New York Day Five Wednesday 5/11/14

Category: New York 2014 Published: Thursday, 06 November 2014 Written by Evilmatt

We got up and today decided we would take the ferry into Manhattan so we walked down to Hoboken and got tickets. The previous ferry had gone while we were getting tickets so we got some Latte’s and then sat on the pier and waited for the next ride. The day was a bit more grey and cloudy but still fairly warm. It put a little haze around the buildings across the Hudson.

The next ferry was fairly quick and we were soon cruising across the river in the small ferry. The landing point was almost exactly where the river cruise had left from the previous day we finished off our lattes and then headed into town to pick up the open top bus.

We walked down to Madison Square Gardens to pick up the route and after a lot of confusion found the  bus pickup point. This was not well signposted indeed the map they gave out had it leaving from a completely different point. All in all yet another problem with the open top bus thing. We got on the bus and took it past the Empire State and the flatiron down into Greenwich village then on to the financial district past the new world trade center and on to wall street. It was really slow originally it looked like a good way to get around new york and while it’s quite fun to sit on the bus and look about as it slowly rolls through it’s super slow and given the other problems not very reliable. It also isn't cheap if I were doing it in future I’d probably rely on the metro to get around and save the money. 

We got off at pier 11 near the cargo boats which are old sailing ships. One of them was built just as the steam ships were replacing sailing ships so was basically obsolete almost immediately it had some contracts then served as a tramp cargo ship trying to get any sort of cargo to transport anywhere. It was nearly sunk in a storm of cape horn and had to put in to the Falkland islands nearly demasted. After that it was loaned out as a floating warehouse in the Caribbean until it was acquired and refitted to be a museum piece.

We grabbed some lunch at a set of food vans I had meatball and ricotta Sicilian pizza slice from Valducci’s Famous Original Pizza which was good. While we were waiting the guy gave us a Zeppoles to try which were sort of like little doughnut pieces and quite tasty.

Refueled we headed off to the Brooklyn bridge and walked up to the first arch to take in the view. It was packed with other tourists and half of it was for bikes which could be hazardous as clearly some of the riders had very little control. Still the views were nice from the bridge we took some photos and then headed back off it.

We had intended to fit in a museum but the time was such due to the slow bus that we didn't think it was possible. We took the subway to Washington square park which has an arch like the arch de triomph in Paris dedicated to George Washington. It’s near NYU so a very student filled area there was lots of people playing instruments mostly badly.

We then caught the metro back up to 42nd street to go visit top of the rock or 30 Rockefeller plaza or the GE building where NBC has a lot of its studios including the ones where it films Saturday Night Live. We booked our tickets which have a time you can go up which was 6:15 and it was then 5 so we wandered through the confusing underground shopping area that there and then out to the Plaza.

The ice skating rink was in full flow with people zooming about they were also installing a platform next to it presumably for the famous Christmas Tree. We looked around there for a bit then headed into the lego shop which is next to the ice rink. It was pretty fun they had a lot of brick sculptures including a replica of 30 rock and the plaza done in lego. They also had this wall that was loaded with little hoppers of all the different types and colours of lego bricks. After that we wandered up the promenade and then back to the entrance to top of the rock and after watching a man make some pretzels in a nearby shop we were allowed in … to join the queue.

After the ubiquitous photo against a comedy background this time actual rather than green screened in, we joined a queue for the elevators. We saw a couple of fairly tedious movies on the history and eventually were allowed into the lift. The roof of the lift was translucent with projected images on it as well as the lit elevator shaft. The projection had sort of key moments in american broadcasting like the moon landings and Nixon resignation.

Soon we reached the 68th floor which is the first of 3 observation points. We went right up to the next level and got some wonderful night time views of the city. After a quick go round that level we headed up to the very top where you are literally on top of the building with only a small antenna section and lift head going any taller.

The views were pretty great with some spectacular views of the various skyscrapers most notably the empire state and the new world trade center. You can make out the statue of liberty just about and Central Park shows up as large dark area with few lights in the sea of illumination.

We toured the roof for a while then after another queue headed down. We made our way to the port authority bus terminal and discovered a huge queue for our bus so we decided to have dinner there rather than wait in the queue and let it calm down. We had spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread in this little fast food place called Villa Pizza it was pretty good considering the vegetables were crispy the spaghetti not too hard or soft nice meatball and garlic bread.

While we were eating this guy came in and for some reason I’m not completely sure why started shouting at the serving staff and then the manager. Things got a bit heated with the guy demanding his food and claiming they wouldn't give him something or other. He was slurring a little so maybe he wasn't completely sober. The military made an appearance and one of the security guards and things calmed a little he got his food and then made a few threats about eternal damnation for all the staff there present. By the time we were leaving he was having a go at the manager because he had no cutlery (which was available from a stand just near the till). So dinner and a show at the port authority bus terminal.

By the time we got back to the gate the queue had vanished so they must have really packed those people on the bus. We went up to the gate joined a short queue and were on the bus pretty quickly and heading out to New Jersey. We got home pretty late at least 9 o clock and having walked 23339 steps according to my watch I was pretty tired. We had a drink and some crisps did a bit of photo organization and then headed to bed. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll manage some of the museums.

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