This morning started with some rain, lots of rain. We woke up to a dreary day; yesterday’s sun was gone. We’re experienced travellers and weren’t going to let the weather get us down. That lasted until we set out for our first stop of the day: a walking tour through SOHO, Chinatown and Little Italy. It was pouring cats & dogs (we’re talking lions & golden retrievers not kittens & puppies) when we emerged from the subway stop and spending two hours walking through a downpour did not seem ideal. We easily found a Starbucks to escape the incessant precipitation. After the excitement of yesterday an hour in Starbucks was much enjoyed to replan our day and catch up on some blogging. Some times we forget that part of travelling is relaxing.
The rain was still coming down when we emerged but that didn’t effect our next stop: Grand Central Station. Walking into this iconic landmark was one of those Wow moments. Part of you thinks that it should be just like any other train station, after all it is a main functioning rail hub for NYC. Then you emerge into the main hall and you forget all those ideas of normalcy; this is GRAND Central Station. Grand Central Station opened in 1871 and remains the largest station in the world based on the number of platforms. It was built by the New York Central Railway during the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel. We had fun snapping photos & taking videos while people hustled by in all directions. Then we hustled off to our next rainy-day stop…
Our main destination for the afternoon was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET sits on the edge of Central Park, allowing us our first glimpse of this massive urban green-space. From 5th Avenue it looked rather like a rainforest, or the
edge of Jurassic Park.
The MET is the largest art museum in the United States, and one of the 10 largest in the world. There are over 2 million pieces of art within! You could easily spend multiple days here; we ran through in a couple of hours.
There was a large area dedicated to European decorative arts. It was like stepping back in time to the châteaus and palaces we saw in Europe. Justine wants to decorate her home like this; they gave Kris a panic attack. She much preferred the area that looked like a medieval castle.
We had seen a number of similar exhibits in Europe: Ancient Greek and Roman art and sculptures, Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus’, Medeival armour and weapons (this was Kris’s favourite part) and lots of old paintings. You may recall we don’t know a whole lot about paintings.
Highlights included a series of Van Gogh paintings, a number of old carpets (Arabian nights??), an ancient temple given to the US by Egypt (something the didn’t steal) and a trip to Versailles. We were very impressed with the design of the museum. More than once we felt transported back to time period or the country a collection was from. The experience as a whole was very effective.
After a couple hours we were both feeling a little exhausted and worn down. We might have an entire floor under our belts, that meant we still had a full floor yet to cover. We decided to take a little break. This included eating a hot dog from a nearby stand and sitting on the steps of the MET, just like proper upper east siders….or at least that’s what Gossip Girl tells us. Feeling well rested we made our way back to finish the museum.
When we had finally completed our full rounds of the museum we wandered up through Central Park a little bit. We came across the Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis Reservoir. In the end this walk took us up into Harlem. We snapped a photo and then wandered back.
Then it was off to Brooklyn. Yes we hit our second borough today (New York City being made up of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx & Staten Island). We took the train down to City Hall station and hopped off before it crossed the river. Before us loomed the mighty Brooklyn Bridge. A marvel in architecture & engineering, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It was completed in 1883 and was the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.
We slowly made our way across the East River trying to take everything in. It was very cloudy and rather foggy so the skyline view was impaired, but the grandeur was still there. It’s hard to take your eyes off the breath-taking views, although you also have to watch where you’re going or you’ll be flattened by a cyclist! We each only almost got run over once. At each tower support we stopped to snap photos and take it all in. “Look there! The Statue of Liberty is peeking out!” Brooklyn was also a beauty amidst the fog, although much less cosmopolitan that Manhattan.
Once we’d disembarked the bridge and were on solid Brooklyn ground we headed downhill to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This provided equally as scenic glimpses of Manhattan, this time paired with the Brooklyn Bridge (and it’s lesser talked about sister Manhattan Bridge). We also spotted a place where Amy and the Doctor once argued over where Rory had gotten off to (on Doctor Who) and the carousel Mercedes recently sang about feeling like a natural woman in front of after chatting with Sam (on Glee).
Hitching a ride further into Brooklyn we visited The Way Station bar for a drink. It was a neat area with plenty of people just going about their everyday lives. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that people live in these fabulous places everyday when we are in the crazy busy tourist centers. The Way Station was a must-see stop due to it’s theme: Doctor Who. We are nerds. That is a fact. And one of our nerd obsessions is Doctor Who. We just love it so much. So this pub was so fun, with a TARDIS bathroom and fun drinks named after DW (and other sci-fi series) characters. Justine had an Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver while Kris opted for a Tenth Doctor Sonic Screwdriver. While we sipped we took part in to normal Way Station tradition, the viewing of weird cult-classic movies. Tonight it was Hellraiser. This movie, released in 1987 & featuring alien torturers summoned by a puzzle box, is the first of a British film series. Kris was fascinated…enthralled even…and will be organizing viewings of all 9 Hellraiser movies (from the original right up to Hellraiser IX: Revelations) if anyone is interested in attending. Justine thinks she’ll pass.
For supper we wandered back to the pizza restaurants under the Brooklyn Bridge we had checked out earlier. We chose Grimaldi’s. They advertise as being on of the best pizza places in New York, it is at least one of the most well known. When they first opened it was a novel idea to cook pizza in a coal-fired brick oven. Today they remain famous for this concept. The menu was quite simple, order a pizza and then pick your toppings. We decided to share a large pizza (already margherita to start) and added pepperoni, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers. The large pizza was made for 3-4 people; it was delicious and we devoured it all! The staff was also super friendly. Our waiter snapped a selfie with Justine while Kris was in the bathroom and the pizza maker waved at Kris after we sat at our table and watched him make pizza for quite awhile. There was something quite enjoyable about watching him throw the mozzarella down.
After supper we wandered back across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was now beautifully lit up perfectly in front of the illuminated New York skyline. Kris took this opportunity to snap a number of pictures with her new camera. The fog from earlier in the day started to lift as we crossed. By the time we reached the other side, we were able to see the top of the Freedom Tower and spot the Empire State Building in the distance. As these buildings came into view it was fun to spot the flashing lights at the top and catch glimpses of their bright spires peaking through the fog.
WHAT WE LEARNED TODAY:
– If you don’t put in the second P you just Snaped something…and who knows what that means but it’s bound to be unpleasant…?
Love, Luck & L
Justine & Kris