Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New York, New York!

My trip out of Costa Rica is a great example of my very selective intellect, and a time when it selected to not work so well. I spent my last night in Costa Rica saying goodbye to people and packing up my stuff. The next day I headed to the airport in the evening for my 11pm flight from San Jose, arriving in NYC at 7am.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, it turned out to be San Jose, California, rather than Costa Rica (written as CA not CR - an easy mistake, I swear!).

So at 9pm I found myself all packed and ready to go at the airport with no plane in the foreseeable future. Having said to other travelers a few times that I'd had an incredibly smooth trip so far, all I could do was laugh - which I'm sure the other travelers found a little strange. I quickly booked another flight, triple checking that it was for the right place on the right date. This one left at 7am so I decided to just spend the night in the airport.

Finally made my flight!
At about 8pm the next night, 24 hours after I first tried to leave I finally arrived in NYC. Immigration didn't like me because I'd left and come back on a different visa which is obviously suspicious, but eventually Gloria and I escaped.

This is Gloria, by the way. I got her while at Disney and we travel together. I can't fit her in my pack so she's usually under one arm (something airport security always seems to get a kick from - she's very popular) and I'm usually wearing a Madeline hat because it also can't be packed. Basically, I look about 12 and completely incompetent to be travelling alone.
I was supposed to meet up with Mum at an apartment in the East Village and had subway directions, so off I went.

Everyone was incredibly nice, someone carried my bag, someone gave me a free subway card and about 20 people gave me directions. I was also invited to a bar by some lovely young men just arrived from Rhode Island who insisted my bag would be fine and they'd carry it all the way home after! Sadly I had to refuse!

Eventually after three subway rides and an 11 block hike with my huge and unwieldy bag in tow I arrived at about midnight.

Mum and I had the 12 Apples tour booked for the next morning, so headed off for that early. It had been warm, so she advised me not to wear too many layers. What a mistake - turned out to be a freezing day dropping to about 10 degrees and raining. I toughed it out in some tiny shorts and a blazer, eventually being given a pity poncho by one of our fellow tourists. Luckily I have a great relationship with ponchos!

The tour was amazing! Our guide, Greg, had been an actor on Broadway for 25 years and rattled off anecdotes about Bob Dylan amongst historical dates, all with great charisma.

We started out on Broadway. 

 This is Yoko Ono's apartment, it's in the famous Dakota building. Do you see the railing just below the roof?  That whole floor is hers.

 This the the John Lennon 'Imagine' memorial that it overlooks. There is a legend that there's a small vial of his ashes donated by Yoko underneath. Someone tried to pry up the tiles to get to it once but luckily wasn't successful.

This is our guide. He was lovely!

 Then we went to central park (which the Dakota overlooks).

This is the bridge that Kevin runs over in Home Alone

This room is amazing. It leads to the formal area - the only part of central park with straight lines.  The reason for the curves is particularly amusing - they didn't want hot blooded young men drag racing the horses! It is also exquisitely tiled with amazing paintings - les trompe-l'oeils (tricks of the eye) which appear 3D. 
 We even saw a model in the middle of a photo shoot!

This is sheep park. So called because during the depression they wanted to keep people from trying to live there so the filled it with grazing sheep. But it was the depression and the sheep started to go missing... After that they were moved out to the boroughs.
 This is at the bottom of the Dakota and is right where Lennon was shot.

We got Joe's pizza for lunch - apparently the best pizza in NYC and visited by various celebrities (as evidenced by the photos on the wall)
 The third floor of this building is where Heath Ledger passed away.

Then it was off to Chinatown!
 They had some pretty interesting food there!

This is by architect Frank Gehry and resembles flowing water or a ribbon.
 This was the gathering point immediately following 9/11. At that time it was completely covered in dust from the collapse. It was completely undamaged though, despite other buildings around it suffering.

This is the new Freedom Tower - so named because it is 1776 feet tall which is the year the declaration of independence was signed. It stands in place of the twin towers.
 This is one of the memorials to the towers.

Mum in her very weather appropriate outfit.
 Wall Street!

 We posed outside Tiffany's and I embraced my poncho with a curtsy (we didn't go in in our bedraggled states!)

Later in the evening I stumbled upon a macaron store. Tart Cherry - Yum!
 Day 2: We began by hitting up the Top of the Rock.

 Central park to the north.
 The Empire State to the south.

 And hundreds of flags at the bottom because this is America.
 We also got some classic steam from a vent.
 The Chrysler building.
 This bikinied cowgirl in Times Square was selling photographs - I got a sneaky one.
 Then these two showed up!
 We went to an off-Broadway show satirising the last 12 months of news and veering from Honey BooBoo to Obama.
 We finished the evening with a trip to the Met.
 New Zealand made a brief appearance with some Maori art.

 I can't get over this guys hair! Also, it's pretty detailed for a wood carving, huh?
 The next two were two of my favourite sculptures - especially the woman in the second.

 They had an Egyption exhibit.
 The building itself is also incredibly beautiful.

 Day 3: We started with a trip to the Guggenheim. Unfortunately it didn't allow as many photos as the Met and it doesn't appeal to my tastes quite so much. Was still great to check it out, especially with audioguides to explain the abstract pieces! My favourite was Picasso's Lobster and Cat which was not one of the one's I could take pictures of sadly.

 The sun also finally came out for us though it was still a little chilly.
 For lunch we went to S'mac - a gourmet Mac'n'Cheese place. Here's the menu to give you an idea, we got the Parisienne and the Napoletana.
 We used the subway the whole time to get around the city and spent most of our rides being serenaded by bands like these...
 and treated to artwork by murals like this...
 After lunch it was time for the highline - an old railroad that has been converted into an above-ground, central city park!

 We then made our way to the Staten Island ferry to see the statue of liberty (photos below because I'm too lazy to format them at this moment) and walked towards Manhattan over the Brooklyn bridge in the evening.

 After that we caught the subway straight to Greenwich village for some jazz, but ended up stumbling into a bar with a funk band. A little less sophisticated perhaps but much more fun!
 They were incredibly good!
 This is the ferry trip from earlier in the day. Whoops. It's on the Hudson River but close to where the East River joins.

 The Statue of Liberty - tiny in real life!
 The next day we said goodbye to the big apple and grabbed a bus to Philly.

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