Monday, 2 July 2012

DC & New York: VII

Our last full day in New York began with a trip out to Liberty Island, which meant we had to stick to a sort of schedule as I had been clever enough to book tickets in advance and thus jump the queue. Getting onto the boat was horrible—a combination of US fears of terrorism in the extreme perhaps coupled with a desire to make the immigrant experience feel authentic... My shirt set off the metal detectors (it clearly had metal on it) and the next thing I knew a very rude security guard had confiscated my glasses while another one started barking orders at me. This in itself wouldn’t have been a problem, but I am at best functionally ‘blind’ without my glasses, and it means that if they’re off I can’t hear well in a noisy area as none of the noise distinguishes itself as words directed at me. So I ended up shouting at the security personnel and I must’ve been a little louder and more panicked sounding than they were because they restored my vision. It wasn’t the most promising start to the day, as being left vulnerable like that is never pleasant.

Fortunately things perked up as soon as we got on the boat. A nice harbour cruise with a little bit of sun was just the thing to put me in good spirits, and we managed to get seats which was particularly lucky. The ride to Liberty Island was lovely, and then we had a nice walk around the statue and some fun gazing back at the Manhattan skyline. Once we’d seen all that we could see, we decided to skip on the Ellis Island part of the boat journey as it was beginning to rain and instead headed back to the city for further exploration.

Approaching Lady Liberty
View of Manhattan from Liberty Island

At the foot of the Statue
More of the skyline

A boat similar to the one we were on.
One last look.
We spent most of the afternoon wandering around Chinatown and Little Italy. David wanted to see the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, so we took that in, as well as heading down Wall Street and window shopping at Tiffany’s. The Tiffany’s experience was great, because we were both wearing our old gortex jackets due to the rain and the staff clearly suspected that we were just touristing in their shop but couldn’t tell 100%. To be fair, we were pseudo-serious buyers, only I didn’t find anything I loved enough to purchase within the limits of what I could afford. I was inevitably captured by some beautiful diamond studded animal pendants, but at over $1000 each I couldn’t justify it, and nothing else that I could afford seemed worth it after that. Alas! 

New York Stock Exchange
Statue on Wall Street

At the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art. This is an illicit photo, as you're not allowed to take pictures inside. But look, it's Batman! Also, I am certainly not a comic book reader and my appalling ignorance meant that I was banned from speaking...
For lunch that day we went to Lombardi’s, hailed as American’s first pizzeria. It was about as fine-dining as pizza goes, and with David’s love of the stuff I had to let him call the shots for ordering. So we split a delicious caesar salad to start, and then ordered a large pie, and washed it all down with Italian sodas. It was expensive and cash only, thus using up most of our remaining Yankee gold, but totally worth it. We were sitting next to a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, and the photographs of all sorts of old Hollywood stars decked the walls. Because it took up most of our remaining cash and because it was so good, it ended up being our last NYC pizza experience. We didn’t want to lose sight of the magnificence of a good pie with the the good but questionable cheaper slicers available on every corner. In fact it pretty much ensured that we swore off delivery pizza when we got to the UK and now mostly only have it if we make it ourselves. See, it was just that good. 

Photo evidence, should his love of pizza ever be called into question.
It was a happy meal.

A vanilla Italian soda. So good! There was a cherry on top but it got eaten...
In the evening, several hours of window shopping and espresso later, we met up with our kind hostess for dinner. We had a really enjoyable meal, particularly as she’s one of the most interesting people that I’ve ever spoken with. Not only could she tell us fun stories about David’s mum, but she also has a really interesting career with the UN and so the conversation was never dull. Her generosity towards us was evident all through our trip, and I admit that I felt quite touched that someone who didn’t even know me would be so kind.

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