I absolutely meant to post this on Tuesday, but my To-Do list completely took my attention away from proof-reading this post. Suddenly it was Thursday and I just though “Where did that time go?!?”. But still, better late than never, right?
We decided at this point to revive our long-standing holiday tradition to go to the cinema. I used to get really homesick when I was away – I disliked the disruption to my routine and not having my own space. Going to the cinema helps me to step away from that anxiety. Once you’re in the theatre, you could be in any country in the world and you get absorbed into a fantasy world for two hours or so.
So on Friday, we grabbed a bagel each from a street cart and ate them walking to the cinema. It is entirely possible this was THE BEST cinema we had ever seen. The number of seats were about half those that you would expect, meaning that there was tons of leg room – no more standing up when someone wants to go to the toilet. The seats were in pairs so that there was a double armrest every two seats. The smaller, middle armrest lifted up, so it was more like sitting on a sofa; and all the seats independently reclined, using a button in the armrest. It was a blissful two hours and I could have lived in that cinema happily for the rest of my life.
We continued walking down town until we got to the south entrance of Central Park. We went into Whole Foods to get some lunch, somewhere we’d eaten a few times n the week. They have a huge variety of foods you can take away, plus a cafe-like seating area you can eat it in. I had butternut squash soup, and D had Chicken Curry. Mine was warm and creamy, perfect for a chilly winter day. We wandered through the park – D wanted to see if he could spot any monkeys at the zoo.
A few people had said that a visit to Museum of Modern Art while in New York is a must. However, D and I are not really ‘art gallery’ people. I like architecture and D like literature, but we’ve bypassed the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and the Tate in London – it just doesn’t appeal.
But MoMA runs free evenings on Fridays, and we wanted to see what all the fuss is about. MoMA is split over four gallery floors, each having a different speciality. We saw Van Gogh’s Starry Night (but only just – there were so many people photographing it you would think it hadn’t been reproduced thousands of times on the internet) and a couple other things that caught our interest.
I quite liked the garden. There were a few different sculptures, and a water feature that took you away from the city on the other side of the wall. Just until another car honked and brought you right back. We ended up spending just over an hour in the museum, but I can imagine some people could spend all day in there.
On the Saturday, we went to the end of the line on the Subway and crossed into Brooklyn on the bridge. We talked about engineering and physics as we walked across, marvelling at the structure still being able to take the weight that is put on it every single day, as thousands of cars and pedestrians cross it – an unthinkable number when the bridge was opened in 1883.
We wandered through Brooklyn Heights for a bit before taking the subway north into Williamsburg. We stopped for coffee and muffins as big as your head, before we continued our wandering. I can’t remember where we were or where we went. I find that in cities with Subways, you never quite know which direction you’re facing so you get all discombobulated.
We found that Brooklyn (or at least the parts we visited) were much more what we expected of America. The houses were bigger; they looked homely and comforting. The streets were wider and calmer than Manhattan. Everything seemed much more relaxed and happier.
We really loved our day in Brooklyn, and one of the reasons was The Way Station. This is a really great bar for any kind of geek, but especially those of a Doctor Who persuasion.
The walls are strewn with random bits of memorabilia and geeky trinkets, and entering the bar makes you feel like you’re coming home. We sat at the bar and I had a 10th Doctor Cocktail. Mmmm.
They also hold loads of events and even have a screening room. They had a ‘free draw’ while we were there, with a model sitting in various poses and a group of people around him, clutching their sketch pads on their laps.
But, I’ve saved the best bit about the Way Station until last. The bathroom… is inside the TARDIS!
Now, anyone that knows me will not be surprised that my favourite bit about Saturday, was dinner! We went to Champs Diner, which is an amazing all-vegan diner in Brooklyn. I had a bacon cheeseburger, D had a pulled Pork burger, and they both tasted great. It was such a friendly atmosphere in the diner, and the place was so popular it was packed.
On Sunday, it was a lovely sunny day, and our last full day in New York, so we decided to walk into Mid-town. It took us about an hour and a half, stopping at various points to take photos or peer into shops. We split up, looking to spend a couple of hours apart. I walked down to Macy’s to do some (mostly window) shopping and D went and settled down in Bryant Park with coffee, nuts and a book.
We met up and headed over to the Rockefeller Centre. We timed it so that we would go up in the daylight and watch sunset from the top, seeing the lights come on in the city around us. The Top of The Rock is not an experience in the same way that the Empire State Building is. There is no tour, no information boards; it’s just a lift up, and a lift down.
But the views are still spectacular. The advantages of The Top of The Rock are that you can see more of Central Park to the North, and also see the Empire State Building to the South. After seeing Manhattan from the sky in the morning sunshine, it was great to see it while the sun was setting. The surroundings were magical, and to top it off, there was a proposal on the balcony below us.
After making our descent, we struggled through the masses of people in Rockefeller Plaza to get to the Schubert Theatre. A journey that should take 12 minutes managed to take us half an hour because of how many people were on the streets. It was crazy.
We bought our Broadway Tickets for Matilda online on a specialised app. I don’t know if it was the cheapest way, but it definitely was the easiest. We picked up our tickets outside the theatre, and went straight in.
The musical was fantastic. The acting was all amazing, especially the children, and the songs were really catchy. The thing that impressed us most was the set design. There were all sorts of small movable bits in the floor that transformed themselves when necessary, and the way these were used in the story-telling was unbelievable. There were very few props in the conventional sense, just scenery that doubled up.
We had no real plans for Monday, so we stayed in the hotel for as long as we could before check-out. We went and bought some postcards and stamps knowing full well we would get back home before they did.
We went and sat in Central Park one final time with coffee before making our way back to the airport.
The flight home was long and turbulent, but look who was waiting to see us when we got back.
New York was an amazing experience, and a great item to check off the bucket list. It’s not somewhere that we would rush back to in a hurry, but that’s more to do with our personalities than any comment on New York as a holiday destination.
With this trip done and dusted, it was time to renew my passport and start booking our Round the World adventure!