Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 34 - Midtown and NYC library

I had a very lazy morning considering that nothing in NYC opens until 10am so I could relax and ease into the day.  Also I didn’t want too intense of day considering I had a massive day ahead tomorrow seeing the Statue of Liberty.
Broadway on Upper West Side at 86th Street  
So I walked over to Broadway and caught the subway from there and decided since it was blue sky and sunshine I would tackle mid-town with a blue sky shot of grand central. Yes I know I am sad.
Bryant Park  
So I caught a different subway because I was down at Broadway…  I can’t believe there is a gap store within 10 mins of me…  I am going to have to tackle that ….
Chrysler Building 
So when I got to my subway stop I lost all sense of direction and ended up in the wrong direction but then worked out I was in the wrong direction but seriously hello shopping heaven!!!!
Grand Central Station 
Strolled through Bryant Park and ended up coming out down near the Chrysler building but by this time it was cloudy and so I took a couple of shots since I got better photos the fortnight before.  So I headed back up towards Grand Central annoyed that I couldn’t get blue sky photos … oh Sephora up ahead look out!!!  Haha
New York Public Library - Channel Sex in the City
Then I hear “hey there Aussie” … no other than Steve… couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t even notice the bus – how could I miss that but then again there were busses up and down the street.  Tried to talk him into having lunch but he couldn’t leave the bus so I offered to go get lunch for him and bring it back since he had about an hour to wait.
New York Public Library - Channel Sex in the City
Headed into grand central and tackled the grand central food court and got his weird sandwich concoction and me a yummy salad but restrained myself from magnolia bakery.  We enjoyed lunch and actually exchanged contact information which will probably get him in trouble but officially I was no longer a guest.
New York Public Library  
So it will be interesting to see if he will use it.  Said goodbye to him as his next tour guests were trickling back … I got the feeling he didn’t want to say goodbye but who knows.
New York Public Library - Original Foundations 
Let’s face it I am bad at this stuff...  but he did mention he wanted to catch up with me the day I flew out let’s see if it happens and he can take me to the airport with all my heavy bags…  haha
The beautiful books ...  
I took off for Sephora … hello heaven … made a couple of must needed purchases including my twinnys birthday present…  well part of it…  then got my birthday gift since it was only 2 days away.  I love love Sephora…  haha I am such a makeup girl…
Part of the main reading room 
Took off to the New York library which is being refurbished at the moment so couldn’t fully appreciate the beauty of the building but past the lions patience and fortitude into the amazing main hall.
New York Public Library - Main reading room of the library
I love sex in the city as we all know so I can imagine Carrie running down those stairs when she realises that Big is standing her up at the altar. 
New York Public Library - Main reading room 
I managed to get myself into a free tour around the library with the most boring man I have ever heard but it was hard to hear him because it was such a large area and soft voice.
the Encyclopaedia section
He was very knowledgeable but that doesn’t always make for the best tour guide. But what I did learn is that this was the Main branch of the NYC public library and they don’t actually lend books from here. While you can access the books etc you can’t actually take them out.  It was the first named historic landmark in the 1960’s.
One of the earliest versions of the bible  
But I did get to the see the main reading room which was amazing and simply legendary.  The map room along with the marble walls to seeing the original foundations it is worth doing to the tour.  So if you have the time while you are there it is a great FREE tour.
Main hall of Library 
I headed after that to visit B&H but on the way I wandered to one of the discount shopping places but it was too much of mess to even begin to tackle and I could always come back.
Main hall of library 
So finally got myself to B&H Camera ….. And can I say OMG… talk about overwhelming and you aren’t even allowed to take bags in… I was allowed to take my wallet, camera but no water.
A display in the upper level
But the place is seriously overwhelming and intense but I have to say if you ever want to see some seriously interesting types it is the best place. While it is not a place to look for a man if you are single is all I am going to say because you have to be careful what you say on the web. Haha. 

Channelling Gossip Girl here  
To listen to the conversations and everything … It was so weird.  I went to get some camera cards… seriously 8GB for $20 and they were the HD ones for my camera couldn’t believe it especially when I paid $54 the fortnight for a 4GB one.
I would have caught a cab down here 2 weeks prior if I had known that.  While that guy was really knowledge and great… the next guy that I saw about a new lens well he was a little bit condescending when I looking for a smaller lens which made me NOT want to buy.  I get that they serve so many people every day but I am still learning and needed help so be nice and treat everyone equally.
So went down to the register area and they deliver the goods through a conveyor system which I have to say was a little bit cool. When I finally got out of photography heaven it was pouring with rain and freezing cold.
Shopping heaven
But made my way along 7th ave past the Madison Square Garden, the New Yorker which is another famous NYC landmark and found myself at 34th street and Broadway … shopping heaven Macys!!!  7 floors of heaven…
aaaahhh I love 5th Ave   
so went in for a hot chocolate to warm me up and get my discount shopping card from the customer service counter because Macys offer a discount shopping to international guests which would come in handy later. 
The bottom of the ESB - so retro 
Caught the subway to 59th street to Columbus circle to go shopping at wholefoods … OMG this place was maniac but I was surprised how reasonably priced the food was.  While some of it was definitely overpriced it was on average what we pay for our normal food here.
Empire State Building - ESB 
But I have to say Soy choc mint ice cream … never AGAIN…  ewww but I got some stuff for the next few days and enjoyed. By the time I left hauling my shopping bags it was freezing cold so I was going back to the apartment to warm up. 
Inside Macys 
So I headed back to the apartment because it was soooo cold and I was just getting grumpy and tired after walking around for nearly 7 hours.  
Madison Square Garden 
So I finished some photo uploading and finished a blog post  and headed off to bed early so I could head to Statue of Liberty nice and early. this is the blog post that got finished this day and photos posted... Interruption to our normal viewing
New York icon - The new yorker hotel

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 33 - First Full Day in NYC

Woke up feeling very lazy and not at all motivated to get out so I went back to sleep for another hour or so, just because I could.
Late Afternoon in Times Square 
It was the first time in weeks I had done that because I had been always up for bag pulls or such limited time to see somewhere so I didn’t sleep in apart from the days at the B&B.
Times Square - Hershey 
So awake and refreshed so I unpacked and put everything in the drawers and cupboards so I could literally live like a human. So I took my bottle of water and went for a walk around Jacqueline Onassis reservoir only wishing I had brought my camera but it was kind of nice just to enjoy.
Times Square 
Then headed back to the apartment and grabbed the little trolley and went for a walk to find the Laundromat by this stage I was starving but given that I was dragging my washing through Harlem I decided I would turn around and go the other way then find somewhere when my washing was going through. So I waited until I found the Laundromat, put the washing on and investigated some of NYC famous delis and got myself some food because by then I could eat a horse. 
Times Square  
Settled in to do the washing and did some blog writing and emails while I was at the Laundromat.  I have to say while the washers are quick you have to watch the dryers and that is where the price goes up and up so I will keep an eye on that for next time.
Times Square 
But It was a real experience in being one of NYC Laundromat and it is an awesome place to people watch. Even made a friend with a gal who lived up near 59th St but works up this way and it was so cool to be sitting there chatting and getting to know each other.
Broadway at the Phantom of the Opera  
I took myself back to the apartment through the beautiful brownstone streets and the awesome fall colours falling around me.  I officially fell in love with NYC at that moment.  I really wished I had my camera with me. 
the famous shake shack 
I got myself ready and straightened the hair although it took me a while to work where to plug the hair straightener in.  Then headed down to the subway for the first time since I arrived 2 weeks prior.
But first thing first I had to buy was my fortnightly subway ticket for all of $52 – seriously $52!!! How awesome is that… we just wouldn’t pay that here it is ridiculous and I could go out to Brooklyn, Queens everywhere on the MTA grid and ride as much as I wanted for as long as I wanted every day.  We pay way too much for our public transport here.
at the TKTS stairs  
Headed through Times Square to the hotel and waited for the Welsh crew to arrive.  I saw quite a few of the tour friends coming back from their day adventures and got to catch up with some of them again also gave me a chance to get to know some of them a bit better.
Times Square
But the Welsh crew never showed L we got our wires crossed she thought I was meeting them at the Empire state building and I thought it was the lobby of the hotel.
American Eagle at Times Square
But I didn’t want to leave in case they came back but I waited until 7.30pm but decided to head to Times Square and adventure around there at night time. While I sad not to see them for a last time but I knew I was going next week once the pass set in. 
Giggle! Thinking of you gals! 
I decided to have a burger at one of the places at time square but I have to say … so overpriced and never again… while yes it was a gourmet one it was still horribly expensive and I couldn’t eat all of it. $30 and my very full stomach and I headed back to the apartment. I have to say riding the subway of a night is an experience but I felt perfectly safe.
Times Square
The one thing I did learn that night apart from working out the difference between uptown and downtown - thanks Judah for the help with that - but to get in the very front carriage since the subway goes for like 3 city blocks so it is sooooo long.
Looking down Broadway  
So I learnt that if I got the first one I could walk straight out to the stairs and walk home in like 3 mins. I felt perfectly safe and carefree in my hood.  I love my piece of New York heaven! I fell asleep that night listening to the noises of the big city smiling because it was finally real.

Times Square

Looking towards Empire State Building 
Times Square
Times Square
Times Square  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 32 - Washington to Philadelphia and finally home to NYC

Well today is a sad day as this is my last official day on tour… I have to say goodbye to some genuinely awesome people on the Cosmos Grand Canadian Vacation and Eastern Cities.  
Downtown Philly 
Also I had to finish my evaluation and I spent a rare morning at breakfast with everyone in the dining room but madly trying to write and fair and concise evaluation.  Vicki mentioned that I was all business that morning otherwise they would have sat with me…  haha sorry vick I would have loved it but apparently I had my business serious face on.
the Heritage Walk
I had a bit of dilemma going on…  I wanted to sit with Marie and the Rif Raf and if we had a seat close to the front I wanted to see us arriving into New York and also spend my last few hours with the beautiful Christina.  So when I found out we had the front row I sat at the front. Although I did feel a bit guilty only sitting there for the front seat but I did want to enjoy a different possie for once.
All about the liberty Bell  
We arrived in Philly for a quick 2 hour stop and toilet break as well.  We got dropped off at the information centre which allowed for a toilet break and I could finally download my emails from the past 3 days and saw the call for action for the Global Illumination Ball which I obviously couldn’t make. I did feel sad for all the volunteering opportunities I was missing but obviously there was nothing I could do given that I was away for the whole of pink month.
All about the liberty Bell 
We wandered through the Liberty bell exhibit after the obligatory security check.  The liberty bell has special significance because it was rang out at the reading of the declaration of independence and it also first cracked for the first time shortly after it arrived in Philly in 1752. It was recast but it actually crack again but they decided not to fix it this time.
Liberty Bell  
I was going to visit independence hall but the line was a little long and since the line at the liberty bell took so long I wanted to go to old town Philly which was a bit of a walk away. But I wandered through the park area at the back of the hall.
Independence Hall 
Some weirdo decided to offer me pot… are you serious?  Really you have to be kidding me! And then started hassling me and a security guy came up to make sure I was ok and then a cop…  my god that was fast… but they moved the guy on pretty fast so I decided not to hang around and head to old town.
In front of the Independence Hall 
The cop did give me a warning not to talk to anyone just walk … while the walk was ok the area apparently isn’t that great just near it.  The beautiful old buildings and the cobblestones made for a very pretty walk and I loved the old buildings but I wasn’t hassled by anyone. 
Independence Hall  
Also I did walk past Penns Landing which is where William Penn first landed in 1652 which was a pretty area and if I had more time I would have investigated and explored more. Then I finally made it to the old city, which is where they have maintained some of the old buildings and homes in Elfrerths Alley. This little alley is the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the USA.  It was a large blue collar neighbourhood originally and then a lot of the Irish moved in the late 1800’s which some of the generations still live in the houses today.
Penns Landing 
It was so quaint but I do feel for any owners that live there because of the continual flow of tourism in the area. There were these cute little off shoots off the lane covered with ivy and so quaint and pretty. Even in some of these alleys there are signs warning of preserving the privacy of the resident’s right near a beautiful old water fountain. I loved it and wished I could have stayed longer but I had to get back for the bus.
in the Old City  
Although I did see Linda and Roy on the way there … I was surprised given that we only had 15mins until we had to be at the bus.  
Scarlet Bride 
While I was walking back I stumbled across this store called the Scarlet bride which was a seriously cute and I just wish I had more time otherwise I would have spent ages in there.  
Scarlet Bride 
It was a bridal favour store and the wants and needs of the bride.
Scarlet Bride  
Made it back to the bus just in time… and a quick photo stop with Steve..  Have to have a memory of the ole flirt especially since the bus drivers are so important to all of the trips. Needed one of him since I had one of Salena only seemed fair.  Haha … although he made a comment that my back was all wet .  Christina stood up for me and said well it was hot and humid no wonder along with the fact I had just power walked through the city.  Pfftt how rude…
We wound our way back to NYC and me trying to text Judah so I could make sure he was aware that we were coming home a bit earlier than planned … almost 2 hours earlier.  But I figured I would just dump the bags and go off and explore.
Elfreth's Alley
First stop though was the airport…  I wish I had gone down the back to make time say goodbye to the girls but spent most of the time organising email addresses etc so I could email the photo to everyone.  Because before we knew it we were at Newark to offload the ones leaving that day.  I had to say a quick goodbye to everyone which stopped me from getting too teary which was good.  I did not want to be a sobbing mess inside the bus especially with a goodbye to the Rif Raf and Vicki and Kim.
Elfreth's Alley
We entered the city via the Holland tunnel and it is amazing to watch the madness of the driving.  But before I knew it we were pulling up in front of the hotel and it was all over too soon.  I didn’t want to say my final goodbyes but time was up and we had to.
Elfreth's Alley
Last minute checks to make sure I didn’t forget anything and I gave Steve  a hug and peck on the cheek.  A reminder from him not to forget him…
Elfreth's Alley 
Waited a little while so Judah had some more to prepare the apartment for me. Arranged with the welsh crew to catch up with them all tomorrow night so I could join them at the top of the Empire State. 
Elfreth's Alley
Took one last photo with the beautiful Christina and did my final goodbyes.  Then made it into the taxi and headed uptown to the upper west side. I was officially on my own in the big bad city. 
Elfreth's Alley
It hadn’t really hit me until I was in the taxi flying past all the landmarks and heading further into the suburbs of New York City.  It truly is an amazing city that it changes from block to block.  
Elfreth's Alley
I just couldn’t believe it was actually time for me to be by myself in the big city.  It felt strange and hard to take in that I was going to live in the city for the next 2 weeks by myself.
Leaving and heading towards NYC 
So I got to the address which was crowded with the school mums and a big fire engine.  But I couldn’t believe the fact that we had travelled about 40 blocks and it was only $8 cab fare.  That wouldn’t happen here.  
Central Park about the playground near the apt 
I got to the address but I couldn’t find the apt because it was brownstone so sent a text to Judah but I wasn’t getting really worried that the apt didn’t exist which was the one thing I was concerned about booking through airbnb.  But he was out within seconds and helped with all my bags and we did all the introductions. But he wanted more time to finish cleaning etc but it was nice to finally meet him and sort out everything so I could be there uninterrupted for the next 2 weeks. 
Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir
I went off to explore central park and let mum and dad know the usa apt number by text but I have to admit I felt like a novice using a normal phone instead of the iphone as it felt plain weird.  I loved central park it was so pretty.  But I got cold fast which meant I went back to the apartment and also meant I hit the brick wall I had been avoiding because I was tried.
Central Park West looking downtown 
So I eventually talked myself into heading back out and rugged up and wandered along the shops and eateries along Amsterdam ave.  It was so cool and amazing to think I was in the USA and in NYC. It felt very surreal. So I eventually grabbed a burger from a burger place and it was a bit blah because they didn’t offer BBQ sauce which was a little weird.
my hood for the next 2 weeks 
Then I headed back to the apartment and unloaded the photos chatted with my sister then headed off to bed.  Where I slept for 12 hours straight…  I must have needed it.  What a day.
my hood for the next 2 weeks  
I have to say now the tour life is over the Cosmos Tours were fantastic and the people I met on the tours were sensational and still regularly keep in touch with some of them.  
my hood for the next 2 weeks 
The trips changed me … gave me more confidence and gave me a chance to be the real me and let me shine again after being lost for so long. So thank you everyone for helping me grow and rediscover myself again.  
my hood for the next 2 weeks 
Also the cogs were turning about the conversation that I had with Christina the night before about changing my career and in turn my life.  This was also 2 weeks to see if I can live and exist in a city like NYC.