...so we were in Newark airport with our vocuhers for free things. We take the free shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport. The driver of the bus decides that we don't really want to be staying at the hotel that the airline had planned for us, but instead we want to stay at a different hotel. He tells us that his hotel has alcohol (nod, wink) whereas the one we'd supposed to be going to didn't. We liked his thinking and went along with it. At the hotel we made use of the free dinner vouchers to get some ice cold bottles of Corona sent up to our room - they we're concerned that we didn't want any actual food, but we reassured them that that was just fine. It was now time to fight off the tiredness we were feeling and explore the Big Apple.
We got the shuttle bus back to the hotel, then the airport airtrain to the station. It was then a 25 minutes train ride into Penn Station in New York. Out of Chris, James and I, Chris was the only one who'd been to NY before, so he becames official guide. Apparentlty street numbers get larger from south to north, and avenue numbers get larger from west to east - all laid out in a big grid. We set out to go to 42nd Street - we went the wrong way, luckily we caught this error very quickly and turned around. It's a fairly busy city, well at least it is at about 6.30pm on a Friday. For a while we just wander about a bit along a couple of streets staring up at buildings and dodging all the people. All the buildings are rather high and you're constantly staring up at them. After a while we thought we should actually decide on a destination, so started to head towards Central Park. We walked up a road containing many exclusive looking shops like Luis Vuitton, De Beers and Tiffany's and also the most 80's sky scraper ever, Trump Tower, until we got to Central Park. Central Park contained many people roller blading and jogging as you might expect. It also had lots of horse and carriages, but we weren't tempted to take a ride.
Hunger started to strike, so food was in order. We happened across a restaurant called something like the Brooklyn Diner - we were sold. It definitely looked the part. On their menu they had (ringed by a large red box) the famous cheese burger - recommended by the New York Times (or some such newspaper) as being the best burger in New York. We saw some other people with it and it was large. Again, we were sold. The waitress almost didn't have to ask what we wanted, I said "Three..." and she finished with "...cheese burgers." The burgers were very good, although I can't vouch for them being the best in New York, as I only have the one sample. It seems that we weren't the only people who enjoyed this diner as the walls were covered in small plaques containing the names of famous people who'd eaten there (this is what we assumed anyway). We were in a booth containing Kevin Spacey and Vanessa Redgrave, to name but two - well the two names we actually recognised as being famous people!
Next we decided to go to the Empire State Building - well you've got to really haven't you. This required us to go on the Subway, or at least the fact that we were knackered and our feet hurt required us to be able to not have to walk. We made it to the Empire States Building after eventually finding the right Subway stop and passing the many examples of the classic image of steam coming out of drain covers. We looked up at it and it was tall. By this time it was gone 10pm and we were all feeling very tired. Did we want to go up the Empire State or just go back to the hotel. We were at a large risk of actually falling asleep there and then so we went for the return to the hotel option - sounds boring I know, but we really were incredibly knackered. I go up it next time I'm in New York and I think I'll definitely make an effort to go back. It's seems like it could be a really good city to get to know.
We got back to the hotel about 2 hours later after a series of delays, but finally got to bed for about 5 hours sleep before our journey recommenced. I may right about this later.
P.S. Anyone who gets the reference for this posts title gets bonus point.