Monday, June 19, 2017

USA 2017 / Sydney to New York City

Our flights across the Pacific and the continental USA were uneventful. Spare seats beside us for the long haul but 100% full plane for the last leg which did not encourage any sleep when we really needed it.
The immigration formalities using the APC at SFO went without a hitch and it was nice to be finally admitted to the USA after all these years as a couple.
Our driver picked us up at Newark Airport baggage claim and whisked us off to the Marriott Courtyard in SoHo, New York City. This hotel turned out to be exactly what we were looking for ie. not too expensive (by NYC standards), handy to transport and restaurants and quiet.
From check in at Sydney to our room in downtown Manhattan took 27 hours.

After a shower and a freshen up, tiredness seemed to miraculously vanish.
Drinks anyone? Sure!
I had read about The City Winery just down the road. It is a music venue, tasting room and restaurant.
The music venue was at full throttle and unbelievably loud so we opted for the much quieter restaurant where we had a small meal and tasted some of their barrel wines by the glass. The low sulphur Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc were excellent.
Then it was lights out! In more ways than one.
Next morning we were up and about early.
Breakfast was in Greenwich Village at Pasticceria Rocco which was yummy.
The daughter had included our weekly subway tickets in a care package she had kindly organized and had sent to our hotel so we headed to the Staten Island ferry wharf without delay for a (free) return trip across the Hudson River, before the tourist hoards arrived, to blow out the cobwebs.
This must be one of the great free tourist attractions in the world.

The view of the NYC and Jersey City skylines plus a close up view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are unbeatable.

Back in lower Manhattan, we walked a short way to the National Museum of the American Indian which was in a beautiful building, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House, and is a part of the Smithsonian Museum.
Here they had wonderful exhibits dedicated to the native American tribes from all over north America as well as those from the indigenous people of south and central America.
There was also a Native Fashion Now exhibition which featured contemporary garments, accessories, and footwear spanning a variety of genres and materials by designers who have crossed cultural boundaries by utilizing creative expression and cultural borrowing.

Then another short walk to see the Charging Bull and the recently installed Fearless Girl which are a feature of the Financial District with the latter creating some controversy.

Another short walk to Stone Street which is one of the oldest streets in the city. This cobblestone thoroughfare is now dominated by restaurants. We were a bit early for lunch so sat for a while with some light refreshments and decided to get some lobster rolls from Luke's (recommended by the daughter) and have a picnic lunch in Battery Park.

I had a lobster roll Maine-style which is a quarter pound of that seafood served chilled on a buttered, griddled New England split-top bun with a swipe of mayo, a dash of lemon butter and a sprinkle of their 'secret seasoning'.
The co driver opted for a Luke’s Trio which is half a lobster roll, half a crab roll and half a shrimp (prawn) roll. I got to finish the latter.

Battery park was a great place to people watch with so much going on. It is the departure point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island cruises. There is plenty of seating, food vendors and outdoor restaurants among the trees and is home to the World War II East Coast Memorial and its stunning eagle sculpture.

Then we headed back to the hotel via the Purl Soho yarn shop to freshen up before finally meeting up with the daughter, after work, at Rubirosa Ristorante in Nolita for a great pizza and a cold bottle of delicious Verdicchio.
Nicko joined us later for drinks at the Grey Dog just across the road from the restaurant before jet lag descended with a vengeance and it was time for us to hit the sack.
A full on Day 1!

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