Highlights of the trip

We flew out on Sunday, and got back on Friday. Checked into a New Jersey hotel and got the bus over into Manhattan, much nicer than driving there. London Underground veterans need not fear the NY Subway. I was a little concerned when we checked in that we were only there for four nights, not five.

Monday we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Museum of Immigration. Lady Liberty was not open that day, but the ferry trip was great. She’s not a skinny lass either, Liberty has curves and chunky arms!

Statue of Liberty.

Ellis Island was disturbing. I’m a first generation immigrant, and I could see my immigration process building up, the tuberculosis test from 1907, the first national quotas, the anti-immigrant flyers, it got to me. We ate that night at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown. We were on a table with an Asian couple and a family of six from Nashville TN. Shared food with the family, the couple kept to themselves, it was a good meal and a fun time.

Tuesday was Empire State Building day. We walked to the New York Public library and took photos of the lions, and walked to the Empire State Building. There we joined one of the longest queues I’ve ever been in. You queued to get tickets, queued to get into the high speed ten-floors-at-a-time elevator to floor eighty that made your ears pop, queued to get your photo taken, queued again for the elevator for the last six floors, and finally made it out to the observatory. The view was stunning.

View from Empire STate Building.

Our GPS put it at 1091 feet above sea level, a little off on the co-ordinates according to the plaque on the wall, but pretty accurate. You can see everything from up there, and Central Park looks like a huge lake of green amongst the grey.

Looking down from Empire State Building.

That night we saw the Blue Man Group from front row seats at Astor Place Theatre, and it was fantastic! If you ever go, do not arrive late, they will stop the show and escort you to your seat, music playing “You’re late! You’re late!” while filming you and putting the film on a screen on stage so everyone can see. The first five rows are given a plastic poncho to wear in case of spills, and we ended up neck deep in paper by the end of the show. Took a taxi back, and the driver had to call the hotel for directions!

Wednesday we went to Central Park and rented bikes. They had no brakes on the handlebars, you stopped by pushing backwards on the pedals. Took some getting used to! Biked for an hour, Hubby found the virtual geocache, and got horribly lost, where were the helpful park signposts? Even a compass bearing would have helped! Central Park looks oddly like Forest Park St Louis, even down to the art and history museums on either side, though we have less water and a zoo.

After the biking, we meandered down to the Village and ate at Friend of a Farmer and loved it. The waiter brought milk for my tea without being asked, and didn’t fuss over us every two bites. Food was wonderful, I had the Terry Alan Chicken. Chicken stuffed with apple and cheese, sat on a slice of lemon bread and covered in orange sauce, mmm! The restaurant looked like a farmhouse kitchen from Cornwall UK.

Thursday we checked out of the hotel and went geocaching in Central Park. Dropped off three travel bugs, two of which got picked up this weekend. Spotted a place to eat on the far side of Central Park and ten blocks up, “it’s not that far really,” and off we went to Pain Quotidien for lunch. That afternoon we checked into the New York Hilton. It was a total surprise! The room was lovely, I didn’t want to leave. We walked to the Majestic Theatre on Broadway and watched Phantom of the Opera for the fourth time. It was a great show, still surprised me at the right moments, and I loved it!

New York Hilton.

We had a really good time, Hubby planned the whole thing and it was perfect!