DAY 5 - TUESDAY 7TH AUGUST
We all sleep very
well, Tam and I waking around 7.00am. I guess all the walking has
tired us out and enabled us to get on to local time sooner than
The forecast for today is 93° and humid, making it feel more like 100°. Our plans are to do the full island boat tour with Circle Line and were hoping the breeze on the water will cool us down a bit.
We walk across town to Pier 83 to get our tickets for the cruise. We are booked on the 10.30am and have an hour to kill before then so we decide on breakfast from the little booth by the pier. Bad move. Can we have a grilled chicken sandwich please? No, we dont serve that until lunchtime. Ok, can we have a mocha please? No, we are only serving straight coffee. Ok, well have 3 of those with lids please. No, we only have 2 lids left. The girl is a right grumpy old tart as well. We end up with Danishes (Dani?) and coffee.
Watch out if you ever do this tour, people start to queue quite early to get on the boat and you really need to be sat on the left hand side as you can then see Manhattan clearly. If you sit on the right side you just get to see The Bronx, New Jersey etc.
I suppose I should have put port and starboard there instead of left and right. Unfortunately I dont know which is which.
The tour is very informative, but takes 3 hours, which is a little too long I think. The 2-hour tour covers the southern half of Manhattan, which is really the part most people want to see. That being said, it is quite interesting seeing the extreme north of the island as it is amazing how many trees and how much vegetation there is there. In my ignorance I thought every inch would be covered with buildings.
I suppose overall it is worth doing the 3 hour tour if you have the time, otherwise the 2 hour tour shows most of the things you are likely to want to see.
Click on the film strip to see a video of our time in New York
After the boat trip we take the tube to Fulton Street ($2 per person single trip) and walk down to Pier 17 where they have a large area with shops, restaurants etc. Its main attraction is that it gives stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
After walking around for a while we decide on a late lunch around 2.30pm at the Heartland Brewery. Tam and I split the chilli, India has a BBQ chicken sandwich and Georgia has wings. The beers are quite interesting here and Tam has the Apricot Ale while I try the Indian River Light Beer. The spiel says it has undertones of orange and coriander. I take this with a pinch of salt (not literally, salt and beer dont mix) as people always claim you can taste this or that in beer when mostly it tastes of beer, but in this case its true. You definitely get an undertone of orange. Its very nice.
After lunch we get the train uptown and return to the Waldorf Astoria where we relax for a while before showering and getting ready to go out for the evening.
I head down to Sir Harrys Bar at 6.00pm for an evening aperitif while the rest of the ladies continue with their pruning. I wandered what the hedge clippers were for. No, wait that should be preening. Now I really am wondering what the hedge clippers were for.
Sir Harrys is a really nice bar in the plush red leather style of many bars in the better hotels in the US. Its already busy with many people dressed up to go out for the evening. Its really nice to relax in a bar for practically the first time on this holiday. Im writing this with a beer in front of me on our last night in New York, so what better time to reflect on our stay in this vibrant and exciting city. Frank called it The City That Never Sleeps for obvious reasons, there always seems to be something going on somewhere. Its an exhilarating place just to walk around and view the amazing architecture, especially the older skyscrapers, which are far more interesting and atmospheric than their newer counterparts. The Chrysler Building has to be one of the greatest man made structures in the world.
Its a city of contrasts. On one hand you have a huge number of museums, art galleries and theatres. This is in contrast to the gaudy, flashy Times Square and some of the more rundown districts. I guess this is what makes it so interesting.
It can certainly feel crowded and occasionally too fast paced, its not a city to stand still in. I think the 3 full days we have spent here are just about enough. Weve walked miles and crammed an awful lot in and so it will be a wonderful contrast to get to our cabin in Lake Watauga tomorrow.
New York a wonderful town? Well, Im not going to argue with Mr Sinatra. Is it my kind of town? No you fool, thats Chicago, dont you know your Frank?
But were not finished yet. Tam and the girls join me in the bar and we then head out to the Rockefeller Centre to go to The Top of the Rock observation platform. We decided to go up at 7.30pm as we thought we would be able to see the city in the light and as it gets dusk,
We have already got our tickets and walk straight through to the elevators. The roof of the elevator is clear and you can watch your ascent to the 67th floor. Here you get on an escalator to the 69th floor and can then walk up to the 70th floor.
The views are sensational. Tam and I have been up the Empire State before, but we think this is better as you are closer to Central Park and also get to see the Empire State, which dominates mid-town.
We enjoy the sights for ¾ of an hour and as it starts to get dark, thousands of lights are gradually turned on. Its a display Disney would be proud of. We all agree this is the highlight of our visit to New York.
Back at ground level we walk to McCormick and Schmicks for our 8.30pm reservation. This is a chain restaurant and our friends Deb and Matt really like the one they visit in Orlando, so we thought wed give it a try. Its primarily a seafood restaurant, so Tam and I try the coconut-encrusted mahi-mahi with a spicy cashew sauce and sea scallops with a mushroom risotto. I dont mean this is all on one plate, we split the two dishes. Georgia has fish and chips and Ind tries the mahi-mahi as well.
The food is very good, but the sea scallops with risotto is the standout dish. Our server is very efficient, although of indeterminate sex. We have a discussion where I maintain that it is a young lady batting for the other side, whereas Tam holds the belief that he/she is a rather feminine bloke. None of us has the guts to ask. I mean, what do you say? Excuse me, when you visit the bathroom do you use the door with the little man or the little woman on it?
The ladies are in the mood for dessert and try the 3 crème brulees (normal, raspberry and coffee) and a chocolate box full of berries with white chocolate sauce. Both are good, but Tam declares the raspberry brulee to be the best.
Along with a rather respectable bottle of Syrah and tip, the bill comes to $200.
Back to the Waldorf and bed at 11.00pm.
[AUGUST 2007 REPORT HOME PAGE]