New York Roundup

I’ve finally finished uploading the photos from New York. They’re all in a set here. While not as good as some, I’m quite happy with them.

I fulfilled a life ambition while I was there by skating on the Central Park ice rink. It wasn’t christmas, but the sky was a deep blue and the sun was shining, so I was happy 🙂 My skating isn’t great, but I only fell over once, admittedly in spectacular flailing-arms fashion.

Woolman Ice Rink

I took a couple of photos on the ice, then got a little over-excited and phoned Dad to tell him what I was doing. I was then promptly told off for using a phone on the rink – oops. Felt a bit ashamed at that for a while, but got over it 🙂

On the first night I headed into town to find something to eat. A nearby steak house seemed to be exactly what I was after, and the menu looked reasonable. I was shown to a table and upon examining the menu I discovered that the steak was $38 – around £22. Gulping, I ordered one. I asked if it came with french fries, and was told it didn’t. This confused me – what kind of steak doesn’t come with chips? So I ordered a plate on the side. I started to get a hint as to what would come next when the waiter delivered an enormous knife. Really, it was massive. I think they used it to kill the cow. Ten minutes later, the steak arrived. I took a photo with my hand as a comparison, but it came out fairly dark:

Half a cow

There’s a sprig of broccoli on the left, but the rest is all meat. Wow. That is the largest steak I have ever seen, let alone eaten! I managed most of the meat, but left the fat around one edge. Half the chips were left over, too. Including tip, the whole thing came to around $60, which is the most expensive meal I’ve ever had for just me…The rest of the weekend was far cheaper – breakfast the next day cost $3.70 plus a $1 tip!

My hotel clearly had thin walls – I’ve never overheard anybody having sex before. Having said that, the couple in question were rather vocal…

Central Park is an amazingly peaceful place. Considering its location, it was surprisingly easy to forget there was a huge city around you. The reservoir in the centre was very calm. This guy was busking, and the saxophone created a very pleasant atmosphere:

Cool Saxophone Player

I saw a pet chauffeur. Really.

There were a surprising number of dogs in NY, and they seemed to increase the further south I went. I guess that’s where the more residential housing is. They were fairly large dogs, too, not your handbag-stuffers.

Last year I happened to walk into Trafalgar Square during the anti-war rally on the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion. This year exactly the same thing happened in Times Square.

Anti-War Demonstration 2Times Square anti-war rally

Weird coincidence, given that I wasn’t taking part in either. The placards say “Stop the war in Iran” and “Troops out now”. Both of which I thought were pretty silly.

While I was in Bryant Park various protesters tried to give me leaflets, as well as little toy soldiers in various positions of death. Nice. I wish I’d taken the figures, now.

At the airport on the way back I saw a sign for Hooters Air. And it turns out to really be what you’d think. Wouldn’t you just feel like a creep? I’m sure the stewardesses are getting paid well, but still…

Bryant Park is a pleasant little plaza behind the New York Public Library. There are many seats and a couple of places to buy drinks – it’s a great place to relax after a morning of walking around the crowded streets. It looks great at night, too.

Bryant Park at nightBryant Park in the day

I think three days was about my limit. By the end of Monday all the little mistakes I’d made were building up to make me nervous about doing anything, which only made things worse. You know it’s bad when you can’t figure out how the mailbox works, or find the door to restaurants 🙂 I’m weird like that – I can have a hundred tiny victories, but one mistake and I convince myself I’m useless. The whole trip should be a great confidence-booster for the future, though, and I’m extremely happy I went.