Touristy Stuff, New York

Saturday, February 28, 2015

New York, New York! We came, we conquered, we froze half to death. February in New York hit us like a gigantic refrigerated truck full of frozen peas. Only a warm hug and an excited squeal from our old friend Crystal could save us...and thank goodness she delivered!

It's been 18 long months since we lived in Madrid together, and too much has changed in the mean time to mention, but it was as if no time at all had passed as we kicked off our snowboots in her flat in Queens and immediately began discussing all the food we planned to eat.

But first...the Big Apple was calling.

Big thanks to the time difference for getting us up, showered and holed up in a New York deli stuffing our face with bagels before 9:30am. Miracles do happen! And apparently they take place in a deli in Queens. We were up so early to catch the 11am walking tour from Bowling Green which took us from the Native American museum, through Battery Park and Stone Street, including a stop on Wall Street so we could take an inexplicable photo next to a bull's testicles.

Our guide was great, despite telling us on numerous occasions that he was concerned his face might freeze and fall off his face. Reassuring to us newbies. The recommended "tip" is $15 each, which we left happily despite having to cut the tour short to catch our pre-booked ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. If we'd stayed on we would have seen the 9/11 memorial, but we made sure to return to that later on in our trip and spend the time it deserves.

We booked in advance to avoid queuing for tickets out in the elements, and as the cold wind stripped the colour out of my face I was thankful, not for the first time, for the invention of the world wide web and all its tiny miracles. 

I'm not saying we did all the touristy stuff you can do in New York. Far from it. But if I could recommend one thing from all that we covered, it would be the Ellis Island trip. The view from the ferry alone is worth the $18.

We were dropped off first at the Statue, where you can have a little wander round while learning great facts, such as that the statue's finger nail is as long as your forearm. YOUR FOREARM. It actually seems much smaller up close, but we didn't manage to get to the top to verify this info for the purpose of this blog post.

Hopping back on the ferry, we came next to Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants from all corners of the globe were met, processed and sent on their way to realise the good ol' American Dream. The room itself is gorgeous, all intricate white tiling, huge windows and antique furniture refurbished to appear as it did in the early 20th century. 

The best thing about our time on the Island was the incredible tour we had from one of the park rangers who, in a whistle stop half an hour, brought the history of the island to life in a touching, tangible and most of all absolutely hilarious manner. They don't make a huge song and dance about these tours, and there are plenty of exhibitions you can just take yourself around, but I would strongly recommend you head to the desk and find out when the next tour is taking place...they're free!

Another must-do is getting that perfect shot of the New York skyline right?! We got ours at sunset from the Brooklyn bridge as we ambled over for a much earned pizza break.

The bridge was the perfect place to take in the fading sunshine and the beautiful pinky sunset as the building lights slowly started to warm up and yep...we got the shot. 

Worth the windy wait on the bridge any day.

Many more New York blog posts coming up, don't worry,  Crystal!

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