Thursday, 22 July 2010

It all comes right in the end

Today, the Boyfriend and I did a silly thing. It was so ridiculous, that thinking about it, I don't know how we thought the day would be anything other than what it was.

We attempted to do New York without a map. Or guidebook. Or anything other than a vague sense of direction, for that matter.

Cue 11 hours of wondering around, looking for shops, looking for districts, trying to navigate the most confusing subway system in the universe (having seen NY's effort at an underground system, I will now laugh directly at any American I find struggling to make head nor tale of London's tube map), going uptown, downtown, up 32nds and down 59's, heading across Lexingtons and Avenues and ending up in a big, sweaty, confused heap with only a dying iPod Touch battery and some weak Starbucks internet to show for it...and...

...Ahhh. That's better.

Faced with the prospect of a Grumpy Day in New York, with a lack of phones denying any hope of splitting up and searching for a cure, I decided on drastic action.

"Can if you want, don't care" came the reply.
"Fine. Let's turn around and go back then"

So we walked one block back, and I stomped off into that trusted Visitor Information Centre, the Holiday Inn. Map and vague directions to 'Broadway shops' acquired from reception, and the day started to take a turn for the better.

See, we'd found Soho, and not the dodgy London kind. Slowly but surely, I began to get my bearings. And suddenly every shop appeared next to another instead of three blocks apart, as if hand-grouped by magical wizard spell or some kind of city planning initiative. Unfortunately, by this time it was 8pm and all the shops were shut. So we went to The Soho Room, had giggles and drinkies with the friendly bar lady, then got tapas.

It all came right in the end.

And you know what, now I know where I'm going, now that we've got a map and know about little parks with football tables (yeah! football tables!) and seating in the middle of the pavement, I think I'm going to like New York.

I'd attach photos from our failure of a day, but yeah. You guessed it. We also forgot the camera.

Trial and error, this travelling lark.

Trial, error, and Holiday Inns.


jman said...

Welcome to New Yawk! It is a very easy place to find your way around so long as you can count and know that 5th ave is the dividing line between east and west (except below 14th st where it is Broadway) so that the addresses going east and west duplicate each other so it is important to know if it is east or west. Subway only looks complicated but once you figure out the difference between local and express and that they run on parallel tracks usually divided by a platform, it's not so bad.

Want something fun to do which is free and avoids having to wait in line to go to the Statue of Liberty? Take the Staten Island ferry from the tip of Battery Park (the 1 goes right there and the 4 and 5 pretty close) - it's free and goes right past the S of L so you can take load of photos, get off in SI and get right back on and and take your photos of the downtown skyline. A pleasant way to spend an hour or so on a nice day. From there you can walk up Broadway to Wall St and check out the Stock Exchange. Cross over to Church St (to the west) and check out Ground Zero then one block east to Broadway and walk north to Chinatown and Little Italy. Stop at Ferrarra's for a snack or a granita (an Italian ice). Fuhgeddaboudit!

London-Lass said...

O how I adoooore New York.

And I agree with you re. the subway - colours? letters? numbers? Pah - yellow taxis all the way for me I'm afraid. Or, you know, a bit of walking every now and again. Dont forget Canal Street (for cheap goods/jewellery) and you gotta do the Empire State Building (although I was disappointed that there wasnt a lift that travelled right from the bottom to the top - but I am childish that way).

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Get to the roof of the Met if you can for the Big Bambu exhibit. But get a ticket prior to going up or you won't be able to crawl up into the sculpture. I *think* the tickets are at the front desk as you walk in. I could be wrong...

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I don't know if you care about this sort of thing but, today, Thursday, from 12:30 to 1:30 there's a free concert in Bryant Park (42nd and 6yh). It's a weekly event called Broadway in the Park. They get the cast from musicals to do a number or two. Today, it's Chicago, A Little Night Music and Rock of Ages. All pretty fun. All for free.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

jman - Ahhh, and it all becomes clear. Most of our wrong turns all now make a lot of sense. The Statue of Island idea sounds great, we've added it to tomorrow's itinerary (today is shopping. this time with a purpose)

Londonlass - The Empire state is like $20 each to go up! And no lift? Do they make you walk? :-D

Unbearable - Keep the suggestions coming! Bryant park is now on the radar (read: on the scrap of paper I'm carrying around with shop names and avenues on it) and the Met is too. That sculpture looked like a fun time in the pictures.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

And the Met is, basically, free. You pay what you want. I think they suggest $15 but you can throw them $1. MoMA will set you back about $20 bucks.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Did you get to Central Park? You sure should. And if you do go, take a rowboat out on Central Park Lake. It's only about $12 bucks. Totally worth it.

London-Lass said...

Sorry Jo - me not being clear (as usual). You certainly dont have to walk it - but unlike this image that I had in my head where you had this one single lift that took you from the ground floor all the way up to the top of the building you actually end up taking several lifts (in order to get to the top). But, as you say, it's not free and there's always a queue (unless you visit it on Thanksgiving Day evening - as I did - whilst most sensible Americans are at home eating pumpkin pie and find you've got the building pretty much to yourself) and, as you're probably not in New York anymore (by the time I finish this comment anyway) this `PS' is probably a bit redundant.

I'll get me coat.

Lindsey said...

And memories forever!! I miss traveling! Enjoy yourselves!!


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