Monday, December 26, 2016

Epic Holiday, Pitstop 1, NY

Us being us, we thought moving countries twice in 6 months wasn't challenging enough, so we decided to throw in a holiday in the mix. Of course, this couldn't be a run of the mill holiday... where was the fun in that? we decided what was needed was a holiday of epic proportions where we travel out of a suitcase for more than a month and crisscross about 6 timezones. Yup. That's just how we roll. Well, that and the fact that Child 1 had worked his butt off for the grammar school exams and both of the kids were superstars in handling the move.
Right, so the iten. was as follows: London - NY- Aukland- Queenstown- Auckland- Sydney - Cairns- Sydney- Auckland- LA- Vegas- San Francisco- London. And it pushed the Baa-Lamb's itinerary- making skills to the limit. And boy, did he deliver!
So, moving on, our Epic Holiday (as I'm going to refer to it henceforth. Get used to it. It's never going to happen again for me, so I need to squeeze out the last drop of glory from its epic-ness) took off with our flight to New York.
Flags everywhere. Anywhere you could think of.
Also, those signs take a little getting used to. 
Our first contact with a new Continent, and we could immediately feel the difference. (or maybe, that was just us, a tad over excited). For all that people said about its frantic pace, New Yorkers, seemed to us a rather friendly bunch. From the kind lady who went out of her way (about half a kilometer the other way) just to lead us to the right station platform to the ticket collector who let the bossy baby play with her bunch of tickets, to even the staff at our hotel (who insisted on called her princess, which pleased her no end), on the whole, a completely delightful set of people.
Never losing their sense of fun - even stuck in a traffic jam

Given that we had just a couple of days in the Big Apple (which, by the way, is far too little), we decided to do the most sensible thing and do a hop-on-hop-off. The day was fortunately cold but clear. this afforded us some wonderful views as we decided to walk across Bryant Park and the Brooklyn Bridge.
catching sight of a rare patch of blue between the highrises. 

Did I mention the scale here? This HUGE edifice is just the Post office. Half of it, to be precise.

Walking across the bridge was definitely one of my favourite parts of the trip.

Yes, locks. This isn't Paris, you know. 

The Family. Reluctantly posing for the nth picture

The view from the bridge

In the afternoon, we decided to skip the queues that were snaking around to get to the Statue of Liberty and and Elllis Island. We took the Staten Island ferry, its free, has no queues and provides a fairly decent view of Lady liberty. Yes, we did miss the up-close-and personal 'Darshan' of the original iron lady, but this trip offers up a fabulous view of the Manhattan skyline.
The famed NY skyline. I think it looks better from the sea than from up the top of any of the skyscrapers

And this is the closest we came to the lady. 

Here's a close-up view. From one of the souvenir shops. 

We also though of doing the Top-of-the-rock towards sunset. A though that was apparently shared by the whole tourist population of New York. This meant that the earliest we could get in was at 8pm.
If you ever decide to do the NY trip, people, book your times for the Top-of-the-rock early and then come back for it, after doing the rest of the NY tour. Manhattan is pretty walk-able, even on a cold and windy day (as long s it doesn't rain).
The views from the Top of the Rock at night time is pretty amazing. We climbed up all the 3 floors (yes, there are 3 floors to climb), especially the the topmost floor, which has no glass barriers and offers up a fantastic 360 degree view of the city.

The bottom of the Top. 

Art Deco Glory
Another fabulous, all-lit-up view? Times Square. Despite our jet-lagged selves, we had a pretty fabulous first day.
Times Square

...complete with a wedding. 

Pretty unmistakable, even in  the day. 

Day 2, however was a completely different story. Freezing rain and cold winds made fore pretty miserable sight seeing weather so we tried to spend most of it indoors. We braved the World Trade Centre views, but personally, I still preferred the TOTR.
Grey rainclouds and it turned into the city of gloom.

Being a bit of an FLW fangirl, I wanted to catch the Gugenheim. Little did I know that its shut on Thursdays. And guess what day of the week it was! yup.Thankless Thursday. Oh well, an excuse to visit the Big Apple again, then. That and Central Park. The park - what little we saw of it was the favourite part of the day for the kids and definitely worth spending an entire day at, time and weather permitting. I did love some of the odd and quirky buildings that NY threw up, all of them not quite following the template, but making the cityscape fascinating.
The Flatiron.

An interesting oriel. Also, the flag. Like I said. Everywhere.

To fellow architects: 10 points if you tell me what this reminds you of.

Those Gargoyles. 

This church. 


This, I LOVE!

Is this what the mean by camouflage?
When I look at Mumbai, I'm frequently struck by how different and individualistic our building are, but the major difference I see is the absolute lack in the civic planning that I notice in Mumbai. That and the blatant rule-flouting that is considered par for the course.
A city for all creatures, big and small

Yup. That's exactly how we looked at the sights. 

Hello there, spongebob...Or as my friend just pointed out - is that Homer?

Kitsch central!

I agree. Cool.

Just in case you have a few million lying around.
And that brought our brief flying visit to NY to an end. We needed to catch a pretty long flight to Auckland the following day.The kids were already asking me 'are we there yet?' Lord give me strenght.