Monday, May 25, 2009

Big Apple Day 2

Big Apple Day 2

First ones on the motel shuttle, 1st ferry across the Hudson and 1st ones on the bus to uptown! In and out of Trump Tower and his wall of falling waters, in and out of St Patrick’s Cathedral, over to Rockefeller Center to see the Today Show hosts, Lester and Natalie as they broadcast out on the mall, and we listened momentarily to the American Idol guys performing. The crowds were building so we moved on and went inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza where we met up with Alex and Tina Fey!! They begged us to let them have their pictures taken with us! How could we resist? We broke away from them and headed for Central Park but H saw his next car sitting in front of some big fancy hotel - - a HUGE black shiny 4 door Rolls Royce. Back on the free Ferry shuttle bus and off again on Broadway at Times Square. Several blocks are now closed to vehicle traffic and opened to just pedestrians. Pedestrians and bikes and folks in lawn chairs! The “square” is walled in by building high LED screens, blazing advertisings and TV shows.

And the people? At 8am the people and the traffic were minimal – at noon - - NOT! We fought our way in and out of the world famous Macy’s and then tried to escape up the 86 floors of the Empire State Building to survey the city from that perch in the sky. No such luck - the struggle to get up to the observation deck and then to get back down resembled more of a cattle stock yard with all of us being pushed and prodded from one long windy path to another over crowded elevator. Enough of that- it was time to try the subway. Train #1’s last stop on its route was Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry. The crowds were there in front of us – all herded together, waiting for the free big orange ferry that crossed in front of the Statue of Liberty as she stood tall in the harbor. Too bad we were on the wrong side of the boat. Once on Staten Island, we had to exit the boat, go out and around the ferry terminal and get in line to get back on the boat to return to lower Manhattan. This time we knew which side of the boat to head to - - - bottom center back! All the local travelers were inside reading or trying to catch a short nap and all the tourists were on the top deck trying to get the best pictures. NOBODY was on the lower back deck! This time, as we passed by Lady Liberty, H kept the camera clicking. Train #1 was waiting for us down in her slot in the tunnel and took up back uptown to await the shuttle bus back to the ferry terminal to cross the Hudson River once more. Back on the 10th floor of the Sheridan, we finally got to kick off our shoes and let our hot tire feet a break.

Tuesday will find us back on the road, heading for home. Till the next time. . . . . . .

The Big Apple Day 2

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Big Apple

The Big Apple

The Lakeland Motel is across the street from the McArthur Airport and their sign read, “ newly renovated” which really means just a new coat of paint. The big jet liners came in low –REALLY LOW- right over the motel on their final approach for landing. Lucky for us they quit about 10pm. H still did not sleep well - you’ll have to ask him why!

Needless to say, we were up early and on the road, following the coast west. The outer banks of North Carolina, the Florida Keys and the Mustang and Padre Islands of Texas came to mind as we drove the 2 lane road that divided the dunes on the ocean from the salt marshes on the bay. Over a couple more toll bridges and viola- we found Coney Island. We strolled the boardwalk, listening for anyone speaking English because, according to the mural on the wall, there were over 200 different languages spoken in New York City. We walked across the beach to the shore and even checked out the long sturdy fishing pier. The fog had rolled in and it was hard to even see the top of the Parachute Jump, which stands 277 feet tall. In 1940 it was relocated to this spot from the 1939 Worlds Fair. H remembers as a kid, seeing it in 1950 when he was here with his parents. That was a lonngggg time ago!! All the brochures said a must “to do” was to indulge in a Nathan’s Famous Hotdog. We did – at 10 am! Pricey but very yummy!

We resumed our journey and found our way to the 278 e-way that led north along the East River and was to get us to the bridge to Manhattan. We ended up down in a tunnel instead but it dumped us out closer to the southern tip of the island and that part was good! Traffic on the expressway was heavy and traffic in the city was mind-boggling! Double parked vehicles and narrow one-way streets didn’t help. We did see the fence around Ground Zero, crowded Battery Park and the road signs that said Broadway and Wall Street. We managed to get our bearings and worked our way to the road that led us to another tunnel - this one to New Jersey and the next motel on our gathering list of many. H thought it was the Lincoln Tunnel to Weehawken but it was the Holland Tunnel to Hoboken! Not to worry- Lola showed us the way, even if it was thru more narrow, old neighborhoods full of tall old apartment buildings and brownstone houses all attached to one another.

The Sheridan on the Hudson seems fairly new and our room is on the top floor (and our home for the next 2 nights) has a king sized bed with silky sheets and a mile thick royal blue down comforter, a kitchenette, a sitting area complete with a couch and coffee table, a desk and a bathroom twice as big as ours in Michigan! The view from our 10th floor window is MAGNIFICENT!!! When you look across the river and to the left you see the aircraft carrier Intrepid and when we arrived there were 2 mammoth cruise ships sitting down in front of the plethora of skyscrapers. Directly across is the Empire State Building and to the right is the Financial District collection of tall buildings, minus the two World Trade Center towers. Knowing that they should be in that picture is a strange feeling. Up the river just a ways is also the spot where Sully Sullenberger landed the jet liner in the river!

Monday we venture back to the city - - the van will stay in the motel parking lot and we will take the passenger ferry back across the river and use the shuttle bus to get around. Stay tuned!