24th November until 28th November 2011
Delta flight DL149 12.50 en route to Heathrow we found ourselves in a M4 traffic jam, started to worry we would miss our flight; 15 minutes later all was fine.
Delta Airlines are a great airline everything went well, lots of free food and drink, arrived an hour early. We watched American Football in the customs queue. Had to provide finger prints and photos to get into the country.
Taxi and Hotel
Arrived in New York, taxi to the Edison Hotel in Times Square $55. The taxi driver described the US as Britain’s sisters and explained the street/avenue system. In New York streets are either west or east of 5th Avenue 20 blocks equals one mile. Driver was very keen to get a bit tip, he was slightly disappointed. No traffic as it was Thanksgiving.
Edison Hotel, Art Deco style, a bit tired through the passage of time. It’s one of those hotels where the lobby is always full of luggage. Our room, number 1027 was 10th floor very large and comfortable. Everyone said good morning in the lift. Service in the hotel was short or very friendly (as in ‘Hi my name is Mandy I’ll be your server tonight’) similar to the rest of the service in New York.
Times Square, sports bars and Lindy’s
Walked around Times Square, which is not a square, a bit of a tourist trap but great to see for the first time, very bright and vibrant. We were very excited to see a New York taxi and a police car in person. We met a guy who once lived in Muswell Hill in North London, small world. We went to a sports bar drank Bud and Jack Daniels and sat at the bar with our dollars. Watched college football, NFL and college basketball.
Later ate at Lindy’s on 7th Ave, “world famous cheesecake”, big deal. The old waitress was very keen to get a big tip. Burger, fried chicken and fries with a complementary glass of iced water, great idea.
By law you can use any restroom in hotels. When you bump into people they say “excuse me” and we say “sorry”. The city is full of Police. No chip and pin ATMs in New York.
Black Friday Sales
Black Friday like our January Sale but much bigger 70% off ( its when retail businesses go into the ‘Black’, 40% of the years profit made on that day) They go crazy for it, the shops open at midnight one women even pepper sprayed another shopper in order to get what she wanted.
Open Tour Bus Ride, and sight seeing
Open tour bus ride: The guides were very keen to get a big tip. Midtown, Flatiron Building looks like an iron the first building to be described as a skyscraper.
Pier 17, Staten Island, free ferry, 65.000 people use it every day with no pushing in the queues . The Island isn’t worth a visit. As they say, the only bad thing about the free Staten Island ferry is that it goes to Staten Island.
Statue of Liberty smaller than you would think (gift from France). Ellis Island where all the immigrants were processed. World Trade Centre (In New York they no longer call it ground zero) 9-11 in 2001, very sad. Museum of NYPD, all public museums are free of charge; the price on entry is only a suggestion.
Took a photo of Tiffany’s as in the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Audrey Hepburn. Madison Square Gardens, as in Mohammad Ali (Classius Clay at the time) to Lady Ga Ga; they also play hockey and basketball there.
Financial district, Wall Street, the Wall was made by the Dutch out of wooden planks. Only just noticed a very small ‘occupy Wall Street demo’. At Battery Park we watched the celebration of the anniversary of the English moving out of New York 1783, War of independence 1776. Soho means (south of Holisstor street) Drank Peroni in Little Italy then went to China Town and shared a whole crispy duck with chicken fried rice, very cheap. The restaurant was grade A. (Grade A ok, B be beware, C see ya) environmental heath gradings. Back to the hotel for a quick sleep then off to Dangerfield’s on East 61st and 2nd Ave the oldest Comedy club in New York with a two drink minimum, $9 per half pint. Dangerfield’s is just like Ronnie Scot’s in Frith Street, London, saw Mike Yard, Ryan Reiss and Jim David. Back at hotel by 2.00am.
Fire escapes, calories, Brooklyn
This city loves fire escapes. I bought takeaway fries and was given 7 sachets of tomato sauce. Open tour bus ride: Brooklyn not very interesting but we saw the famous Brooklyn Bridge, lots of black guys playing basketball, one of them shouted out “WELCOME TO NEW YORK”. Which we thought was great. Went to the museum of The Native American. Bought a take away coffee and was given 5 sachets of sugar, only needed one.
The Wine Exchange, China Town, Famous Dave’s
Then went into The Wine Exchange the biggest wine shop I have ever seen and I’ve seen plenty of wine shops. Tour bus trip around Central Park, Dakota Building and Upper West Side lots of Museums Harlem, home of Jazz L. Armstrong etc; The Apollo Theatre, lots of people playing basketball only 50% of the locals are now black. Back to China Town to buy cheap tourist tack on Canal Street. Later ate baby back rack of ribs with fries and corn on the cob at Famous Dave’s – we presumed famous for overpriced take away food on a plate. Josh had to drink Soda as he was under 21 but only by 2 weeks.
Great entertainment: New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills
Breakfast, Josh Had choc chip pancakes with maple syrup and coffee I had hash brown fried potatoes and a fried egg. Went to the bus depot and travelled to the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey to watch the New York Jets play Buffalo Bills. 85 thousand seater stadium, the Jets scored a touchdown with less than one minute on the clock to win 28 to 24 we both wore the jets stip and high fived Bob who was sitting next to us. Before the game 100’s of fans had huge BBQ’s in the car park next to their huge pick up trucks. Lots of entertainment before the game, rock band, photo with cheerleaders autograph signing and Josh met Glen Fowly. Torturous trip back to New York had to stand up for an hour and a half on the bus.
That night we wandered around the Rockefeller Building and saw Xmas decorations and ate at the famous! Stage Deli ate Pastrami, coleslaw burgers. (All food and drink was expensive 1£=$1.5 All dollars are the same size and colour. Gas (Petrol) costs about 90p per litre.
Went to Starbucks again, there seems to be one on every street corner, they sell hot, coffee flavoured milk. Macy’s not as good as Harrods.
Empire State Building, 80 floors in 60 seconds, we were very lucky with the weather clear and bright 17°C and no queuing. The place is geared up for a three hour queue. They built one floor in one day total 102 floors. Mainly because in 1931 there were no heath and safety laws and lots of pressure to do overtime, two eight hour shifts one after each other. It was the tallest building in US until the twin towers (World Trade Centre) it is now the tallest building again until the new Freedom Tower at the World Trade centre is completed.
Chrysler Building. Grand Central Terminal as in the movies, New York Public Library. Walked around central Park, went jogging for 50 yards, Strawberry Fields Lennon’s Memorial. Saw Eye Witness News filming on the street at the Lincoln Centre Walked through the diamond centre a few of the characters looked very shifty. At Bryant Park watched a 60 year old man, looking very cool ice skating.
Back to the hotel then a bus trip to JFK. ($23 for two).
Anyway; is New York the capital of the world? God bless America.
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