Friday, 19 September 2008

New York, New York

After a 2 month hiatus, we're back to blogging about our trip, which is odd as we arrived back in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago. We both have secured jobs now and are waiting for the money to start coming in. One of the things that we discovered is that there are very few Internet cafes in North America and when you do find one, they are really expensive (at least $5/hour which was a huge expensive on our small budget), so we didn't do much blogging while we were there.

Getting to New York from Quito was the worst journey of our entire trip, we started by getting up at 2:30am to get to the airport (the requisite) 3 hours before departure. As soon as we arrived we found that our flight was delayed by 1.5 hours and we wouldn't be able to make our connecting flight, so they put us onto a different connecting flight. When we landed in Miami (world's worst airport BTW) at around 1:00pm it took so long to get through customs and immigration we only had 10 minutes to make our flight. Given that this is the US we were moving from an international flight to a domestic one we still had to check in again. Therefore we had to change flights again, to one that wasn't departing until 5:00pm. Once we finally got onto our flight (again delayed an hour) after rechecking our bags etc. and sat ourselves down on the plane the pilot came over the intercom and told that the plane would not be taking off for another 3 hours. We eventually made it to our hostel at 12:30am that evening.

On our first day in New York we spent most of the time wandering around some of the really well known parts including Macy's, Broadway, Fifth Avenue, the Rockafella Centre, Times Square, Tiffany & Co. (Gemma's choice) and had a look out from the top of the Empire State Building.

Times Square

Atlas Statue, Rockafella Centre

On the second day we went back to the Rockfella Centre (also where NBC is located) and went on an art history walking tour. It was one of those odd things that you don't really think about doing ahead of time, but it turns to be really interesting. One of the funniest bits was an engraving made either side of one of the doors. It's intention was to symbolise American industry and agriculture (the Rockafella Centre, when it was built, was a shining beacon of western capitalism), however the artist had taken a few liberties and it was quite obviously the communist representation of the peasant and worker (although the offical guide to the centre said that they were holding a shovel and a short-handled sycthe, we're pretty sure it was a hammer and sicle!) The whole communist vs capitalist thing turned up in a couple of other places too.

Later that day we headed down to the ferry buildings with the intention of going across to see the Statue of Liberty, but when we got down to the pier we were put off by the huge queues and and the fact that we could see an enormous thunderstorm rolling in over the harbour. We decided to go the following day instead, but got drenched anyway.

Storm Over NY Harbour

We spent the afternoon at the Natural History Museum, the highlight being the 37 tonne iron meteorite, whose support structures had to be built right into the foundation of the building.

While walking through Times Square we were stopped and were sold tickets for a show at the comedy club owned by Jerry Seinfeld. We were both sure that it was a have and that we were had just been ripped off but we went down to the club in the evening anyway and were pleasantly surprised that there was actually a show there, which was really good! Although there was a 2 drink minimum and an 18% service charge that pushed the price up a bit - they always get you somewhere!

On the third day we finally got ourselves across to Ellis and Liberty Islands to see the statue and do a tour of the original immigration facility that was housed there. We manage to spend the entire day wandering the islands. On the way back we stopped in at Ground Zero to see the construction of the new Liberty Tower which, incidentally, was stopped the following day due to being massively over budget and behind schedule. It was eery to see what is still a large hole in the ground after all this time, and astonishing that some of the surrounding buildings had not yet been repaired.

Gemma and the Statue

After 3 full, and very exhausting days, in the big apple, we jumped on the Chinatown bus and made our way to Boston...

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