Now I have visited NYC before albeit a very brief trip (even briefer than this one), the things that surprised me this time were:-
A – this is the busiest month of the year for (Manhattan) NY, relatives come in, tourists come in, December holly time, and December bonus means there is a whole lotta’ folk in Manhattan. Yet London (especially around Oxford Street / Harrods etc ..) this time of year feels far more crowded. Which is also surprising given Manhattan is only 12 miles long x 2 miles wide.
B – I saw two shows on Broadway .. despite ‘broadway’ running almost the full 12 mile length, with almost 40 theatres, only 3 of these are considered ‘broadway’. The rest of the official ‘broadway theatres’ are off broadway, and just meet the right criteria to be classified, (never new that till now)....
BTW - First show, book of Mormon, I have NEVER laughed so hard at a show.. if this ever comes you way .. see it. Second Warhorse, I have NEVER wept so hard at a show, this was truly gut wrenching, it is mainly, puppetry but hands down beats any show I have seen. I shed one tear at the end of the first act, and did not stop crying from the start of the second. The puppetry is so life like, you are truly swept up in it all.. I have seen blood brothers a few times now, only once at the west end, and it left me so emotionally drained I felt physically weak, this is the same.
C – despite the world claiming how expensive NY is, I went apartment hunting for a couple of hours, with a friend from Chicago who is relocating, and I can officially say that a 1 bed with a central park view is better value than a 1 bed in Marylebone.
D – tipping is out of control, tip jars everywhere, even before you receive service, i.e. I ordered a hot chocolate and macaroon, and before I had been served / eaten there was a tip jar as I paid up front … I was also surprised that tipping is banned at Newark airport, no tip jars and yet the guys at Newark I reckon’ provided the best service I received in the states, (lesson in that) I was even invited to hang with one girl (who I just bought water from) and her mates from work at her crib !! .. loved it … and loved that the guy that checked my bag in greeted me with … yo wassup sista’ .. true stories ! (sorry UK, I also gotta say that this trip has been a HUGE reminder about how bad service can be in the UK, a friend returning to Australia has just shared the same sentiments) ...
So … what did I cover, Times Square, Empire State, Top of the Rock (better than empire state due to views of Central Park), soul food Harlem, Christmas lunch at the Waldorf, World Trade Centre, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Canal street (fake louis’ anyone), Tribeca, Jersey, Battery Park, Ellis Island, subway, Greenwich Village, SoHo and NoHo, Tribeca.
Pictures of NYC
Statue of Liberty, New York general street scenes, World Trade Centre, Rivers of NY, Top of the Rock (30 Rockefeller), Central Park (very wet)
Seeing the rebuild of the world trade centre was both eerie and inspiring, and I often get confused about things, like the boxing day tsunami that took hundreds of thousands of lives, and the devastation in Japan, and yet the destruction of world trade 10 years on, still has such an emotional impact. My tears and the tears of those around me looking at the rebuild were completely spontaneous, sharing that sort of grief with a group of strangers who all understood exactly and shared exactly others feelings was very very moving.