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The main purpose of this blog is as a permanent record of my adventures throughout the Americas by motorcycle. Feel free to comment or ask me any questions - I'm an open book.

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Thursday, 29 March 2012

New York City

NYC. The Big Apple. A thousand nicknames, 8 million people, and virtually unlimited things to see and do. The last time I had visited was in the 90's, so I was keen to find out what had changed. As it turns out, both nothing and everything.

New York seems to polarize people - there are those who love it, and those who hate it. I am a little of both. I love that there is always something to do, and love the history, architecture and central park. However, I don't like the relentless pace and aggressiveness of life here. There comes a time where the crazy lady on the subway next to the beggar stops being quirky, and starts being annoying (less than the time it takes for her to squeeze her huge ass out of the doors, for those of you playing at home). And after you've seen all the shows, buildings and Central Park, you're left with the lady shouting in your ear. In short, I love to pack my suitcase for the big apple, but am not in any rush to pack my stuff into moving boxes.

This trip to NYC was a whirlwind stopover - 2 nights, and really only 1 full day. There's no way you can see half of what New York has to offer, so I had to pick and choose what I wanted to seee.

Central Park is a must for everyone. One of the world's largest inner city parks with an estimated land value approching $529 billion, Central Park is undoubtedly the centrepeice of New York. On a slight tangent, New York seems to be obsessed with Tulips and Daffodils. They're as ubiquitous as a yellow cab around these parts. They were literally the only flowers on display throughout the city.

The most obvious change to the landscape is the big open space downtown that used to be occuopied by the world trade centre. The city was left with a veritable scar, and the memorial dedicated to 9/11 has yet to be completed. Accoridngly, very few tourists were getting through the gates, and I had to continue on, disappointed.

For the tv fans out there, I visited the home of NBC studios at 30 Rockafeller Plaza (hence the show 30 Rock) as well as passed by Dave Letterman's studio. Still yet to see any celebrities mind you.

Food looms large in any New York itinerary, and Bagels for breakfast, hotdogs for lunch and  fried chicken (in Harlem) for dinner took care of that. On a related note, I'd forgotten how good real fried chicken was. KFC just doesn't stack up.

If I had had more time, I would have visited Nathan's in Brooklyn, the Met, as well as the bronx. I have the sneaking suspicion that sights well off the island of Manhattan often get missed, and this trip is no exception. A show on off or off-off broadway would have also been nice. Most Broadway shows (Wicked, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia) travel the world, so it would have been nice to have seen something that would have only played in NYC.

Overall the city has become a cleaner, nicer version of it's 90's self, remaining true to its roots and attractions, while becoming more accessible to the average tourist not comfortable with 4 letter words and piles of bodily fluids on pavements.

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