It has been a fun couple of days in New York. Tomorrow we are looking forward to heading up to Harlem to go to church.
I was a bit worried about Richie’s first impressions when a crazy guy jumped onto our train from the airport and started threatening some other poor guy… I quote “I will end your life right here on this train! Stop staring at me, what are you gay?” Welcome to New York!
Lots of memories have been flooding back from my trip with the Aitkens in 1999 – oh there were some good times. Like… staying in Harlem and listening to the gun shots at night… watching Helene talk to strangers on the subway, particularly the drunks or homeless people… spitting off the top of the World Trade Center with Mark… massive New York sized pieces of pizza and Jochaim not being able to eat any.
This trip we are making new memories. I feel like I’ve seen much more of the city as last time we mainly travelled the subway, whereas Richie’s favourite thing to do in a new city is familiarise himself with a trusty double-decker bus tour.
We are staying 200m from Times Square and it is surprisingly quiet. We are opposite the theatre where Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are performing in “A Little Night Music”. I got up early and put my shoes on for a quick walk for coffee and bagels. I found “my guys” who will supply me with all my bagel needs for our stay in NYC.
On our CitySights tour, it helped me discover that if I ever lived in New York, I would have to live in Greenwich Village. I don’t care for $44M apartments with Western views over Central Park like the Murdoch’s recently bought from the Rockefeller family, but it’s all about community for me. It’s green, plenty of kids, cute cafes, massive fines for excessive noise – it has a Sesame Street feel.
After discovering my love for the Village, we stopped down at Ground Zero. It was hard for Richie to imagine two massive towers that used to stand there. But I could close my eyes and still remember walking through the foyer up to the escalators which took you to the ticket purchases to the top. It is a cold feeling not to be able to do that again. St Paul’s had also changed post 9/11 – No pews, lots of teary people remembering the lost, memorials and tributes pinned all the way round the church. Last time I was there, it seemed like we were the only ones in there.
My love of architecture was handed down from my grandfather to my father, to me. New York is renowned for its Art Deco collection of beautifully kept buildings. My favourites are the Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building, Empire State and the Hotel New Yorker. While everyone comes here to shop, I would rather by-pass going into the shop, and drool at the building that the shop is in. The architecture along is worth the trip to NY if you haven’t been. As a first-time experience we went to Top of The Rock – the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center. This was awesome as I had the 30 Rock theme song playing over and over and over in my head. I also kept secretly looking out for Kenneth, Tracy Jordan and Jack Donaghy. Kenneth really is the best page around NBC.
Last night we bought half-priced tickets from TKTS for West End Story 15 minutes before it started – I thought it was fitting since we were in New York. It was pretty good, although there was a tad of jet-lag sneaking in on both camps despite the huge and comfy seats we had on the flight over.
This morning we woke and had coffee and bagels again. We made our way down to the ferry to cross to see the Statue of Liberty. The que was prob. 2km long – no joke. Just as I thought, “Oh man, this better be worth it!” Richie pipes up with “This better be freaking good… who waits in line this long to see a statue?”
We jumped on another bus and did the tour of Brooklyn which took us across the Manhattan Bridge. Last time we walked from Brooklyn back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge so it was nice to see the city from another angle. There are parts of Brooklyn I could live as well, particularly the tree-lined streets filled with the brown-stone character homes. A nice 3 bedroom house with plenty of living space is worth about the same as a studio/1-bedroom apartment on Manhattan. No wonder Miranda moved to Brooklyn.
Tonight we watched the sunset and the city lights come on, on Top of the Rock. I heard a classic line while waiting in the que for the lift up to the 68th floor from some kid… “Jimmy Fallon is the worst thing that hit television in the last 20 years. “What? I like Jimmy Fallon.” “Oh Dude, I just lost a little respect for you.”
I don’t think the Exec’s of NBC would have liked that kid either.