Sunday 25th November
Well it seems Doyle’s lost his good holiday sleeping. Luckily we have a spare double bed in this room, so I managed to get Doyle to sleep in that for a while rather than pinching Jeremy’s bed again.
We headed out around 9am and caught the subway to 42nd Street, then walked the rest of the way to the pier, where we caught a 2 hour cruise tour around the lower half of Manhattan. We got to see the Empire State Building, the location where they shoot the majority of Law and Order, a golf driving range, Jersey City, where the World Trade Centre used to be and a description of how it’s going to be rebuilt, the Statue of Liberty (much closer than I got to see last time! I’m pretty sure Jeremy got some good photos. I was incapable of taking any, as Doyle was sleeping on my lap the entire trip), Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, the UN building, the Chrysler Building (which Jeremy had originally mistaken to be the Empire State Building, and he had thought they were the same building with two names, like Uluru/Ayers Rock), and so much more. It was a really interesting tour. So that was the third of our City Pass tickets.
Then we walked to Times Square, which was also at 42nd Street, and walked all around. We went past Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum and Madam Toussaud’s, then went shopping at Toys R Us (they have awesome Lego sculptures of famous New York icons there, plus a Jurassic Park T-Rex, Spider-Man and Superman on the ceiling, and a small ferris wheel for kids) and the M&Ms store (where they have so many different colours of M&Ms available, it was awesome). We saw the Broadway stagehands that were on strike, claiming that they were doing it because they wanted more family time. After Jeremy explained to me that unions always make these outrageous claims to get more money and that it’s their choice if they work overtime and don’t see their families, I had to wonder why they weren’t spending that day with their families rather than standing on the street in Times Square in order to be noticed as striking. It also made me wonder how Broadway shows seem to be starting back up now, according to the Disney on Broadway web site.
Speaking of Broadway shows, I really wanted to see one while in New York, but despite the fact I’m pretty sure they’re running – including Curtains, which is what I want to see because it has David Hyde Pierce in it, and he won a Tony Award for his performance – Jeremy doesn’t seem to keen to let us, or even just me, go see something. He keeps telling me not to discuss it or my birthday (which is on Thursday, our last full day in New York), which may suggest I’m ruining a birthday surprise. But I can’t imagine Jeremy would have bought tickets to a Broadway show before we left. What would he have chosen? The Lion King, maybe. Disney has also just started a new musical of The Little Mermaid. I think that would be awesome to see, too. I did get to see where these musicals, plus Mary Poppins and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein are playing when we were walking around the Times Square area.
From here we headed down to Fifth Ave and popped into a couple computer stores to try and find a replacement charger for Jeremy’s phone. They had phone chargers, but nothing that suited Jeremy’s phone. There was a Samsung car charger, though, that I reckon might have worked. Jeremy wasn’t too sure, so we didn’t buy anything.
We then headed to the Empire State Building, hoping to get up to the Observatory before it got dark so we could experience the city during both daylight and nighttime. However, the lines were a little longer than we had expected, and we’d arrived a little later than I’d wanted, so it was dark by the time we got to the top. At least we managed a free audio tour with our City Pass and the city was still nice to look at at night. Although the observation area didn’t seem at all as I remember from Sleepless in Seattle. I might have to watch that scene in the movie again to be sure. Four tickets down, two to go.
Doyle was hungry and it was dinner time when we got to the bottom of the Empire State Building, so we walked across the street to Wendy’s for dinner. Now, for the Australians reading this who might assume we went to an ice-cream place, Wendy’s here is actually a burger chain like McDonald’s and Burger King. I hadn’t had Wendy’s before, but they’re pretty much all the same, these chains, aren’t they? Although we did get to choose the sides we wanted with our meals. Jeremy had a caesar salad, and I had chili. Doyle got a baked potato, which was probably the healthiest thing on the menu.
We’d intended to head back to our hostel then, but noticed “The World’s Biggest Store” was on our way to the subway anyway, so we went into Macy’s to have a look around and see if their claim to the title was a fair one. With nine floors high and spanning an entire block from Sixth (well, Broadway, really) to Seventh Avenues is anything to go by, it probably is. But it was mostly clothes. We got to meet Santa on level eight, though. We got a photo taken with him, even though Doyle was quite scared of him in the beginning.
After exploring the world’s biggest store, we took the subway back to our hostel, and didn’t get back until after 9pm again. It’s all more evidence that we’d made the right choice to stay in Manhattan for this trip into New York. I must say it is better than bussing in and out from Connecticut each day, which is why I only managed a day and a half in New York last time I came here.
Now for a quick update on things I’ve forgotten to mention in previous postings:
* Doyle’s conjunctivitis had cleared up by the time we got to Boston, and the student doctor we spoke to at Mass Gen Hospital said he didn’t have it any more.
* I forget which day, but I think it was when we flew to New York, Doyle said “Mum,” though I think it was purely accidental.
* Doyle’s cough is pretty much gone now, so the people at the hospital must’ve been right about the croup. They had suggested giving him tylenol (or panadol, as we’d call it) for fever, but the fever wasn’t really that bad, so we didn’t bother getting anything for him at all. He’s fine now.
* We’ve spent far less money than I’d expected us to by now, which means we probably can afford to pay a bit extra in order to let me drive the car we booked in Denver,
* Lost a sock and a pair of Doyle’s cheaper mittens when they went in the dryer at the Custom House in Boston. Oh well.
Monday 26th November
We didn’t get moving until after 10:30am this morning. Why? Because Doyle ended up falling asleep before we left. We ended up waking him up so we didn’t waste the day away. We only had to take the subway a couple of stops as today we were visiting the American Museum of Natural History. When we got there, we noticed a lot of school buses, and were a little afraid the museum was going to be overrun with schoolchildren. Luckily it was only that bad at the Space Show and when we went to the downstairs space exhibit afterward.
It interested me that they seemed to be parading the theory that an asteroid hit the earth and killed the dinosaurs as fact, when I didn’t think it had been proven yet, or at the very least they didn’t have enough evidence to present it as truth. Has there been some sort of breakthrough in the last 10-15 years since I would’ve learnt about dinosaurs in primary school?
Because I didn’t want to end up rushing through the more interesting stuff in case we ran out of time like we did at the Met, we started at the top floor of the museum, where all the dinosaur fossils were. That’s the best exhibit of fossils if ever I’ve seen one. Almost the entire floor is dedicated to skeletons and it’s absolutely amazing to see. I think when Doyle is maybe 6 or 7, it would be nice to bring him back to this museum. With the dinosaur and space exhibits, there are plenty of things I know little boys would be very interested in seeing and learning about. As it is, a ten and a half month old baby is probably not going to be so keen. In fact he slept through most of the time we were there, from halfway through the top floor, to somewhere on the second floor. So about two floors. I don’t know how long it took us to look through all that.
We were rushing by the end of the day again, as I expected. It got to the point when we were going through the room on various stones and minerals, the third-last room we had to see, and Doyle had been crying maybe five minutes, when this woman said, rather rudely, “Could you shut your baby up?” like I could just click my fingers and everything would be okay. Luckily both Jeremy and a random museum visitor – a man we’d never even met – both stuck up for me and told her exactly how rude she was being. This other man said the museum was a public place and maybe she should just leave. That made me feel a lot better. You’d think she’d never had children – well, maybe she hadn’t – and expected me to just sit at home on my bum all day looking after my son rather than do anything I wanted to do. I’ve never, ever had anyone talk to me like that in respect to Doyle, and I hope I never experience anything like it again.
We did manage to get through all the exhibitions included in our ticket price (they had a couple special exhibitions, but they cost more, which we didn’t realise until we were in there. I was a little disappointed by this because there was a special exhibition I would have liked to have seen), even if we were rather rushed by the end.
We headed through Central Park after the museum closed and went back to our beloved supermarket to get a few groceries, before heading back to our hostel for dinner.
Doyle went to bed okay originally, but woke up just as we were hoping to go to bed ourselves. There was nothing we could do other than let him sleep in our bed. He wouldn’t go to sleep otherwise.
Tuesday 27th November
After sleeping in our bed the entire night, Doyle woke up sometime after 7am and watched some TV. When he finished his breakfast, he made his way over to my backpack and started pulling things out of it. He is getting too clever for his own good!
We got to head out much earlier this morning. We took the subway to 86th Street and walked through Central Park to 59th Street, stopping along the way to see the Swiss Marionette Theatre, Shakespeare’s Garden, Belvedere Castle, a statue of Alice in Wonderland, another of Hans Christian Anderson, the Dairy, a Chess/Checkers place, and an ice rink.
Once arriving at 59th Street, Jeremy “coincidentally” took us to the Apple Store on the corner of Fifth Avenue on the basis of trying to convince me to let him buy an iPhone. I’m still not convinced he needed to get it or he couldn’t have waited for it to come out in Australia, but he made a deal with me to get some Mac software I wanted (though it is software I wanted so Jeremy could use it to make better film scores for the films I shoot, so it was more for both of us) in order to make me let him buy his iPhone. We also picked up some software that is specifically designed for babies, which will be what Doyle gets for Christmas from us. It allows him to press the keys on the keyboard and not get into our own things. We got the “animal” themed one. If our bank balance hadn’t been as healthy as it currently is, I probably would have objected more than I did.
When we were done at the Apple store, we headed on over to the build a bear shop, stopping by the Disney store on the way. I really wanted to build a bear, but Jeremy said we didn’t have room to carry it with us back home, so we didn’t. Maybe on our next trip to New York, hey? Oh, yes, I can already see myself wanting to come back here. But then I’d told Jeremy before we got here it was one of the few places in the US I would consider living. There’s so much to see and do here, a week is nowhere near long enough to do it all.
Next was a visit to the UN building, followed by Grand Central Station, where we caught the subway to Canal Street so we could check out Chinatown. We had to change Doyle’s nappy while we were in Chinatown, so we stopped at a small restaurant and ordered some drinks and dessert. Jeremy had an alcoholic cocktail called a Grasshopper, while I had a peanut flavoured milkshake. Now I know what you’re thinking – it’s an odd flavour for a milkshake. That’s what I thought when I saw it on the menu, too, but it was actually really nice! It tasted just like peanuts. The same could not be said of my pineapple cake. That wasn’t particularly nice on the old tastebuds. I ended up giving some of it to Jeremy, and he shared some of his Japanese cheesecake with me.
Popping out of Chinatown, we headed on down to the site of the World Trade Centre, on the way bumping into the NYPD Police Headquarters. Jeremy was determined to find some sort of memorial tribute to 9/11 around the WTC, even walking through the World Financial Centre to get all the way around, but we only saw a small tribute museum you had to pay to visit. So we just hopped back on the subway and headed back to our hostel.
We had just enough time to eat dinner before Jeremy had a first-round phone interview for a London job. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out if Jeremy made the short list, but he says it sounded promising. Living in London for a couple years wouldn’t be too bad. We’d be able to see Matt, Bec, Cara and Luke in Nottingham more often this way, and hopefully also get to a few of the other places we wanted to see but didn’t have time for on this trip.
I couldn’t get Doyle to go to sleep for ages, until eventually I fed him to sleep on our bed. We’re thinking of just leaving him there for the night and taking up the other bed for our bed tonight. I don’t know why he’s not liking his tent at the moment. Hopefully this won’t last the rest of our trip. We’ve still got a few weeks to go, though at least we are now more than half over.