I lit out at 7.30am, Huck Finn style. A back on my back, ready for a great adventure. It was going to be a long day. First stop was 50th St, the heart of the Rockefeller Centre. I met Robert and we wandered the area, waiting for the doors to open to the Top of the Rock. The things you see…as we crossed 49th to look around a large crowd appeared in front of us with police escort, Robert spots Roger Federer. It seems we’ve walked onto a mobile news/sports set for NBC or TV commercial shooting. Policed usher us off the sidewalk as Federer reacts to a producer’s call of “action”. Federer runs away from us and the crowd quickly dissipates.
We continue walking around and join the queue for our visit to the top. Once the doors open at 8.00am, we are quickly 872 feet, 67 stories above NYC. The view is spectacular. The sun is shining and there are a few whisky clouds on the horizon. The observation deck is almost empty, with not many people wanting to brave the sub zero temperatures this high at this time.
I stand and take in the view. To the north Central Park, slowly but surely being obscured by the sky scrapers reaching for the sky. I remember my first visit, a single building near 59th St and 5th Ave obscured the bottom right hand corner of the park. Now a number of so called pencil thin sky’s scrapers pierce the heights and interrupt the view of the park. It is amazing to see how quickly the skyline changes and how the architectural design of the city time stamps the buildings. From the ornate smaller buildings of early 20th century design, to the blue glass sharp cornered precise designs of today.
To the south, the Empire State Building, World Trade Centre and Statue of Liberty dominate downtown.
The newest editions to the skyline are the blue glass towers at Hudson Yards.
The sun is gleaming over Jersey City, reflecting and bouncing off the glass buildings and the Hudson River. In the distance the Hackensack River glistens.
We wander around the entire viewing deck, Times Square is easily visible despite the bright sun, water tanks atop most buildings provide a sense of security against fire and the bust streets below silently carry a stream of traffic in every direction. It is now that I remind Robert to take in the peace and quiet. Below us some 11 million people are beginning their day. The New York symphony is silent from this height. It’s a welcome reprieve. We take in the breath taking views for around an hour, before boarding the express lift down.
On the ground we grab coffee/hot chocolate and head up town to the Apple Store. Robert is after a pair of headphones. We walk the 8 blocks, grab the headphones and send our way back to 44Th St. The 15 block walk takes an hour as we explore sights along the way.
We arrive back at our hotel, take a break, grab Mardi and head off to Brooklyn. The day is young.
We catch the F train to Bergen St in Brooklyn and walk to Stink, a cheese shop. We meet our guide, Shelli and the next part of our day starts. A food tour hosted by Urban Adventures. We’ve toured with them before and are looking forward to the experience. Robert is in for a treat.
For the next three hours we wander Brooklyn: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights are all on our journey. During the three hours we sample cookies, cheese, bagels, pita, pizza, beer, biscotti, coffee and an egg cream. Shelli our guide is fantastic. From the architectural history to food knowledge and some cool stories in between, the tour is a lot of fun. We also meet a lovely couple from England visiting New York for the week. We travel with them on the subway to York St.
The five of us then walk to DUMBO chatting and taking some photos along the way. We part ways and we begin an epic walk: the Brooklyn Bridge.
We mount the steps to the bridge and begin our trek. A trek, not because it’s a great distance, but because the going is tough. It’s just about sunset and there are people everywhere. Selfie sticks, tripods, ignorant people, cranky cyclists, prams and hawkers selling a variety of trinkets. The going is slow as we navigate our way. Something we are always aware of is being present and respectful of people around us, even if this courtesy isn’t returned. New York is crowded and hard work sometimes, a little respect makes life easier for everyone. So while we take photos, we move out of the way, we always stick to the right and we don’t walk in the bike lane.
The sunset is spectacular, the views awe inspiring. We take everything in and enjoy the experience.
As we exit the bridge the crowd thickens as day has turned to night. We eventually make our way to City Hall Park and walk to a café for a break and drink. We sit in Café Aroma for an hour or so before heading home. We get back to our hotel and say good-bye to Robert. He flies out tomorrow.
We’ve walked over 21,000 steps today and the three of us are exhausted.