The big New York City post. Hopefully I can backtrack to some of the UK stuff, but right now that’s a little patchy. Here’s NYC so far:
DAY BY DAY
Wednesday 30 Jun: arrive, midtown, out for body clock adjustment, wrap + panini.
Thursday 1 July: Empire State Building for orientation, shopping to/from, midtown, Times Square.
Friday 2: Guggenheim, not The Met, Central Park, Upper East Side, Spider-Man 2 (not great).
Saturday 3: move hotels to East Village Bed and Coffee (recommended), look about, head out to Soho Apple Store via everything else in the way, including a good knish. World Trade Center site (no I’m not buying your postcards you vulture) and Century 21, Battery Park, eventually Staten Island Ferry at sunset, then a bus back. Buses are good!
Sunday 4: cycle to J&R downtown to buy new camera (Canon A80), out to Central Park, listening to Imagine and some Beatles by buskers in Strawberry Fields, a little Upper West Side wandering.
Monday 5: Greenwich Village, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.
Tuesday 6: Drop off washing for $5, out to Natural History Museum – fantastic, didn’t even get to see the dinosaurs, all the newly redone exhibits are just great, Central Park once more, bus, more good food.
- A woman in the Guggenheim reading room who was turning pages with her feet – she had no arms.
- The sound of midtown Manhattan by night, up high, is wild, as are the views.
- A storm breaking the back of a humid heatwave; the guy outside instantly selling umbrellas.
- Taxidermy done well (as opposed to creepy and Victorian) at the Natural History Museum. Awe-inspiring displays of biodiversity, geology and cosmology, and a scale model of the Mars rovers.
- St Mark’s Place (8th Ave) for the best selection of casual eating anywhere ever.
- Discovering that manual controls on a digital camera really make a world of difference (the Canon A80 is a bargain).
- The metro and the buses are air conditioned!
- The ale house in Brooklyn Heights serving a wider selection of draft beers than even a great English pub. And they aren’t all lagers.
- New Yorkers are friendly, and everywhere feels safe. Really. You can even cross the road without fear.
- Some places include the tax in listed prices, but most don’t. And tipping everywhere means that you never really know just how much something will cost you. At a 99c store, each item will be $1.08.
- Prices listed in guidebooks are way out of date, because when prices go up, they jump in large amounts. A cab from the airport is now $45 + tolls + tip. But the exchange rate means that if you’re spending pounds, that’s still about £30.
- Bagels, bagels, bagels. And iced coffee. And smoothies. All good. In fact, we haven’t had bad food here, not like bad food in London. Not an Full English Breakfast to be seen.
- Central Park is great, the lungs of this city.
- Even though this is one of the least metric countries on Earth, some drinks are still sold as 16.9 fl oz (ie. 500ml). And the Natural History Museum uses metric first.
- Tons of anti-Bush t-shirts, slogan, logos and feeling.
- Oh, it’s not all good. Legal guns mean that people get shot. Not many in such a large city, but four on the subway in the last month is cause for concern.
So yeah, visit New York. Last time I was here, in 1997, I was on a AUS$50/day budget, and still had a good time. Now, we can afford meals, and we’re having a blast. Not sure how the rest of the country will be in comparison, but we’ll find out.