New York and it’s iconic Central Park was something both of us wanted to see. Jenny had been as a child but now wanted to enjoy it once more. Luckily (unlike the rest of the trip), the rain was holding off so we were up by eight and off to the park. Unfortunately I was hungry, none of the food vans seemed to be open and I only realised this once we were right in the middle of the park. Hangry, we trudged back out, missing most of the splendour.
The trip really started once we got peanut butter bagels, cinnamon swirls and a coffee. A little tangent about coffee; in the UK, we would order a coffee, pay for the coffee, receive the coffee and then consume the coffee. In NYC they seem to think an additional step is required: wait 25 mins for the scalding liquid to cool down before being able to even hold the cup, let alone put your lips, this would take a lot of getting used to.
Anyway, that’s when the rain started (a bit of a feature on this trip). We made our way for our first view of Times Square, in the rain and the daytime it wasn’t that impressive, but we still got our requisite photos. Walking through the city and into the great hall of Grand Central, is extremely impressive. Towering buildings adorned with sculpted pillars, copper roofs and innumerable windows are amazing to look at even if they do seem to crush you in a little.
World Trade Center closed
Next stop another firm american favourite, a big bottle of Mountain Dew to satisfy my requirement for high fructose corn syrup and keep me going for the walk to the World Trade Center. Out of coincidence it was 9/11 and so the memorial was closed, surround by police and overshadowed by hundreds of conspiracy theorists pushing their agenda. Since we’d come all that way, we decided to pop into Oculus which is a huge, architecturally impressive shopping mall built on the memorial site (yep, we know).
After a lovely walk along the river front where we could just get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and the shore of New Jersey. We made our way to lunch and found a nice Mexican place in TriBeCa called Mariachis where we gorged on tacos, quesadillas and buffalo wings and washed it all down with some Mexican lemonade. We were both really looking forward to Mexican food, given the american reputation for doing it better than us Brits. Even this small random place didn’t let us down. We would recommend it and you even get to see a few streets with the “Friends” reminiscent fire exits.
All of the above would have been quite enough for one day but we ploughed on, walking around 25km by the end of the day. Next stop was possibly the busiest place in NYC; the Charging bull and Wall Street, it was genuinely so crowded that it wasn’t even worth stopping to take a photo.
Instead we decided that we would make the walk across the water over the Brooklyn Bridge that we had heard so much about, but barely seen through the mist and fog. On our route however we found a really cool, but seemingly hidden gem, of a few streets of bars, boutiques near the Brooklyn Bridge. These cobbled stones are much like those on the west of Manhattan but with fewer people and no cars.
Finally after walking around Manhattan we got to the start of the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, which is actually the busiest part of New York City. But also probably one of the coolest places we went on the trip, walking over an awesome bridge with hundreds of other pedestrians and cyclists, with three lanes of traffic rushing past on either side.
Sorry guys, I know that’s a lot of pictures of a bridge, but we had so much fun and the sun was finally coming out. Jenny bought me a microphone for my phone, since I am thinking of getting into vlogging, so we tried that out a bit and it was starting to feel a little less awkward to speak to camera, maybe one day I’ll give it a proper try. Brooklyn is a cool place, it is filled with streets of brown houses and cool cafe culture, which suited us nicely.
New York Skyline
After a long day out on our feet, we decided that it was time that we treated ourselves to a cocktail and some food, so we made our way to a cool bar called Top of the Strand where they had nice cocktails and an excellent view of the Empire State Building. We are trying to be a bit more careful about our spending recently, so we only had the one drink each, savouring each last drop as the sun set.
Finally after all of that, we made our way to China Town and had a nice meal there in a small, randomly selected restaurant. We then wandered back through little Italy, which we later found out was setting up for the “Feast of San Gennaro”, the more on that later.
Tomorrow hopes to be a little less walking and hoping the weather improves. New York, New York.
See you tomorrow!
For more info on our trip see our planning blog post here