Arrived in New York at Penn Station and with our first steps outside the City hits you full steam, jump into a taxi and up Broadway we go, past times Square, spot the empire State and then Central Park before crawling our way to a closed road and go back the way we came and an hour later we arrive on The Upper East Side, 94th Street. We got big hugs and kisses from Amy who had just arrived before us. The Apartment in The Marmara building is perfect, 2 bedrooms for the price of a hotel suite and near the museum mile and of course close to everything when you use The Metro.
Our first night is just taken up with a short stroll to an Japanese restaurant for dinner just up from our apartment on 2nd ave and then a foray into the local supermarket to gather supplies followed by a night of chatty catching up before bed.
Our first morning was nice and slow with the added benefit of making our own breakfasts in our own time. We made our plans for the day and walked up along Park and 5th avenues to Central Park and onto our first stop The MET, metropolitan museum of New York and wow what a first stop it was. There was a brilliant achipello busker group performing out the front which was great.
We only got to see one floor, it was so huge but we had absorbed so much especially the Egyptian, Aztec Gold and Papuan New Guinea exhibits as well as some superb modern art and design sections that we decided a lunch break was required.
We had a recommendation to the Plaza Hotel Food Hall so jumped into a cab down to The Park Lane end of 5th ave and had a sensational meal in the best food hall we have seen, more like a top restaurant with many food stations to choose from.
Our afternoon was then taken up with a trip down to Grand Central Station, and Grand it certainly was. I consider it to be an architectural masterpiece not only for it’s beauty but for it’s functionality, presence and thoughtful design that has stood the test of time. We walked up Park Ave past some classic art deco buildings in the late afternoon drizzle back towards uptown, tried the Subway but it was sardine can packed and finally got a cab back after a fair bit of walking.
The Chrysler building looked particularly futuristic in the mist.
Our plan for our second day was to follow a similar routine, check out a big item and then sight see in the afternoon so I headed up early to the Guggenheim to miss the queues but so did lots of others so by the time I got to the head of the line Ann & Amy had arrived and in we went……disappointing to say the least with 2/3 under wraps or a new exhibition and the centre-spiral covered in plastic so no vision at all. I had a great laugh whilst in the que, Richard Fidler, one of the Doug Anthony Allstars was walking by with his wife and when her saw the long que, he said “Oh well , let’s go to the frigging Frick, this que is way too long.”
Our Next stop was The “frigging “Frick, a mansion turned museum that was brilliant on it’s own but Aldo had an early Picasso exhibition on which was an eye opener on what an amazingly talented artist he was. We saw many of his early sketches and his pencil portrait drawings were amazing and then the gradual increase of his experimental art came into play.
It was now time for more central Park so we headed across the immense and beautifully structured Park via The Mall, The Bethseda fountain and the John Lennon tribute at Strawberry Fields to Lunch at a Chinese cafe on Columbus ave on The upper Westside.
We had purchased the 7 day metro card so jumping on the Trains was easy and so quick to get around as the distances between sights can be huge so after lunch it was down the red line to The Meatpacking district for a walk along the converted into a garden walkway some 2 km long raised freight train line now called The Highline.
The area has been transformed into one of the trendiest parts of the city and The Highline was amazing with great views, seating herb gardens tunnels and access points all along.
Unfortunately we got caught in a sudden rain squall and retreated to a covered area until we could run for a taxi to take us to SoHo for a massage we had booked at a Chinese Spa. We had earned it so for 60 mins we escaped the Manic city for some quiet solitude. We found this strange menswear shop that at first looked like a surfboard shop but it wasn’t , just cool boards in the window making a fashion statement .
After a nice but noisy meal we walked around Bond St. and found the most incredible new apartment building we had seen and also a very interesting fence tribute to Steve Jobs. We then scored the fastest Rasta Cab driver in New York for a hair raising quick trip uptown and were pleased to get out in one piece.
Today was Ann’s birthday and Beth’s arrival tonight so we were heading to The Rockefeller Centre to go to The ” Top of The Rock ” so up to the 96th street subway for our regular downtown trip to midtown and the 51st street stop. We stopped in to the beautiful St Patricks Cathedral on the way and then joined the crowds at The Rock where they were putting the ice skating rink together. It is such a great urban space now and when it was all opened in 1929 at the height of the depression.
We wandered around the centre and squeezed in visits to both Lego land Anthropologie before our trip to the 79th floor.
After a vey well organised process we got to the top and the view from the top was awe inspiring, the whole of Manhattan laid out before you and it really helped to make sense of it all.
We celebrated with a nice lunch at a French bistro on Rockefeller Square and then walked it off down 5th ave, Bryant Park and through to the massive Macy’s on 34th street & broadway. Macy’s on a sat afternoon was not clever and we lasted all of 30 mins before escaping up past the sensational Empire State Building for our trip home on the 6 train.
We got back with about 30 mins to spare before Beth arrived and Also Amy’s friend Steph who she met in Copenhagen last year. Lots of hugs and kisses and a few drinks before dinner ensured at a new Vietnamese restaurant across the road.
We found so many amazing buildings from the Golden era of New York, 1890 to 1930 but it was the fine detail that really impressed.
A late start on Sunday was the order of the day and we met up with another of Amy’s friends from Copenhagen, Danny who met us in the Lower Eastside near Delancey street at a funky cafe “Inoctea” on Ludlow street which served the best Aussie quality espresso we have encountered and they had a great lunch as well. We explored the old tenement buildings and shops that have been restored and bought a big cheap bag for our growing bargain purchases which I am sure will continue now that Beth has joined us. We popped our heads into Katz the famous diner that has been operating since the turn of the century and was then made immortal for THAT scene from Harry met Sally.
We then split up with the girls and Danny deciding to walk up o Union Square whilst Ann and I caught the metro .( it was 18 blocks so fair go, time is of the essence and I am a cripple still ) after a bit of bargain shopping at” Nordstrom rack “we meet up at “foot locker” where the girls each got a bargain Nike Airs and then split again and went to abc an amazing trendy home-wares store on 5th ave that was absolutely brilliant and then found some more great deals for Ann at “Ann Taylor” on Broadway before popping into ” lillys bar” near Madison Square Park. It was now getting towards dark and when we found The Flatrion building at the Park the light was perfect to capture the illusion of this very deceptive and clever building.
A quick trip back on the metro and it was time to prepare for our big night out to “The River Cafe” just under the Brooklyn bridge to celebrate Ann’s birthday as a family. We had a very informative bangladeshi taxi driver who gave us the best ever tour of Manhattan on our way.
The river cafe floats on a Barge in The East River and is a New York Institution with the prices to match but it was worth it, we had a great night and the food and view back to Manhattan were superb.Thanks Nat, for the suggestion of 2 of our best meals.
The next morning Beth went for a run twice around The Reservoir in Central Park while I walked it and enjoyed the quite atmosphere and then back for breakfast before another jam packed day. Monday was the perfect day for a cruise around the Harbour so we Metroed downtown to City Hall and walked through the sculpture park down to St Pauls chapel and ground zero. We did not do the tour but just being there and watching the reconstruction and monuments was enough. Even though there is new construction happening there it certainly had a eerie aura down there.
We then hit the pier 18 New York for the big water taxi rank and took the Liberty cruise across to Brooklyn , over to The Statue of Liberty and then up The Hudson river to the SS Intrepid museum at pier 85 and then back to pier 18. The city is so immense and from the water it is like it is a floating skyscraper island.
We enjoyed an excellent Sushi lunch in the Fulton Market district and then decided to head back uptown to MOMA, the modern art museum.
The late 19th and early 20th century art was my favourite with Picasso, van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin, Monet and Boccioni my favourites. There was also some excellent modern furniture exhibitions and the sculpture gardens were exceptional.
There was also free Wifi so the girls took advantage to communicate with the outside world.
We had booked cheap theatre tickets for Phantom tonight so we walked from 53rd street across 6,7 and 8th ave down to a cool Cuban bar for a drink on 48th street and then onto dinner at the best Vego food ever at Zen Palate on 9th and 46th, exceptional and cheap.
The Phantom of The Opera was really good , even though we has seen it many years ago, it is certainly a show that captures you and the Phantom, was awesome. Afterwards we walked up to Times Square to see the amazing light show and take in the vibe, it was so alive and buzzing and lots of NYPD’s around, so all in control, we then grabbed a cab home to a well deserved sleep.
We arranged to meet up with our Step-Nephew Derek Beamer (who is now living in New York and hoping to get work in his field in Film ) and after I walked through Central Park to the Natural History Museum and the Ladies did some separate shopping we met back at The Plaza Food Hall for another shot at their fab food. It was great share a meal and have a good catch up with Derek as it is 10 years nice we saw him last.
We split up again with the girls heading down shopping for shopping and Ann and I checking out the F.O. Swartz, toy store and metroing down to Macy’s to do a spot of bargain Jean shopping for me, and it was very successful, the jeans are so much cheaper, so I stocked up on a few pairs. We then did a spot of people watching whilst waiting for the girls in herald Square, watching the crowds go by and also taking in the changing light of the buildings around.
Ann and Amy went back to the apartment while Beth and I tackled the masses at the top of The Empire State building, well the 86th floor at least
And boy it sure was worth it, the lights went on forever and the epic dimension of everything was amazing.
Back we went feeling very satisfied that our week in New York was more than we had hoped or and gave us an appetite to get more intimate next time we pass through.
This is the view from our 27th floor apartment in The Marmara building, so long New York.