|Class A RV on 5th Ave, NYC|
On our second day trip to NYC we saw this motorhome driving down 5th Ave in Manhattan. There was no one in the passenger seat, and the driver, a 40ish man, looked fairly relaxed. Actually, when he came to a stop even with us, I noticed he was talking on a cell phone. Getting directions? I wondered: how he got there, where was he going, and if he intended to park it somewhere. On that street, size was not really a problem. He was no taller than the refrigerated truck, nor longer than the MTA bus. Nonetheless I was happy our rig was safe back at the State Park.
Speaking of parking, I looked at a few of the rate signs at some of the parking buildings we passed, and noted that day parking for a car seems to be $40 - 70. Ouch!
Our tour choice for NYC was to buy three day tickets for the Gray Line CitySights , hop-on-hop-off, double decker bus system. We got an off-season discount, so the cost was only $59 each. There was a guide onboard each bus that told us about the buildings we were seeing and other tidbits about the city. My only dissatisfaction was that there weren't as many on-off stops as we would have liked, and we did end up walking quite a bit.
We arrived at Penn Station by 11 AM, and walked a few blocks to the Empire State building where we redeemed our ticket voucher and got our map for the bus.
Craig tracks Yelp's top 100 restaurants in the country. Los Tacos #1, in Chelsea Market, is in the top 40, and was our planned lunch stop.
The bus took us within a ten minute walk of the Market. Our tacos were wonderful. Not the usual ground beef, lettuce and cheese. We generally choose to drink just water with our meals out, so our lunch tab was less than $20. There were only a few places to sit and we ended up eating standing up next to the back door, but the tasty meal was well worth it.
Chelsea Market is an old warehouse building that now houses an array of small shops and eateries. Everything from beautiful looking fresh produce, cute clothes and accessories, to bulk tea and spices.
As we walked down the busy hallway we passed the busking cellist above. When he started to play the opening music to "Game of Thrones" we doubled back to listen. Haunting!
As we walked back to the bus stop we came upon an entrance stair up to the High Line Park. It is an elevated park/walkway that was created on a section of old railroad trestle. If we didn't have bus tickets we might have taken a walk along it, but instead just took a quick look.
Looking down to the street below we noted how light the traffic was on this "side street" not far from Chelsea Market.
Once back to our bus stop we quickly boarded the next to come along and went to the upper, open deck.
One advantage of such a seat is that you can safely look up. If you did this while walking along you would be run over by the crowd of other pedestrians. I noticed many buildings that had trees on what I assumed were roof or deck gardens. We also saw this crew washing windows without hanging from scaffolds, as well as lightly watering the street and pedestrians below.
We got a good view of the exposed guts of the street from our high vantage point as well.
Views of old churches and brick office and factory buildings are mixed with the flashy reflections of new, tall skyscrapers.
A ferry ride was included in our bus fare, so we hopped off when we got to the East River.
Our ride took us quite near the Statue of Liberty and gave us a chance to see the Manhattan skyline. We decided not to take the separate trip out to the statue because tickets to go up to the crown are sold in advance. At this time, they are sold out for the next five months.
After the ferry trip we caught another On-Off bus and continued the tour. As late afternoon approached, it got a bit cold on the upper deck of the bus. Our tour guide offered us plastic ponchos which provided some protection from the wind. By this time the light traffic I had noted in the morning had been replaced by almost stand-still gridlock, and we were doubly glad we were not driving ourselves!
Knowing we had a long train ride ahead of us, we decided to get something to eat before we left the city. Ever prepared with knowledge of places to eat, Craig knew exactly where he wanted to stop. There was a Shake Shack was not far from Penn Station. It was very busy, but oh so good! Some might describe their hamburgers as a bit greasy, but I would describe them as very juicy. Again a great bargain, dinner in Manhattan for about $20. More if you have beer or wine, which may be an important part of Shake Shack's popularity.
By the time we got back to the park we were both very tired. I think I was in bed and asleep within a half hour!
One of the reasons I choose the three day bus pass was so we could go one day, rest on the second, and return on the third. That is exactly what we are doing. I will tell you about the third day of our Manhattan experience in the next post.
[From Craig] Helping prepare this post, I feel like I've reached maturity as an image editor. We took 160 pictures on Wednesday, and while processing them before turning them over to Merikay, I cut the set down to 54. 34% is the greatest selectivity I've ever managed! Of course it was made easier by umpteen images of the Statue of Liberty, and umpteen more of the NYC skylines.(So you don't have to count, Merikay has used 17 of 54.)