September 4th, 2014
The view from the roof of Riley's place:
Approaching the bridge:
Starting to cross the bridge:
Reaching Manhattan, my plan was to pay for one of the Citi Bike stations. This is a system where you can have a membership or just pay for a day and ride any of the blue bicycles for half an hour before depositing it back in one of the hundreds of bike stations. For ten bucks a day one can get on and off these bikes as much as you like.
Cruising on the bike:
The bull at Wall Street...there were so many people snapping pics that I wasn't bothered to get any closer. I did like that not only were his horns all polished from people touching them thousands of times...but also his testicles.
Once I’d figured out the automatic dispensing machine I mounted my light blue stallion and started towards the Staten Island ferry terminal. Of course the Statue of Liberty is a must see in New York City and you could pay a lot and line up for an hour or two to have a tour to see it and Ellis Island, where all of the early immigrants of New York were processed before they could enter New York proper. Or you can take the free Staten Island ferry which doesn’t bring you too close to the statue, but close enough for me. I always like getting out on boats and this was no exception. It’s a passenger only ferry and it turns out that over half of the people were doing the same as me. I couldn’t help but think that the captain must have to steer a little more to the port side on the way there with everyone lining the decks on the right side of the boat for a glimpse and photo op with the lady of liberty. And once we arrived at Staten Island, more than half of the tourists just walked off the boat, which was mandatory, and then around the gates and right back on again…which is what I did. Another bonus of taking this ferry were the lovely views of the Manhattan skyscrapers from the water.
Looking back at Manhattan:
There she is:
The mandatory Knuffle shot:
Impressive collection of buildings:
Returning to Manhattan:
With time ticking away I decided to cheat a bit and hop on the subway up towards Central Park. I still wanted to bicycle around the park a bit and then finish the afternoon with the Empire State Building. I made a mistake and got off the metro too early but that was okay in that it meant that I got to cycle by Times Square too. I did a nice loop in the southern part of Central Park and then bee lined towards the Empire State Building as the afternoon was waning and I wanted to get there while there was still some light.
In the height of the summer tourism months it must be a zoo waiting to go up to the observation deck. There were rows and rows of snaking ropes set up to accommodate the masses that must wait more than an hour to go up in the peak season but luckily for me I only waited about 20 minutes which included buying my ticket, a security check and receiving my audio tour equipment. And I didn’t have much time to spare as the sun was close to setting once I reached the 86th floor. It turned out to be a great time to be there as the city was transitioning from day to night in front of my eyes. I always wondered why ascending the Empire State Building was more popular than going up the taller World Trade Centres but it’s the fact that the Empire is in a more centrally located area and provides a great overview of Manhattan, including Central Park.
It wasn’t until after dark that I hopped on the subway back to Riley’s place, who was out to attend a semi-final match in the US Open tennis tournament. I hung out with his roommate Dan and watched the match on the TV, quite happy with what I accomplished of my essentially 48 hours in New York. I’m super glad I went to check out the Big Apple…and if you haven’t done it…you must.
Thanks Riley and Dan for your hospitality.