Winding Down in Gotham City.

Today was our last full day here in New York City as tomorrow we’d be leaving bright an early for our flight over to Los Angeles. We hadn’t really had too much planned other than going to the Top of the Rock (the observation deck on the Rockefeller Tower) so after doing our usual late rising routine we wandered around looking for a breakfast place I had tracked down. After not being able to find where the hell it was we went to another only to find it was closed, wasting precious time. Giving up on my idea of not eating in the same place twice while we were here we made a beeline for Pigalle which was the first place to serve us decent coffee and a good meal only to come across a decent French place that was still serving breakfast for 10 minutes. Whilst the Belgian waffle paled in comparison to the one I had yesterday the coffee more than made up for it, leaving me with a healthy caffeine buzz.

We’d noticed the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! museum the other day when we were visiting Madam Tussauds and I made a note to come back and visit it later. Whilst the price of entry was a little steep I figured it was worth it to see something I was fascinated with some time ago. There were some choice exhibits in there including a hair lock collection which had samples from George Washington, JFK and Abe Lincoln. Since we’d lost our tolerance for standing and looking at things yesterday at MoMA we breezed through this place in around an hour and I’d hesitate to recommend it unless you can get a discounted ticket. It really did feel like a tourist trap.

One of the things I’d been meaning to do since day one was to visit Ground Zero. We’d walked past so many places with giant construction operations that I was sure we’d past it already and just not noticed but with it being far down town I couldn’t have been more wrong. A quick metro ride down saw us just a short walk from the infamous site and honestly I was expecting just to see the big hole like I had seen in countless pictures over the years. Surprisingly there’s been an awful lot of construction work and the desolate hole I was familiar with was no where to be seen. The entire site was ringed with banners of what the new Freedom Tower and corresponding monument would look like but I still managed to get a little peak of it from in between the gates. We also visited the nearby church and the 9/11 memorials they had which was an interesting insight into the event I had only experienced remotely.

It was around this time that my phone started playing up and I wasn’t able to find us a place to eat with Yelp. Undeterred we started wandering around looking for somewhere to eat, turning down many places for their lack of seating. After taking a chance down a small road we found this fantastic little Japanese place that ticked all the right boxes: soft shell crab, good beer selection and deep fried deserts. By this time it was almost 4pm and the place was pretty empty leaving nearly the entire staff catering to us. Whilst it wasn’t the cheapest meal we had here in NYC it was easily one of the best and it was found without the help of the almighty Internet.

Afterwards we headed back into midtown so we could hit up our last attraction for NYC: the Top of the Rock. When I first saw this in our ticket book I didn’t think it would be worth it, I mean realistically the skyline looks pretty similar from any of the tall buildings. The difference was today that there was a low cloud cover over Manhattan and the viewing platform was a pretty awesome arrangement of large glass panels, giving a great view over the city. There was also quite a few less people at this than the Empire State building so we were able to mill around a bit more without having to make our way through the crowds.

The upper floors were host to an art installation that tracked everyone in the room with an array of LEDs on the roof and walls. This was one of the rare occasions where you could get on the actual roof of the place with its very own viewing platform. The view from there wasn’t too different from the lower levels but the novelty wasn’t lost on me, even though my previous high rise jaunt was several levels higher.

With that done we retired to our hotel room to prepare for our early morning tomorrow. Our flight leaves at 9:00am and we have to wrestle our way out of the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world, so we’re going to be leaving quite early to make sure we don’t miss our flight. Our destination is sunny Los Angeles, California where the minimum temperatures are higher than the maximums we’ve had here. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it, especially since the last 2 weeks made that lovely Florida weather seem like a distant memory. Still I’ll be sad to leave NYC behind, it’s a great city with so many things to see and do that I won’t say no to coming back here, even for a short while.

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