2 September - New York
We started our day with breakfast at a diner around the corner on Lexington. The weather forecast was fine and mostly sunny with temperatures in the high 20s. Nice. After breakfast we spent a bit more time than we would have liked arranging bus transportation to the Woodbury factory outlet mall north of New York for tomorrow. It's over an hour by road and the transport is not cheap. Standard cost is around US$42 per person, we found an online deal for US$30 so we grabbed it.
Once we had that sorted, we set out for Grand Central Station on foot. It's a short walk, around 300 metres or so. We are in an area of Manhattan called Midtown on the East side and it is very convenient. I would recommend this hotel (The Court) and the location to any future travellers. We had to ask a few times to find where the train we wanted departed from. There are signs around but you have to know which ones are relevant to you. In this case we wanted line 4 or 5 Downtown (heading south is Downtown, heading north us Uptown). We rode that to Bowling green and then had a short walk to the Staten Island Ferry. We caught the midday service.
The ferry is free and you get great views of the Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn/Queens skyline. You also sail right past the Statue of Liberty. The trip takes just under 30 minutes and runs 24 x 7 departing on the hour and half hour from each side. It is a popular trip and it was crowded. I grabbed all the photos I wanted on the way over. We were among the last to disembark and were not quick enough to get on the other ferry about to head back so we had a bite to eat on the island and caught the 1 pm service back.
From there we caught the 1 line service to 50th St West where we had a short walk to the Rockerfeller Centre where they have the lookout called Top of The Rock. The line was mercifully short and within around 15 minutes, which included the obligatory security check we were in an elevator on our way to the 87th floor. The elevator has a glass ceiling and you are encouraged to look up in the shaft as you ascend and watch the blue lights pass you by. The weather was fine and the air was pretty clear so the views were really good. You start on level 87 but you can go up two further levels for even better views. There were quite a lot of people up there but it wasn't overcrowded. There was a bit of a line to come back down, around the same wait.
We caught two trains to get back to Grand Central then returned to the hotel for a short break and to get changed for dinner with Michael & Marcia, friends of ours we met in New Orleans in December. It was a lovely Italian Restaurant but it was in a small street with construction going on and the street sign had been removed which made it hard for us to locate the restaurant. I accidentally left my phone in our room so no Google Maps to help us. We eventually found it but were 15 minutes late.
We had a very pleasant evening with great company and food. We invited Michael & Marcia to visit us in Australia. Hopefully they will. Around 10.30 the restaurant staff gave us the hint they wanted to close so we headed out and said our goodbyes. Michael, it's our shout next time. The walk back to the subway and the short train ride and the walk back to the hotel were uneventful. It felt safe to be out walking late.