USA D1: Brooklyn, Financial District and the bright lights of the big city
I would hardly call it a quality night’s sleep, but vaguely refreshed we trotted down the road to our first priorities of the day: local SIM card and coffee. Both successfully acquired, though the coffee strength was a bit meh.
We descended into the subway system to head across to Brooklyn. Now most people consider me organised or a planner or something, and when I tell them that Mike takes that to a whole ‘nother level their eyebrows tend to shoot up into their hairline. Well case in point: from his research Mike knew where the subway station was we needed to catch, the types of multi tickets we could buy, and where we needed to get off. It was brilliant.
Brooklyn has a leafy promenade which we walked along, enjoying the views back over to Manhattan. Enjoyable though it was, peaceful it was not thanks to the roar of traffic below and the constant thump of the earthworks constructing new developments where the piers used to be.
After further strolling through ‘Dumbo’ we walked over Brooklyn Bridge. Not sure I realised you walked along the centre, rather than along one of the sides. Glad to have seen this amazing structure up close.
It was time to move into the Financial District with photo stops including the historic St Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church – both with cemeteries that I enjoyed a quick poke around in – and of course, Wall St.
The 9/11 memorial was a big feature of the day. Access is tightly controlled and we took the precaution of booking a time to visit – it didn’t seem to make any difference on the day though, despite there being a constant thick stream of people. The long access way included a security scan and about three different checks of one’s visitor’s pass. Once inside though you’re free to roam and take in the site. The scale is breath-taking, the engraved names extending right around both tower memorials, adorned only with the occasional mini flag or white rose.
Down to the water we went, heading along and around Battery Park to the Staten Island ferry terminal. This free service is an excellent way to see the financial district skyline from the water, not to mention some of the islands and a green lady holding up a torch thingy.
On the return journey a local man began chatting to us. He turned out to be a retired fire fighter and pulled out a photo showing him on the scene on 9/11.
Legs were most definitely starting to creak by now but the day was not done. Back into the subway and over to Soho where we had a few blocks to walk, past a multitude of arty places with arty people inside them. Mike was on a mission: to get to the Burton store. He well and truly ticked that off the list with a large bag of stuff leaving with us.
It was dark and we were hungry. We walked past places and none of them seemed right – then we found ourselves in the neighbourhood of Katz’s Deli we had read about. Famous in New York, and yes a tourist trap, but fantastic place.
We caught another train to West 42nd Street to see the spectacle that is Times Square at night. It was as ridiculous as we expected.
By then we’d been on the go for 12 hours and bodies were protesting loudly. We walked back to our hotel and to our relief found a shop on the way to make the last important purchase of the day – beer, RTDs and chocolate.
- Number of squirrels seen: 17, give or take
- Number of successful squirrel photos taken: 0
- Layers of meat in Mike’s deli sandwich: 8
- Number of people in Times Square: 137,523