Day 88 – 5th October (New York)

Decided to skip breakfast so as to make an earlier start.

Plan was to visit Battery Park, right down at the southern tip of Manhattan, which had been the idea yesterday until we were waylaid by BigBus Tours.

The walk there provided us with pictures of two New York icons.

One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western hemisphere, built after the 9/11 terrorist attack
The Charging Bull, representing the financial markets of New York. This is incredibly popular – no idea why

Battery Park was a nice area, without being particularly special.

Built to defend New York Harbour, but never saw any action
Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island from Battery Park
Skyline from Battery Park
A truly impressive monument
Tributes to US Navy sailors from World War 2

A short walk then took us to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. This ferry is probably best known for being a) free b) a great way to get pictures of the Manhattan skyline.

It’s a huge ferry, carrying thousands of people back and forth for a 25 minute journey to the surprisingly large Staten Island every half-hour.

Waiting for the ferry

Despite the gloomy, albeit dry, weather, there were indeed some wonderful views of New York skyscrapers and other stuff.

We passed the Statue of Liberty
Ferry doing the reverse journey
Verrazzano Narrows Bridge? Not sure
Another bridge
Approach to Staten Island

Disembarked and went looking for a coffee, the main objective now having being achieved of taking the ferry in the first place.

This proved impossible. The area immediately around the terminal is, frankly, grotty. Retail opportunities galore and really quite ugly. The one café we found could only provide us with really sickly sweet dessert style food, and sugar was the last thing we wanted. Another café indicated on Google Maps did not exist.

Really discouraged, we caught the next ferry back again and found a coffee and croissant within 5 minutes of landing.

While here, I booked a visit online to the OneWorld Observatory at the World Trade Center tower aforementioned for tomorrow, as the weather is looking far better, plus a trip to the associated 9/11 museum. So at least we now have a plan for our last full day on the American continent.

One of Jean’s walking friends had recommended a visit to Grand Central Station as it’s reputed to be an architectural marvel. We therefore took the subway uptown to have a look. Getting more confident now – we were able to use the balance left on the Metro Card given to us by our friend from yesterday who was so helpful in getting us from Penn Station downtown.

We were not disappointed. An extraordinary edifice.

Thank you, Helen Kennedy, for pointing us in this direction.

Jean had always wanted to visit Central Park. This is quite a way north of Grand Central Station, and the presence of so many skyscrapers really interfered with the GPS signal for Google Maps. After much swearing and frustration, we worked it out and walked 25 minutes up 5th Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Rockefeller Centre, both of which, ironically, we saw yesterday.

Central Park is great. Wonderful to get away from the skyscrapers and the noise.

Another humongous unidentified church
General Sherman statue
Park surrounded by skyscrapers
Bethesda Terrace

Time came to head back downtown. Managed to find our way out to the west of Central Park to the station at 72nd Street.

We’d identified an Irish pub for dinner very near the hotel, just for a change. Rather disappointing, to be honest. Tasty enough, but definitely not cooked from scratch. Filled a hole, but expensive. Won’t be going there again….

A proud moment. I was able to explain to a German couple where they had to go to get to their destination on the subway. 😇 I also managed to top up the Metro Card with enough to get us back downtown. Maybe I’m beginning to know what I’m doing. Maybe.

Back to the hotel for a final nightcap at the still lively bar before getting our heads down.

Plan in place for tomorrow, for a change. Let’s hope it all works out OK. Check in, won’t you?

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