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(Our First Trip to New York City Together, There have been Several)
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to New York City!”
Sweet words that no one will ever get tired of hearing. Even though Moosh and FT had been to New York City before, the excitement was exponential as this time around would be very different. Four Friends different. Heading towards Manhattan we took in the skyscrapers, city lights, yellow cabs, the people – what a sensory overload! The city has an immense buzz, an infectious buzz….and we had not even gotten out of the cab yet!
So there we were, four little ants, immersed in the Big Apple and bursting at the seams with excitement! Most people aspire to have the Manhattan experience, as New York City is one of those places that dreams are made of. We had not considered any areas other than Times Square for our Hotel. At the time, we wanted to be ‘right in the thick of it’. Unfortunately, our hotel was average, but it was affordable for us at the time, so we took it in our stride and were determined to make the most of the situation. After all…..helloooooo…..we were in one of the most loved cities in the world. Picture Times Square, famous for basically everything.
We walked around admiring the giant screens, the bright lights, the never-ending crowds – Times Square exemplifies the excitement of the City that never sleeps. Fair to say we were living the dream in NYC and couldn’t believe we were all there, together. Options for dinner were plentiful but we thought, “…when in Rome!” and on that decided TGIF was a good idea….or so we thought. Little did we know it was an appalling idea. Almost half of the menu items were no longer available, the poor waiter was so embarrassed having to continually check with the kitchen what was. Taken aback, Moosh ordered a soup that was (oh dear) equivalent to something from a tin can. How do businesses stay afloat with the mentality that canned soup is OK? With that dismal meal behind us, we made our way back to the hotel. Time for rest and to prepare ourselves for a full day of sightseeing.
We woke up to a beautiful morning – first stop, Timmy Horton’s for some much-needed coffee and breakfast that satisfied the mind, body and wallet. Our feet hit the pavement and away we went, the Four Friends making their way through the streets of New York City. It proved quite the challenge for FT to look up at the surrounding skyscrapers whilst watching where he was walking, failing on numerous occasions. “Stupid tourists,” we would mockingly say to each other. Given it was Easter break, the city was somewhat quiet south of Midtown.
We weren’t really heading anywhere in particular, just cruizin’ and admiring the streets of New York. In the Lower East Side, we made an effort to stop in at Katz’s Deli for “The World’s best Pastrami Sandwich”. The sandwiches were big, but the line was bigger! We needed to eat there, it’s an institution. We surveyed the menu whilst keeping an eagle eye for nearly empty plates and ultimately a table, ready to pounce for the next available. As we all sat down and began to eat the next words spoken were, “Oh my God!” and “Oh my God!” and… (you get the idea!) Katz’s had definitely delivered with the Best! We savoured every single mouthful, again and again. Comically, the staff t-shirts read, “Send a salami to your boy in the Army”.
Venturing onwards there was a zany store, aptly named Obscura Antiques and Oddities, that the Vades had seen on TV and were keen to check out. Before even entering, it was evident that the store would live up to its name. Quirky and fun for a look see. It was obscure, no doubt, and if ever there was a place that Chucky would come to life that would be it!! The best way to see New York City is to walk, walk and then walk some more. Slowly we made our way past some landmark buildings and structures;
- Flatiron building, a quintessential symbol of an extraordinary city
- Grand Central Terminal, one of the most iconic buildings in New York City and one of the busiest train stations in the USA
- Chrysler building, the tallest brick building in the World and one of the most architecturally stunning buildings for its time. Ahhhh, when the sun catches the Art Deco top it is a sight to behold.
- Brooklyn Bridge, speaks for itself….a testament to the engineering of the 1880’s.
Foot spa anyone?? By the time we made it back to the hotel, we had walked 16.5kms through the concrete jungle. Time to let the hair down, grab a ‘cold one’ and watch some sports! That night – local bar, NBA and NHL playoffs. Unfortunately, the Knicks lost by 1 point and the Canucks lost also. For a moment or three it was a sad night for us all, but then again the Wings were hot and the Beer was cold….so really, we were still winning! As a new day presented itself, we start crossing off; (take a deep breath now…..)
Rockefeller Centre, Fifth Avenue, FAO Schwarz, Central Park (row boats are so much fun….who knew), M&M world, Guggenheim Museum, Broadway, Wall Street (Vades had some photo fun with the Bull statue), Ground Zero, Battery Park, Ghostbusters Fire House, Cosby Steps, Friends Apartment block and some New York City Hotdogs. Time then to visit the NBA store (3 years waiting) but we were devastated….” closed due to relocation,” the sign read! If you’ve ever been you’ll understand the total coolness of the life-size LEGO players and bobbleheads!
Carnegie Deli, famous for Cheesecake and The ‘Melo’ sandwich, delightfully flavoursome oversized food! Have fun with the pickle….if you go, you’ll know what I mean.
Brick Lane Curry House, famous for the Phaal, hottest Curry in America. Thanks to Man vs. Food, this was a must for Vades. He is after all just crazy enough to eat something that would put mere mortals in hospital. Verbal Waiver….fair enough….holy crap what was he in for? Refer Food Reviews for the Brick Lane delights. Brick Lane Curry House – Phaal waiver, “An excruciatingly hot curry, more pain and sweat than flavour! For our customers who do this on a dare, we will require you to state a verbal disclaimer not holding us liable for any physical or emotional damage…….” When this curry is made the chef uses an industrial gas mask as the aromas while cooking this are stupidly potent. As Vade stopped halfway through for a breather, he continued to battle the Phaal Curry and he conquered it. Although to this day he states that he is not the same man he was before that night. We are not sure if that is a good thing or bad, but it certainly means the experience was memorable.
We realised there was still so much more to see. There was not enough time and we faced up to the simple realisation….we need to go back. For the final leg we were heading our separate ways and as we got ready to say, “See ya later,” to one another, we knew this was not the end. It was simply the beginning of Four Friends One World adventures. Well, New York City, we made a dent in you but we were left wanting more. So more we will have….next time. For now, the memories will last a lifetime and until we meet again…..
TIPS for New York City
Statue of Liberty can be seen when you take the Staten Island Ferry – stand on the Northern side to get the best view
Check out the New York City High Line Park
Purchase a sunrise/Sunset ticket for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and Rockefeller Centre tour at the same desk
Travelling North means you are heading “Uptown” and traveling south means you are heading “Downtown”
Is your phone flat from uploading pics to Instagram? Head to Union Square and go to Best Buy and pop your phone in a demo iPhone dock
Most Bars will have happy hour between 6-7pm
Give the first Shake Shack a try – located Madison Square Park
New York City is a very walkable city
Taxi Cabs: 15% of the fare.
Coat Check: At least one dollar per bag.
Bellhop: at least one dollar per bag.
Waiters, Waitresses and Bartenders: 15%- 20% of the bill, based on the service