New York Baby!!!

20 05 2009

Yeah, so I was totally in New York ages ago. Start of December 2008 to be precise. But a combination of busy-ness, laziness and a complete lack of internet in my loverly attic has led me to put writing it up off – until now.

When I heard that Catherine and Dave were planning a much belated honeymoon to New York, New York – and found out that Virgin Atlantic were offering nice cheap prices – it seemed logical to jump on a plane and head on over to the U.S of A and join them.

Arriving at JFK I finally met up with poor jetlagged Cath and Dave, they had flown for hours and hours and were ready to find the hotel and crash out. We hailed a cab with our best Brooklyn “Yo! Taxi!” and made our way to the Hotel Chelsea.

Statue of Liberty

We got to the Hotel and checked in – despite the protests of some other customer who was pushy and wanted to get served first. We took in the amazing surrounds  of the Hotel. The Hotel Chelsea has a rich artistic, bohemian history with many significant artists staying and working there – and was also the place where Sid Vicious killed Nancy (allegedly…). It also has an enviable and varied collection of artwork covering every square inch of the walls. We got upstairs, unpacked the Moet and stood out on the Balcony to look down on the life of 23rd St. Catherine went to grab her camera from her bag only to discover it was missing, along with her passport and ipod. Somewhere in New York a cabbie was driving around with a JB Hi-Fi bag underneath one of the seats.  We did our best to get onto the cab company – but due to some incredibly mysterious inner workings (or more accurately, non-workings) of the New York taxi cab companies – there was nothing we could do until 9am the next morning – despite having pickup, drop-off and taxicar number with us.  We resolved to try a couple of the main police precincts and leave our details with them in the hope that the drivers concience (prompted by the generous tip we left – mainly due to my miscalculation of 10% rather than any real generosity on our behalf) would compel him to hand in all the contents. Once we had done all we could that night we made our way back to the Hotel and had a slightly muted celebration of our arrival in New York.

We started out early, called in the taxi company, called the police and then set out for the day. Cath and Dave went to do a spot of shopping as I made good on a promise to visit my colleagues in the New York office.  As with the whole UK experience it was great to put faces to some familiar names and see the office – having the chance to lunch with them and pick thier brains for NY travel tips from locals was great too!

After getting the good news from the Police that Catherines passport had been handed in (although not surprisingly the camera and ipod were nowhere to be seen). We walked down to the site of the World Trade Centre and had a look inside the chapel opposite which served as a refuge for rescue workers and worried families during the following days.  It was moving to see all the tributes, but it seems a little insensitive or something for it to be such a tourist destination (and yes, i realise the irony of me saying that having just visited it as a tourist…)

St Paul's Chapel

We walked down to see the New York Stock Exchange which – despite being in a period of uncertainty for the workers inside (see this blog to see how bad things are) looked lovely and festive for the Festivus season.

New York Stock Exchange

We saw the bull on Broadway…

Charging Bull, New York

…on our way to take the Statten Island ferry. I thought that sounded like it would go somewhere pretty cool, but turns out theres not really anything worth seeing at Statten Island. Still we were given the opportunity to see the New York night time skyline – so that made the excursion worthwhile!!

New York City Skyline

Following a hot tip from the Wallpaper guide we set off in search of a highly recommended Polish restaurant and after first locating the street, walking it several times and finally discovering that the highly recommended Polish restaurant had since closed – we walked for a while and eventually found a home-cooked style Polish restaurant and indulged in all sorts of stomach filling delicacies before heading back and hitting the hay.

The next morning we got going early and went to NBA paradise at the NBA shop – I’ve never seen Dave’s eyes light up like they did when we entered the store – he was off and gathering merchandise by the armload. Im not particularly well versed in NBA, but they did have some NBA players made out of lego – so I took photos of those. Someone with knowledge (kirst or cath, im looking at you) can write in the comments which player this is…

Lego Basketballer, NBA Store

We popped round the corner to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and fell headlong into admiring famous artworks by some of the best known and well loved masters of Modern Art – all my friends were there: Dali, Warhol, Malevich, Kandinsky, Bacon, Picasso, Lichtenstein…and so many more. What an experience to see the real things in the flesh (so to speak) – this is probably the gallery I have most enjoyed visiting in my travels so far. Go see it if you are in town. Also, indulge in a piece of cake and a MoMajito – expensive, but worth it for the experience!!!

We walked to 5th Avenue and threw our very wet selves out of the heavy rain and into Barneys – it was in another league, I felt poorer for just having stood inside for a while. Nice to look at, but not a thing there that I could afford. Heading back to FAO Schwarz I felt much more in my element. Nothing like an amazingly large Toy shop to rejuvinate spirits dampened by seeing how the other half live. I was disappointed I had missed the ‘Design a Muppet Extra’ stall (I heart Jim Henson) but we did get to see the last giant keyboard show of the night…

Giant Keyboard, FAO Schwartz

And got to see some more lego creations like the cast of Harry Potter, and Chewbacca…

Lego Harry Potter, FAO Schwartz

Lego Chewbacca, FAO Schwartz

A subway ride, a deli bought selection of cheeses served as a cheese platter in the hotel room and a good chat later and we all crashed out – preparing ourselves for out last day of sightseeing together in the Big Apple.

We got another early start and made straight for the Liberty/Ellis Island ferry to try and beat the crowds. The statue of liberty loomed on the horizon as we chugged across the water and soon we stood in her colossal shadow. Catherine took in the Manhattan Skyline for the cost of a mere quarter, while Dave struck his most patriotic pose in front of the Amarican Flag, while Her Libertiness merely basked in the sun.

Catherine taking in the views of the city
Dave, All American Hero

Staute of Liberty

At Ellis Island we had a look at the original immigrants building which was now the Museum of Immigration and we had ourselves photoshopped into an authentic looking photograph to see what Dave, Catherine and I would’ve looked like if we had arrived in America in a different era:

immigrants

We did a final race around and made it up through central park, where Dave made it a personal mission to buy a hotdog from every hotdog seller we passed, it was quite impressive. Central Park is massive, and a very pretty interlude from the concrete jungle:

Central Park, some bridge

and on to the Museum of Natural History…(nothing had come to life like in that Ben Stiller movie though, such a shame)

Taxidermied lions, Natural History Museum

And finally onto the Met where we saw much art and also the amazing Egyptian Wing – a good taster of things to come later that month

The Metropolitan Gallery of Art

Catherine and Dave retired to the Hotel while I made a last desperate attempt to squeeze as many New York sights in to my last hours in the city.  I made my way up to the top of the Empire State Building…

New York at night from Empire State

and from here I could see the cool blue glow of the Times Square advertisments lighting up the sides of the surrounding buildings

New York at night from Empire State

Closer up, the excitement and light and colour of Times Square was even more impressive

Times Square

I made it home to the hotel and my travel buddies and spent my last night in New York in style before heading off the island of Manhattan and back over to New Jersey to begin my short break with the Smiths in Princeton.

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2 responses

20 05 2009
Dad

It’s great to read your blog again after 5+ months of nothing!
Now, I’m looking forward to reading about Egypt and all of the other great places you have been.
Love,
Dad

23 07 2009
Jess

Hey Loz,
Long time no hear. I agree Mr D … it was very hard hearing nothing from Lauren for all that time. But WOW, what a comeback with your American blog – now I really am jealous. One day I will get there!!! Very intersting writing Loz, I loved it. Sounds like you had lots of fun. Losing a passport and valuables in the back of a cab … how New York of you!!! I cant wait to hear from you of more trips around the world. Missing you heaps … and cant wait to have a coffee and chat with you face to face again. Hope you are staying happy and safe.
Love,
Jess xxoo

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