As with yesterday, today has been another action packed day..
First up was Madam Tussaud’s. This wasn’t really part of today’s plan but as we were passing (at a time where most sensible people were still in bed) we noticed there was no queue so decided to pop in. I’ve been to the one in London but Nick’s never been so this was a good chance. Obviously being America, the waxworks were themed differently to the UK. A lot of them were former presidents and many were dedicated to baseball and basketball players so we found ourselves thinking ‘who?’ quite a lot. We were more familiar with the film stars and musicians. I got to ride on the back of ET’s bike, rub the waxy shoulder of Ed Sheeran and play drums next to Bob Marley. Nick got a snap with his beloved Spice Girls (I think he’s the only guy who had Sporty as his favourite) and realised Taylor Swift was way too tall for him, I guess he’s stuck with me.
Grand Central Terminal
This is one of the most visited places in New York by tourists so it was a must for us. The NYC pass entitled us to free audio tours which lasted about 45 minutes. The tour took us to 20 key places in the terminal, telling us interesting facts and stories along the way. The terminal itself is beautiful, it has a very elegant feel to it. There’s a food court floor below the main concourse and the seating is set like you are on a old train, it was very unique. One of the most fascinating things was the terminal’s ceiling, it has a lovely gold astronomy painting on it with lights made to look like stars. We learnt on the tour how they spent million’s restoring the ceiling from it’s original filthy state. If you ever go, you’ll notice a black square that they purposely didn’t restore, this shows the colour of the ceiling from back in the day of the steam engine and smoking.
This was one of the most expensive things available to us on the NYC pass. Usually it’s $75 each so we booked our space early as it sells out within the hour each morning. It was a bus tour with a twist, the bus itself was kitted out with stadium-like seating that faced a window which spanned the full length of the bus. The streets of New York became our show as the driver took us on a 90 minute drive and two charismatic presenters were our hosts. It’s an immersive experience so at intervals throughout there would be street performances from individuals who were obviously part of the crew. Our favourite was the rapper who freestyled whilst following us down the road, check out the video here.
By now it was around 4pm so we thought we’d head to Central Park to hire bikes before it started to get dark. I was shocked how big the park is! You can’t take the bikes onto the smaller windy paths that weave within the park so we didn’t experience it all. Instead we cycled around the loop and stopped off a few times when we saw anything of interest. Apparently the park was designed with no right angled paths so that it’s easier to get lost, the designers wanted the park to be a place that even within such a busy city you could escape into calm and seclusion. I think they did a good job, it definitely didn’t feel like you were in a city, all we could see was greenery. There’s loads to do in the park, we saw baseball courts, running trails, a massive swimming pool, paddle boats on the lake and countless picturesque spots perfect for relaxing in. You could easily spend all day there.
Top of rock
Apparently the best slot to go to the top of the Rockefella building is 7;30pm so we did as we were told and booked it. Our pizza obsession nearly made us miss our booking though as we went out of our way to have dinner at Lombardis. This was the first pizza restaurant in New York so we had to give it a go. It opened in 1905 so the building was obviously very old, we even had to walk through the kitchen to get to our table!
The main two places people go to view the NYC skyline are the Empire State Building or the Rockelfella. Everyone told us the Rockelfella was better so again, we did what was told! I think we made the right choice, the views were amazing. It was nice to see it in the light first before sunset as we got a lovely view of the big block of treetops at Central Park surrounded by skyscrapers. For me the view got better as it got darker, we saw all the lights come on and the views of the skyline as well as the bridges leading to surrounding islands was one that will stick with me for a long time.
Before heading back to rest our tired feet we squeezed in a cheesecake. New Yorks famous for it’s cheesecake so it had to be done, although I’m sure we would have found an excuse for cheesecake even if it wasn’t. A place called Juniors was recommended to me and I’m glad it was, mmm it was delicious, maybe better than The Cheesecake Factory!
Time to recharge the batteries for tomorrow.