Monday, 15 June 2009

Brooklyn & Lower Manhattan

Turns out today was Puerto Rico Day (or something like that), apparently there was a parade on but we went out a bit too late to see it, however we did manage to enjoy the street market running parallel, starting pretty much right outside our hotel. There were plenty of food stalls selling things like gyros, grills, tacos, and even clam chowder - I ended up getting a chowder since I only had one in Boston (and it was a bit average) and this actually turned out to be pretty good! James had a taco, I had a bit of beef and I can definitely testify to its tastiness.

Afterwards we got on the subway and decided to get off at Brooklyn Bridge, on which probably 99% of the pedestrians were tourists... It was pretty cool walking across, the raised walk/cycleway is definitely a sensible approach but it's probably a bit late for Auckland to adopt that. On the other side we walked through some of the parks and and a cursory stroll in the leafy residential streets, before catching a bus back to Manhattan, getting off at Wall St.

Being a Sunday, Wall St was pretty quiet (except for tourists) and some roadworks, we took the obligatory photos by the big flag on the NYSE, and then walked towards Ground Zero. When we got there, as I expected we saw a huge hole with a couple of cranes in it and not much else. To be honest I can't say I had a huge emotional reaction, as there wasn't any proper memorial, and a lot of it was fenced and tarped off, but I guess I can say I've now been there.

After that we pretty much walked all the way down to Battery Park but decided to save the Statue of Liberty trip for another day - instead we hopped on the free Staten Island Ferry, of course there was absolutely nothing on the other side so we just hopped straight back, but you got a nice view of the statue and also Manhattan either way.

The last 'attraction' for the day for was the 'Bodies...' exhibition in South St Seaport, it was fascinating but also a bit disturbing, especially as it seemed all the 'specimens' were Asian males - did they buy them in bulk from China or something...? Though probably the most disturbing part for me was the ones with the baby fetuses in various stages of development. I definitely recommend it though!

Had dinner in the same area, and then headed home to find a laundromat, given the exorbitant fees of the hotel's laundry service (US$5 for washing ONE shirt!) We walked around the block and could see quite a few places, however they were all closed - will try again tomorrow, a place that's already looking quite promising only charges US$1 per pound of clothes, with a minimum of 6 pounds, which is how much I guesstimated our load to be, so that should be okay. Still, I was hoping there would be the coin-operated self-serve ones open 24hrs, but obviously not in our neighbourhood!

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