Today I rode through Queens and Brooklyn on a push bike tour. We started at 10am and finished at 5pm. Lucky for me we spent lots of time stopping and talking about the areas we stopped in. I believe I rode somewhere between 20 and 30 kilometers or maybe even more. I know it was a long way on a map.
We went in a group of eight tourists with the tour leader Marc at the front and tour helper Chris at the rear of the group. We rode over the Queensborough and Williamsburg bridges during our ride and along the water front. We saw Long Island and where they make Gossip girl and 30 Rock. They use the Silvercup bakery factory that has been turned into the film studio. We learnt the migration history of the areas, saw the housing projects and how the architecture and feel of a place could change between a block. We also saw some of the damage left by hurricane Sandy such as trees down and the impact of the water on the shore front.
We ate lunch at a small polish, family run restaurant which was soooo yummy. We rode through traffic and passed through a part of Williamsburg that houses a community of 70,000 traditional Jews. We got to hear the bell ring to tell them Sabbath was starting. They are very traditional and even have their own ambulance and bus service funded by the community along with a school.
On the way to our tour I learnt how to hail a new York cab. You step into the street with your arm held high when you see a cab with its lights on - which means it is empty.
After the ride we walked back the 24 streets and 4 avenues to our hotel. Each street is a small 2 minute walk as they are shorter and the avenues are longer. Manhattan is set up on a grid system with the avenues going from North to South on the island and the streets going from East to West. They are numbered starting at one. It is an easy way to get around the city. We started walking at 69th street and knew we had to walk North for 24 streets to find 45th street (where we are staying) we also had to walk across 4 avenues as we are between 6th and 7th Avenues and we started our walk at 2nd.
I got some take away for dinner from a street cart - it was chicken and rice and cost only $6 for a huge amount of food. I also tried chocolate covered pretzels, which is a crunchy, salty and sweet explosion in your mouth at the same time. Interesting but I am not sure they would take off in Australia.
Over here their M&M crispies are called M&M Pretzels. They even come in the same colored blue packets as our crispies do and are shaped in the same ball shape.
Keep having fun in Australia and blow me away with just now much you have learnt when I get back.