Day 8 New York! Highline, Brooklyn, Katz Deli and last day! 12 April 2016

Was very hot in the apartment overnight with 11 deg outside!  More than most of our days.  Forecast temp of 16 deg today with 1-5ml of rain.  We woke up to rain… which looked like it should be finished by 12…

Madison Square Gardens – Poppy was really looking forward to this.  He remembered all the old Mohamed Ali fights and was keen to see where it had happened.  I wasn’t feeling all that keen but thought I might as well.  Turned out to be pretty cool.  It is really high!  At least 7 levels.

First of all we got the usual amount of screening, queueing and being ordered around.  Then the obligatory photo opportunity that we don’t want and never collect.

Madison Square Gardens

When we arrived the score board was on the floor but was then raised to fit into the ceiling.

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Then we walked through the Garden 366 Hall which has a photographic memory for each day of the year (including leap years) over a number of years.  While everyone one else was focussed on sport, it was Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to JFK that caught my eye…  Dad got to see Mohamad Ali’s gloves from his last fight (Thrilla in Manila) with Joe Frasier.

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Then we got to see the locker rooms for the Knicks and Rangers.  Also got to see the VIP rooms.

Madison Square Gardens Knicks

The current Madison Square Gardens was built in 1968 and underwent a major renovation in 2013.  They have never touched the roof though which still looks stunning with its sun ray pattern and the unique concave roof which dips down towards the stadium.  This apparently gives it great acoustics which are loved by the stars.

We got to walk on the stadium floor which has an ice rink set up once a year for the ice hockey. This can apparently be done within 24 hours but they like to set it up and leave it up.  The floor is then also used for basket ball games so they intermittently cover it with plastic and wood which does not allow any of the cold through.  Amazing.  Apparently they can turn it around in 2 hours and can do both games on the one day.

After the tour it was still raining outside and had dropped from 11 deg (hadn’t changed since last night) to 8 deg C.!

We then moved on to finish walking the Highline.  Earlier in the week when we had attempted it, it had been wet, cold and miserable.  Guess what? It was wet, cold and miserable again.  Bitterly cold.  I lost feeling in my fingers at one point and spent a lot of time trying to juggle the umbrella and camera.  Even trickier once hubby shared his gloves with me.

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We battled on though the miserable, biting old because the Highline is truly a beautiful thing.  Local residents must have been ecstatic when they realised that they were losing the noisy, dirty tramline outside their high-rise apartments and gaining some greenery and beautiful gardens.

We made it to the end.  Frozen and miserable.  The plan was to then walk through Greenwich, Soho and Tribeca, then across Houston to Katz Deli for lunch.  At this point, I struck Tribeca from the plan.  I’d been there before and could live without seeing it this time.  It was just too far in this weather.

We wandered the backstreets of Greenwich, probably missing the best ones but it was just too hard to stop and look up information.  We just put our heads down and kept going.  We came across a film set but not sure what was being filmed.  Just saw mainly the catering and equipment.

Greenwich filming

Greenwich

I really wanted to see the cute little shops and streets of Soho though and it was getting well into lunch time by then.  I knew that the 12 year old wouldn’t make it without food so we stopped at a food market and got some snacks.  Queued for ages…

Back on the road, still cold and still battling gloves, camera and umbrellas but determined to find the right streets in Soho with 3 boys dragging patiently behind me.  I Googled and TripAdvisor suggested starting at the corner of Canal and Broadway.  I dragged them all the way down to Canal Street (crossing over Houston that I knew would take us to Katz), turned on Canal Street and looked out for Broadway.  Found Broadway which mentioned something about West but that isn’t unusual in a city that lives by its division of east and west streets.

We turned up West Broadway and the streets continued to be a bit ordinary.  15 mins of walking through this, doing some turns, we eventually came across Broadway! How many Broadways can there be??  It seems like at least 2 and we had been trawling the wrong one.  By this time we were close to Houston and even I didn’t want to turn back and trek through that awful weather.  It was getting past 1.30pm by then and we just wanted lunch.

We turned on Houston and walked and walked towards what seemed like the ever receding Katz deli.  At last, on my second trip, I had finally made it here.  It was crowded but not too bad.  We were seated and there was no argument about it, I was going to have their famous Pastrami on Rye! The 12 year old loves his noodles, so he had chicken noodle soup.  I also wanted to try a Knitsch (Jewish potato filled pastry).  Add some fries for the 12 year old and it was quite a feast. Complimentary pickles – yum!

Katz Deli

Katz Deli

Katz Deli

Katz Deli

Katz Deli

OMG that Pastrami on Rye.  The pastrami was so mouthwateringly tender and there was mountains of it.  It was so worth coming for.  Chicken Noodle soup was great too.  Knitsch I wasn’t too impressed with.

Katz Deli Pastrami on Rye

Katz Deli chicken noodle soup Katz Deli pickles

Well satisfied, we emerged onto the street feeling very content.  30+ blocks to home… Poppy and I were up for it but the 12 year old wasn’t, so he and hubby headed for the train station.

Poppy and I meandered back in what by now had become sunshine!!! Best and warmest moment of weather that we had had!

I checked out a few costume stores and eventually released Poppy to find his way home while I fulfilled a last task which was to visit Anne Taylor.  I had bought some favourite clothes from there on the last trip in Chicago.  Not much there this time but did find a half price jacket/cardigan that I bought with some cute fringing.  I ticked a few boxes with this one – it was in Anne Taylor, on 5th Avenue, in the Flatiron Building, on sale and I walked out into sunshine with no jacket on!  Happy, happy.

I strolled up 5th Avenue, admiring the Empire State Building from every corner.  Admiring it so much, that I had to take a photo at each corner and then another photo at each corner in black and white, just to see what they looked like.  Adorable of course.

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

I really savoured that stroll up 5th Avenue and spent some quality time in ‘squirrel park’ (AKA Madison Square park) where I photographed and filmed the cute little critters to my hearts content.  This was one of the very few times when I had had time to myself.

I reluctantly turned into e30th Avenue and returned to the apartment to pack ready for tomorrow’s departure.  Everyone was home looking tired and stunned.  I had already done 22 000 steps by then but the day wasn’t over…

A friend that I knew through work in Australia, Scott, was now living in New York and we had been trying to catch up all week.  He now lives in Brooklyn and we hadn’t been there so we headed over.  This meant a walk down to Union Square in 14th Street and then a train to Brooklyn.  We purchased just enough credit for our return trip as this would be our last use of the New York subway.  Then I tried to get through the tall turnstiles and it wouldn’t let me through…  But took our credit of course.  Just painful as we didn’t want to buy more just for one trip.  So we tried the Customer Assistance buttons  few times and eventually were directed out and back up into Union Square to the south west corner where we found a human.  Not one who could communicate with us on the first few attempts but eventually let me through a gate and we were on our way.

We had a bit of tooing and froing over which platform and level to make sure we were going in the right direction.  Time was getting tight by now and we really didn’t want to find ourselves on a train heading the wrong way! The L train was the right one and we managed to get on it with no further mishaps.  It was VERY crowded but we ended up shoved up against a nice man who helped us to know when our Bedford Station was coming up and even which side the doors would open on.

We erupted out of the station into Brooklyn!  Wow it was different from Manhattan.  It was like someone had shaved off the top layers of the buildings back to just 3 or 4 levels.  There was sunshine and we could breathe.  I like it!

Brooklyn

Brooklyn

We had to walk several blocks up Nth 7th Avenue, turn right on Kent Street and walk several more blocks to the Northern Territory! When Scott had suggested this place, I did query whether it would give us an authentic New York experience.  His explanation was that while it had a bit of an Aussie theme, it also had a great view back over Manhattan from the roof top bar.  I was sold.

He was upstairs waiting for us and there was still sunshine!  We had a couple of drinks.  For me chardonnay in a water glass.  Of dubious quality but hey I was on a rooftop bar with a bit of a view of Manhattan.  We had a great catch up since it had been a few years and obviously Scott had been doing quite a bit!

Brooklyn Northern Territory

Brooklyn Chardonnay

Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn

Once the sun went down the cold quickly bit us and we moved downstairs.  It seems like this is Scott’s local and he spends quite a bit of time playing cards here with his wife.  It is run by an Aussie and has a good atmosphere so I can understand it.  And then just outside, you have industrial Brooklyn.  All very cool.

After a good dinner (fish for me) we wandered off in search of a dessert cafe that would ‘change my life’ according to Scott.  The walk back to 4th street was largely charming.  We walked past a daggy bowling alley that Scott and his wife frequent and it sounded cool.  Everything else was adorable.  Bars, supermarkets, cafes and then at last Momofuku Milk Bar.  I had heard of this (probably through MasterChef) but didn’t realise this was what he meant.  We sampled their Pretzel and Cornflakes and Milk ice creams.  They were soft serve and certainly the cereal one tasked like cereal and milk but no where near as good as our mate’s Frugiii dessert laboratory.

Momofuku

Momofuku

Momofuku

After buying what was possibly one of everything, we parted ways with Scott and headed back to the Subway, got the correct train and headed for Manhattan (last time on this trip that I can say that).  We had just boarded the train when some entertainers got on with their music.  They did acrobatics on the bars.  Pretty cool and deserving of a tip.  Looking at them count their cash later, it looks like they had had a profitable day.  Also good core strength!

A final stroll up 5th Avenue, admiring the Empire State Bulding, yet again, which was now lit up.  More photos of course.

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Empire State Building

Back to the apartment to find that the metal plate on the road outside was thunking at its peak best/worst and we retired for our last night in New York!

Meta plate on the right of the street below and our building in the background…

11 e30th Street, New York

34 000 STEPS!