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2011 The Nightingale's Oddessy Our exchange year in Canada.

New York Chapter 2 14-15 Mar 2011

CANADA | Friday, 25 March 2011 | Views [270] | Comments [1]

For those of you up for another lengthy tome, here we go.


Days Three & Four: 14 – 15 Mar 2011


Monday morning after an early breakfast it was out onto the streets and head up to Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History. Heading along East 50th street we passed such landmarks as the Waldorf Astoria hotel, (not much to look at from the outside, but I bet I couldn’t even afford to ask how much a room cost), crossed streets with famous names like Lexington, Park, Madison and 5th Ave. Funny but sitting here looking at the map next to me I just realised we missed Marilyn Monroe’s grate by about 100m, Chelle went looking for it later in the week and couldn’t find it, I guess she had the wrong map.


At St Patricks Cathedral we turned on to 5th Ave and headed North. I would have liked to have gone inside and have a look because it’s supposed to be quite spectacular, but the presence of a heavily armed SWAT team on the steps kind of put us off. We assumed they were securing the place before the St Patrick’s day parade on Thursday.


Heading up 5th Ave we passed Tiffany’s and the Trump Tower and plenty of other stores whose windows I was afraid to look in. Arriving at Central Park we walked up through the zoo which was still closed because of the early hour. Even at the tail end of winter Central Park is still impressive, traffic was still going through the Park, but after 10am it’s closed to all but pedestrians, how civilised. Going across the Park we came out at Strawberry Fields, Yoko Ono’s monument to John Lennon, this is right across the road from the Dakota Apartments where Lennon was shot, Ryan and I were to see the exact spot later in the week on a tour. On Central Park West we headed to the Museum, not realising we walked straight past the Ghostbuster’s building.


The American Museum of Natural History, the same one featured in “A Night at the Museum”. What can I say we only spent half a day there but could easily have spent a couple. As soon as you walk in the foyer you come face to face with a Brachiosaurus and an Alorsaurus and from there it just keeps on getting better. Luckily for us our tickets and the timing got us into the Planetarium, where we sat and watched and listened to a show about the Universe narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. After that we spent some time looking around the displays on the Universe, before heading into deepest darkest Africa and the exhibits on the other continents. Didn’t find any large displays on Australian mammals (but then didn’t see the whole museum) but did come across a diorama of birds in the Blue Mountains West of Sydney. Also came across some shrunken heads from South America. There is so much to see it’s hard to take it all in and we missed a few places because we were pressed for time and Natasha wanted to get to see the dinosaurs, the AMNH has the largest display of dinosaur skeletons in the USA and man were they impressive. From fossils and skeletons of newborn’s right up to the largest sauropods and of course we had to have a photo taken with Rexy, if he prowls around the place at night, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere nearby. After the dinosaurs it was time to leave and get lunch, my only disappointment was I didn’t get a photo of Dum-Dum (those who have seen the movie will know who I’m talking about). Lunch for Chelle and Tasha was a giant pretzel each while Ryan and I had hotdogs from a street vendor, how much more New York can you get?


Back over to Central Park and a stroll through the area they call the rambles up to Belvedere Castle (a small castle in the middle of Central Park, where else but NYC) then back down 5th Avenue to FAO Schwarz, a very upmarket toy store, with very, very upmarket prices. Another place that just has to be seen, amongst other things it has a catwalk for Barbie Dolls, and little girls can design and purchase their own Barbie creations, it also has jewellery for full size Barbie dolls, only $6000 a necklace. There is the Big Piano that Tom Hanks plays on in the movie “Big” the kids had a go on that, one of these can be purchased for $225,000. Needless to say we didn’t purchase anything.


Walking out of the shop we had a nice surprise Aunty Jenny was waiting for us and because it was getting late in the day we headed down to Jenny’s hotel to catch up with her sister Louise and father John, via a bottle shop of course. After a couple of hours catching up we left them and headed back to the hotel promising to meet up the next day.


Tuesday  15th March, Ryan and I left Michelle to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while we headed out to pick up John and go down to the USS Intrepid, Air, Sea and Space Museum. None of this namby pamby cultural stuff for us, we were going to see big boy’s toys like, an aircraft carrier, a submarine, the Concorde and an SR-71 Blackbird. The museum is based around the aircraft carrier Intrepid, a ship with a long and varied history; surviving Kamikaze attacks in WWII, fighting in Korea and Vietnam and recovering astronauts in the Gemini space program, as well as becoming the temporary HQ for the FBI after theirs was destroyed in a building next to the World Trade centre on 9/11. Alongside the Intrepid is the USS Growler an early nuclear cruise missile submarine from the fifties, a couple of facts: she carried 4 cruise missiles with a range of a hundred miles, but had to surface to launch them, so by the time she got two off the Russians would have found her and sunk her -  one of the reasons she had a short career. The other reason was freshwater. Here’s a fact the girls will love, her distillation plant that produces freshwater kept breaking down, so on a 3 month cruise each crew member was entitled to a two minute shower, once, every 5 weeks and there were 100 men aboard.  Add to this the smell of the diesel engines, the galley and the toilets, it must have been pretty ripe. The Concorde on display is the one that holds the London to New York record of just over three hours, unfortunately, she wasn’t open the day we went.


That tour used up our morning, so it was back up to Times Square to meet up with Chelle and Natasha, who’d both had a good morning looking at Van Gogh’s, Monet’s and Egyptian Sarcophaguses. We left John at his hotel where he was going off to hire a bike and ride around the city, brave man, he had already ridden the length of Manhattan another day. Once again we went our separate ways, this time Michelle went off to Bloomingdales to meet Jenny and to window shop, while I dragged the kids off to a camera shop to buy the Digital SLR I had been promising myself for the last 8 months. This camera store, like everything else in NYC was huge, all purchases made in the store get delivered to the checkouts on the ground floor, via a conveyor belt system that snakes its way around the store.  Tthis alone kept the kids attention for a while. I left the kids playing their DS’s while I did a deal on a second hand camera and a couple of lenses. The payoff for the kids patience was to go to the LEGO store and the world’s Biggest Build a Bear Workshop, this we did via Grand Central Station and “By gum is it Grand”.

One thing NYC doesn’t lack for is impressive architecture. The arrival hall is dominated by a huge fresco with the signs of the zodiac and massive chandeliers. The size of the station is impressive,  also, there are 117 platforms at Grand Central alone and that isn’t as big as Penn station, New Yorks biggest and the World’s busiest.


From Grand Central it was back to the Rockefeller Plaza to look at the LEGO store. Never mind Ryan, -  I could have gone mad in that place!!!.  Next the Build a Bear workshop,  where we had to get costumes for Coco and Rosco.   Rosco got a very cool Darth Vader outfit and Coco looks very fetching as the Statue of Libearty.  : ) Heading back to the hotel, we ran into Mum and Jenny heading back with supplies for Tuesday night’s dinner, both were disappointed with Bloomingdale’s, as the only things they could afford was a cup of coffee – from which they had kept the cups just to prove they had been there and then Chelle crushed hers later in the week getting into the car.- Doh! Even though Bloomingdales state that  they offer discounts for tourists, these discounts are not for things like handbags, jewellery or perfume -  the things the girls wanted. (I don’t think this was such a bad thing, however).


Tuesday night’s dinner was back at our place, where we all sat around relaxing and reminiscing over a few drinks.


Those of you still awake  will be glad to know that’s another chapter down for now, only one to go......









Hey guys....it is awesome to read of your travels and I am so pleased that you truely are making the most of this unique opportunity! Ross and I have been to New York, and it was great to travel with you on that one! I vividly remember ice skating at the Rockefeller centre with Santa!!!! (IT was dec when we were there.)

Keep up keeping up with the journal - it makes a great read :)

Take care


  Donnalee Mar 27, 2011 3:53 PM

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