Today we decided to explore some of the smaller districts of Manhattan. This began with us exiting the PATH train at 9th street and heading through Greenwich Village to Washington Square Park. The arch in the park is famous as it is the park opposite Will Smith’s house in “I Am Legend” (all the diseased, zombie people run through it). The park is a nice spot for the students of nearby New York University to relax but was not too crowded. We then headed south to SOHO with its many posh, designer shops and little boutiques.
On Spring Street between Mott and Mulberry Streets we found Rice to Riches, a shop dedicated entirely to rice pudding. There were around 20 flavours to choose from with various toppings. Fraser’s only complaint of the place was that there was no facility to heat up the puddings, they all have to be eaten cold.
From here we continued wandering through Little Italy where we passed through a market. Then deciding we were hungry we headed back North to West Village to the Caliente Cab Co., on the corner of Varick and Bleecker streets, a Mexican place recommended to us by one of Fraser’s friends. The food was delicious and there was a varied cocktail selection. Our waitress was very accommodating and recommended the bar across the road, The Blind Tiger, as a good place for a drink. We decided to check it out whilst letting our food settle. It had a choice of 23 beers and ciders brewed across the USA, many in New jersey. The place was a great experience and is obviously popular with the locals who made up most of the clientele.
This came out near the High Line, an old, disused, elevated rail line which has now been converted into a beautiful garden. It currently stretches between the Meatpacking district and 30th street but is in the process of being extended North. This was one of my highlights so far on the trip, definitely worth a visit and is free!!! It is a surreal experience to be walking through the peaceful vegetation with high rise buildings looming on either side and roads busy with traffic running underneath. By this time both our feet were sore from the amount of walking so we headed back to the hotel to have dinner in the room.
The next day, Wednesday, was unfortunately a bit of a write-off as I had spent most of the night suffering with food poisoning- less than ideal! We had to change hotel so we did this moving to the Radisson Lexington in Midtown Manhattan. We were very disappointed with our room here, considering how much more expensive it was supposed to be, it was tiny compared to our previous hotel rooms- the price you pay for staying on Manhattan. However, we were promised an upgrade after the first night when a better room became available.
In order to not waste the full day we headed to Pier 86 on the West Side of the island to visit the Intrepid museum. This is a showcase of military ships, planes, helicopters, a submarine, a conchord and from July 2012 a space shuttle. Our NYP allowed us entry and the audio tour for free. Fraser has a keen interest in military vehicles and so really enjoyed the museum; I also do but as I was not feeling my best I did not appreciate it quite as much as him. To do the museum properly you need to allow a bit of time to get around everything (which we failed to do so didn’t get to see it all).
Fraser then went off for dinner whilst I went for a nap at the hotel in preparation for our evenings activities which involved our trip to see Spider Man on Broadway. The show was great fun. Whilst many of the songs are quite forgettable, the overall production was pretty spectacular with wicked costumes and some good stunts with much of the cast having opportunity to fly out over the audience. Was nice to see a British girl in the lead female role as well.
We decided this would be a good night to go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. As we had done Top of the Rock during the day we wanted to see the city at night this time with all the lights on. Going up at this time meant that although there were still slight queues, we did get to walk through most of the queue lines. The views that we got made me happy we chose to go at that time as it offered a different perspective of the city than the views during the day. A really good experience.
NYP savings: Intrepid museum- $24, Empire State observation deck- $22.