New York City, NY
To New York, and my first travel-cestuous experience, in that I was to stay with someone I only met on this trip. Karen and I travelled from Cambodia to Thailand together, before she headed off for a connecting flight and I to Bangkok. We didn’t actually spend time together in Siem Reap, only meeting because my roommate knew Karen was heading to the airport at the same time, but she was still happy to put me up.
Karen had returned to work a couple of months before, so I was curious to know how the transition went. She was kind enough to meet me at Penn Station to then walk to hers – just 10 blocks or so. I didn’t know much about the city, and was reminded of the Alan Partridge “I’d like to go to New York” ‘you want Manhattan’ “well, I’d like to see the city. The Big Apple” ‘yeah, that’s Manhattan’ “er, right – so, I’m in Manhattan, which way do I turn?’. But I knew enough to realise that 10 blocks from Penn station had to be good. At least, I did once I realised the station is in Manhattan, and as we walked through “oh look, New York streets!” and turned onto Park Avenue, I spotted how lucky I’d been. Park and 36th, close to everything.
I checked the map and got straight out – Karen had work to do, and I had some precious sunny (cold) hours of daylight to use. North today, South tomorrow, heart of city covered. I walked north up Fifth avenue (yeah) just soaking it up. Honk! Yellow taxi! Yeah well, buddy (in NY accent) and more, then found Central Park – after I’d ducked into the Apple store just opposite to get out of a particularly fierce wind.
The park is just stunning. I’d been told it was big, and it is-for circumference, Richmond park beats it, 8 miles to 6 , but Richmond isn’t in the centre of the city, nor does it have the variety of bridges, fences, rocky outcrops and wild trees. Just a fabulous spot, and I was only slightly sorry not to be running it. It was very cold, and my machismo would probably have put me in shorts. I would have been the only one. I did step onto the ‘jogging route’ around the reservoir, the most popular route, so at least I’ve been on it.
In the evening I was treated to a great dinner – quite the swankiest of the last eight months – and then a tour, culminating in photos of Times Square. Piccadilly and Leicester squares have nothing on this one.