…said the chap on his cell (mobile phone) walking down 5th Avenue.
And so we reach our final destination. After 6 months of travelling through a mixture of countries around the globe we reached New York.
Our journey from Costa Rica involved 3 separate flights. The first was to Nicaragua on a small turboprop plane. It went very well and we then set off for El Salvador on the same plane. At San Salvador airport we spent an hour perusing the surprisingly upmarket shops before boarding a proper Airbus to JFK Airport, where American passengers clapped and cheered the landing for no clear reason. I wonder if Americans realise that nobody else does this?
Despite the length of the journey it went extremely well so it wasn’t really a suprise when our bags failed to arrive. I could have forgiven the airline for leaving them in Nicaragua or El Salvador but they actually forgot to put them on the first plane…which only had 12 passengers.
But having only one set of dirty clothes and no toothbrush is pure backpacking so we headed off to our accomodation unconcerned…the sofa bed at Claire’s Aunt’s appartment just down the road from The Empire State Building.
Claire has been to New York a few times already, but for me this was my second visit. We came here in the lead up to Christmas 2006 and had a fantastic time despite the freezing temperature. This time we were expecting slightly different weather.
On our first morning we made a call to the airline and quickly concluded they were idiots. At this point they had absolutely no idea where our bags were. We gave up and decided to call again the next day and headed out to explore.
New York is a fantastic city. In all honesty we are bored of cities having visited so many but New York is something special… it is quite possibly the finest city we have visited on this trip (aside from Wellington maybe). We spent a good six hours wandering the streets via The Empire State Building and Times Square. Last time I came here I spent a lot of time staring up at the buildings…and I was doing it again.
The next day ended up being a partial wash out. The airline had agreed to deliver our bags to us in the morning so we waited in. By lunch time they hadn’t arrived so after various emails were exchanged they agreed to deliver in the afternoon. Again they didn’t show so we told them we had plans and had to go out.
In the evening we had been invited for dinner at the appartment of Susan’s friend Girts. He served us a delicious meal which included our first roast potatos of 2011, a momentous occasion indeed. We spent a great evening on the balcony overlooking Long Island and the UN building.
Amazingly whilst we were at Girts’ appartment we received a call from a delivery company and we ended up taking delivery of our bags at his place. Which made for one last backpacking walk with our bags on the way home, via McDonald’s for a chocolate shake.
The next day was a blur of typical New York strolling and shopping followed by an early night in anticipation of an early start the next day.
The next morning the 3 of us caught the 8am bus out to New Jersey to stay at Susan’s Lakehouse on Lake Gerrard. The Lakehouse is so far removed from the buzz of New York that it is almost hard to believe that it is only an hour away. We had a great time swimming and boating on the lake and cooked food on the bbq each night. We returned to the city after a fantastic couple of days.
(boating with Susan,who kayak’s in disguise)
On our first day back we decided to repeat something we had done in 2006. To walk from 34th Street all the way to the southern tip of Manhattan zig zagging through some of the different areas such as Grenwich Village and Soho. We again had a great day but the 33c heat was oppresive. But we managed to get there in time to take the Statten Island ferry for the great views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
The next day was even hotter. A sweltering 35c which resulted in limited time in the sun, many cold drinks and a cold shower every 3 hours. In the evening we met Susan and took a stroll along The Highline. This is an old section of over street railway that has been turned into a garden. It was pretty impressive despite the torrential downpour and lightning.
(Sun beds on the rails!)
(This big poster showed what the Highline used to look like)
If you are planning to go to NY City we can highly recommend the Highline. It is a fantastic walk and a superb example of what to do with something you no longer need.
That evening we headed back to Susan’s apartment,Statt for some “take out”…thats American for Takeaway.
(Susan and I only ordered something small, but Claire was famished)
Our final full day was spent with yet more shopping in the now only mildy oppresive heat.