Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Today is another working day for us. We woke up early and went to Starbucks on Broadway for breakfast. To be honest, the coffee isn’t that great. As the home ground of Starbucks, I was expecting something better. Nevertheless, we had a good view of the busy streets of New York and the early hustling and bustling of people going to work.
Throughout the day we were occupied with various site visits around New York. We even went to the other boroughs such as Queens and Brooklyn.
In the evening, after everything is done, we took a stroll inside Central Park. The weather was just excellent for an afternoon walk. In terms of size, Central Park is way bigger than Hyde Park in London. We explored the southern part of the park and made a point to come back the following day.
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Today is our free day. We had breakfast at Europa Cafe at the corner of 7th Avenue and 57th Street. Turns out, despite the decent look, the food was quite bad. The coffee was horrible too. In fact, as at my 4th day in New York, I still haven’t find any good coffee in the city.
After breakfast, we went to the corner of Central Park to hire the citibikes. As we were reading the panel, a bunch of South Americans approached us. They explained how the citibike is not suitable for cycling in Hyde Park due to its 30 minute limit, and promoted their bicycle shop. They kinda made sense so we decided to go to their shop, which was on 58th Street (1 block from Central Park). They charged us USD20 per bike for 2 hours. I thought it was a good deal, and the bikes were good too.
We went cycling around Hyde Park and by the time we knew it, we had made one big circle around the park. The park is really massive and it has a number of interesting lookout points. As we were cycling near the eastern part of the park, I spotted the Central Park Zoo. Despite the small area, the zoo still has a sizeable number of interesting animals.
In the afternoon, my friends rented a car and went to Woodbury Premium Outlet. I decided not to join them as I wanted to take the city sightseeing bus tour and to spend some time looking for Aliaa’s stuff (she sent me her wishlist yesterday).
I took the bus tour package from GrayLine at 7th Avenue. The tour price was USD99 and it includes a 2 day bus tour ticket, including entrance to Statue of Liberty, New York Museum and Empire State Building. I started the tour by sitting on top of the bus to enjoy the view, but after a while, the scorching heat (it’s 31 degrees in NY that day) was too much to bear so I moved downstairs.
The tour guide gave some interesting commentary and I learnt a few things about the city. I got off at the City Hall stop and explored the area on foot. From there, I visited the 9/11 Memorial and then walked to Wall Street.
I was quite excited to finally be able to visit the famous financial center of the world. I saw the Federal Reserve of NY, the Federal Memorial and most importantly, the New York Stock Exchange. I was quite surprise to discover that the JP Morgan building is right opposite the Stock Exchange!
From there, I walked to the famous Wall Street Bull, also known as The Charging Bull. Unfortunately it was completely surrounded by tourists from China that I couldn’t even get near.
After that, I visited the National Museum of the American Indian. There was an interesting information panel at the entrance about “The Truth About Columbus”. The info panel explained that Columbus’ involvement in slave trade (among other things) were not mentioned in standard text books. Interesting to see this at a museum.
In the evening, I took the Subway and went to 5th Avenue to get some of Aliaa’s stuff. I went to Marimekko and later went to Bloomingdale’s (on 3rd Avenue). I have heard of Bloomingdale’s before coming to New York. After visiting the mall, I guess Bloomingdale’s is comparable to Selfridges in London.