Farewell New York

It was our last day in New York. Azuo crept out at 6am because she had an early flight on to Montreal. Julie and I could sleep in a little later because we still had the whole day ahead of us. Our official check out time was 10am but we had arranged with Ted to leave our bags in the apartment for the day and the cleaners could just clean around them. So a bit after 10 we left the apartment for our last day in New York.

Julie went to the check out some more shops, and I made my way to Central Park. The weather forecast was for rain, but fortunately it was a warm, clear blue day. I didn’t realise, but Central Park was only a couple of blocks from our apartment! If I’d known that earlier I would have had a few shorter visits rather than one big one, but it didn’t matter. I started at Strawberry Fields, where there is a memorial to John Lennon. There was a busker there playing Beatles songs, and I listened while I ate a pretzel for breaky. It was a busy little area of the park with several tour groups going through while I sat there.

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John Lennon memorial

From there I continued into the park and found a small visitor information booth where a friendly guide gave me a map and marked some key places for me to stop at. I walked around the lake where people were paddling in row boats and beautiful old buildings poked above the tree line, then on to the Rambles section, where the path winds back and forth through a natural bushy setting. It’s a bit of a maze there, with the paths going back and crossing over each other, and it was very quiet and peaceful.

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A cute squirrel in the park

As I came out of the Rambles I was near a playground where there is a statue in memory of Lewis Carroll, and just down the path another statue of
Alice in Wonderland. The statue of Alice is quite large, and there were some kids playing on it.

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Statue of Alice in Wonderland

Just on from the statue is Conservatory Pond where people sail remote control boats. There is a cafe there so I stopped for some lunch and watched the boats in the lake. It was a really pretty spot to stop. While I sat there, I read in Lonely Planet that the pond was initially meant to be a big glass house, but rather than building a glass house they converted into a boat pond. In winter they drain some of the water and let it freeze over for an ice skating rink. It’s hard to imagine what the park would be like in the middle of winter, covered in snow.

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A man plays with his remote control boat

Next stop was Belvedere Castle which overlooks the Great Lawn. I climbed the narrow spiral stairs to the top where the was a great view of the park and city skyline. There are baseball fields on the lawn, but there was no one playing because the lawn was fenced off for regeneration.

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View from Belvedere Castle

By now it was time to start heading back towards the city. Julie and I had planned to meet up at 2.30 to visit the Rockefeller Centre and go up to the observatory. She and Azuo had spare tickets because they bought a combo ticket the day before when they visited Moma, but the weather wasn’t clear enough for good views.

I went past the obelisk, which was transferred from Egypt to the park in 1881, and on to the Mall, a tree lined strip towards the southern end of the park. There were a few stalls along there selling snacks and souvenirs. I bout some photos showing the same shot of the mall taken in each of the four seasons. On the way out of the park I also went past the carousel and some more baseball fields.

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An artist painting in the park
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The Mall

When I caught up with Julie, we went to the ticket booth to convert the vouchers into tickets. The next available time was in 45 minutes so we grabbed a thickshake while we waited. When we went back at our time, there was no queue and we went straight to the top.

The view was great! I really enjoyed the Empire State Building earlier in the week because it was peaceful and quite magical at night. This view was different because it was daylight, and having spent the last week exploring the city there were a lot of places we were able to recognise. It was a great day for it because the sun was out and the skies were clear – quite a contrast to the day before! We spent just over half an hour up there, then made our way back down to the apartment.

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Looking north from Rockefeller out over Central Park

The cleaners hadn’t been yet, so we didn’t feel at all bad leaving our bags in there for the day. We carried our suitcases back down the 45 stairs (fortunately all my other accommodation has an elevator) and wheeled them down the street looking for a cab. We had thought it would take a while to get a cab, but within 10 minutes we were on our way to the airport. It’s a fixed fee from the city to JFK airport. It didn’t occur to us to tell the driver we were going to different terminals until we were almost at the airport, and he wasn’t very happy, saying we should have caught separate cabs. After a bit of discussion he agreed to drop us off separately and added $5 to the fare.

There were no dramas at the airport. The terminal is huge, and I was at gate 60 which was right down the end. Had Burger King for dinner which was similar to home except the chips were a bit fatter. The flight itself was only 45 minutes which was incredibly short. Our tickets both said 1.5 hours, but we got there at the same time. We met in the airport at Washington DC and shared a $15 cab to the hotel.

Julie hadn’t eaten so we went to find food, but there weren’t many choices at that time of night. She ended up having Maccas, where most of the value meals seemed to include 2 burgers – weird! The hotel was the same chain as where we stayed in Chicago and the room was set out exactly the same! It was strange seeing the same room in a different city. We made some plans for the next day, then went to bed and enjoyed a good sleep with proper curtains 🙂

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