Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fairytale of New York - Day 3

Starting the day with a hangover was far from fun, but there was no time to whinge about it – there was a city outside our hotel that demanded attention. So after I'd downed some Alka-Seltzer we shakily made our way around the corner to the Malibu Diner for a much-needed breakfast.

I looked at all the choices on the menu, each description making me hungrier than the last, and I finally settled on scrambled eggs with bacon, potatoes and toast. Unfortunately the menu was not having the same effect on the Yorkshireman. Be it through a hangover-related inability to function, or just misunderstanding the broadly-accented waiter’s attempts to dissuade him from his choice, my poor husband ended up with a mound of chicken in mayonnaise atop a big leaf of lettuce for breakfast. Bless him. My breakfast was perfect hangover food and I felt much better after it. The Yorkshireman conceded that, “for what it was”, his was nice too. We later established that he’d only been reading the brunch menu and didn’t fancy any of the greasy-sounding meals on that, so he’s missed the entire page of breakfasts in the actual menu, some of which were definitely up his street. Oh well, there was always next time, and after tasting those yummy potatoes, there would definitely be a next time!

Breakfast over we headed out into the subway. This was to be our Central Park day and what a day it was, with warm temperatures (17-20°C) and blue skies. You would have thought it was maybe September rather than November. There was something going on with the subway line we were travelling on that morning and we ended up 13 streets North of where we had intended to go, but luckily for us Central Park is kind of huge and there just so happened to be another entrance not far from our unplanned stop.

We entered Central Park at 72nd Street, near Strawberry Fields. We didn’t really hang around here long, neither of us being big John Lennon fans, so we walked on and grabbed a couple of bottles of water from a very surly man at one of the stalls. I may have been equally surly back. New York in general brought out my impatient, city girl side, which I think may have intimidated the Yorkshireman somewhat at times. Culchie ;-)

We walked through the Park for hours that day and we saw a lot of things. The first real scenic views we had were over the Lake towards Bow Bridge. You could even climb on to a massive slab of rock for a better look. It was serene (squawking tourists excepted) and beautiful, yet strange with all the skyscrapers on the skyline. From there we walked into the Ramble, which would be a good place for an interesting walk, but with the heat and our hangovers still hanging around, we cut short our own little walk through the wooded area.

Belvedere Castle was next. We didn’t go into the Castle itself but the views over the park and uptown Manhattan from the terrace area below it were lovely. As we continued our walk we stopped briefly to enjoy a jazz duet entertaining the park-goers and look at the Romeo and Juliet statue outside the Delacorte Theatre.

The Great Lawn was next and, as the name suggests, it was indeed rather massive. We decided to walk up the middle, dodging softballs and frisbees as we went. At the top of the Great Lawn was the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. I’ve seen people jogging around the Reservoir on TV (well, on Sex and the City anyway) and it was cool to see that actually it’s a real slice of real New York life, as we got caught up in a mass of joggers exercising in the sun. Eventually we found a little path that ran down behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art and had a rest on a bench by the Cleopatra’s Needle obelisk, listening to another great jazz musician play the saxophone under a bridge.

When we finally had the energy to move again we walked down towards the Alice in Wonderland Statue, at which point I spied a coffee shop and decided I needed caffeine rightnowthissecond! And so we had a latté (me) and an iced tea (the Yorkshireman) by the Conservatory Water model boat pond, watching people sail their remote control boats and the tiny little pond-dwelling fish fight for the small bits of food people were dropping in.

After our drinks and a restroom break (where I was stuck in a queue behind some crazy woman in a bright pink Juicy Couture tracksuit who wouldn’t touch anything with her hands... seriously, to the extent of opening the stall door with her foot), we headed towards Bethesda Terrace and the Fountain. I’d read online that Bethesda Terrace is often considered to be the main hub of the Park, where there is always something going on, and it really was like that. There were various entertainers and lots of people just chilling out, enjoying the sun and the views.

Next we headed down the Mall, where I couldn’t help but notice from walking among them just how many conversations between groups of women were about men. No offence to the male of the species but surely there’s something better to talk about on a beautiful sunny day? After a couple of detours we wound up watching the ice-skaters at the Wollman Rink, while I enjoyed hot (well, warmish) apple – all very festive!

We had planned to go to Central Park Zoo that afternoon too but time had gotten away from us and our feet were tired, so we decided to walk down 6th Avenue back to the hotel and check out the area. We stopped by at the NHL Powered by Reebok store to pick up a few hockey-themed souvenirs for ourselves and for my sister, who’s been an NHL fan for as long as she’s been able to stay up til 5am to watch it.

We’d been on our feet most of the day by this stage and hadn’t eaten since breakfast (time really does fly in New York!) so we were on the lookout for somewhere cheap and cheerful to sit down and grab a bite to eat. Eventually one of us jokingly suggested McDonalds (we’re not usually fans) but we were so tired we figured why not try out a McDonalds in America – they’re supposed to be better than our rubbish UK ones anyway. And actually we were pleasantly surprised to find that this one was! A later experience in Times Square kind of undid this location’s good work in the end but at the time we had a wonderful Swiss cheese and mushroom Angus burger with a thick vanilla shake – yummy!

After our quick fast food stop we wearily headed back the rest of the way to our hotel. After we flopped down on the comfortable bed it seemed impossible to move very far, so we decided to order takeout to our room for dinner. We used MenuPages to find somewhere that looked good and then SeamlessWeb to order and had no problems whatsoever. We ordered from a place called Noodles 28 and enjoyed our massive portions of Chinese food whilst watching a movie on SyFy called ‘The Lost Future’ (starring Sean Bean), which was so bad it was almost good. Almost.

So that was Saturday. Whilst planning our itinerary, Sunday had become affectionately known as “camp day” (for reasons that will become apparent), so in preparation we took our fabulous asses to bed for some beauty sleep.

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