Nom de Plumage

February 11, 2012

The Big Apple Is Too Big To Eat In Three Days


What are my chances of seeing all that Manhattan has to offer on my last remaining full day? ZERO! When I booked my three day express tour, I did it with the thought of either not liking New York, either feeling unsafe or overwhelmed by the enormity of the metropolis or finally to please my ever worried Mum about being in the city on my own. So here I am on my last day and regretting my hasty decision. The probability was an impossibility and I would have my aching feet pushed beyond the pain barrier.
The best aspect of taking a bus tour, is that the tour guides are very informative, not only on the history of the city, but the gossips and stories that characterises the city. My first tour on the double-decker red bus was on the uptown route. The bus passed the hostel that John Chapman stayed the day before he shot John Lennon. This piece of history became more surreal when we passed the Majestic Hotel where the actual shooting occurred. The bus route ran parallel to Central Park, giving me an idea of just how massive this park is. A wonderful surprise was the Cathedral of Saint John. Not realising that New York even had such a institution, but even more surprised when we were informed that only the Vatican is bigger than this incredibly beautiful religious masterpiece. The bus driver allowed those who wanted to quickly jump off and run inside for a quick view. No-one took up on the offer and so we continued passed the tomb of General Grant, then along the Hudson River with a view of New Jersey and into Harlem. This burrow is synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King and Malcom X. We pass street signs with their names represented and past mural’s that depict what this part of New York is home to. It is not to a violent and run-down neighbourhood that is so well documented to the foreigners, but a vibrant and peaceful burrow rich in history. Fifth Avenue is a beautiful leafy avenue that houses the rich and famous in impressive apartment blocks and the strange looking Guggenheim Museum. Not a big fan on modern art, I by-passed this institution, passed the Met and back to Central Park.
One bus tour down, I jumped straight onto the next one that would take me down to South Sea Port for my connecting bus to Brooklyn. The two burrows of Brooklyn and Harlem where two that my family was adamant that I should not visit, especially alone. Again, through a lot of bad press and ignorance, I therefore cheated and defied the orders given and thought it safe to visit by bus. I am so glad that I did because I would have missed out on seeing the beautiful and very trendy Brooklyn. The drive over the Brooklyn Bridge was a stunning highlight and coming into the burrow, I was so impressed with the leafy green trees lining the streets, the beautiful houses and architecture, great restaurants and shops and impressive monuments. Apparently the best pizza in New York is at Grimaldi’s, which is situated just under the bridge and unfortunately for the pizza lover that I am, I am devastated to have missed out on the opportunity to eat a greasy, mouth watering pizza. I am going to have to take the word of the tour guide as law and continuing dreaming.
South Sea Port shined on this beautiful sunny afternoon and it was here that I had some lunch. The famous hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard was not only cheap but delicious. Wall Street was not far away and I walked down the narrow and dark street to the impressive home of the financial capital and the church made famous by Nicholas Cage in one of his movies. I continued walking and along the foreshore of the river to Battery Park where I would take the ferry to the very Symbol of the city and that is the Statue of Liberty. An impressive sight of pure white stone standing so proud and elegant with the massive city behind her. Staten Island was something I missed seeing, partly due to lack of time and also my ignorance of the importance of this historical island and the part it played laying the foundations of this city. A must see for any tourist.
The site that any tourist longs to see, is that of former Twin Towers. A massive open site that is now filled with trucks, workers, scaffolding and the noise of construction and renewed hope. I came to put into perspective that surreal footage that I watched on TV and now after so many years, the progress made to rebuild the lives lost and a new beginning. The one thing that I did want to see and missed it, was the church just around the corner of the Twin Tower site. This church played a massive part on that day and it was recommended as a must see. Time was against me.
I disembarked the bus at the Rockefeller Centre and walked down to the United Nations headquarters. Unfortunately for me, I happened to pick the day that some UN gathering was in progress and the area was cordoned off and security was everywhere. A little bit intimidating, so I moved on.
My last stop of the day and a very important one, was at Time’s Square and a New York MUST! Juniors is a cheesecake shop that was recommended to me by the tour guide on the Brooklyn tour. A keen lover of cheesecake, so what better place to eat one if not at the home of cheesecake. The choices where sensational and the portion sizes huge, but I decided, what the hell! I brought a blueberry cheesecake and took it back to my room and ate every delectable morsel. It was so worth the money and the best I have ever eaten. Yummy! With the day over, I can only have regrets of all that I could not see.

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