A Travellerspoint blog

New York! New York! Friday, 7 June 2013

rain 16 °C

Late start today. It is raining and foggy, so it was a good day to stay in bed and look out at the fog from the 42nd floor. The penthouse in the tall condo building across the street is shrouded in fog. So much for the 70 million dollar view! I believe a Russian billionaire has bought it. We are checking out at midday and moving to the Marriott Hotel on Lexington Avenue where we will meet up with our tour group later today.

It's raining, raining, raining and is about 16 degrees. Caught a taxi to the Marriott at about 11.30am and were very pleased that our room was ready for us - Room 618. Settled in and then caught a taxi to the Met, otherwise known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is absolutely huge! We were very pleased to have our City Pass as again it meant that we didn't have to queue for tickets.

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The sculptures are amazing.

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And every artist known to man is featured there. My high school art teacher would be so pleased that I have seen the originals of these masterpieces.

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We were going to have lunch at the Met but the queue was ridiculously long so we decided against it. Americans seem quite happy to queue. We have seen them queueing at lunch time for miles! Wouldn't it be easier to bring your lunch from home? We were lucky to get a taxi at the Met to bring us back to the hotel and had a slice of pizza at a restaurant across the road from the hotel.

At 5.30pm we all met in the foyer for our Welcome Cruise on the East and Hudson Rivers. What a shame the weather is so crummy. There are 52 of us from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, USA, UK and South Africa. Have only met a few so far but they all seem like a pretty nice group.

Boarding the boat.

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The Statue of Liberty in the fog. Such shame about the weather because the boat went quite close to her and we could have got some good photos.

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At least we had free drinks and food on the cruise. We are now back at the hotel and are very pleased to hear that there is free internet in the foyer, so all the baby boomers are in the foyer typing away on their ipads. A sign of the times!

Posted by gaddingabout 17:53 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York! New York! Thursday, 6 June 2013

overcast 22 °C

Another very busy day in the Big Apple. Started with breakfast in our lovely dining room, overlooking Central Park. Our hotel seems to be a haven for a group of New York Matrons. There are quite a few of them, breakfasting together every morning, you know the type I mean - 70 plus, too much fluffed up hair, too much makeup and too much jewelry! There don't seem to be any husbands around, so they are possibly all rich widows, or maybe the husbands are at work, I'm not sure but they are fascinating to watch. There are also a lot of French people staying here as well.

Sirens, sirens, sirens - that's all we seem to hear, even on the 42nd floor!

There is a building outside our window that is nearing completion and it will be the tallest residential building in the world. It will be 75 storeys high and was the building that the crane was dangling off when cyclone Sandy hit New York last year. If you are interested, the penthouse is selling for a mere $70 million. When you talk about real estate in New York, you talk in millions, not hundred thousands!

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After breakfast we left the hotel and walked a couple of blocks to the 57th street subway, to catch the train down to the Empire State Building - a return visit in daylight. Up until now, we have been catching cabs which are reasonably cheap, except when the traffic is standing still and then the meter just ticks away and you are going nowhere! A nice woman helped us buy our metro ticket. We were very lucky to find her as you can see by the photos, we missed the morning rush!

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We arrived at the Empire State Building and for this visit we used our City Pass which meant we didn't have to line up for a ticket and we received an audio guide for free. The queue wasn't very long today at all and we virtually got straight through to the lift and up to the 86th floor no trouble. There were quite a few people up on the observation deck but there is plenty of room for everyone to see the fabulous views and take their photos.

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When we came down, we called into a new golf shop that was having its big opening tomorrow. The clothes were VERY expensive, and they didn't even have any gloves for left handed ladies!! I mean where are we, New York or hicksville!!

Walking along the street, came across another photo opportunity!

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We then visited the New York Library. What a beautiful building, with magnificent ceilings and reading rooms. Of course, because we are in the 21st century, most of the reading rooms have computers!

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We called into the Big and Tall Men's shop but couldn't find anything we wanted to buy.

Them off to MOMA -the Museum of Modern Art. First stop the cafeteria for a most delicious lunch.

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Then into the galleries. We were pleasantly surprised and saw a lot of lovely paintings, and a lot of weird stuff too!!

First the weird stuff!

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There were about four big rooms with a couple of these coloured rectangles on each wall - what a waste of space!

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This was funny. This guy was there for ages trying to find the bullet hole. We couldn't see it either.

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We saw paintings by Jackson Pollock, Matise, Picasso, Cezanne, Monet, Surat and Van Gogh. Here are a few samples.

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And of course, A Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

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Outside is quite nice too.

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A street view walking back to our hotel.

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Called into Tiffanys for a sticky beak. Decided not to buy anything. Strange thing but none of the jewelry had price tags on it. I guess if you shop at Tiffanys, you don't worry about the price! There was a little man following us around, wiping our finger marks off the counter tops! Unclean poor people!

A couple of doors up from our hotel is The Plaza Hotel, which was featured in the movie "Arthur" starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli, so we went in to take a peek. That's what I love about New York - so much of it is recognizable from movies etc.

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As Central Park is just across the street from our hotel, we took a stroll in there on our way home today.

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This is a photo of our hotel from Central Park.

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As we were approaching our hotel, there seemed to be a bit of excitement happening at our front door!

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Turns out there was something happening in the hotel next door. Phew!

We went to the Brooklyn Diner for dinner tonight. It's not in Brooklyn; it's in Manhattan! We had a drink there yesterday and spent a long time chatting with the barman and the owner so we thought we'd go back for our last dinner before we join our tour group.

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I had fish and chips and Phil had a meat loaf dish. Just as we were deciding what to drink, the owner came to our table with two complimentary glasses of Presecco. How nice.

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So after we had finished eating, we took our drinks up to the bar to chat with Julian. Next minute he gives us a complimentary dessert from the owner - New York Cheese Cake. It was a huge piece of cheese cake, covered with huge strawberries, a blob of cream and some chocolate sauce to pour over the whole thing. Jerry, the owner said that we couldn't leave New York without tasting New York Cheese Cake. It was nice. Thank goodness there was only one piece. It was huge! How people can eat something that big, I'll never know.

Maggie Wilson and Miss Mitten
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Julian Hoffman and the New York Cheese Cake.

Now off to bed after a very full day.

Posted by gaddingabout 18:53 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York! New York! Wednesday, 5 June 2013

sunny 25 °C

Before we left Canberra, I bought a City Pass book of tickets for about six famous New York places to see. It has been great as you skip the queue to the ticket box and go straight in. We used it for the Museum of Natural History and used it today for the Circle Line Cruise of the Hudson River and New York Harbour. And of course, the Statue of Liberty. She is very majestic and it was quite emotional seeing her in the real, for the first time. The cruise took about two hours.

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We passed under several bridges; two well known ones being the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

After the cruise, we raced back to the hotel to get changed and then back to the Ed Sullivan Theatre, to attend the taping of the Late Show. We were told to be there between 1.00pm and 2.00pm, but preferably closer to 1pm. We got there at about 1.15pm and joined a huge queue. Slowly we moved up to the front door where we had to show photo id and be ticked off the list. Then to another person who gave us two tickets, then to another person who told us to come back at 2.40pm and join the red queue.

We bought an authentic New York hot dog for lunch which was quite nice and waited until 2.40pm where we joined another huge queue. While we are all queued up on the street, the staff walk around and rev us up. We are told what to do and what not to do, a hundred times. Basically the message is - just laugh and clap at everything. Don't think about it - just laugh and clap all the time. FInally "the red people" were let in and we were ushered up to the top level which gave us a very good view of all that was going on. We were shown a video by Alex Baldwin that basically told us to laugh and clap all the time, whether it was funny or not.

The CBS band came out and played a couple of songs with Paul Schaffer. They were good but extremely loud. Then David Letterman came out and chatted to the audience off camera and then the taping began. The guests today were the star from The Big Bang Theory (we don't watch it, so I don't remember his name), Stephen King and John Meloncamp. They are collaborating on something to do with a holiday house that John Meloncamp bought and it was supposed to be haunted because three people had died there. At the end of the show, a band came on to perform - Queens of the Stone Age. They were called a rock and roll band but sounded more like a heavy metal band to me.

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I think David Letterman must get paid a lot of money, but the show is pretty light weight and he doesn't do much. It is quite disjointed, but nonetheless, it was very interesting to watch all the procedures in taping a show.

On the way home, we called in to an authentic diner called the Brooklyn Diner for a drink. We sat up at the bar and chatted for a long time to the barmen and another local customer. Very nice and informative.

We have decided to have room service tonight as it has been a long day with not much sleep last night, so it will be early to bed tonight as we will be doing a lot tomorrow as it is our last full day before joining our tour.

Posted by gaddingabout 17:28 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York! New York! Tuesday, 4 June 2013

sunny 23 °C

Well, so much for my body clock being tuned into New York time. I woke at midnight, 2am, 4am and 6am. But thankfully went straight back to sleep.

We have breakfast in a very lovely room, well decorated, overlooking Central Park. This morning while I was enjoying my Irish oatmeal (whatever that means), a woman walked into the breakfast room with a dog on a leash and it wasn't a seeing eye dog either! Good grief, wouldn't happen in Australia! In Europe you see that all the time, but
I was very surprised to see it in such a lovely hotel. That must mean that the dog is sleeping here too!

There are huge American flags flying outside the windows and they look so lovely against the green of Central Park.

After breakfast we headed off on foot for Times Square. Not far from our hotel we came across the theatre where they tape the David Letterman Show and they were inviting people to come in and fill in a form to go into a ballot to get tickets to the show on Wednesday. Wind back a couple of months to Canberra when I went on line to apply for tickets to the show. I didn't get to first base as they need a number to phone and they won't make international calls. Plan B - I decided that when I arrived at this hotel, I would ask the concierge to help me get tickets. Well, he didn't know what day it was because he told me I didn't have a hope of getting tickets as they were all sold out months ago! Fat lot he knew.

So, filled in the form with our names and address and wrote a special little "begging" message on the bottom saying that we had come all the way from Australia and we would love to see the taping of the show. They then undertook to phone us at our hotel by 11am tomorrow if we were successful. Fingers crossed, but I had a feeling we would be.

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Headed for Times Square. There are people EVERYWHERE! We needed to find information about lining up for the half price tickets for Broadway shows. The box office opens at 2.00 pm and people start lining up at about 1.30pm. So we asked about the Flat Iron Building, a building in New York in1909. It is quite an architectural masterpiece. It was a few blocks down the road, so we walked down to take a look. We are walking everywhere.

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Popped into Macys and Phil bought a paint of Rockport shoes. Good price.

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Walked on to Grand Central Station. What an icon it is! We had a quick lunch there among thousands of people, some locals and many more tourists.

Walked back to Times Square to line up for the theatre tickets. There were hundreds of people there and it took about 40 minutes until the line started to move and then only 20 minutes to get served and be on our way. We got front row seats for "Nice Work if You Can Get It", starring Matthew Broderick.

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Came back to the hotel and had a little rest prior to going to the theatre. There was a message on our phone to say that we were successful in the ballot and we had tickets to the taping of the Late Show at 2.00 pm on Wednesday, 5 June. Yeah! I knew we'd get them. Time to leave for the theatre and the streets were packed with cars and our taxi could only take us three quarters of the way there so we jumped out and walked the rest of the way. The show was great. Gershwin songs by the bucket load and lots of dance numbers. It was a very entertaining evening. Matthew Broderick was very good and played an "Arthur" type character, ie rich boy, never worked, likes the girls etc. Some very funny sequences. After the show at 10.00 pm, we popped into an Irish Pub for dinner. Thank goodness that New York is the city that never sleeps. Can you imagine getting dinner in Canberra at 10.00 pm! Not likely.

I had some Irish Onion soup and Phil had bangers and mash. After dinner we caught a taxi to the Empire State Building. Best travel tip ever coming up!  Prior to leaving Australia, I purchased a pass on the internet to not only go to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, but to then go to the 102nd floor, but the best part was we had a special pass that meant we had an express ride to the top.  We didn't have to wait in a queue, which at that time of night was 45 mins.  We just bypassed everyone and went straight through.  Excellent!  Worth every cent.The lights of New York are really lovely.  It was a bit difficult to hail a cab to take us there but they were lined up outside waiting to take us back to the hotel.  We arrived home after midnight and checked our emails etc and didn't get to sleep until 2.00 am.  It was a big day!

Sent from Samsung tablet

Posted by gaddingabout 15:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York! New York! Monday, 3 June 2013

rain 25 °C

Had a good night's sleep, woke up at 5.30 am with a headache. There is a lot of glare in this room because we slept with the curtains open. Had a huge thunder storm last night and because we are so high up , it seemed to be right outside our window. Went down for breakfast and had to wait for a table. No big buffet here - all ordered off the menu. I had lovely Irish oatmeal and Phil had toasted muesli.

It is pouring rain this morning so we decided an indoor activity would be best so we caught a taxi to the American Museum of Natural History. It was really good.

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We spent about four hours in the museum then walked along the side of Central Park until we came to the part called "Strawberry Fields" which was named in honour of John Lennon. The building in which he was living, the Dakota Building, and the one he was shot out the front of, is just across the road. I bought a couple of John Lennon badges in the park.

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The Dakota Building where John and Yoko lived.
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Had a Subway for lunch, came back to the hotel to freshen up and drop off the umbrella because the weather has now fined up, and then off to the Rockefeller Centre to go to the Top of the Rock. The lift ride to the 72nd floor was quite amazing. The roof of the lift is see through and as you ascend you can see each floor as you pass by. Quite weird! At the top you have a 360 degree vista of beautiful New York. Within the complex is the 1932 6,000 seat Radio City Music Hall. The Today Show broadcasts live daily from the glass enclosed studio near the fountain. New York is very easy to walk around, but I think that Sydney footpaths and inner city streets are a lot more congested than New York's.
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Phil with one of his favourite photos of the guys building the Rockefeller Centre.
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Walked back to the hotel and took some shots of the lovely buildings.

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Check out the hair on these models!

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When we descended the Rockefeller Centre, it started to rain so we sat and had a coffee and started talking to a nice Danish girl and her mother.

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Just strolled up the street and had a wonderfully delicious meal at an Italian Restaurant.

Body clock now on New York time. Going to bed at normal time. Big day tomorrow. Having a good time in the Big Apple!

Posted by gaddingabout 18:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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