We arrived in New York around 6:45pm last night and got a cab from LaGuardia Airport to our brownstone on Lexington Avenue. The cabby was a really cool black guy complete with a leather flat cap and chomping on his tooth pick but he knew how to get around NYC. He was pretty smooth and the traffic was fairly heavy. We remain unimpressed with airport security but all other ground services at the airport are amazing.
Our brownstone is pretty basic but it does have a small kitchenette, is clean and the bed comfortable. We slept pretty well last night and despite Lexington being one of the main thoroughfares from the Bronx to Downtown it is pretty quiet. You do hear the rumble of the subway but it is not too loud, similar to distant thunder.
Dinner last night was at a local Mexican restaurant. The food was pretty basic, but it was very tasty and very reasonably priced. Baseball play offs are on at the moment so it was nice to feel the atmosphere as the locals watched their ball game even though there were no New York teams playing.
After some cereal for breakfast we headed
off for our first ride on the subway in to Times Square. The subway is so easy to ride on. We have an unlimited travel ticket which was $24 each for unlimited rides for seven days, literally swipe and go.
Times Square is so busy, lots of husslers and street vendors, a polite no thanks and they leave you alone. We went to the visitor information centre in Times Square and met Wilbur. Wilbur is the cool black guy who works at the centre on crowd control. He took a few photos of Vicki and I under the Waterford crystal ball that drops in Times Square as well as the confetti (which is wish messages that people write at the visitor centre during the year) that will drop at midnight on 31 December this year. While we were at the visitor information centre we purchased tickets to Evita tomorrow night. We got a pretty good deal on reasonable tickets so it will be great to experience a show on Broadway.
From Times Square we headed to B&H Photo Video (via Starbucks), a huge store full of electronics, cameras, telescopes etc. I thought I'd died and gone to somewhere
better than heavan. Floors full of techno geeky stuff, I could have spent days there but thought better if it LOL. I have had problems with my main camera lens so after talking to Mendy, one of the sales guys there, I walked out the owner of a new Sigma telephoto zoom lens.
From B&H we had lunch at a sidewalk bistro on 34th Street down from The Empire State Building. The Turkey Club Sandwich was pretty tasty and certainly hit the spot. As we were so close to The Empire State building we decided to go for a look.
Fifty dollars later and another pass through airport type security screening you get herded like lost sheep to a lift to the 80th floor for a look at how the building was constructed. From the 80th floor you take the short ride to the 86th floor viewing platform. This is an outside platform, the 102nd floor is sealed by glass and not ideal for photos, and it really is an amazing site from the open air of the 86th floor. The view is incredible and you can hear the noise of the hustle and bustle below. The viewing
area was pretty busy but with a little patience I got some pretty good photos from above the New York skyline. On the return lift down you get stopped off at the 80th floor for a visit to the souvenir shop. Full of overpriced plastic souvenirs, we just walked through, and onward for some more sheep herding for the lift to the ground floor.
Another visit to Starbucks and it is back on the subway for the ride back to our guest house. The subways are pretty busy but we have found the New Yorkers to be like all Americans we have met on the trip, a pretty friendly lot who are more than helpful if you ask for directions or even a chat and a laugh while on the train.
Dinner tonight will be at another of the local eateries while tomorrow we have tickets to The World Trade Centre site. I am sure it will be a sombering experience but we feel we should take the time to pay our respects.
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