We arrived in New York on a lovely sunny afternoon, via the Greyhound, into the Port Authority. We made our way to The Marrakech hotel and hostel via the subway. The hotel was on 103rd and Broadway - just 2 blocks from Central Park on the Upper West Side. We were very impressed by the hotel, especially after the doorman carried our bags up the horribly steep stairs. his didn't last long as they admitted to mucking up our room so that we had nowhere to stay. After kicking up a fuss they offered us a room in their sister hostel - The Broadway, two blocks down on 101st. They gave us our own room rather than a shared for $45 less, so it really worked out better. We were escorted to the hostel by one of the doormen. He was so nice and gave us hints of what to do in the area. We spent the rest of the day in the park before going to Times Square where went to Hersheys and M and M world.
After a lie-in we sat by the lake in Central Park and decided what we were going to do during our stay. We found a delicious Texan BBQ place where we ate that night. The burgers and ribs were to die for, but the Mac and Cheese and sweet potatoe fries were the stars of the show, Lau and Sam became quite addicted.
We went to Jersey Gardens outlet mall the next day where we got some bargains. We can't wait to go back when we have money, because there was so much stuff that we wouldn't let ourselves buy.
We spent the next few days exploring the different districts of NY. Our first stop was in The Financial District where we visited the World Trade Centre site. Although it was really eerie and quiet we did notice that the site no longer looked like a waste site. It is now moving forward with the construction of the new development. We then headed to Chelsea where we stumbled across the Chelsea Markets. A collection of food shops. The smells were amazing and the food really fresh. There was all sorts of food; soups, Italian antipasti, Sushi, English shortbreads and Jams, cupcakes and brownies. The free samples were also delicious. In the West Village we found The CVhocolate Bar where we sampled hot peppermint chocolate which was very rich. Like pure melted chocolate.
We found our favourite shop on the way to Chinatown. The Pearl River Mart. It was an aladdin's cave of chinese products. From food to chopsticks, buddhas and chinese dinner sets. They also sold Kimonos and slippers. We could have bought loads, especially as it was so cheap but we restrained ourselves. We walked along Chinatown's Canal Street with its cheap Pashminas and fake designer bags. We tasted the most delicious ice cream at The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Definately worth a visit. We also tasted duck pancakes here, which were nice. But the pancakes were fluffy American versions, not the same as the ones at home.
We strolled down 5th Avenue window shopping in the expensive shops. We also saw both the Empire State and Chrysler building before heading into Macys. We couldn't get over how cheap all the designer clothes are here. While relaxing that afternoon in Central Park we saw Eddie Murphy filming his new Sci-Fi film. We think we are visible behind him.
We headed to Union Square where the Saturday market stalls were set up. There's the normal chain shops next to The Strand Bookshop and Max Breners chocolate shop. Here they have chocolate to die for. The best we have ever tasted. The Strand was amazing, we could have stayed there all day - 8 miles of books. The East village was a favourite of ours with its parks, artistic people, and quaint fun shops. We found a true Indian restaurant which was delicious.
We spent Sunday in the park again before meeting up with Mike and Laura at the Planet Hollywood in Times Square. It was a great night of chatting, good food and cocktails.
On Monday we headed to Staten Island on the free ferry where we had stunning views of the New York skyscrapers, the bridge and The Statue of Liberty. We spent some time in Battery Park City before heading to Grand Central Station where we sat and ate while people watching. We wish we had these kinds of stations at home.
On our last day we headed to the old fashined Lexington Candy Store. We enjoyed the traditional diner experience in a building that has been a film set to many films. Most recently The Nanny Diaries. We decided to head bvack to Union Square as we loved it so much. We then spent the night packing for our next trip.
We had to get up ridiculously early to catch the plane to Chicago. The lift wasn't working so we walked down with our cases 5 flights - fun!!! We got the shuttle to the airport where the driver tried to charge us an extra $20, but we stood our ground and only paid what we had agreed on the phone. No one messes with us and gets away with it. Hehe!!!
Love and miss you all, will update Chicago soon.