Episode #32: “The one where we went to New York”

We landed at the busy JFK airport and worked our way to the SkyTrain. Coming from Canada, we managed to skip the usual immigration process. Once we got off the train, we followed the signs and streams of people down to the subway and bought a week unlimited metro pass each. We managed to catch the two trains we needed and got off at the right station for our apartment, located on the Upper West right beside Central Park. The building was just like the one in ‘Friends’ with the fire escape ladder down the outside. We were on the fourth floor, and climbing up the stairs felt a bit like the ‘Big Bang Theory’ each flight feeling the same as the flight before.

The next morning we walked across the street and entered Central Park for the first time. There were lots of people jogging, cycling, exercising and also relaxing. We were pretty impressed with the birdlife in the park – hard to tell you’re in one of the worlds busiest cities. We spent a couple of hours exploring the northern part of the park…

Next, we got on the subway and headed to Dumbo area where we enjoyed lunch and took in some of the city views. Then we walked back over the Brooklyn Bridge (along with everyone else!)

Back in the city centre we wandered towards the World Trade Centre. The memorials outside for each tower were very poignant.

It was here, that we were approached by two ladies who offered us tickets to join a choir who were opening a new exhibit in the 9/11 Museum. Apparently, no singing experience was needed. The event was taking place in about an hour, so we thought… “why not!” We found a Starbucks nearby (not a hard thing to do in NYC – when they’re on every block) and had an afternoon treat while we waited for our big debut. It turned out that May 30th was the anniversary for the end of the 9/11 rescue and recovery, and this year the museum was opening ‘The Glade’ an outdoor memorial for all those who assisted in the clean-up and those who now suffer illness (some fatal) from the toxins they were exposed to during their efforts. We sang, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” with Rufus Wainwright and the help of the team from ‘Choir! Choir! Choir!’ It was filmed and will be televised later this year (I’ll post a link when it’s released). The tickets gave us an entrance into the museum (which had been closed to the public for the event). So, not only did we get to be a part of an incredible experience, we also had the museum virtually to ourselves…

The next morning we ventured back into the city centre. I had to replace my shoes, which finally, after walking over lava, through jungles, and trudging through snow and ice, had given up with mighty big holes in the toes. My trusty Merrells were traded in for a pair of comfy Skechers. They were quickly put to work on the city sidewalks. We made our way to Times Square, which was uncomfortably packed with thousands of others. We quickly, escaped and found a ‘less busy’ street where we spotted the Rockefeller and then the Trump Tower.

After a quick lunch, we decided to take the Roosevelt Island gondola (included in our metro pass) across to the island. Here we had a pleasant stroll along the waterfront – there weren’t many people around. Then we decided to end the day in Central Park. We walked from the start of it back to our apartment on 100 St. (About 4km on top of our all our inner city exploring)…

The following day started out slow. We enjoyed a sleep in and then treated ourselves to Bagels for breakfast. We took them to Central Park and spent the rest of the morning reading on a park bench in the sunshine. Later, we headed into the theatre district to catch a show. We went to see ‘The Book of Mormon.’ On the way back to the subway we spotted another iconic place from a favourite TV show, How I Met Your Mother. This is the pub that they based McClaren’s off of…

The next morning we had to check out at 11am but we weren’t flying out until midnight. So, we stored our luggage in the city and had most of the day to explore. Our first stop was Wall Street. However, it was a Sunday, so nothing was trading – probably a good thing to avoid the crowds…

After lunch, we took the Staten Island ferry (a free service) to get a view of the city and closer to the Statue of Liberty. It was a lovely sunny day, so we treated ourselves to an ice cream on the other side…

Back in the city, we took the subway back up town to the Empire State Building. We didn’t go up, but appreciated from the street level. Then we noticed that 6th Street was closed for the Sunday Markets. This was a pretty neat atmosphere and the stalls were surprisingly affordable. We also stumbled upon another location from one of my favourite Christmas movies, “Miracle on 34th Street” …the Macy’s Shopping Centre. We explored all 9 floors of this massive shop and even came across their Santa Display (although it was a bit to early to meet the Jolly fellow).

We were feeling pretty exhausted, so decided to grab a quick dinner, collect our luggage and make our way to the airport. At our last subway stop before reaching the SkyTrain, a couple of entrepreneurs were waiting to collect our metro cards (which still had a couple of days left on them). We then entered JFK airport, five hours early, to find out our flight had been delayed another 40 minutes. There were massive slow moving check in and security queues… and even on the other side there seemed to be more people then available space. DSC_2000_20190603_014702We managed to find a couple of seats near our gate. We sat there for about 3 hours and then decided we’d grab a small snack to satisfy ourselves before boarding. Many flights were being delayed around us, then ours was too …another 2 hours! By this point there were so many people at the gates that passengers were sitting on the floor in the shops! Around 2am, we finally boarded our flight and made the 8-hour trip to Madrid. We flew with Norwegian Air onboard a Dreamliner plane (just like the ones we fly back to NZ on from Perth). Things were looking up when we got to turn left instead of right and our seats were where you’d find premium economy on the Air New Zealand planes. We were also surprised to find out our (rather cheap) tickets included meals, but we just used the extra leg space as an opportunity to try and stretch out and get some much needed shut-eye.

Have fun at work!
Gemma

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