Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Big lights, Bigger burgers

New York, New York, NYC, The Big Apple, The City that never sleeps, home to Beyonce. Need I say much more? But I will, because I went there for four days recently and boy the things I've seen! (I haven't seen that much)

We flew from Heathrow to JFK, I hate flying, but I would do the flight there 1000 times over it was so fabulous. The food, oh the food! It was obvious I'd never flown with any respectable airlines before, when I almost fainted upon discovering there was a button I could press to call the steward over. And that said steward was a dead ringer for Gary Lineker. But we landed, as planes do, and wasted no time, oh no. Did I mention it was a school trip? Aka walk everywhere to save costs and don't stop until you've lost someone (which we did, more about that later).

Night 1 - Times Square. Oh have you ever seen so many lights in one place? (Actually BHS has a display that could probably rival it) It's impossible to not look up and stare like an LSD induced stoner, as impossible as not chewing a fruit pastilles. I was so taken in by the brightness of it all that I bought a pretzel. I don't even like pretzels! Indeed it was in the...trashcan (oh yes) before you could say 'good lord this is shit'. We stayed in a YMCA (and not a single homosexual in sight) which wasn't bad at all. We'd read some horrific reviews, only to discover our teacher had written the WRONG NAME on the itinerary and our hostel was perfectly sanitary. I was almost disappointed by the lack of cockroaches. Almost.

Day 2 - Took the Subway to Battery Park (nothing to do with batteries) and bought some fake Ray Bans, mission one of the trip, check! We then took a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, where we were constantly reminded of how free America is (they really love that shit) but it was an amazing sight to behold, especially from the Hudson River, and when the boat swang round and I could see the New York skyline against the Statue, well that was just breathtaking. Although that may have been the wind...
Ellis Island's immigration museum was our next stop. We visited the gift shop and waited for the others outside; the weather was too nice to waste and I can Google it all later. After returning to the mainland we began wandering to Wall St, no prizes for guessing what goes on there, I swear even the bins were made of gold. Walking further we reached Ground Zero, where the 9/11 memorial is. This was strange, I wasn't moved in any way, which sounds awful, but I think it's because it's still such a recent part of history. There are two large pools in place of the twin towers, so you can get a sense of scale, but I wasn't affected in the same way I have been walking around other memorials, perhaps because that war is far from over, I don't know.

But anyway before we all start crying, next stop was DINNER. We chose to sample the local cuisine, and so headed for a McDonald's. Apparently this is some chain that's quite popular around the world? It was nice enough, anyhow. After this our group parted ways, and a couple of others and I went to see an off-broadway production of Rent, one of my favourite musicals ever ever ever. Needless to say it was utterly fabulous and brilliant and the guy that played Roger was shit 'ot.

Day 3 - Quick stop at Rockafella Centre then, ugh, MoMA. The Museum of Modern 'Art', and I use the term loosely. This place was full of more bullshit than the Daily Mail and didn't even sell crisps. Not even posh ones. I put in a suggestion card. To tone down our hipster morning we went on a guided bus tour with Robert. Robert is my new love, as tour guides go he was brilliant. In his own words he is 'the loser friend of all the celebrities' and he knew everything. He showed us proper New York; Central Park, China Town, Little Italy, where the celebs lived, where to get the best pizza, what writers were inspired by where and everything in between. After that I really felt like I'd seen New York and I am definitely introducing the phrase 'hang a right' to England.

Dinner was at the Hard Rock Cafe, so we dressed up all smart, marched down to Times Square, were one street away when suddenly...'err where's Beth?' Yep, we lost someone. We don't know if we'll ever find her again. Lol jk of course she turned up eventually, after much panicking and I had a bacon cheeseburger and all was well again. Full of chips and pepsi we headed to the Empire State building, took the quickest lift ever (my ears actually popped) and were out at the top, looking down over Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Now that is what you call a view. They don't lie about the bright lights of New York, it was incredible to think we'd just been walking down those streets and now we were gazing down on them. New York isn't even the World's biggest city but when you look out at it, you can't imagine anywhere else being so full of culture. It certain shits all over Lincoln.

Day 4 - our final full day (cue wistful sad face). We jumped back into tourist mode, visiting Grand Central Station and the National Library before shopping like our lives depended on it. Bloomingdales, Tiffany's, The Plaza, we did them all. The walk back to the hostel took us all the way down 5th Avenue (have totally got my head around the grid system now, call me a pro) and a bus was waiting on our return to take us to Newark Airport this time. The flight home was considerably less exciting, I was so exhausted and there were no football turned presenter lookalikes to amuse me. But Tubes and Trains later and I was home, but wishing to be back.

No way was that my last time in New York, oh no.