For the past three days we have taken the shuttle from the Bergan hotels into the heart of NYC.....41st and 8th Ave. The roads are extremely busy. Sometimes I think they make 3 lanes out of 2 lanes...the road seems so narrow. The worst is the Lincoln Tunnel. We saw a bus pass so close to an Uber SUV that it took the driver's mirror and placed it on its hood. Apparently this happens quite often. As the traffic prepares to enter the tunnel it is confusing but once in the confusion seems to sort itself out and all continue to their destinations relatively unscathed. It took us 20 min. on Wed., 1 1/2 hrs. on Thurs., and 20 min. today. Coming home is easy.
First we rode the Top View hop on/hop off bus. It took us around Central Park, to Harlem, Little Italy and Chinatown. We saw Dakota House where John Lennon was killed and Ono, his wife, still lives. The area of lawn across from his house is now Strawberry Fields.
I expected Central Park to be park-like but there is much wild bush and trees in it. We only saw one actual formal garden....even today on our carriage ride.
We continued back downtown along the other side of the park. 2 hours had passed quickly. We got off the uptown bus and had a coffee. After we caught the uptown bus to travel through Manhattan. Many of the skyscrapers, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Center were pointed out. One World Center was pointed out and the 9/11 history given. At Battery Park we got off. We grabbed a Philly cheesesteak for lunch and then took a Water Taxi tour around the harbour. They passed the Statue of Liberty slowly, circled and passed by again so all could get picks. The guide also made sure we got the best pics of the Brooklyn Bridge with blue showing between the columns. We passed Ellis Island and went a little ways up the Hudson. When the taxi docked at the base of 42nd St., we got off.
We walked back up 42nd St to 7th Ave. and went to Time Square. We located the New Year's ball, strolled the pedestrian mall, saw Disney characters, statues of liberty, a transformer, both Spiderman and Batman...we're well protected...and lots of painters and paintings for sale as well as other characters. And the lights! They were on all the buildings--huge billboards of neon lights and advertising....in all colors.
We checked out Irish pubs, had dinner in one and drinks in another.
We talked to different people...a Greek who runs a food truck...with Greek food, people from Connecticut with lots of advice, and a local.
At 6.30p we caught the shuttle back to the Best Western Premier Inn. We had dinner in the bar....there is no restaurant here and none within walking distance. By 10p we had settled.
Thurs. as I said our trip in was slow. It was 11a when we caught the Uptown bus to the Financial District and One World Trade Center. First we found lunch in a restaurant with a soup and salad bar. Delicious...and healthy.
After we walked down to where the twin towers stood. First we encountered a shopping mall in the shape of angel's wings. It is spectacular. We went through. Even inside it demands a solemn respect. Next in the footprint of each tower is a deep pool with the names of all who passed etched into a black marble frame. A museum stands on the site with one of the remaining twisted iron columns in it. One World Trade Center replaces one of the towers. It is built out of triangles and glass, is green, and is several stories higher than the original 7 towers will replace the 7 towers destroyed. 3 are built. The other 2 are not as high. Shadows of the buildings will not cross the pools.
We went next to Wall Street and the giant screen. We also saw the giant bronze bull...being mobbed by tourists taking pics. It is a huge statue.
We caught the bus and went on around the island seeing Brooklyn across the water, more skyscrapers....most with apartments.
Once back at stop #1 we went back to Times Square, found a different Irish pub and went for dinner. There we met and talked to Dave from PEI via NFLD....Change Island, close to Fogo Island where his parents still live. He is a contract pilot, loves to fly (he retired from Air Canada last Dec.) He is currently flying Stevie Nicks...Fleetwood Mac...and the other female singer around the country. (Besides 2 planes, 14 trucks carry their gear). It was interesting hearing his stories. Loves his job.
After dinner we lined up for the city night tour to see NYC's lights. It was 6.15p and we were 7th & 8th in line for a 7p tour. By 6.45p it was dark...or as dark as it was going to get. From 46th and 8th we turned along Times Square. And the daytime lights had intensified. And were magnificent. However further on the tops of some buildings were lit....like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building but mostly the lights were mainly the sporadic lighting of apartments. The Brooklyn Bridge didnot disappoint as it was spectacular as we went across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn where more lights greeted us. The view of NYC was also spectacular. We crossed back across the Brooklyn Bridge with great views of the Manhattan Bridge and the bridge beyond.
After we wound our way back through the city streets past the United Nations building ending where we had started. It was after 9p.
We walked back to 41st and 8th Ave, shared a salad at Counters, talked to 2 ladies from Seattle on a girls' week-end and an international lawyer (also Dave) before catching the shuttle home at 10.30p
Today we also went into town (shuttle). We started walking down 8th Ave and switched to 7th Ave to go through Times Square. Once through we took 50th St to 6th Ave, spotted Radio City Music Hall and went on a tour of the 20 foot ceiling building. It is magnificent. Furnished as it once was by Mr. Rockerfell....not Rockerfeller...in the 30's. We saw the reception hall decked out with a gold/maroon/navy rug, burgundy walls with gold trim. Even the mural fits the color motif. In the center is a huge Christmas tree shaped chandelier with two round cylinders of lights on either side. We took the elevator to the 3rd floor to see one of the world's largest auditoriums...seats 5000...They are preparing for their Christmas show premiering Nov. 8th. Lights and sound techs where hard at work as well as decorators. Up 3 flights of stairs with famous pictures from Tony Bennett, Elton John to Sheryl Crow and others lining the walls. We sat in the original chairs from the 30's to learn about the Rockettes. Then we met Amanda, 5'8", and a Rockette for 9 years. She'd had a hectic a.m. with rehearsals but told us what it was like to be a Rockette. We asked questions and then got our pic taken with her.
After we had lunch in front of the Rockerfeller Building and watched skating on a recessed rink with a huge gold statue in front.
From here it was across 51st to 5th Ave and along to Tiffany's. We explored the store seeing lots of beautiful jewellery worth many thousands of dollars.
A little further along and we entered Central Park. We walked to the Visitors Center then back out to the road to hire a horse and carriage to ride through the Park. Our driver was Irish, emigrated from County Mayo in 1988 and reminisced about Ireland with us between telling us about Central Park and its surroundings. We saw a large lake with a large fountain all in a large depression. There was the brown towers from the Ghostbusters movie. Much of Home Alone 2 was filmed here. We were dropped off at 7th Ave and 53rd St.
It seemed a short walk back to 46th and 6th Ave. We had dinner at the highly recommended Carmines. Prices were high BUT portions were huge...a salad big enough to feed 6 and a 4" deep 18" platter with 6 chicken breasts atop steamed spinach covered in melted buffalo mozarella cheese with delectable roasted potatoes. We've at least one night's dinner to share. Chocolate canoli stuffed with cream and pistachios and coffee nicely finished the meal. We arrived before 4p and finished just after 5.30p.
We had just enough time to walk the few blocks to 41st and 8th to catch the shuttle back. We learned the driver is from Lima Peru and returns every winter for 2 months.
We have now settled after jounalizing.