(Not sure whether to continue under earlier Trip Report, Part 1 - or to start a new one. Decided on the latter).
We got to Seafarers International Hotel (E15th and Irving) just off Union Square (14th Street Subway) – really liked the location, the reception and people staying there. Asked for a room on the 11th (top floor) after reading some of the posts about noise from streets below in other parts of NYC. It was recommended to me by a colleague. Good budget rates and would definitely go back.
Was joined by N’s boyfriend S. and we walked around the Village, On looking at the map afterwards, we walked down University Place, past the impressive Arch at Washington Square (all lit up), which was built to commemorate the centenary of Washinton’s inauguration. From there we walked past a large movie screen – not sure if that was just ‘cause it was Friday evening or if there was something on every day. Reminded me of outdoor cinema’s in South Africa, though I don’t think there are too many of them left. Anyway, we walked down Bleecker Street and it was wonderful to see the Empire State Building, lit up on the NY skyline. It was at that point, I think – that I realized I had actually made it to NYC! We finally found an Asian place and had an excellent meal there (sorry, can’t remember the name). My daughter remarked that I had been “on the go” for more than 24 hours and it was time for me to get back to the hotel. She and her boyfriend were staying at a student apartment in Brooklyn.
In the morning I looked for somewhere to have breakfast and by chance I found Lyric Diner (3rd Avenue/22nd St.) where I had breakfast every morning. Although I later read some of the reviews on the internet (not TA) that were not all positive, I enjoyed breakfast there each morning and liked the choices and the atmosphere. On the way back I discovered Stuyvesant Square and usually sat there for a while before returning to my hotel. Loved the shady trees, flowers and birds in the square. I found it interesting to note that both Cape Town and New York had had a British and Dutch colonial history …
My daughter arrived after lunch and we headed to the Subway, to go on the Staten Island Ferry. I loved the ride past Lady Liberty to Staten Island. Once there, we headed to a café to get a bite to eat. Service friendly but food and coffee left a lot to be desired (sorry, also cannot remember the name). There was a half-hour delay for the next return ferry but I used the chance to write one or two postcards.
We then went to the Empire State Building, where boyfriend S joined us. It was not too crowded and we took the elevator up to the 80 th floor. After that there were a further 6 flights of stairs … whew! A fellow tourist offered encouragement along the way. It was sunset and the views from all four sides were breathtaking. My favourite was the Chrysler Building, far below. It was dark by then and filling up fast – I lost my daughter once or twice but always relieved to find her again : ) We then went to the shop and I got some things to take back home – this time for me and my family … N got something to drink but dropped it by mistake and there was a really nice guy at the cash desk. He said with a big smile , “oh don’t worry, I’ll get a mop and you can clean it for us!” I said to my daughter “you should be careful in case they want you to clean all the stairs going down too!!” We spent about two hours there altogether and took some amazing photos. From there I took a cab home and was really quite tired by then. It had been a great day. It was so good to catch up with N, whom I hadn’t seen for six months. One-line e-mails were not really the best way to communicate, but I knew she was under a lot of pressure.
After breakfast at Lyric Diner (sometimes toast and jam, (they always gave one a second cup of coffee, sometimes I had a bagel). From there I walked down to Madison Square Park. Found New Yorkers really helpful when it came to giving directions. Got a sandwich and Snapple (Peach) from a nearby deli Snapple is something I came to enjoy every day and it is so refreshing. Will have to try and find out if there’s an outlet here : ) It was lovely to see all the families just enjoying time in the Park. Some were watching baseball on a large screen and there were a number of activities that people were participating in. I also read my guidebook which we had bought from Barnes and Noble (Lonely Planet Rough Guide - think it was about $17) – very easy to read and it gives you places nearby. From there, I decided to look for “the Little Church Around the Corner,” located at One East 29th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues).
Left Madison Square Park and walked to The Little Church around the Corner. It is indeed a lovely little church with beautiful stained-glass windows inside and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The story behind this name is fascinating and it appealed to me. Apparently, Jefferson, who was a friend of actor George Holland (who had just passed away) asked at a nearby church whether a funeral could be organized but the request was turned down. Jefferson was given the reply “there is a little church around the corner where they ‘do’ that sort of thing.” Whereupon Jefferson exclaimed “God bless the Little Church Around the Corner!” And so the name stuck and so too, its association with the acting communication. In fact, the Academy of Dramatic Arts is located nearby. According to the homepage (www.littlechurch.org), “the Church of the Transfiguration (its proper name) was designated a United States Landmark in 1972”. There is a lovely little garden where I sat for a short time, and chatted to a homeless lady by the name of Cheryl, before giving her a contribution to her next meal and continuing on my way.
Then back past the strange Flatiron Building and stopped at a lovely little souvenir shop with a very friendly owner. We chatted about putting family through college. He has really good quality souvenirs and a large collection of postcards. It is just after the sidewalk with tables and chairs, opposite the Flatiron Building. Will put the name at the end of this Trip Report.
I got a call from my daughter and she suggested we meet at Brooklyn Heights so that we could walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Would have to see whether I could manage the Subway on my own.
To be continued