Couldn't resist snapping these geese in a shop window! Geese are all over the world (not just speedy ones)!
Thursday 18 June
The flight from LA was uneventful on Thursday apart from a little glitch checking in our luggage! I left Aussie with a bag weighing less than 18kg and this time it weighed in at 30kg - how on earth did that happen? I haven't even started on New York - oh dear me! Now apparently the weight wasn't the problem, it was the fact that each bag must not weigh more than 23kg as it's an OH&S issue with lifting them - a new rule. I swear they see us coming! Anyway they handed me one of those stripy little beach bag numbers and I proceeded to kneel down and redistribute luggage into backpacks and the little stripy bag until the checked-in bag weighed the right amount and we could go to the next procedure - the scanning station. Security is pretty tight in LA and it looks like we might need to buy an extra bag for our return. Apparently we can take extra hand luggage so that may have to happen or I may just not be able to shop in NY - ummmm?
Our next little glitch is our hotel room. It's a beautiful 'olde worlde' hotel - lovely decor etc but we have been given a twin room not a double one which means we have a large desk separating our narrow single beds and they do not have any spare double rooms so we're stuck with it. Of course, this could mean I gain extra sleep or something!!
Friday 19 June
When we arrived in New York it was raining which apparently it has been doing for some time. However this morning there was a patch of blue sky so we donned our running gear and crossed the road to investigate Central Park. Our hotel is situated on the west side of the park and just opposite it. It was so green, absolutely beautiful and a lovely place to run. We ran to the reservoir in the middle and ran round it twice before running back to the hotel. I noticed a couple of men with large brooms sweeping the puddles of water off the pathway. It seemed a bit of a thankless exercise but I for one appreciated the fact that it helped me avoid such wet shoes and splashes up my legs. No wonder it's so green in that park. There's also some lovely trees and lots of other little pathways and tracks to walk and run. It's very pretty and just as I imagined. We ran a total of 8km and I felt much better knowing that although I was sluggish I could at least still run the distance of the pending race on Sunday.
Later we bought $25 subway tickets which last a week and can be used on any train or bus. We caught a train to the East side of town to collect my race number, chip and t-shirt (yes, the entry included a t-shirt - yay) for Sunday then we browsed around that side of town for a while before catching another train to Times Square - oh wow! It is so fantastic there. People were sitting on plastic chairs in the square in the middle surrounded by high rise buildings, bright lights and a general buzz of excited noise. We bought half price tickets to go to a show that night and just took in the ambience and the wonderful feeling of really truly being part of all this excitement - New York, we have arrived!
In the evening we returned to Times Square to go to the live theatre and this time all the night lights were dazzling and oh, it was wonderful. We went to see The 39 Steps and it was so funny and very clever with only four actors performing a number of roles. We just loved it. Later we wandered through Times Square until it was very late before catching a train back to the hotel.
Saturday 20 June
This was a catch-up day in some ways. We caught up on a huge pile of washing and drying at the laundromat while it absolutely pelted down outside. Thank heavens we took our umbrellas and spray jackets! While our washing was doing itself in the machines we tried bagels for lunch at Zabars nearby. They were pretty tasty with smoked salmon and cream cheese and the coffee wasn't too bad. The only other place we have found half decent coffee is Starbucks but it does vary. Sometimes it's like dishwater! Other times it's not too bad.
Later we caught a bus to Soho - a really interesting place to browse. We spent ages there before catching the train back to our area and going to the Uno Grill for dinner. I had pasta in preparation for the run in the morning!
Sunday 21 June
Today was Fathers' Day in America which is why I had entered a FD Race in support of prostate cancer research. There were about 8000 entrants and we were sent to our appropriate "corales" ready for the start. I was in with the 3000 numbers. The rain held off for the morning although it had rained solidly all night and the ground was very wet. There were huge puddles to circumnavigate! I enjoyed the run, I was slow and the course was far more undulating than I expected but the atmosphere was great. There were a number of water stations and we ran with timing chips on our shoes. After crossing the finish line and having my chip removed, I followed everyone else to join the queus. First I queued for a bag of salty pretzels, then I queued for a banana, then I queued for the official photo and then joined another queue not realising for some time that it was full of men and then I realised I was queuing for a free prostate check. Oops - I left that queue quickly after that! I never did find the water queue. There was a barrel drawer later and a good band playing. It was great being part of a NY race even if I was damn slow. It was all about taking part as far as I was concerned and my entry fee did include a t-shirt which is exciting!
Time taken: 48mins
Place in age group: 16th out of 46 women
Place overall: 3090
In the afternoon we decided to go on The Sex and The City Tour. It was such fun. I think Dave surprised himself and actually enjoyed it thoroughly. It was really fantastic and our tour guide was a hoot. The first thing we had to do on the count of 3 was to all say "f***"! That was to relax us. She took us to lots of places we would never have seen otherwise including the real Magnolia Bakery (we found a different one the other day) and a sex shop full of interesting items!! We spent time with a girl from London who showed us photos on her camera of places she's been including the Niagara Falls. They look spectacular so I think we're going there after we leave here. She also told us about a great Diner where there was fantastic entertainment so after the 3.5hour tour we headed for the Ellen Stardust Diner which was in Broadway. We had burgers and they were yummy but it was the entertainment that made the evening. All the waiters and waitresses were wannabe Broadway stars and they sang Broadway numbers taking turns to wait on tables or sing. They were seriously talented and it was just like being entertained by the real stars. I'm sure they sang just as well. They were dressed the part and it was heaps of fun.
Monday 22 June
We're really enjoying NY and all the hive of activity. Today we went up the Empire State Building - wow! My camera is working overtime! We zoomed up 80 floors then caught another lift to go up 6 more floors. The view was just fabulous - something like a major legoland! We could pick out so many landmarks.
We also did a tour on one of those 'hop on, hop off' buses. We were on top of course and when it started raining we were all provided with attractive plastic raincoats!! We were taken to lots of interesting spots. Our tickets include a night tour and a boat tour and a few other tours and museums which we'll do over the next few days. This is full-on but so amazing.
This evening we went to a restaurant recommended in our Guide Book. It was definitely worth a visit - just fabulous. The service was great and the food and wine superb. Unfortunately I decided to have a coffee afterwards - bit of a mistake as it spoilt a beautiful meal. I should know by now that you have to be very lucky to get a good coffee here although I've had more luck in NY than other States! It was a good day - so much to see and take in and so many memories to take home.