Monday, 18 August 2014

USA Day 23. Statue of Liberty

(I saw so much today I'm not sure what to call this update: Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial, Chinatown, Little Italy, Bryant Park, Grand Central Station?)
Today was another jam packed day where I managed to fit in an absolutely ton of stuff. However I made sure to take the morning easy with a lovely stroll along the river walk which runs along the west side of Manhattan and is a little slice of greenery that is much quieter than Central Park
 I sipped my morning chai tea (which I picked up from a local coffee shop - not Starbucks, despite their over abundance) and just took in the greenery and mentally planned what I wanted to do today
 You can still see the sun rising! Thats how early I got up today so I'd be ready to take on a big chunk of the city
 I walked about 20 blocks before I hopped on the subway as I figured the easiest route for today was to start at the bottom and walk my way up! I jumped on the red line and stayed on right to the end before getting off at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal!
 massive sign incase you weren't sure where you were
 I'd say 95% of people who catch the ferry do it get a look at the statue of Liberty for free. It runs from Manhattan to Staten Island roughly every half an hour and you get pretty close to the Statue of Liberty
 Or at least close enough for a quick photo or two. I did think about taking one of the tours to Liberty Island, but to be honest I was quite content with just seeing her and grabbing a photo
 The view of the Manhattan Skyline from the ferry wasn't too bad either!
 Once the ferry lands you have to get off and wait for the next one to leave, so I popped to the Statue of Liberty Deli and decided to pick up a Large Iced Tea (since I was dying of dehydration)

 I wasn't quite expecting it to be the size of my head though! I actually finished it all before I got back on the ferry so it's probably a good thing it was so massive...
 While waiting for the ferry I whipped out my map to figure out where I was walking to once I got back to Manhattan and took in the view of the skyscrapers in lower Manhattan 
 I have quite a few photos of me in front of the statue of liberty but on the way back the upper deck was much quieter so I managed to get one without other people's limbs sneaking into the shot
 Once we landed I headed up Broadway trying to hunt down Wall Street!
 I loved Lower Manhattan with the beautiful buildings and bustling atmosphere.
 There were also a mountain of museums and plaques to stop and look at

 Including this giant Bull that I found hilarious 

 I'm not too sure what to make of Wall Street itself, but I'm glad I stopped by and saw all the security milling about!
 Looking West up Wall Street towards Broadway
 After stopping at Wall Street it was off to find the 9/11 Memorial that I'd heard so much about
 The memorial was packed with hundreds and hundreds of people gathering around. 
I have to say though, the atmosphere wasn't what I was expecting at all. I saw so many people taking 'selfies' and getting their friends to take photos of them looking 'sad' in front of the memorial. I just found it weird and distasteful.
The memorial tiself I think is quite lovely and can be pretty poignant, but the intense crowd and 'touristy' element kind of detracted from it's purpose. Apparently the 9/11 museum is much more touching with an appropriate tone but I didn't really want to go into a museum on such a life-changing terrorist attack. So I took my own photo, and after trying to reflect I just left as despite being a memorial it's filled with people wanting to take their photo and just move onto the next tourist attraction. 
  After the memorial I carried on up Broadway, stopping in Sephora where I tried on some make up, and headed further East to City Hall Park.
 The fountain was beautiful and apparently the first decretive fountain in the USA!

 After enjoying the sun in City Hall Park I carried on northward to the Municipal Building - which was pretty massive!
 The Municipal Building was a lot bigger than I was expecting and certainly dominates the area
 A few more twists and turns later brought me to Chinatown!
Yes I know I've been to tons of Chinatowns now, but I still like shopping by as there's always so much going on and just so much 'life' crammed into a tiny area. NYC's Chinatown wasn't what i was expecting but I'm still glad I made the time to dawdle down the busy streets. 
 There's fruit stalls dotted all over the city (which I loved) but they were definitely congregating in Chinatown selling all sorts of random fruit 

 The streets certainly packed a lot of character into them, with every inch celebrating a chinese heritage
 you don't want to know what these are.
 I thought this was hilarious. There obviously has to be a McDonalds (presumably for tourists who don't want to try the Chinese food) so they attempted to make it blend in with Chinatown!
 massive jack fruits for sale
 I popped into 'Beautiful Memory Desserts' to get something for lunch and it was a great pick (if i do say so myself!) It was a tiny family run little store with lovely service and quite a wide selection of traditional, and fusion desserts for you to try out. 
I can't remember what mine was called but it was iced mango stuff with green tea ice cream and it was completely delicious! And perfect after spending the morning in the hot and humid New York streets!
 From Chinatown I crossed the road into Little Italy!
 Although the two have definitely got very blended edges there is a distinct difference as soon as you cross the road! Italian flags, bistros, wineries and bars line the streets and I definitely heard a lot of people speaking italitan! 
 I still love the fire escapes that adorn so many of the building here - it's just such a 'New York' thing!
 Then it was another ride on the Subway (thought I'd take a photo so you can see the beautiful stations..) up to Macy's!
This department store is the biggest in the world - so I obviously had to pop in for a browse!
 It was definitely impressive, although weirdly I didn't see a single thing I wanted!
 right outside there were, obviously, some religious people with posters and banners - I've gotten used to it as they really are all over the USA. Although I've noticed a few more in NYC than San Francisco
 There was also a guy teaching people to dance for a donation! it looked really fun and he had a pretty long queue of people waiting in line to take part!
I walked up to Bryant Park where, unbeknown to me, there was a music festival thing going on! So I got a free bag of cheesy popcorn and some water. Oh and some hand sanitiser which is always nice!
 The park was also hosting a few stalls selling different food, all of which looked delicious
 I got incredibly excited when I saw this particular stall though! Firstly it's a Dana's bakery Stall. I was reading about them the week before I came to NYC and I really wanted to go but their main shop isn't in Manhattan and I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it out there. I figured I just wouldn't get to try some of her legendarily pretty andtast macaroons!
 So it felt a bit like fate when I stumble across their stall and they have one, ONE, macaroon left in the flavour I wanted to try the most! Try and tell me that wasn't fate.

So… I bought a Birthday Cake Macaroon that was beautiful, and had glitter on it. And it was delicious
 I thought this gave you a little idea of just how busy NYC is - this isn't even particularly busy, nor is it the heart of the busy district!
After eating my macron I had one more thing on my to do list before I headed back to hostel and curled into a tired ball and slept - Grand Central Station!
Although, not before I had a look at the stunning Chrysler Building that is just gorgeously art deco!
Grand Central Station!
 Inside was stunning, and a little bit of a labyrinth! To get an idea of the scale look at the people walking at the bottom of the photo!
 After wandering about a bit I did eventually find the main hall and it was very beautiful!
 Obviously I needed a photo of myself in Grand Central Station!
 After soaking up the hectic atmosphere of grand Central Station I wearily headed back to 103rd st W where I proceeded to climb into bed and pass out I was so tired! Another super busy day planned for tomorrow! I plan of fitting in as much as possible while in NYC!!

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