Tuesday, October 08, 2013

19 September: New York

Wow, we slept well last night. The room is below ground level (basement?) so has no windows and is pretty much in total darkness when the lights are out. Ideal for curing any potential jet-lag, I imagine? Which, one again, I haven't experienced. Yay, me! Best super-power ever.

Anyway, we woke up around 8am, showered and headed out. We took the Green Line all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge station and took a walk across the bridge.

I was a little disappointed that they were doing something on the bridge (cleaning maybe?) so there was protective plastic all over. Actually the amount of construction we saw going on in New York in general was absolutely enormous. But you are kept (mostly) unaware as they construct those tunnel-walkway-things beneath it. But there are enough of those around to make you realise this place must be ever-evolving.

On the other side, The Trucker had his heart set on Junior's for breakfast. Apparently they have the best Cheesecake, but we haven't tried it yet ... and breakfast is not the time for it. This is also, apparently, the cheesecake that he modeled his much-coveted recipe on.

After walking for ages into Brooklyn, down Flatbush Ave, we finally found it (he remembered it being just across the bridge). The place is like a real diner, with booths and pictures on the wall (I presume of famous people who've eaten there).

We both ordered an omelette. All breakfasts come with fruit juice, pastries (!) and home fries (?). Wow, our plate of food was huge! I had Bacon and Swiss Cheese in my omelette. And damn, those home fries were delish! I was expecting just normal fries when I ordered. But these weird little fried squares of potato arrived and were completely moreish! Neither of us could finish our meal, but wow it was tasty.

Then we took the Subway to Clark Street and wandered thru the Brooklyn Bridge Park, marveling at the awesome views of the New York skyline.

We walked from there to under the Manhattan Bridge. Along the way, we made a stop at One Girl Cookies to try a Whoopie Pie. We got a chocolate one (The Trucker's choice) and a pumpkin one (mine, of course!) with cream cheese frosting in the middle. I really liked the pumpkin one. The Trucker said it tasted like carrot cake.

Then we hopped back on the subway, getting our money's worth from those Metro cards!) and went from High Street to Bowling Green so we could take a trip on the Staten Island Ferry (free).

There was a bit of a wait till the next ferry, but I enjoyed the trip. It wasn't as relaxing as I'd hoped since we spent the entire trip there standing, but what spectacular views! Completely worth it. And a really cool way to see the Statue of Liberty, since I didn't really feel the need to actually go to Ellis Island.

I'm finding the people-watching here very entertaining. We walked behind a girl with "Fuck Me Fuck Me" tattooed across her shoulder blades en route to Junior's o_0 Everyone here seems to have at least one tattoo. Maybe there are as many people with tattoos in South Africa, but then they must be in less conspicuous places. Also, the tattoos seemed mostly haphazard here ... not like someone went out and got a whole sleeve done and it looked like an awesome piece of artwork. Just like they got 5 different tattoos on one arm or something.

The ferry turned out to be a little annoying when they force you to get off and wait for the next one before you can go back ... but we saw this sort of mentality later in our trip too. Not really sure where it comes from. Either way, we had 20mins to kill. There wasn't really anything on Staten Island I was that keen to go see.

After the ferry returned us to Manhattan, we hopped on the Red line and took it to 23rd Street. WE walked a few blocks (ow, ow, ow, my poor feet were taking strain) and headed up to The High Line park.

Wow, how divine is that gem? What a pleasure! We rested our legs in the shade on the grass. So lovely :) Then we took a stroll along to 14th Street.

I tried a Pink Lemonade (there seems to be a lot of Pink Lemonade here, not sure how it's different to just regular Lemonade, except in colour?) Mexican popsicle called a paleta. I liked it :)

Then we decided it was time for some lunch and looked up the nearest Chipotle. I'd mentioned that Taco Bell was on my list of much-heard-about-but-never-eaten America chains to try while here and The Peeb said that her hubby rated Chipotle far higher in terms of Mexican take-out food, so on his word, it bumped Taco Bell right off my list.

Shewee. It's a bit like Anat where you point and click to whatever you want to go in your burrito. So, naturally, I said yes to just about everything they offered ... brown rice, pinto beans, chicken, salsa, mild chili sauce, corn, lettuce, sour cream and extra guacamole.

In retrospect this wasn't the smartest idea. It ended up being almost impossible for them to wrap up ... they had to get an additional burrito to fold around it before they wrapped it in the foil!

It was truly massive in comparison to The Trucker's average sized burrito. But it was completely delish and totally worth it, even if I couldn't finish it all. Yum. Would definitely have eaten here again if I'd had time. (UPDATE: The Peeb's hubby just posted this link on FB and I laughed so much, I cried a little. While my Chipotle burrito was layered perfectly, I did end up having to eat it with a fork ;) )

Oh, and yes, we are getting into the whole Dr Pepper and Root Beer thing they have going over here. Altho I do still mostly order Coke Zero. I am not a fan of their Cherry- or Vanilla-flavoured options, so didn't try any of those (have tried them when they were available in SA anyway). Oh, and just to get it out of the way upfront, there wasn't a single exciting Fanta flavour on this trip ... nor did I try McDonalds. I know, right? I went to the *home* of McDonalds and didn't have a burger. But hey, we ate plenty of other exciting new burgers (and even more other things), so I figure it cancels that out.

After our late lunch, we hopped back on the subway and headed home to relax a bit.

At around 7pm (about 2hrs later), we headed out again. Down the Green line to Astor Place. And from there it didn't take long to find the Astor Place Theatre where we'd booked tickets for the 8pm show by the Blue Man Group. (not my photo - wasn't allowed to take pics during the show)

What a pleasure. Such a small theatre and such a great, enthralling performance. I absolutely loved it! It's a 1hr40min show with no interval, but it flew past. I highly recommend going to see this group if you can. This was The Trucker's second show of theirs and he loved it as much as I did since it is constantly changing.

Even tho we were tired after the show, we decided to head off in search of a bar or pub, not as easy as you might think (I think it depends where you are and which direction you head ...). We eventually found a place called the Apple Restaurant and Bôm Bar and took a seat at the bar.

The Trucker ordered one of the beers on tap (an IPA). I decided to try one of their tasting plates (Bôm #3 Bass Pale Ale, Beer of the Month, Sapporo, Sierra Nevada). I, of course, had no idea what any of these were, but figured a tasting plate at not much more than the price of a regular beer was much more up my alley. Plus, this way I had 4 opportunities to like at least one of them ;) Before we left, The Trucker tried the Magic Hat #9, which we both quite liked.

Then we headed to the nearest M1 Bus Station. Which turned out to be more confusing than you can imagine.

Apparently we'd managed to pick the stop that was the End of the Line. Now, just so you understand, the map shows the line as pretty much a circle, a continuous loop. And absolutely NOTHING at the stop itself implied any such thing.

So, what this ended up meaning was we could not get on the bus. But we could cross the road, to the Start of the Line station and catch the bus that had turned us down as we tried to board prior to the one who kindly explained how this peculiar system worked to us. Because, I guess they stop for 10 minutes or something before starting the route again.

See, this was what reminded us of the fact that we couldn't just stay on the Staten Island Ferry earlier in the day, we had to wait 20mins and catch the next ferry that arrived. It's all very odd to me ...

Anyway, we got home at about 23h30 and went straight to sleep. What a long, fabulous day :)


MeeA said...

NYC is one of the top destinations on my bucket list. I love that you list so many places and food outlets to try and I can. not. WAIT to have my turn!
Looking forward to the next installment!

phillygirl said...

So glad you are enjoying it MeeA :) And there is *so* much more to come!

The Chantal said...

I'm also enjoying the trip segments :) Well I like all your posts heh heh. Sounds like an awesome trip, I would get sooooo fat living in the US.

Charleen said...

Great reading about your holiday adventures. Would definitely recommend Ellis Island if you go again. The Immigration Museum is very interesting and very touching.

phillygirl said...

@The Chantal - Glad you enjoy them :) And yup, so would I, I am too afraid to get on a scale and see how much damage I actually did this holiday ;) Haha

@Charleen - Unfort (spoiler alert) I didn't actually go to any museums in NY (cue gasps of shock & horror), because The Trucker has a very low museum-tolerance and there were others higher up on my must-do list for this whirlwind trip. But I adore them, so will definitely check it out (along with a few others) if I find myself back there, thanks :)

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