"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Monday, May 9, 2011

New York - Day Two

In an effort to make sure we didn’t rush up to our gate at the airport exhausted and harried because we left too late, we took a taxi plenty early. Early enough, as it turns out, to have 3 hours to kill before our flight leaves. :( Oh well, we almost missed the boat on our cruise a couple years ago and this is much more pleasant – even if it meant forfeiting an extra hour of sightseeing. Since we’ve walked enough New York blocks today to kill us, our feet may have not survived another hour anyway! Good thing we did, though, because I’m pretty sure we both consumed about 3,000 calories at lunch!
We’ve been trying to get up around 6am each morning and go to bed between 9 and 10pm because we will lose 5 more hours in the time change to Ireland and need to get used to going to sleeping earlier and earlier. We adjusted to east coast time pretty easily, so I’m hoping Ireland will be the same.

This meant that we were out the door by 7:30am and on the subway with a bunch of commuters this morning. We rode the subway all the way to the Upper West Side so we could have our H&H bagel fix and stop in at Zabars to say hello and have breakfast. After that, we strolled the streets over to Central Park. I love the streets of the Upper West Side. The townhouses are so beautiful and the peace and quiet between the busy cross –streets is startling. It was sunny and delightful out and was a great way to start our day.
Once we hit the Park, we walked through to the lake, arriving at the Loeb boathouse just before it opened. We were first in line for our rowboat and spent a happy half hour rowing the Central Park Lake and seeing the Bethsaida Fountain from the other side. The skyline along the west-side of the Park is quite lovely. The beautiful old buildings of homes for the rich and famous make a stunning backdrop for the lake. It was so odd to be rowing around a lake, with beautiful natural scenery, watching the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks and then glance up and see skyscrapers. Central Park is one of the truly great things about NYC.

By the time we finished, we had just enough time to walk the 15 blocks to our lunch appointment at Serendipity. Yum!

Serendipity is right next to Bloomingdales so we popped in to use a clean bathroom and took some pictures of the upscale shopping for Michelle. Our plan was to go take a tour of the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum, but we had missed the next tour, so we had an hour to kill before heading to the Lower Eastside. I am in love with the Chrysler building. I read a great book about the skyscraper race (which I can’t remember the title of at the moment) which featured William Van Alen, the architect of the Chrysler Building. It has endeared this magnificent and beautiful building to me and so I really wanted to get a closer look on this trip. I discovered that you are allowed in the lobby, just not onto the floors. So we took a train to Grand Central Station – stopped to admire again the amazing main concourse – and then walked across the street to 42nd and Lexington.

Why do they not build business buildings of this kind of beauty these days?

After I got my fill, we headed off to find the right subway for the Tenement Museum. 
As it turned out we got some faulty directions and arrived 5 minutes before the next tour. Apparently 5 minutes early is late as we were unable to get on that tour. We thought waiting for another hour would make us too rushed for getting back to our house and out to the airport, so we walked around the lower eastside ourselves, stopping by what we think was the old Tammany Hall building and Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

Another long subway ride and then a very expensive taxi trip ($25 in tolls just to get to New Jersey!) and we are here, waiting to take off for Belfast. In about 10 hours we will be in Ireland!!! It’s always sad for me to be leaving New York, I do truly love this place, but Ireland awaits so I can’t bring myself to be very sad!

Here's what tomorrow's itinerary holds:

Day Four - Tuesday May 10th
Arrive at Belfast Intl. Airport – 9:00am
Taxi to hotel to check-in:
Black Taxi Tour - $40
Each of our tours last approx 1 hour 30 mins. To take a longer tour or cut the tour shorter, just speak to your driver/guide who will outline any price changes.

We value ourselves on being the best and we are more than happy to tailor your tour specifically to suit your needs. Don't be afraid to suggest any destination to your driver/guide.

Below is a rough guide to Tour Prices:
1 Or 2 Passenger Tour £25.00
:: T - 02890 642264 ::
Frephone (UK)- 0800 052 3914

??Belfast City Tour
          Red, open top tour buses
          Departing from Castle Place next to GPO

Evening in Republican pub
Bed by 11pm!!

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