Day Four – Central Park

Day Four – Central Park
We slept in until 10. Weather hasn’t changed much overcast and cold again.

We catch the Subway to 57th Street to get to Central Park. We sort of have the ticketing system worked out and Kate is directing us to the correct stations by using her phone app. Wi-Fi is available at all the stations which certainly is a great help to tourists. Couple of old ladies across from me are interesting to say the least. One of them is continually rubbing her fingers and hands as if she is trying to shed all her skin while the other old lady has a nice little conversation with herself. A busker dressed in bright red pants starts playing a violin between stops. I seem to be relating my New York experiences to Seinfeld episodes. Fair enough as the series was set in New York. Before I left I watched an old episode where Jerry talks about catching the subway to Coney Island which is incidentally the line we travel on daily. He said something along the lines of .. I caught the Subway to Coney Island
and it took an hour and a half, after riding the subway for that long there way no way I was going to get scared riding the roller coaster!

Just a short walk to Central Park but you have to run the gauntlet of the hustlers trying to sign you up for a buggy ride. I am an easy take and would have taken up one of the offers. Kate put her foot down and said we should walk. One of the hustlers in desperation even offered us the ‘Chinese Price.’
We purchased a $2 map and set off on a fantastic 2 hour plus walk through the park. Time was 11:30 and we grabbed a hot dog and a drink. There is still ice on one of the smaller ponds. There is a hell of a lot to see such as the fountain that features on a Friend’s episode, Ice Skating, beautiful bridges and statues including a magnificent Alice in Wonderland. Kate has spotted her first squirrel and has gone all gooey. I bought some hot cashews then we stopped to watch another squirrel that was not to shy. Kate turned her back on the said rouge man-eater and when she turned back it was just about in her back pocket. The scream echoed around the park. I dropped a small nut on the ground and our new friend decided to follow us and then another squirrel did the same. I could have finished up like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn.
Of course Central Park in now also famous for a part of the park named Strawberry Fields. An area set apart to pray for peace and pay respect to John Lennon who was assassinated just across the road at the Dakota Building. We crossed the road to the infamous doorway which is now guarded 24 hours a day. There was scaffolding all around the lower floors and it was for me like going to Rome and seeing the colosseum hidden by scaffolding. All in all a very enjoyable morning and early afternoon.

Not far from the park is the Nike store and Tiffany and Co. More shopping in store. Five floors of Tiffany and Co. was just to much for me. I went around the corner to the Donald Trump building and had myself a coffee.
We decided to walk back up to Time Square. Manhattan itself is not overly big and walking between districts is not to tiring. I heard a couple chatting and they had very strange accents. They are from Burnie in Tasmania.

Dinner for the night was at Olive Garden in the Square. Sort of like an upmarket LaPorchettas. The food was excellent as was the service. Kate may want to change the R.S.L menu when she gets back there. Her chicken parma came with a side of spaghetti bolognese in her words ‘my two favourite

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Rob Rowe

Day Three – B.B. Kings Club

Day Three
It is a beautiful sunny crisp spring morning as we set off for a walk along the East river on our way to the financial district. There are many early morning joggers out and about.

It only took us 15 minutes to walk to the financial capital of the world. Wall street is just a few streets from the Starbucks we decided to call into. Coffee and a danish and hot chocolate for the girls. This morning we have decided to visit the site of the 9/11 memorial. I as most people world wide can recollect exactly where I was when the hijacked planes slammed into the north and south towers of the world trade centre. A terrorist action that changed the world forever. We join many other visitors making their way through the tight streets to the sixteen acre complex in lower Manhattan. The then World Trade Centre included seven buildings, a large plaza and an underground shopping mall with the twin towers being the centrepiece. On September 11, 2001, the entire W.T.C was destroyed. As we have set off for this visit later than we planned then today we will just look over the site where building continues to this day. There are two lovely reflection pools each representing each tower and each persons name that died that day is inscribed on the outside structures of the pool. Included in those names are also all those poor people aboard the two doomed planes. People that knew their death was imminent. There were close on 3,000 people killed that day. It is distressing to read the names of expectant  mothers with unnamed child inscribed after their own name. We gazed with so many other people at those names with silent thoughts. What goes through human beings minds that they can kill so many innocent people in the name of religion. We will come back in a few days to spend the needed 2-3 hours to look over the museum.

We headed to the nearest subway to ride back up to Times Square where B.B.Kings club is located. We have tickets for the Harlem Gospel brunch. Doors open at 12:30. We are a little early so the girls head to H & M clothing store and I headed a few doors down the road to a Verizon office. Verizon and A&T are the two largest mobile phone and wireless businesses in the states. I have a mobile Wi-Fi from my last visit and I need to get it topped up and reactivated. Only took 10 minutes to do. The salesman helping me out recognised that I was Australian. He told me he had worked for the Australian surf clothing business Billabong. He wanted to know how they were going in Australia. He said he went to work one Friday for a sale day and the next day all the employees were out of a job.

I sat down at a table in a plaza outside the H&M store and waited for the girls to come out. The sun although weak felt good upon my back. I had a good ten minutes of people watching. We were in line waiting for the doors to open at 12:30 for the Gospel brunch. Fifteen minutes to wait but the time went quickly as B.B. tunes were played on the outside speakers. Buy the time the doors opened the line was snaking a fair way down the side-walk.
We have good seats but a little on the squashy side. Also on out table were three tourists from Germany. In fact most of the audience are from Europe. Included in the price is an all you can eat buffet. I loaded up my plate with cheesy mac, sausage, chicken, sweet potato, red beans and gumbo. The food was good and I still had a bit of room for a danish. Tried a Bloody Mary which was OK but nowhere as peppery and the Louisiana model.
The Harlem Choir performed for about an hour and all the members had great voices. The show itself is a little contrived for all us tourists I guess but I was glad that we  went to the performance.

We had to get back to the apartment by 5 o’clock. Kate as you may know likes tattoo art. There is a very famous tattoo model and photographer in New York by the name of Alysha Nett. Alysha is Kate’s favourite model. She has 270 thousand online followers. Kate had emailed her before we left on our trip and was very excited when Alysha invited her to her Brooklyn home  for a  free photo shoot. This is very exciting for Kate to get to model some of Alysha’s clothing range. Her photos are regular in the magazine American Inked.
I managed to get the first days blog online using my Samsung tablet and keyboard. I had decided not to bring my Laptop on this trip due to the weight. The tablet is much easier to lug around but it took a while to use it to write instead of using it just to browse.
The girls were back around 7ish and we headed out to China town for tea. Decided that if we saw a restaurant full of Chines people then the food must be good. Well it wasn’t that good and the Williamstown ‘old chows’ has much better food.

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Rob Rowe