There seems to have been an absolute glut of trip reports lately and I’ve enjoyed reading every single one of them. So I thought I’d add mine and hope you all will enjoy reading that too.
We were in NY 5th to 12th June (during the extreme heatwave), we being my husband, son and myself. First time for hubby, third time for son and I. We’d booked Radio City Apartments (2nd visit) which didn’t disappoint and flew American Airlines from Stansted in our county of Essex to JFK. This was a new route which started last October, but unfortunately hasn’t proved popular and will end this month.
We are able to take a bus from our home town direct to Stansted and we had planned to catch the 6:00 a.m. service. Unfortunately this service didn’t arrive due to lack of a driver and we had to wait another hour. Panic! Fortunately, the flight was still checking in when we arrived at Stansted and after a strict security check, found ourselves airside full of anticipation after a stressful first couple of hours. The flight passed quickly for me and Stu (son) but hubby (R) is a smoker and this being his first transatlantic flight, he got very fidgety so we stuck him in a seat on his own to chew his nails. Security and baggage collection was very quick at JFK and we were soon in a yellow cab heading for Manhattan. Again, check in at RCA was quick and we were soon out on the streets of this fabulous city. Our first few hours we just wandered around taking in the sights and sounds, and got a take-out for dinner.
Our second day (Friday) first stop was Food Emporium on the corner of 8th and 49th. After dropping our goodies off, we headed down 6th Avenue to Grand Central. Here we had fun in the whispering gallery, had a look at the fabulous food in the indoor market and had coffee in the very good foodhall downstairs. From here we walked along 42nd St to the Chrysler Building, then on to the United Nations … I just turned round to point out the Non-Violence sculpture to R when I noticed that he was ghostly pale – at this point he said he’d have to get a taxi back to the hotel because he was feeling extremely unwell. I hope you don’t think us extremely callous, but Stu and I carried on sightseeing! Well, R did insist! I just think he was exhausted – he has a very busy job in the UK and just winding down took its toll. Stu and I bought extremely large sandwiches in Eaterie 42 and took them to Bryant Park. We then felt a bit guilty and went back to RCA to check but R was dead to the world – well, not literally but Stu did suggest we get a mirror to check for breathing …
After a rest ourselves we decided to go for a walk and ended up in Union Square, stopping on the way for a rest in Madison Square Park. We were absolutely amazed at the queue at the Shake Shack – we were timing just one person to see how long it would take him to get to the front of the queue, but after sitting and watching for half an hour we gave up – he didn’t, though. They must be good burgers. At Union Square we paid a visit to Barnes and Noble (Stu collects graphic novels and wanted to see what he could get in here). Outside B&N there was a large cage with four beautiful lively tabby kittens looking for good homes. Stu and I stood discussing how best we could explain to R why we’d taken four kittens back to RCA with us – oh, well, we could but dream!! Back at RCA, Ron had woken up and had cooked himself an omelette from our morning goodies – a good sign that he was on the road to recovery. Stu and I went out for a pizza at Johns (btwn 8th and Broadway on 44th). Best ever pizza (and that includes Grimaldi’s which we visited later on in the week).
Saturday saw all of us heading downtown to Ground Zero and St Paul’s Chapel. We were so sure of the subway line and the stop we wanted, but, yes, we ended up at some station down in Brooklyn (DeKalb Ave, I think it was). However, this wasn’t so disastrous as the views from the train going over Manhattan Bridge were fantastic. We finally managed to get back to St Paul’s Chapel – Stu and I have visited here twice before but the emotional feelings are still there after every visit. It affected R too as he found it hard to speak afterwards for a while. From here we walked to the Wintergarden. Inside there was an amazing “crocheted coral reef”, fantastic colours. The heat was beginning to build up by this time, so we kept a slow pace, walking from the North Cove down to Battery Park, stopping often. I had booked Statue of Liberty ferry tickets online and what a blessing that was. The queue in Battery Park snaked right round the edge of the park, but having tickets for security entrance at 1:30, we were able to go straight in. We all said we couldn’t have waited in that heat for long. We got the 1:50 ferry, but didn’t get off at Liberty Island, instead going to Ellis Island to spend more time there. We found a few instances of our surname on the Wall of Honor. Ellis Island is a must visit, later in the week we went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, so the two together provided a real insight into immigration. We ended the day with dinner at Ellens. I must say, we only went here for the fun aspect of the singing waitstaff as we hadn’t rated the food on the two occasions that we’d been before. But we were pleasantly surprised and had a delicious meal. The singing was good, too – all in all a great day and evening.
Sunday was Puerto Rican Parade day. While we thought it would be a fantastic atmosphere to stand and watch the parade, we decided against it because of the extreme hot weather. Instead, we got the subway to Queens and with the help of ljg1006’s very good instructions went to have a look at 5Pointz. We had a great brunch at the Court House Diner which Louise had recommended in her PM to me.
Before setting off for NY, I had trawled the internet to find things to do during our week. I found out about the River to River Festival and that Tom Otterness, the sculptor of the Real World in Rockefeller Park, was doing a guided tour of this small gem. I had been told of the Real World by another friend who had found it by chance, and the opportunity to have a free guided tour by the sculptor himself was too much to resist. Well, I can say, it was one of the highlights of the trip. It was a small group that had gathered, and he was just so interesting, answering questions with great humour. Another fantastic day ending up with a take-out meal because we were just too tired and hot to do anything else.
I think I’ve gone on a bit here – so I’ll start a new post for the rest of our week. I’ve posted a few pictures here. Then you can see what the Real World is all about, it is such fun and great for kids.