Friday, 19 December 2008

New York, New York

Those familiar with even the most basic geography will know that Canada and the USA are both rather large places. Combining a trip involving Calgary and New York makes about as much sense as one involving a trip to Moscow,just because you happen to be in London. All the same that was Amy's logic when organising the trip to Canada which was followed by a few days in New York over Thanksgiving weekend.

As accommodation in NYC is ridiculously expensive (hmm perhaps true of London too but we never pay for hotels here) we were pleasantly surprised by our mystery hotel for it's location, price and general niceness. Work trips aside it may just be the best place we've ever stayed in our travels (mind you, we normally err on the side of backpacking). The location just off Wall Street was not only a great base to explore the city but also kept Amy's inner finance geek very happy.

Our first full day in NYC itself was Thanksgiving. It would have been a shame to be in the city and not see the parade so after a fortifying breakfast of bagels and cream cheese we braved the cold for a few hours to see the giant balloons. Amy had a small advantage in having spent the previous week with small kids so knew the cartoon characters and was able to explain to Paul who they all were.

We then embarked on a lengthy walking tour up 5th Avenue (which luckily for Paul was mostly closed due to the holiday), through Central Park and then over to the upper west side. It certainly felt like being on a giant movie set, especially as it was not super chaotic, presumably as everyone was inside eating too much. As it was Thanksgiving we made some time to have pumpkin pie and pecan pie during the day while dinner was less traditional Malaysian food in Chinatown.

We were very fortunate for the most part we were able to explore the city in the sun, even if it was a bit chilly. It seems that over the few days we were there that we covered all the ground south and west of Central Park although there's no way that could be possibly be true.

On the one day it was totally grim we were not troubled in the slightest as it was perfect weather to spend the day inside the American Museum of Natural History. Amy usually has an attention span at museums of about an hour but this was a definite exception as we left because it was closing six hours, having passed through billions of years of history, later.

Not all our days were spent walking. One day we used our finely polished English queuing skills to get to the top of the Empire State Building to enjoy the views. Another day we visited the UN and toured into the main chamber. We were model tour participants however I don't think our (American) guide was too impressed with other people trying to work our why the US hadn't ratified many of the treaties...

In the evenings we made to the most of the great US service, nothing being too much trouble, bread and water being brought to the table without even asking and the giant American servings. In the evening we visited a comedy club (the Comedy Cellar). We had been worried that we weren't going to get the jokes (as had been the same with our first show in the UK), but it was a very polished performance and one of the best comedy shows we'd seen in a long time.

It was a lovely trip, but over too soon. We'll just have to look forward to the next visit to NYC!

Our view of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade

New York Public Library and two of many many yellow cabs.

A resourceful hawker selling fake Louis Vuitton outside the NY flagship store...

View from Central Park to the City

Paul in Times Square

The New York stock Exchange

Statue of Liberty mimes

The real thing the current climate and given their collapse the Lehman Brothers Emergency Centre just seemed like a very funny sign...

Chinatown and the Empire State Building

Amy and Paul up the Empire State Building

... and yet it keeps going up!

Looking towards downtown and the Statue of Liberty from the ESB

Paul and the dinosaurs

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