Wednesday, October 05, 2011

More New York City

Saturday meant a change of hotels and meeting up with Mark and Kelly who were flying in from Sioux Falls in the afternoon.
Before heading over to Murray Hill, we caught the subway to Washington Square in Greenwich Village for breakfast.
Being a child of the 60s, the park was all I had imagined it to be and not over run with people at that time of the morning.
The Washington Arch at the 5th Avenue entrance to the park is very impressive.

After dropping off our bags at the Eastgate Tower Hotel, we took the subway up to Central Park and sat a while people watching before visiting the Neue Galerie to see a Gustav Klimt exhibition.
Then it was back to Grand Central Station area for lunch (reasonable Mexican) and a look in and around that impressive building.

It was either the remnants of jet lag, the Saturday crowds or the sauna like conditions of the subway stations but we soon were back in the air conditioned comfort of the hotel room.
Kelly and Mark arrived on time and that evening we were soon on our way to Times Square.
The whole area is lit up like a Christmas tree with thousands of people milling around cheek by jowl. Street entertainers are everywhere as are the hustlers and touts. We had a good burger and beer at a pub just off the square and visited the huge Toys R Us store. After this frenetic scene we retired to our apartment for the night with a few bottles of wine.

Next morning we were off early to catch the ferry to Ellis Island.
After airport type security at the wharf, we sailed over to the Statue of Liberty were most of the passengers except us disembarked and then onto the Ellis Island National Monument.
We virtually had the place to ourselves for the first hour or so.
We took the free guided tour with the park ranger who led us through the process that over 12 million immigrants experienced. Following that we toured the museum and watched a movie on the history of the island. Turned out to be a pretty emotional time.
The island is still in the process of being restored but what is open to the public is a 'must see' on any trip to New York City.

The World Trade Centre site with the new construction slowly emerging from a giant hole in the ground was next on the agenda.
That night we were back on Broadway for the show 'Chicago'. A good production in a smallish intimate theater with great leads and orchestra (band?).
A late dinner at a Greek restaurant near Times Square finished off a very busy day.
Next morning we were back in Greenwich Village for a walking food tour.
We ate in pizza shops, delis, bistros, cookie shops and cafes. In addition we given a history of the area as we walked the busy commercial and peaceful residential streets with their very smart houses.

That evening we walked around the Rockefeller Center area. It's here you become aware of the immense skyscrapers. We had appetizers and a good bottle of Rioja Tempranillo Rose' in a nice restaurant overlooking overlooking the Rockefeller Plaza.

Next morning the heavens had opened up so we made our way early to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for opening time. It was relatively uncrowded when we arrived and after the ever present security check, we split up and headed for our 'interest zones'. I spent the first two hours mostly alone in the European Art Section and, after meeting up with the co driver for morning tea, another 2 hours in the Modern and Contemporary Art Section. There is no way you could 'do' this place in less than a week and as visual overload (and now the crowds) took over we both waved the white flag.

It was still pouring and as we stood under a small awning wondering where to go to eat, we found that awning belonged to a French restaurant called 'Demarchelier'. What a find! Wonderful genuine French food, good wine list and easy going attitude. We spent 2 hours there over a main, a dessert and a bottle of Sancerre and never felt the need to 'move on'. Obviously one of the few places in New York not in a hurry. It's on the corner of 86th and Madison if you are ever in town.
That night we caught a cab through still driving rain back to Greenwich Village to a Cuban restaurant recommended by our tour guide the previous day. The menu initially did not look too exciting but the flavours were quite different and tasted great, the service attentive and a good experience to have on our last night in New York.

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