For the penultimate part of my adventure in America, I was going it alone in New York City.
Now, anyone that is reading this will presumably know what my sense of direction is like and consequently worry for my safety. But I made it to the hostel fine, I mean I got on the subway in the wrong direction to begin with but after that I arrived without any hassle. It's a good job that New York is laid out like a big game of tic tac toe as it made my life easier when trying to find streets. Although, even then I managed to keep going in the wrong direction, it's all well and good saying it's on Fifth Avenue but when that road is the length of Manhattan, I get into difficulties.
I had pre-booked accommodation through my English camp company, Americamp and so had a representative from there around who was going to be my tour guide and show a group around the city. I turned up in the middle of a 5-day tour and was meant to do the start of the next one, but the woman who was supposed to be running the next one never got in touch with me, so I was left to do my own thing. Luckily, a friend from camp was staying in NYC too, so we teamed up and tourist-ed (to tourist, is that a verb? It should be) together.
I arrived in New York and met up with the good rep, Phil, who was organising a night out. Now, I had been up since 8am having had 5 hours sleep so that we could complete the drive up from Florida in time and was knackered. Still, how often am I in New York? There were 5 of us over 21 who went out to an Irish bar in the city. We tried to move onto another bar with a spectacular view of the city but they had shut their roof. Instead, Phil had a mate who lived nearby, as you do, and we went to his building's rooftop to continue the party. The view from up there was phenomenal, slap bang in the centre of New York City and a good 30 storeys or so up. I do think the city looks better at night, all lit up; you can't see the dirt and the grey then. I found that the city really does never sleep as we meandered over to a McDonalds at 4am and eventually down to a surprisingly busy Subway for a Wednesday night/ Thursday morning.
Next morning, up at 9 for a trip to the Natural History Museum of Night at the Museum fame. They ask for a donation to get in but you have to get a ticket from a real person so being stingy is a little harder. They suggest that you 'donate' $17 but y'know I'm a student. Others in the group only gave $1 so I felt pretty good about my $3 donation. I was looking forward to seeing Robin Williams on a horse, but unfortunately he wasn't there. There wasn't even a random man on a horse- very disappointing. The dinosaur section was really good though and they had a space thing narrated by Liam Neeson too.
I spent far too much money in New York, I've started to actually shop and not just sit in the shoe section waiting for everyone else to finish up. It's worrying but I don't think it's a habit that'll stick. Whilst I didn't get all the tourist things done, I did spend a lot of time around Time Square, walked through Central Park and visited the Rockefeller centre, home of NBC. Helen and I also took an early morning trip to the Statue of Liberty. It's bigger than I thought but still not all that impressive. The most interesting thing I found out was that it's green because they made it out of copper and that's what happens when copper is in the air and wet!
We also went to a New York comedy night, and were sat at the very front which was interesting to say the least. But the best thing about New York that I couldn't have missed was Broadway. With so many shows to pick from, it was hard deciding what to see, but then I found out something, which tipped the balance. Arthur Darvill, better known as Rory Williams-Pond from Doctor Who, was the lead in a new musical, 'Once'. I'd heard good things about 'Once' too, so we went to check it out. On Broadway they give you the little programmes for free, a nice touch but I'd just spent getting the $20 picture one and there were no
Pictures of Rory in there! According to the programme, he and the female lead were on an exchange between the British and American actors equity, which I find quite amusing. 'Once' was fantastic, it's set in Ireland so we heard some questionable American Irish accents but with a really good soundtrack. There isn't a band as the whole cast play instruments as well; it was incredibly well done. The only criticism I have is that Rory didn't come out to the stage door afterward!
Now I need to find my way to Washington, DC…