Friday, December 23, 2011

From winter to summer...Winnipeg to New York.

The final day in Winnipeg and I started, as normal, with a good lie in before getting my stuff packed and finally, just after lunchtime I got a bus to visit Assiniboine Park, where I spent a nice hour or so wandering around the park, watching the park-keeper brushing the fresh snow off the ice in the duck pond, I found a steam engine and basically enjoyed the fresh air and clean snow away from the busy roads. I took a short walk to Buffys work, where I got myself a new pair of socks to replace the cheap Chinese one I bought in Shanghai. It was then a bus trip home via the beer shop, library (to print my tickets) and supermarket to buy dinner, before I finally got home just after 4pm.

I made dinner just as Buffy arrived home and we ate the steak as we watched 'Its A wonderful Life', on the computer. (It is Christmas after all) Then I got the rest of my stuff ready and had an earlyish night after a couple more beers.

I was up at 5.30 and after an emotional goodbye to The Buffter, I rode the bus to the airport and took off from Winnipeg at around half 8, enjoying the sight of a really great sunrise as we left. It was quite sad to leave Buffy behind. I have had a great couple of weeks here and miss her already, but I know I will be back again in the Spring after exploring the East Coast.

Last pic of Buffy......

Sunrise at Winnipeg airport

My view of New York for the 1st 40 minutes

I had a transfer at Toronto, which was surprisingly easy and after another short flight I landed in Newark Airport just before 4pm local time. I had booked an airport shuttle to take me into town, but spent next 40 minute sitting alone in the bus as the driver rounded up passengers from the terminals at the airport. I did expect a delay, but was a bit knackered by now and just wanted to get to the Hostel. We did eventually leave with a full bus of people and as luck would have it I had the last drop off. So I ended up spending over 2 hours on the bus, but at least it dropped me off at the door of the Hostel. After booking in I was really nicely surprised as the Hostel room is big, warm and clean, with great bathrooms too. I made my bed and bought a 7 day subway ticket before heading underground at the nearest subway station and into town. My mission – to find a pub showing the football tomorrow!! hehe! It was easy as I found 3 Irish bars next to each other on 33rd street, just behind the Empire State Building, so that’s me sorted for tomorrow afternoon.

I spent an hour looking around and finding my way about, familiarising myself with the area and checking out the Christmas display in the windows of Macys, before heading back to the Hostel. I didn’t want to do too much on day 1 – I do have a week here and maybe more time in the New Year, so its pointless seeing everything in one day.

Back at the Hostel I met my room-mates – a trio of male British medical students who are here after working in the Caribbean for a while. They are good lads and we had a good chat as they offered me a beer and got ready for their night out.

I had a really busy first full day in New York. I spent the morning exploring Central Park, with its pathways, tunnels, lakes, bridges and millions of squirrels – as well as a friendly New Yorker who explained about how the lamp posts are numbered depending on what street they are level with – You never need a map!! I like shit like that! Then after a quick look at the Piano on the big toy shop (Who’s name I cant remember) That Tom Hanks played on in Big, I went down to Battery park for a look at the Hudson River and across to the Statue of Liberty, that I’m visiting tomorrow. A 10 minute walk north and I was at the 9/11 site, which is a surreal place to be. I’m visiting it for real on Xmas day, so for today I walked around the outside and had a look through the barriers and from a shopping centre into the sight itself. But, I’m sure that anyone who has been here will agree with me – This place has a presence, more than anywhere I have ever been. I’m sure it is the feeling that flows through the people that are there – Everyone looks at it in awe of what happened. Its a good feeling though, people seem happy to be there – the workers especially who all have stickers galore on their helmets about the place and the people who died. I expected a sombre, sad place that people want to forget, but it seems that the new memorial is the place be sombre and outside isn’t. I cant wait to visit it for real on Xmas day.

74th street lamppost in Central park

Not Tom Hanks

Central Park Bridge

Ace wooden escalators

Ground Zero......

I just made it to the pub on 33rd street in time to sit down a get a Brooklyn Lager, before United started on TV and I sat and chatted with a New Yorker United fan called Steve, throughout the 5-0 battering of Fulham. A good game!!

I then visited the proclaimed largest store in the world – Macys, where my only task was to find the original wooden escalators, which surprisingly are really really cool. None of this aluminium and steel – But wooden bannisters and even wooden slats on some of the escalators – I really love that kind of stuff and had to take a few pictures as they are so cool. It would have been easy to replace them years ago, but I’m glad they kept them as a bit of history.

Finally, after a tiring day I went to the cinema and sat down for 2 hours as I watched the latest Mission Impossible movie. Its a bit of good fun, but not the best movie I've ever seen, That was it, a long day and I’m knackered again. I’m up early tomorrow for my trip to see the Statue of Liberty, so an early night again!!

Blimey, its been e gorgeous day here in NY. A bit like summer with lovely sunshine and a cooling breeze. I got the ferry across to The Statue of Liberty this morning and enjoyed entertaining a few people as I took some obligatory jump-shots. I even had a couple of people join in with jumps of their own. After a quick stop at Ellis Island on the way back top New York, I took a walk along et bay towards Brooklyn Bridge, with a small diversion to see Wall Street and the NY Stock Exchange. I crossed Brooklyn Bridge by foot and loved the views that you get of Manhattan from across the bay. There is also a ticket office where you can get cheap tickets for shows in Brooklyn and with no queues, so I got myself a ticket for 'How to succeed in Business without trying', with Daniel Radcliffe for tonight and then rode the subway back across town for an hours rest. On the way I spotted a bloke carrying what looked like a cross between a rabbit and a seal or mermaid under his arm. It was just a toy, but for some reason its nose kept moving like it was a real rabbit – weird!

On Brooklyn Bridge

Weird bloke with weird pet thing

New York



The evening out was brilliant. How to succeed in Business without trying was brilliant. A great mix of song and dance with the right amount of laughs, made a fantastic show and 3 hours just flew by a s Daniel Radcliffe and the rest of the cast played out on the stage. You can tell that they too were enjoying every minute of it as there were looks towards us in the audience and every now and then a quick look at their watch, to stop us laughing or clapping. I loved the show and am now turning into a theatre buff – as long as its funny or weirdly entertaining like Blue man show or Cirque.

So, it has been a long, but an brilliant day. A lovely summers afternoon followed by a great night out. New York is great so far!   
What I saw..

The end of the show

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