New York pt 2

The next couple of days in New York were a bit more sedate by our standards, as each day (knowing we would be out late) we had a bit of a power nap in the afternoon. Also, my new socks managed to give me the mother of all blisters on my foot, so after a while a good sit down was needed. Seriously, that little nobble you get near the toes had twisted onto the ball of my foot and the resulting "injury" reached the size of a £2 coin by the end of the week. So we didn't do all the walking exploring we hoped but even so we did a lot.

I used this really neat jetlag app to adjust to the time zone and, like on our first day we continued to get up like we did at home for work, so were ready to attack the city by 9am. The heatwave we arrived into continued so we decided to start the next day with a bit of a walk in central park. Starting by the Dakota Building - famous for being the home of John Lennon and appearing in many films - we wandered from the west to east sides of the park. Sadly the Dakota was covered in scaffolding (this was going to become a theme) but the park was enjoying the heat and just starting to come to life.  We walked along Terrace Drive, and this route took us through Strawberry Fields (the Lennon memorial), past Bethesda Terrace and then a quick detour up to the boating lake took us up to the Hans Christian Anderson and Alice in Wonderland Statues. You could easily spend hours in Central Park, but this route worked for us to see the the things we wanted to see the most. However, there was no sign of the Avengers at Bethesda Terrace so I was a bit disappointed.

Once on the Upper East side, another film pilgrimage was required and we headed over to Holly Golightly's apartment on East 71st Street. A lot of photos later (my husband cannot take photos of people) we the headed up to the Guggenheim. About half way we cracked and hailed a cab, which resulted in us having to look up the exact location of the museum on google for the cabbie. It's on 5th and 89th if you were wondering.

After the extrem gloriousness in my eyes of MoMA, I personally found the exhibits in the Guggenheim were a little bit disapointing. There were some lovely Kandinsky's and a particularly nice Picasso, but some of the stuff I had seen before while it was in other galleries. Maybe I was just museumed out or it's just not my taste, the building itself is gorgeous and well worth a visit. The original plan was to then go to the Met, but we decided instead to head down to the NYC Library for a bit of Ghostbusters fangirling. The Library has been a location in an awful lot of movies and tv shows, but with the new movie coming out this year it was all about Ghostbusters. As we wandered around inside Mr O was very vocal in his desire to find Slimer, or the crazy librarian lady - despite his loud requests she didn't show up.

Then it was back to the barn for a bit of a nap as we had a big night planned. After we booked the trip, we discovered that out visit coincided with the annual food festival put on by the Village Voice. It was the perfect chance for us to try some of NYC's top food options without trailing all the way around the city to try them all individually. We tried places like Doughnut Plant, Raclette, Luke's Lobster and loads more. They also had a lot of local breweries, which really interested us as unlimited samples! We got VIP tickets, so we had full access to all the food - collected so many business cards for restaurants to try and had a fab time. The VIP tickets got us in at 6pm, which was great as no one was out of anything, but did mean we were very gorged and very jolly by about 9, which is way too early to head in on a Saturday night in New York City, So we headed back uptown to drop of our goodie bags from the event (so much free food to take home!) and then headed back out.

All the guidebooks tell you that the queues for the Empire State are long, and you'll be in them for ages. What they don't say is the website gives a rough "time to the top". Looking at in on the way downtown, it said 30 minutes, which we could handle so we decided to see the city at night. 30 minutes turned out to be a bit of a joke, there was actually no queue at all. Seems they tell you 30 minutes because they set up such a long walk to keep you busy and not bored while queuing you end up spending about 15 minutes walking that part of the exhibition. In the end we walked in, and travelled up not having to stop for more than about 2 minutes, and that was waiting for the lift to arrive. The view at night is fantastic. We saw the view in the day from One World, so it was nice to see the contrast, even if it was a colder and windier view. I also love the fact that the gift stop sold cuddly monkeys in reference to its staring role in King Kong.

Saturday was all about Brooklyn and the movies.  After a quick walk in Chinatown en-route, the first stop was the home of my favourite lawyers - Nelson and Murdock. A big part of going to see places on our trip was about seeing the locations from our favourite shows, and on the Saturday we basically ticking as many off the list as we could. Some were a bit disappointing (mainly the ones covered in scaffolding) but Nelson and Murdock wasn't one. With the new series of Daredevil around the corner we were excited to start with and then we got there. Very little set dressing was done on this place, all they did was put up a little plaque (which someone replaced the week after we went) and we were very happy to see the "scar" where it was. Seems while it was up the sun bleached the rest of the paintwork and you could see the darker patch where the sign was. In retrospect it was almost the universe giving us spoilers for the new season.

By then it was nearly lunch, so we headed down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The plan was to have a mooch, grab a pizza at Grimaldi's and then walk the bridge. We had the mooch, but nothing else from that plan happened.

When we rocked up at Grimaldi's it was closed, waiting opening at 12, but there was already a queue. That was to be expected but I noticed two things - it wasn't the longest queue on the block and it was full of young couples that I suspected was mostly tourists. Two doors down was a nicer looking building called Juliana's, with a queue filled a mix of families and couples. They had all sorts of newspaper cuttings in the window so we took a leap and joined their cue instead. Best decision we made, the pizza was amazing, they had good local beer and we totally loved it. By far the best pizza we've had outside of Italy.

They had locally made ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on the menu, but as much as we loved the place it was a glorious day so we headed down to their shop on Bridge Park to sit outside and have our dessert. As much as it was a great day, we decided not to talk the bridge as my foot was not in the best shape and we were definately coming back to Juliana's on our next visit so it could wait. Instead we just hung out at the park for a bit and looked over at Lower Manhattan. It's some view.

After that, it was a mooch in the East Village and Tompkins Square Park with a stop for a drink in the famous Vasac's Horseshoe bar (Luke's Bar in Jessica Jones, also in the Godfather II amongst other movies), before going back to nap and change for dinner. Suitably suited and booted we headed to the final location of the day. Grand Central. Of course we had to go to the whispering galleries underneath - a crossways in the coridors where if you speak into the corner, your voice travels across the curved ceiling to the other corners. Its great fun to play with these as a couple, even more so when, like we had, there is another couple and you end up hearing each other.

The main reason for heading to Grand Central before heading to dinner was for pre-dinner drinks. I'm a retro junkie obviously, and I love the whole Gatsby/Prohibition era. I had heard that getting into the hidden speakeasies of NYC can be a nightmare and having seen the 3 hour queues for Black Tap Milkshakes I wasn't really in the mood for that kind of thing. Plus, the Campbell Apartment is a bit more authentic. Orignally a tycoon's office in the 1920's its restored wonderfully and now lists as one of the best bars in the US. It also has a cocktail called the Prohibition Punch AND featured as a location on TV, but then I'm sure you recognise that window from Gossip Girl.

It seemed like Saturday evening was a good time to visit Grand Central, as although it was pretty busy it was nothing like I can imagine it could be. It suited us because it worked well to go get a bit tipsy on "punch" before heading for late dinner in the West Village. On our way back to rest and relax before taking on the High Line and a trip into New Jersey the next day, we ran into a silent disco which was insane to be part of.  As we stepped into the subway car on our way back to the hotel after dinner, we were confronted by a horde of people wearing lit up headphones. A girl passed me hers so we could hear the music and join in. There was also an impromtu Adele sing-a-long. The partiers started to sing along with their music, and of course everyone knows the words to "Someone Like You". I did manage to take a little video, sadly not one of the sing along. I just had to record it as itt was so surreal and awesome and I need to go on one of these things.


Seriously if anyone knows where I can do one of these I'm in!

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