Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

These little town blues, are melting away Ill make a brand new start of it – in old new york…

So guess where I am?  Well it probably should be obvious, I’m in the city that never sleeps – New York!
This morning we were up at 5am ready to make our way to Union Station in D.C to take the Amtrack train to New York.  We had planned on taking a cab, but after what turned out to be relatively poor advice from the desk clerk at the hotel, cabs weren’t easy to find so we walked just past the Whitehouse until we were able to hail one.  It was the first one we had seen as well.  Union Station was an amazing building.  Classy is the best way to describe it.  None of this over use of metal and “new design” like at Spencer St, I mean Southern Cross, Station and it was really clean unlike most of the stations you see in both the UK and Australia.  Getting our pre-ordered tickets and boarding the train also went smoothly. Due to an early wake up call we sleep most of the way, although my sleep was periodically interrupted by what can only be described as “sassy station announcements”.  It was fun to see someone who obviously enjoyed their job, although her use of “small bills is preferred” grated at our grammatical soul, even in the face of the humour of her overtly sassy announcements of whatever station we were approaching or leaving.

We got in to NYC at 10am so we had a full day on our first day.  My first impressions of New York were that it was slightly claustrophobic.  The towering buildings and noisy streets can somewhat push in on you.  It is awesome though.  My impression of the bustling city isn’t helped by the fact that we are staying in the Times Square Dream Hostel, which although not the best rooms and facilities has the brilliant, yet busy, location of being just 3 mins from Times Square.   As we had a full day ahead of us and were so close to Times Square, it would’ve been about 30mins since we jumped off the train than we started roaming our local surroundings.    Times Square is truly unbelievable.  I would hate to be paying the electric bill for all the lights and signs, but it is exactly like you imagine it would be from movies and TV. Joey has been here a few times before so I can’t help but feel overly touristy in my amazement at my surroundings.  In Times Square we visited the Hersheys and M and M’s stores which are just as the names suggest…stores dedicated to those chocolate brands and NEVER would you believe the amount of merchandise and varieties of chocolate that you could sell. The M & M’s store is 3 stories high!  We also stopped off at the Toys ‘R Us store to please our inner child which was great, what toy store with an internal Ferris Wheel wouldn’t be.  I even saw some MASSIVE packets of Nerds and Runts which I just had to buy, seeing as they were about 50% of my diet in my teenage years.  We grabbed the world’s biggest slice of pizza at a local store and drank our large sodas as we were able to take a breath…


After consulting a map to see what was around the area, we decided to walk up to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library and then traverse 5th Avenue. Bryant Park was an amazing little oasis in the sea of towering skyscrapers and the New York Public Library was a great old building.  Although I must admit that most of my amazement was that it was just like it was in Day After Tomorrow (although the phone booths weren’t in the stairwell).  We did our bit for the future of the library as we were asked to write a letter to Mayor Bloomberg not to cut the Library’s funding and we dutifully obliged.

bryant park


From there the trek down 5th Avenue started.  I have realised how tight my budget is for the rest of the trip so I didn’t but anything, but BOY it was hard not to.  We stopped at Sacks to start with and their floor of suits and accessories literally had my eyes lighting up and mouth drooling like a kid in a candy store, much to Joseph’s amusement.  I must find a way to be rich enough sometime to be able to walk in to this store and just buy what I need (okay, want not need…but I really want it!).  We also managed to walk past a few more tempting stores, stopping in on a few but the main locations were the Apple Store – which must be the coolest store ever imagined, great for flexing the geek muscle (I thought of you Steve and how much fun you could’ve had in there!) and FAO Schwartz where those inner children mentioned before ran wild again.  There was a wall of monopolies (that went unbought sorry Mum, although the Wizard of Oz one was incredibly tempting, if you see it for sale buy it as it was really well designed), many amazing cute and soft teddy bears and stuffed animals and not to mention the well known floor piano (which you can buy for US$250,000 if you are interested).  The only thing we couldn’t understand was the Myachi, which is basically a rectangular hacky sack that you play with, but I suppose that must be the new craze for th youngsters of today.\



With our first day flying buy, great weather and eagerness to continue we headed off to Rockefella Centre.  The place made famous to me by NBC news coverage of the USA elections and Late Night with Conan O’Brien (who’s first tonight show I watched last night and it was great…although someone shut up Andy Richter from laughing over the top at every joke, it got annoying fast).  We went up to the “Top of the Rock” as it has been described as the best view over New York and we had decided to go up the Empire State Building at night (although I can’t confirm or deny that it is because of Sleepless in Seattle that we chose to do that at night instead of the Rock).  The information about the building of the Centre during the Great Depression was interesting but it was the view that we had come to see. (Actually, I wonder how much the world economy has to go down before the Great Depression becomes “Big Depression 1” like the Great War became World War 1).  The view of New York just confirmed the thoughts I was having from ground level.  It is a unique towering skyscraper city that is without match in places I have been to.  To consider the size of the buildings relative to the Rialto is just scary and the fact that you can look out for a while and see skyscraper after skyscraper is something that I can’t quite fathom.  It also reinforced just how big Central Park is…it is MASSIVE and I always considered it “just a park”.


Anyone that was our rather full on first day in New York,  we stopped off for cheap cocktails at TGI Friday’s who have a 7 hours happy hour on week nights and strolled back to our hostel.  I can imagine that this is going to be a hectic week…but it is a week I can’t wait for.  Especially as I never planned to be in New York so soon.  Up until a couple of months ago when Joey broached the subject somewhat in jest, I never considered I would be in the USA during my travels of 2009.



June 3, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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