After all the travel issues yesterday it was decided we would get up late today. We had breakfast at a local deli which cost us a fraction of what it would have cost us for one breakfast in the hotel (breakfast in the hotel costs $42). Semi-final T20 World Cup today and Michael headed off to watch the Indian innings with Daniel (cousin). We came back to the hotel and I watched it streaming from the hotel room. Unfortunately SA weren’t good enough to get through to the final.
We then went out walking. We headed West to the Rockefeller Center. It covers 19 buildings and 22 acres. It is one of New York’s top tourist sites. There is an ice rink which operates throughout winter. It is still in operation and given how cold it is today I am not surprised. Numerous famous companies have their headoffices in the complex including NewsCorp, Time, McGraw-Hill. It did also house Lehmann-Brothers – the infamous financial company which went bankrupt in the financial crisis.
We then headed up 5th Avenue toward Central Park. You walk past every famous store you could imagine including Gucci, Cartier, Versace etc. Fortunately we walked past them all on not into any of them. I was amazed that we even managed to walk past (and not into) Sacs 5th Avenue as well. We passed Trump Tower, the De Beers store and numerous famous buildings and hotels including Park Plaza Hotel (where they filmed Home Alone 2). When we got to the bottom of Central Park Helen got very excited when she saw the Horse carriages and so we had to take one for a ride through Central Park. The driver spoke with a typical NY accent (sounds like Janice from Friends). He pointed out the apartment buildings that are the homes of Lady Gaga; Tony Bennett, Bono, Placido Domingo, Diana Ross, Yoko Ono and others. Diana Ross bought her apartment 35 years ago for $3m and it is now worth $100m #goodinvestment
The ride took us through Central Park, past the ice rink and the zoo where Madagascar was filmed. We looked out for Gloria, Melman, Alex et al but unfortunately we didn’t see them. I would have preferred spotting them than knowing where Lady Gaga lives! We then walked back down 5th Avenue again and went in to the Apple Store. It has to be the biggest and busiest Apple store I have ever been in. While they had the standard Apple items they also had some other interesting things like a skin for your car which repels bullets. I wonder how many of those they sell! #bizarre Helen and Chloe also very maturely went around setting the alarms on countdowns on all the iPads and turning up the volumes to full #didntstaytohearthenoise
On the way back to hotel we stopped for a Hot Dog at one of the iconic NY hot dog stands. Nice hot dog but probably also the most expensive one I have ever had. Had to be done though when you’re in NY – do as the New Yorkers do. Quick stop also at Starbucks for a coffee to warm up with. In the interim Michael had also made it back safely.
Late afternoon we headed out to Ground Zero. Pretty bad traffic and an even worse taxi driver. I thought we were going to have an accident at least 8 or 9 times. It would have helped if he hadn’t driven with only one hand on the steering wheel and the other on his iPhone (and at some points no hands on the steering wheel). We did get there (amazingly) without an accident. Fortunately because of the weather there were no lines at all to get into the 911 Memorial. Lots of security though to see two fountains and 3000 names engraved around the fountains. Not sure that the security is warranted. They give you tickets to get in and then ask to see them on 4 separate occasions. Not sure what that is all about. Given I was in the air coming into America on 9/11 I have some personal interest in the Memorial and it was nice to see it even though we almost froze to death see it.
We had planned to go from there to Chinatown for dinner. We started walking because taxi’s were in short supply and eventually one came past and it took us the last mile to get there. We ended up eating at one of the local Chinese restaurants. Very authentic and very good. Also quite reasonably priced. It took us another 10 minutes or so of standing in the freezing cold and rain to get a taxi back to the hotel. We hope the weather improves tomorrow so that we can actually see the Statue of Liberty.