So, our first full day in New York – time to get out and about and see what’s what. By the time I took the photo above, just down the block from our hotel, we’d already eaten breakfast at a small but very busy sandwich bar called Toasties.
Heading back from there, we came across these very large, unusual sculptures…
Seated next to a water feature you could walk through…
We were heading down 5th Avenue looking for East 34th Street, but on route we stopped off at the New York Central Library…
Downstairs there was a small museum, accessed by booking only. We hadn’t booked, so I had the slightly surreal experience of being helped, by the man on the door, to book online, before he scanned the resulting QR code and let us in. Anyway, it was well worth a visit, because among other things it had the original toys immortalised by A.A.Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories.
You’ll notice that there are no pictures featuring books – the public lending library was across 5th Avenue. The Central Library did have reading rooms with specific collections of books, but they weren’t open to the public.
This was where we had been heading…
The Empire State building is a full on tourist attraction. First you have to queue to have a family portrait taken, so that later you could buy photographs of yourself green-screened onto various views. This turned out to be a common theme just about everywhere we went in Manhattan. Little S took great delight in vying with the sales-people to discreetly take snaps on his phone of our portraits when they were trying to entice us to shell out our hard-earned on their pictures.
King Kong was one of many attractions on the lower floors. He was animated, so that, whilst TBH was posing, his face went through a huge range of expressions, which was quite amusing.
I enjoyed the time-lapse footage of the tower in construction. Astonishingly, it was built in 410 days and finished ahead of schedule.
We got views from the 82nd and 86th floors, if I remember right. We could have paid extra to go up to the 102nd floor, but were quite content with the view as it was.
The bit of green in the foreground is Madison Square Garden, with the Flatiron building just beyond. The Hudson River is on the right and you can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The sky-scrapers on the left are in Brooklyn and those on the right are in Jersey City.
The views are pretty amazing and I took a lot of photos, but they all essentially show lots of tall buildings, so I’ll limit myself to three here.
Back on the streets the rest of the family got excited about…
With the obvious exception of Central Park, green spaces are at a premium in midtown. This is Bryant Park just behind the Central Library. We were looking for a relatively small building which we had spotted from the Empire State Building and had all taken a fancy to. From ground level we couldn’t agree which building we had been admiring.
We’d bought a week’s pass on the Metro and used it a lot. It could be confusing at times, but was generally very convenient.
I often felt that everywhere we visited had a song associated with it. I got particularly excited about 110th Street, although if I’d remembered more than just the chorus of the Bobby Womack classic I might have been less keen to visit. Apparently, 110th street was traditionally the boundary of Harlem, and the song is about surviving in the ghetto. Today it seemed very leafy and unthreatening.
The station is at the northwest corner of Central Park. We walked diagonally across the park to catch the Metro again on East 60th Street, which given how hot it was, was quite a hike.
The Mall has statues of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns – why no American writers?
Eating out in New York was expensive. Actually, eating in in New York was expensive. Well, everything in New York was expensive. But, we found a fairly reasonable place called the Tick Tock Diner and I discovered the delights of a Cobb Salad. Very tasty.
One way to save money as a tourist in Manhattan is to invest in a City Pass. It gives you entrance to a number of attractions and whilst it isn’t cheap, it does save a lot compared to buying individual tickets. We thought it was good value. As a bonus, a City Pass entitles you to a second, night time, ascent of the Empire State building.
Again, the views were stunning. Sadly, my phone seemed to be overwhelmed by the lights and the many, many pictures I took haven’t come out very satisfactorily. Still, quite an experience.