New York, New York

We had 10 days in New York which allowed us to get around to most of what we wanted but still allowed downtime for aching feet!

Leonie had found a great apartment though VRBO.com –(villas for rent by owners) a precursor to AirBNB. We had 2 bed rooms, a good sized kitchen, and best of all-an elevator! We were lucky to be able to rent it for the 10 days as apparently there is a new law in New York prohibiting sub letting for periods of less than 1 month (hotels lobbied for this in protest of sites like AirBNB).

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We were on the Upper East Side and about .5 km walk to the subway ( we trod that route almost every day). We navigated the subway system with (not ease!) patience! We found New Yorkers very helpful-they would hear us talking on the platform trying to work out which train to get and invariably someone would turn around and help us. (We obviously don’t speak quietly!).

I was aurprised to find that the only way to get a taxi is to hail one-there has never been a booking system-that is until Uber came along! There is now an e hail app for taxis and you can also book a taxi through Uber. I downloaded the Uber app but didn't get to use it. I was reading that the price of a taxi medallion has gone from $1.3m to only $700k since Uber came along! So it is definitely taking a large chunk of the market.

We did the usual touristy things-the first day we had arranged a bus trip which took us to many of the main sites-statue of liberty, the 9/11 memorial fountains, flat iron building, the dakota building and strawberry fields memorial to John Lennon in Central Park, and little italy for lunch. I found out where the alphabet names come from:

Tribeca-triangle below Canal (St)
Soho-south of Houston (St)
Nolita-north of little italy

We visited the major museums and galleries- Museum of Natural History, the Met, Guggenheim, Whitney, and the Frick. And of course we visited the Rockefeller Center and Empire State Building.

The Frick stood out for me as it was 1 man’s home and his kids grew up with works by Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Holbein etc

We opted to go to the Met on halloween Saturday as it was open till 9pm and we figured most people would be out partying and no parent would be able to drag their kid to the Met on Halloween night. We were right! No queue to get in, and no crowds! We met up with Chris Dascher ( a dive buddy from my Fakarava trip) and took a stroll through Central Park before reaching the Met. Leonie and I reminisced over our trip to Egypt in ’09 when we visited the Temple of Dendur, all 3 of us favour the Egyptian art and there was so much to see. There was a gorgeous twilight view from the rooftop garden, and we continued on to the impressionist art-Van Gogh, Renoir to name a few. I couldn’t help but be envious of New Yorkers having such works around them!

 

We did a couple of walking tours- Chelsea Market and the Highline, and one to Greenwich Village. I loved the highline and the imagination to turn an old rail line into a garden park in the middle of town. I was impressed with the street gardens in the city. Many apartment buildings (condos) had footpath gardens and there were parks every where.

The whole city is a movie set-any where we looked in central park was a site of either and assignation or assassination, and I saw 3 different filmings under way. One day we visited Bryant Park, and I admired the ivy covered café there-that night I was watching Blacklist and there was a scene set in that exact spot.

 

I had found out ‘Eat With’ a web site that allows people to host dinners and had booked a dinner not far from where we were staying. Patrick, our host, was a private chef and he hosted these dinner evenings for recreation! There was 11 of us and only 1 other traveller-the rest were from New York. It was nice to talk with locals and get some recommendations. One of those recommendations was for a coffee shop not far from our place (Leonie having expressed her opinion of American coffee!). We found the coffee shop but never actually for to try the coffee-we had googled it and learnt it was no2 on the list of best cheesecake in NY. Definitely the best cheesecake I’ve ever had- light and fluffy almost! For anyone heading to NY this place is a must go to(if you aren't on a diet!) -it's Two Little Red Hens on the east side of 2nd ave near E 86th St (let me know what the coffee is like-but I hate to admit it, i've been getting used to the stuff they call cofee here-at least it's caffeine!)

We went to 2 shows-Matilda and Queen of the Night. Matilda is a musical and Tim Minchin did the music and lyrics. I thought they were great-catchy tunes and clever lyrics. Queen of the Night was an immersive theatre experience-the show took place around and including the audience. It was a mix of acrobatics, music, dance, and semi burlesque theatrics.

 

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