Posted by: lindsaygoes | September 1, 2012

Rushing around New York

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Travel is an opportunity to encounter challenges, and delays. Flying to New York the flight was delayed because a crew member was late (a poor excuse if I ever heard one), and then we had to wait for a new take off slot. Eventually we got into the air, and it all went smoothly…apart from the bumpy landing and the malfunction of the bridge for us to get off the plane. So after a delay while they tried to fix it, they eventually moved us and the plane to another gate where we finally got off, and then got to experience the joys of US customs. So after all that there was no sightseeing that day, just a taste of American cuisine with ribs, barbecue chicken and pulled pork. And hush puppies. I still don’t know what they are and I’ve eaten half of one.

The following day we visited the 9/11 memorial, a very poignant sight. The pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers are enormous, and unlike anything I’ve seen before, vanishing into the ground below you. Then we did a tour of City Hall, much of it was closed for renovation, but we did get to listen to a lot of specific details of US history (listen to, not learn!). After all that heavy listening we went on the Staten Island ferry so we could have a bit of a site down and rest (once we battled our way on to the ferry) as well as get a lovely view of the city and the Statue of Liberty. Next we caught the subway (mandatory in New York) up to Times Square, which really is quite chaotic and very neon (even the police station there has neon lights), but definitely worth doing. So that was the end of the first proper day in New York, and if you are writing your own itinerary, all of those things (apart from the subway) are free, which is an added bonus!

The next day it was an early start to catch a ferry to Liberty Island for a closer view of the Statue of Liberty (unfortunately closed for renovations, so an outside view only). It is quite an amazing structure and the audio guide was pretty good, talking about the symbolism written into the structure and how it was built. Then a short hop over to Ellis Island where we learned all about the immigration history, actually a very amazing place. Back over to Manhattan, we realised from the queue for the ferries that it was lucky we went so early in the morning (we caught the first ferry), and then we went to see Bodies…the exhibition where we saw examples of plasticised anatomy. My favourite bits were the vascular sections, it was incredible seeing the delicate blood vessels, and luckily it didn’t gross my mum and dad out too much. As we were close to Seaport Pier we had a bit of a look around at some little market stalls and the old sail boats. We crossed over the city back to Times Square and went to Spy: The Exhibit, which had lots of spy gadgets (including some pigeons with cameras attached to them) and then went to the top of the Empire State Building. We had a nice clear day and it really gives you an idea of how huge New York is, and how many skyscrapers there are on Manhattan – I’m surprised the island doesn’t sink under the weight of all that metal and concrete. In the evening we went and saw Traces, a show which had seven people performing amazing acrobatic feats. Some of the things they did were just incredible, with the heights they were jumping and flipping at, and the strength they were showing.

We had to get up even earlier the following morning to get to our next adventure, a trip to Niagara Falls. We had a few stops along the way, firstly the Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s largest glass museum. We got to see a glass blowing demonstration (really interesting) and have a wander around the museum which had some spectacular glass objects, including a tiny pharoah head which is the oldest glass object ever found. Our next stop was the Watkins Glen State Park where we had a lovely walk along the Gorge Path, with some spectacular scenery. Lots of waterfalls and tall, ragged canyons rising above us (we were also grateful for the shade they provided as it was about 35*C outside). We felt that we deserved some ice-creams once we were done. Our final stop for the day was at Niagara Falls where we had a quick look at the rainbow of colours illuminating them, all topped by a gorgeous full moon.

I’ll tell you more about the falls next time.

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