Thursday 8th June
The Comfort Inn at Maspeth's airport shuttle also provided a service to the nearby subway station, so we decided to give the famous NY public transport system a go to get to our midtown Manhattan hotel (although the shuttle driver raised his eyebrows when he saw the luggage we had in tow). Anyway, we took the lifts to the platform, got on the # 7 train to Times Square/42nd St, and in 25 minutes were in the heart of the Big Apple! Getting out of the subway was not so easy as there were no lifts, and people freaked out a bit when we left Carolyn’s bag at the bottom of a set of stairs for me to return to and lift up, although it was within sight the whole time – but people tend to get spooked by “unattended” bags around here. Mind you, it was just as well this happened right there, because at the next entrance down, there were about 10 guys hanging about in full assault gear, and big machine guns, with “NYPD Terrorist Unit” written across their backs. We found the hotel easily enough, but check-in was 3pm and it was only 11.30, so we left our bags and went for a wander back up to Times Square.
There, we mistook this guy for Durry, a friend of ours, but it turned out to be someone else entirely
And had a feed of famous NY pizza and something called a Stromboli – Carolyn liked it but I wasn’t that impressed
By the time we had a beer at one of the squillions of Irish pubs in NY, it was time to go back to the hotel and check in. It is a funny little place, only 4 rooms per floor, but 20 stories high – we were on the 19th. The rooms have been/are being done up as it seems to be reimaging and will be known as the Lord & Moris (yes, only 1 “r”) from July 1st. They are also quite cramped and the edge of the bed has a sharp square corner which bit me on the ankle and made it bleed. I complained to the reception, and they gave me a bandaid, so when it bit me again 2 days later (the other ankle, and even more blood) I dealt to it with the small rasp on the multi-tool I always carry for repairs and maintenance purposes.
We have good view of the city from the hotel, and it is amazing just how crowded the streets are, both night and day
The subway costs us seniors $2.75 each for a return ticket, so we took the #1 train down to the Staten Island Ferry for the ½ hour free (yes, FREE) ride across to the island, past the statue of liberty. There we had lunch at a waterfront bar, which had some interesting cocktails on display, like this strawberry margarita for $25.
After the return ferry trip, we stopped off at “Ground Zero” to see the 9/11 memorial, bought the T shirt, and got a pic of some more heavily armed cops (although these ones were not in body armour).
As this had necessitated leaving the subway, we had to invest a further $5.50 to get back to the hotel – the senior fare works as: you buy a regular one way fare and they make it a return. So we had a couple more rides spare for Carolyn to get to the Guggenheim tomorrow. Which makes it all sound like we’re penny-pinching but, believe me, you take all you can get, cause there ain’t nothing else cheap in this town!
We stopped by a 7 eleven across the street from the hotel and came across an exotic dancer, who we had seen performing on our way to the subway this morning. Even the locals appeared astonished at his garb…..only in New York!
I headed for the “Intrepid” (WW2 aircraft carrier) museum, a 1 mile walk, to look at more air and space memorabilia. Carolyn headed for the Guggenheim, a two train subway ride away, armed with maps and clear written instructions on how to get there and back. The streets were not so crowded today, but it was quite warm at 28C (82F), and it was still relatively quiet, (people wise) when I reached the museum at 10.30 (not so later on). I headed back at around 1pm and stopped at another Irish pub just 3 doors down from the hotel for a lunch of bangers and mash. The hoarding outside said that it was a lunch special for $10, but when the bill came, it read $16. It turns out I was having Brunch, because it was Saturday. Lunch is only weekdays – you gotta read the fine print. But still, it was worth it as it was the best meal I have had in the USA. I got back to the hotel at 3pm, Carolyn turned up at 5.30, having gone the wrong direction on the way there, came out of the station on the way back so had to buy another ticket, hadn’t taken the address of the hotel so was directed by a policewoman to another Comfort Inn, got lost on the way back from that and couldn’t get her phone to work to call me. Finally some kind folk in a Deli looked up the hotel and set her in the right direction, but she was about walked out so we went back to the Irish pub and I had the second best meal of the trip so far – Shepards pie that actually had lamb in it (although there was beef as well!)
That’s about it for now. We’re off to the Chelsea Pier tomorrow to meet up with Dennis and Kathy and board the “Grande Caribe” for our continuation of the Great Loop, up the Hudson and canals to the Great Lakes..