Sunday, 10 June 2012

Wednesday Words: Fun In The Big Apple, part two

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Cake Stand

On our third day, we got up and made a long, long walk from our hotel, down a straight road, in the pouring rain all the way to South Sea Seaport. Along the way we braved Burger King (exactly the same as our Burger King but they apparently really enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory as evidenced on their silent television screens dotted around the place) and getting absolutely soaked as we made our way to Intrepid...

Intrepid was my brother's choice to visit - I'd never heard of it before the day itself but was pleasantly surprised to see a giant ship in front of us. Upon our entry on the boat and paying for entrance we met several of their staff who were all incredibly lovely (and bemused by my insistance that Swedish Fish sweets are the best sweets ever... well, let's be honest, they are) and before we knew it, we were free to explore! The boat is amazing - it's so big, it was a huge shock to see entire airplanes inside the boat. Of course, with it being a big boat there are no stairs - just ladders, so be prepared for some serious climbing and squeezing through tiny gaps!

On the top deck we saw at least eight or nine planes which looked like toys. And then we saw the Concorde. Yes, they had a Concorde on the top deck! And even better, it was open to anyone to have a look inside, so, naturally, we got inside. I was so shocked, I could barely fit inside - as for the seats, they were behind glass but I couldn't see myself fitting in them. Shame.

After our little experience we ate our lunch in a little diner - grilled cheese and chicken panini served with ready salted crisps which was gorgeous - before our next big adventure of the day... the boat cruise.

I was so ill prepared for this - having never been on a proper boat before I had no idea what I was going to expect. We were welcomed on by a lovely, silver haired all-American gentleman with a microphone. There was even a tiny snack bar like you see in the movies, selling popcorn and peanut M&Ms... even hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos. Wow! It felt just like a drive in movie. On a boat.

Upon taking our seats and watching the other fellow tourists arrive, soaking wet, we were off! I loved it - the tour guide had a fantastic sense of humour as he took us along the river, taking in Governor's Island, a small, island filled with unused buildings and barely anyone there... apart from a Land Rover with bright lights flashing. Which amused the tour guide, and us! We made it under the Manhattan bridge, and saw the sugar factory before meeting, up close, the Statue Of Liberty. If you ask the majority of people what they think of when they think of New York, the great Lady herself is up there. And you can tell why. Up close she towers over you, proud of her city, standing defiant against the wind and rain whipping up outside. We didn't care either about the weather as we all trooped out and took photos on the open deck, trying to avoid going overboard as the boat navigated the choppy waves. As I sat down I realised just how sick in the stomach I felt so I did what every brave Brit at sea should do: pull out a bag of M&S's finest sweets, Percy Pigs, and scoff the lot on the boat.

After the tour and arriving safely back at the harbour we thanked the tour guide and made our way back to Times Square, taking in crazy traffic and watching the traffic cops directing the cars. I took a photo and very almost got into trouble with the policewoman I was taking a photo of. Oops. After drying off and checking out a Skechers shop (shoe shops in New York are a bit harder when the sizes you need are completely different to back home, but a fun experience all the same!) we went back to the hotel to dry off and fall sound asleep. What a day!

On our final day we had a big breakfast and made our final journey... to Central Park. I panicked at first as I had no idea where I was going (and I thought we were heading in completely the wrong direction) but as soon as the first set of lush green trees appeared I knew we were here. Central Park is such a beautiful place, and a completely different experience to the busy city. It's actually quiet. And filled with people just doing what they do best: walking, running, chatting. There's dedicated roads for runners and cyclists to go down, complete with traffic lights.

I felt myself chilling out completely as we navigated the parks, sat under shelters looking out at the lakes, climbing rocks and meeting tame squirrels. We even attempted a Phoebe run down one of the sidewalks (the episode of Friends when Phoebe goes running in Central Park with Rachel and does the silliest run ever) and hugged trees, before passing the zoo and deciding to head on a horse-drawn buggy ride. We met a true New Yorker and his horse, Billy The Kid, who took us through the park, telling us all about the sights, the Trump ice rink, the zoo, how many British folk he met last summer who had come over just for shopping ("I felt sorry for the husbands and boyfriends, they had to carry all the bags!"), and about Billy The Kid as we snuggled under a red fleecy blanket in a white wooden buggy adorned with red artificial roses.

I felt so sad to leave as we travelled back to the airport, in our transfer taxi. We barely touched New York, and I doubt, even if you live there, you ever could, as it's forever changing. But I'd do it again. And again. And again. New York, I love you, and goodnight!

Wednesday Words is my new attempt at writing a little bit every Wednesday, (apart from today, which is Sunday, but, you know, Jubilee) documenting untold stories from my life and some of my own personal embarrassing moments.

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