You could spend a lifetime in New York and never do everything the city has to offer.
We were up and out the door early this morning to try and cram as much as possible into our day, now that we only have one more and we are considering making it all about the shopping!
So, we headed down to our fourth borough, Brooklyn and made our way back across the bridge. A fun walk, although the bridge is shared between cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the tourist masses, which can make for traffic jams while everyone does the camera thing, just like we did. The walk isn’t very long or hard and the view is pretty cool on both sides.
One back on Manhattan we sat down for a waffle under the shadow of the city hall, a westminster-esque block of land with cherry trees and grass in front of it, the perfect spot for a picnic and loads of corners for starbucks to pop up…
At this point we needed a bathroom break which is harder than it sounds as we haven’t come across one single public toilet in the city yet! So, we gave in and visited Starbucks. For good measure I picked up a Frappuccino (smores flavour, yum, if not a little sickly!) before heading to the longest queue for a bathroom that I have ever seen. While waiting I struck up conversation with a native, who told me New York was hands down the best city in the world and I made a good choice in visiting. It’s good to have an opinion on these things, she said! That said, she was super lovely and chatty which made the wait a little better. That bathroom though. If I never had to see that again in my life it would be too soon….
So, caffeinated, toileted and ready to carry on our morning we tried to work put how to fit in as much of lower Manhattan as possible. Suddenly we were sidetracked by century 21, the Macys sized department store for outlet shopping. Kiwis, this ain’t no dressmart I’m talking about. This was 6 levels of outlet goodness. So we shopped a little for good measure.
Post shopping we did some walking, in fact we reached 10000 steps around midday which was good! We decided to head to Canal street, the symbolic edge of Tribeca. Tribeca, I discovered is the “TRIangle BElow CAnal street”. Beyonce, Di Nero and a bunch of other awesome people call it home but we didn’t bump into any of them, sadly.
So, we walked canal street with the intention of making it to Chinatown and little Italy and did we what. Oh man. Chinatown reminded me of Hong Kong. Every few meters we would be approached asking I’d we would like to buy copy watches or handbags. It felt rude but we had to start ignoring them, as “No thank you” wasn’t really working. Besides that, Chinatown smelt great and there were a bunch of legitimate Chinese people living there, going about their daily business which was cool and is often a sign of a thriving community within a city.
One street marks a real change from China to Italy and you can tell. Out of no where come Gelato stands, outdoor seated restaurants and the click of designer heels. Suddenly everyone sounds like they are out of the sopranos; “You lookin at me?”.
So we wandered, worked up a sweat and a hunger and then made our way back to the apartment for more of yesterdays leftovers.
Almost full of food we went to indulge in one of the famous New York foods that we hadn’t yet eaten: cheesecake. Oh my lord. With a million flavours to choose from I went with a twist on the classic and chose the Oreo flavour. I’m pretty sure that cheesecake might have given me diabetes, but it was just so damn good.
For all our gastronomic sins, we decided some more walking was required so headed to the now quite glam (previously quite gross) meatpacking district out west to start walking the highline, a disused train track that has been converted into a public walkway and art space.
On our way we picked up a piece of art which we will display at home, from an englishman who had lived in NZYC for 25 years. He had a bunch of controversial pieces but the one we picked out is based around Herald square, a public space about half a block away from the apartment.
While walking the highline Andrew spotted a shipping container bar called terrior and pronounced tehwah (it’s a french wine term, check it out). It was their first day of the summer season so we ended up taking to the two owners about wine, America and NZ. Both had visited and loved NZ and there was even a Paliser Estate wine on their menu. We got talking, had a round on the house and enjoyed a NY wine, which was pretty yum. They are big riesling fans just like me and I ended up with a rub on tattoo of the word on my arm. So classy!
So we did the walk and meandered through the suburb of Chelsea to get home, only to find a bunch of film crews doing their thing. We got talking to a guy who confirmed it was James Spader and Crew doing the final of The Blacklist! Our favorite show! Tempting as it was we didn’t stick around and fan girl it, though I was pretty keen.
You would think that would be it for our day, right? Wrong! It was only 6 pm! So we went up to times square and played at the arcade in toysrus, right after we rode the indoor ferris wheel! That’s right, indoor ferris wheel.
After all that excitement we went on a hunt for some rush tickets (last minute)
but couldn’t get anything for a broadway show, musical or play. In the end we picked up two tickets to a live comedy gig just outside of the theater district. On we went not knowing what to expect, or in fact if there was even a gig. We arrived to find there was defiantly something happening and were crammed into a room with shared tables and a 2 drink minimum, flanked on one side by a family if 4, mom, dad and two teenagers and in the other by two best friends and their early 20s daughters from Boston. They were hilarious enough, and the comedy hadn’t started yet!
The MC and first act were kind of crude and not that hilarious, from then on though we had some great acts, with the headline act, the bad boy from New Jersey, causing us to cry with laughter. So, all up a good night.
A big walk from 53rd st to 32nd where we saw some of the city’s downtrodden coming out to sleep which was heartbreaking. Andrew gave a couple guys a dollar and while I went into a 24 hour pharmacy / convenience store to get breakfast he grabbed some food for the guy begging outside which was really kind and gratefully received by this young bloke. Again, seeing the homelessness and need in such a big city is quite upsetting and makes me grateful for what we have in NZ. Its not perfect, but it feels more on track than this…
As has been standard so far in New York we have had very little sleep, getting home after midnight and up again at 630. Washington DC will be a real treat and likely mark the relaxation part of our break, on Saturday.
In the meantime we have a long list of things to see and buy today and the clock is ticking…