This is part 2 of our trip report during the June heatwave. On the Monday morning, we had a very lazy start to the day. We had seen on the news that this day was going to be the hottest – so we decided to go for a ride on “The Beast”. This is a great speedboat ride, where you can get extremely wet – just the job! The first ride out was 12 noon, so on we got … we were soon soaked, not just from the water coming over the side of the boat but from the antics of the crew member who patrolled up and down with a bucket of water and a super-soaker gun! This was such a fun ride – again, great for kids.
We got a bus down to Chelsea Market and had lunch in the coolness of this lovely building. Our plan was to have a walk round Greenwich Village, but after coming out of Chelsea Market the heat just hit us. Over the road was a thermometer alternating with the time – 99 degrees. On the corner of the road was a huge air-conditioned Apple Store, a great way to cool down, even if we weren’t buying anything! Our walk around Greenwich Village turned into a languid stroll, but we did stop off at Perry Street just to see Carrie’s stop from S*x and the City. We ended up at Washington Square Park which is undergoing major work. We took a bus from here back up to RCA for a rest. In the evening we went to Top of the Rock for sunset views over the city. Now R has a real fear of heights and I wasn’t sure he would be able to enjoy this or even attempt to go to the top, but he took his chance. At the top, because there is glass all the way round, he didn’t feel too bad, and said afterwards that he wouldn’t have missed it for the world. After TOTR we went to Vynl on 9th between 50th and 51st. Good food, but I think we were all too tired and hot to take in the surroundings!
On Tuesday we got a bus all the way down to Little Italy and Chinatown. We had booked for the Lower East Side Tenement Museum online, so we went to pick up the tickets after coffee in Mulberry Street. It was another very hot day, so we strolled up to Rivington Street while we were waiting for our time slot, and visited Economy Candy.
The Tenement Museum was excellent. We went on the “Getting By” tour – our tour guide was fantastic, so sympathetic towards the family that lived in the tenement that we were shown. After our tour there was what they called “Kitchen Conversation” where we were offered refreshments, jugs of extremely cold water (very welcome) and cookies. The purpose of the Kitchen Conversation was to discuss with the help of a facilitator what we had seen with other people on the tour. We stayed and one other family stayed, but we had such a great interaction with them. R lived in a tenement in Edinburgh when he was a child and so was able to tell this family from Florida what it was like for him. We did stray off the subject sometimes, though, because we found each other’s way of life on opposite sides of the pond, so to speak, totally different. We spent an hour with them and could have stayed longer but we had to finish … Inside the Museum it was extremely hot but our tour guide had thoughtfully provided us with paddle fans. Again, this tour was one of the highlights of our trip.
We took the subway over to Brooklyn to have a late lunch at Grimaldi’s. After our pizza, we were walking back to the subway when we came across another Tom Otterness sculpture, a covered wagon. Even before we saw the information about it, we knew it was one of Mr Otterness’s because of the style.
I can’t remember what night it was, it might have been Tuesday, but there was the most spectacular storm. While we were out, the wind got up and Times Square looked like there was a tickertape parade going on!! Luckily enough, though, the storm cooled the weather down and the day we had planned in Central Park on the Wednesday was more bearable.
Central Park was lovely – we had lunch in the cheaper Boathouse and then got lost in the Ramble. The “Imagine” mosaic in Strawberry Fields was being repaired, but it still brought back memories of being a teen in the sixties and knowing the words to every Beatles song. That evening we went to hear some Jazz at South Street Seaport. Again this was the River to River Festival that I had found on the internet before we left for the US and the Ed Palermo Big Band was terrific, playing the great music of Frank Zappa. It was just as much fun watching the audience as it was watching the band, great dancing from one couple, and the children with watching parents were so entertaining. That evening we went back to Ellens Stardust Diner as it was our last night and we’d enjoyed our visit earlier in the week so much. It didn’t disappoint – a fitting end to a fantastic week.
Thursday we had a late flight, so packed up and left our bags securely at RCA, booking a car to take us to JFK for 3:45 p.m. This morning, I realised how much R had enjoyed himself despite his bad start – he actually asked our regular coffee man on the corner of 49th if he had a job going!!! A little later on, near the Empire State Building, we came across a chap who was training the rickshaw riders. We got talking to him and watching the poor nervous riders out on the NY streets for the first time. R then said he could ride a bike, and would the gentleman consider him for a vacancy! The chap answered that his oldest rider was 65 so yes, it was a possibility!!
I bought a bracelet in Tiffanys, yes, Tiffanys! Really, my only purchase the whole week, so why not?
Oh, New York, we can’t wait to come back – what is it about this fabulous city that makes you want to return again and again …
In case you missed the pictures on the first part of this trip report: