16/06/2013 - 20/06/2013
We took a bus from Washington DC to New York. We'd had enough of Greyhound so took the Bolt Bus. Granted it's owned by Greyhound, but it's cheaper and it claimed to have wi-fi and extra legroom on all buses. It did have the wi-fi, but the legroom was barely adequate and could only be described as 'extra' if it was in comparison to having none at all. Still, the journey was fine, as far as I remember.
From New York we took a bus over to New Jersey where we were staying in our third consecutive Airbnb apartment. It was only just in New Jersey, so we could get to Manhattan in about 15 minutes, which was brilliant, plus we got a great view of the Manhattan skyline from the end of the street:
The apartment was another basement one, though not a studio this time - we had a separate bedroom and everything! We only briefly met the guy who owned it when we were leaving, but he'd left detailed instructions for everything. The only thing missing, weirdly, was a tin opener; which was only annoying because we realised that after we'd bought some tins!
On that first evening we headed back to Manhattan and went to the cinema. We went to see 'Before Midnight', which was ace - I love all of the 'Before...' films and it was great to have a new one. Then on our first full day in New York we had some practical things to sort out, like booking bus tickets for our onwards journey to Boston, plus finding a new camera for Jamie. His had been playing up, so I said I'd get him a new one as a birthday present. In Chicago we'd spent ages in a Best Buy, trying out different cameras and finally deciding on the one that seemed the best, only to discover it was out of stock. We tried a second Best Buy in Chicago, but that was out of stock too. We then tried various places in Washington, none of which had it either. But, finally, we tried a camera shop in New York that actually had it. Hooray! They even had a choice of colours and it came with a free case and memory card. Awesome. After that we went to Central Park for a while before we then went and met up with my friend Cary and his partner Joe. The four of us headed to the East Village for dinner and then a coffee and some cheesecake. It was great to get to see them.
The next day we'd planned a lot of outdoor activities but woke up to discover a forecast of rain. We decided to postpone the Staten Island ferry, but we still managed to visit the 9/11 Memorial before the rain started. As that whole area's still under construction, you need tickets to see the memorial (which are free) and there's a ridiculous amount of security you have to go through, but once it is all done it'll be freely accessible. The memorial itself is all really nicely done with the 2 fountains in the outlines of where the towers used to be.
We then went to Other Music for a bit (yay record stores), then for a coffee, then for food in a random pub (as the Mexican place I'd scoped out in advance was actually just a take-away and it was raining), then on for drinks at a cool bar with a jukebox (which Jamie had actually been to on his previous trip to New York in 2008).
On the 19th the weather was better, happily, so we did the free trip on the Staten Island ferry. It meant we got to see the Statue of Liberty - yay! I went to New York in 1997 and 1998, but only for a day each time and we didn't make it to the Statue of Liberty, so it was great to finally get to see it. We couldn't take the ferry over to Liberty Island though as it was still closed following Hurricane Sandy. It should be re-opening today actually - 4th July. After that we went over to Brooklyn for a bit of a wander around and some dinner. We came across a cool little place called Siggy's, where aliens eat for free. Only the green-skinned type of aliens though, apparently (racists!). We then walked back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn bridge, which was really cool. Then we headed to Times Square and walked around a bit more, marvelling at how bright it is with all the lights and how many people there are.
Like the other US cities we'd been to, we could easily have filled a few more days there, but it's also somewhere we're bound to go back to at some point.