 retired aircraft and the submarine submarine USS Growler. If Chris (refer to blog 13) would have seen this display he probably would have experienced an instantaneous cardiac arrest.

It was around 10am that I made my way out of the docks and headed straight for the heart of the action, Time Square. However, just before arriving I spotted something much more appealing…the Hop on, Hop off bus. Now, at the risk of sounding like an advert, these buses are genuinely an efficient, informative and cost effective way of exploring cities when time is a factor.

The Naked Cowboy
$44 might not seem cost effective, but it didn’t cost me anything to get there and New York is an expensive city by most standards.

The tour I chose was the Downtown Tour, which features the Empire State Building, World Trade Centre memorial site, Wall Street, Rockerfeller Center, Times Square and the Theatre district.

Unfortunately my Hop on, Hop off tour consisted mainly of Hop on, stay on. It was still a fantastic appetizer and I cannot wait to go back, as now I know exactly what I’d want to see. Pier 16 was nonetheless a place where I did decide to have a break.

Every visitor to New York is encouraged to try a hot dog from a local street vendor. I followed that guidance and extended it by adding a Haagen Dazs quadruple decker ice cream to the recommendation.

JC and Deon (with his new camera)
Then the words of my cousin Neville came to mind after he ate a Big Mac burger and drank a XL choc milkshake in a very short space of time (when I visited him Sydney): “That was wonderful, now I need to puke.”

I held myself together though and stared in amazement at an outdoor expo of the new X-Box Kinect – which is similar to the Nintendo Wii, but lacks controllers – one simply uses ones limbs/body to control the character on the screen. One volunteer slipped and I boarded the next bus before she could say the word lawsuit.

My next stop was Time Square. Asking a street vendor on Time Square where Time square was, could surely not be the most intelligent question that I have recently posed. However, Americans are known for their fair share of dim questions, one of which that is frequently asked on ships being: “Does this lift go to the front of the ship?”.

Statue of Liberty
So I didn’t feel too ashamed…

Time square is in fact a major intersection and not actually a square (the reason for my confusion). That section of land between 42nd and 47th street is like Mumbai on a busy day. You cannot help but be swept up by a torrent of people. The current is so strong and the visual input so overwhelming that you literally find yourself walking around in a daze. I had to pull myself out and took a sharp left into a …Toy Store. I was spat out a few minutes later and it was back into the whirlpool of activity.

There seemed to be a lot of commotion centred around a fellow that calls himself the Naked Cowboy. Turns out, he is somewhat of a celebrity, being  a local to Time Square and even the proud owner of his own cyberspace on Wikipaedia – go google him girls!  

It was soon back to the mother ship for me and this time I was not going to miss the statue. After all, she had been waiting for me since the morning. The light was fading quickly, but I did manage to capture some Kodak moments during our sailaway. As the Americans say: “You did good, man.”

 

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JC and the Intrepid
JC and the Intrepid
Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Naked Cowboy
The Naked Cowboy
JC and Deon (with his new camera)
JC and Deon (with his new camera)
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
New York
photo by: herman_munster