Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tuesday May 19, Day TWO in NYC

Today, Tuesday, we took the express bus down to the Staten Island Ferry, walked to it through Battery Park, which was lovely, and then took the ferry .... yes I went on a holiday and actually took a free ferry ride! It was very much like the little ferries that go to Quadra or Denman. But it went past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We chose not to take the paid ferry that stops there and lets you get out because you can’t go in the Statue and the picture taking is better from out on the water, and Ellis Island isn’t open all the time. But that little ride was well worth it because the statue is really quite striking and you get the feeling of what it must have been like to see it when you were running away from your homeland and getting to somewhere you thought would be better. And the view of the Manhatten skyline from out on that ferry was really spectacular.

When we got back to the Manhattan side, we got on another bus and took the loop tour to Brooklyn. It was a closed bus and so comfy that Linda drifted off and had a cat nap for a little while! Brooklyn was interesting but it too is undergoing “gentrification” and they are tearing down the old character buildings and replacing them with buildings that hold more apartments in the same land space because Manhattan is getting impossible to live in unless you’re Donald Trump or Bill Gates. More and more people want to live in Brooklyn, which is across a bridge. The best part of the whole tour was the brownstone houses that used to be tenement apartment buildings and have been bought up by individuals and made into single family homes. Those streets were so lovely with big trees and cobblestones and I am so ticked off because my pictures of them didn’t turn out. I had to take them through the window of the bus and they don’t stop there or let you out.....I guess because it’s people’s private homes and I wouldn’t like tour buses going up and down my street yakking away over their speakers either!
We got off the bus in a nice little area and had a great lunch in a very busy restaurant, and then got back on the bus to return to Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful. We didn’t go over it. We’re going walk over it tomorrow or the next day. It only allows cars. It was built for traffic that was much lighter and has had to have girders put under it since the invention of SUV’s because the weight of them is more than the bridge is engineered to hold! So the buses go under it, around it and over the Manhattan Bridge which is a newer one about two blocks away. I can’t remember which one it was, but one of them had the piece on the land begin to sink so they had to do construction around it to shore it up!
After the tour of Brooklyn we got off at the seaport. There is a ticket agent there and Angie and Linda wanted to go to a Broadway show. You go there at 11:00 and buy whatever’s left for whatever show is on that night at a fraction of the price. I was with them but I didn’t want to go. I don’t like musicals and am not into drama and the show was “West Side Story”. I might have gone if it was “Lion King” because the costumes in the posters all over the place are pretty incredible. And definitely if it had been Cirque de Soleil. When I said I had seen the movie when it came out Ang and Linda were both astounded......I guess the 10 year difference in our ages was showing then!
So when the bus got back to Times Square, we came to our hotel room and relaxed for a while with our favorite libations. We plotted out tomorrow.
Right now they have gone to the show. I walked there with them and walked back alone. Holy Cow. We were all shocked! I guess we’ve been moving around the streets while everyone is at work and it’s not as busy in the daytime, although I have to say I thought it was…..but little did I know! When we got out there at 6 pm to walk over to the theatre we were all astounded at the press of people. The streets are jam packed and you can’t move other than in pace with everyone. I bet if you stopped, you’d get trampled before anyone noticed! And noisy!!!! Horns, music, announcements, hawkers, buses, you name it. You couldn’t talk to each other it was so noisy! Bob would have found a nook and hidden until it died down and then run for home! I have to say I wouldn’t want to live that way either. Interesting and exciting for a vacation but not something you’d want to deal with all the time.
While we were in the room discussing what to do tomorrow, Angie asked if it was what we expected it to be. I said “No, not really.” Linda agreed wholeheartedly. She said not her either. We are all enjoying the experience of seeing it all, but it’s sort of like Banff. Banff is a Canadian National Park, but it is Japanese people who hardly speak our language in all the stores and restaurants and hotels. NYC is the same thing. Except it’s African, Puerto Rican, or Oriental and they are very hard to understand even tho they are trying to speak English! The people who work in stores, restaurants, the street vendors ....all of them are from somewhere else. So we’re all disappointed not to be hearing any of the New York accent we were looking forward to hearing. I think you’d have to stay with someone in one of the outer burroughs to get much exposure to that. But I have to say, we’ve been met with nothing but totally friendly and helpful people, in the service areas, on the public transit and when asking directions. Not one negative people experience. I wonder could someone say that about my home town? I’d like to think so!

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