Good Morning New York
Originally I thought it was the jet lag that woke me up at 5am this morning. About ten minutes later as I was just drifting off again I realised the actual cause. The J line of the subway system goes above the road that my hostel is on and I had a room overlooking the train line itself. That placed me about 10 feet away from a train that runs up to every ten minutes, 24/7, with a single pane of glass to shield me from the noise. I was really starting to like Brooklyn.
I spent the next hour or so taking tiny power naps between the trains before eventually giving up and getting showered. It was time to head out and do some sightseeing. If I’d been culture shocked by the city’s vastness the night before then it was nothing compared to climbing out of the subway at Rockefeller Centre Station. You see the skyscrapers from a distance and they’re impressive, but it’s when you get underneath them and have to arch your neck to see the tops where you get a real feeling of how impressive these buildings are. Pictures can’t even do them justice.
Having readjusted my neck to the correct degree I set off for Time Square. I was fairly underwhelmed to be honest, it just seemed like a huge tourist trap with not a lot to see. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed the area I just thought there were far more important things to see.
I wanted to make my way to Central Park via Fifth Avenue which is the shopping hub of New York. I’d promised my lite sister I would head to Abercrombie & Fitch and get her some discount stuff. Unfortunately, when I got there the queue was well over an hour long and I just didn’t have time to waste standing around some alley. Abercrombie will have to wait till California. Eventually I reached Central Park:
What amazed me most about the Park is the complete contrast to you get from walking down fifth avenue, arching your neck to check out the skyscrapers and avoiding the tourists with their ridiculous number of shopping bags, to walking through a park that wouldn’t look out of place in the English countryside. Obviously there are still a lot more people but no ones in a hurry, unless they’re out jogging the 11km circuit. Most people are just chilling out on the benches, feeding the squirrels or even rowing on the lake. A few days on I can still say that it’s my favourite place in the US so far. I just wish I had done the run as it’s on my bucket list. At least it gives me a good reason to return when my ankle has healed.
Top Of The Rock
Now I came to one of the key dilemmas facing any tourist in New York : Empire State Building or Rockefeller Centre? It’s a serious ‘first world problem’ I know but still one that has to be addressed. Now I had it on good information that the view is actually better from Rockefeller Centre and it is also considerably cheaper so I went for that option. I got my ticket for the earliest tour available which gave me an hour to kill. I took the opportunity to grab my first authentic New York Deli Sandwich, a choice I’d highly recommend. There are a huge selection of places to get these in the basement of Rockefeller Centre. Unfortunately I made the error of also getting a ‘large’ coffee from Starbucks. The cup I was served reminded me of the sharer cups they give out at the movies in England that are designed for four people. If anyone has ever finished one of these behemoth beverages I’m pretty sure they’d have needed a restroom break in between starting and finished. Personally, I needed two.
Eventually it was my allocated time to start queuing for the ascent. The wait was long but relatively painless. There were a large amount of shows providing information about the Rockefeller Centre and its roots. Unfortunately they also had a lengthy story about their nation’s unhealthy obsession with the Christmas Tree. I’m certain that no one can be that excited about lighting up a tree once a year but maybe I’m just not being festive enough. Up the elevator we went and walked out to one of the most spectacular metropolis tickets views available on the earth today:
Like I said, pretty spectacular. I had also decided that I wanted to see the view at night as well so I bought the Sun & Stars ticket allowing me to make the trip up later that night, a choice I’d highly recommend to anyone considering it:
Going up at night gave me a great opportunity to mess around with my camera. Here’s me making some J’s using the ESB :
Last but not least, a wise piece of advice from me to you: whatever you do in life, never, ever be this guy:
Tomorrow the Arsenal are playing and I’ll have the opportunity to visit The Blind Pig!