After the sombreness of the memorial our next stop was altogether more upbeat, we headed to Hook and Ladder 8 fire station, or as it’s probably better known, the Ghostbusters building. Sadly our (well my) excitement at seeing the building was diminished when we got there and it was covered in scaffolding and only the Ghostbusters artwork on the floor could really be seen. Guess we’ll have to go back on our next trip…
If you are just jumping in to our Weekend Getaway to New York City you can pop back here to start at the beginning.
Lunch was our next target and we knew right where we were heading- the oldest pizzeria in New York called Lombardi’s in Little Italy (where even the fire hydrants are Italian!)
The route to get there took in parts of Chinatown, as well as Little Italy, and was a very colourful part of New York.
Arriving at Lombardi’s we ordered the meatball pizza and it was delicious – well worth the trip, both for the scenery en route and the food.
After lunch we were headed to Central Park via the New York subway. Now I may be spoilt living in London but I think the tube is pretty efficient and maybe New Yorkers feel the same about their subway too. One thing we couldn’t fathom though about the New York subway was why they didn’t have maps in the stations (or at least they aren’t noticeable if they do). This, combined with abbreviating things to within an inch of their lives (“Qns” for Queens for example), and needing to know which way was Downtown (rather than using compass directions), well, it all left us feeling it was not an easy thing to navigate. Thankfully we had our Transit app available to point us in the right direction, but I wouldn’t be confident of getting around without electronic assistance, like I would in London or Paris, for example.
Well we got where we needed to be, which was outside the plain looking building where John Lennon lived and in the doorway of which he was murdered in 1980. Crossing the road we entered Central Park to see the memorial to John Lennon called Strawberry Fields. Sadly it was covered with people taking selfies, so was difficult to photograph. We wish people realised that some people just want a picture of the memorial itself, and not a selfie, and leave it uncovered for a few seconds between people taking turns so others could take their photos too.
Heading further into Central Park we wandered round in a large circle through the middle of the park. I think we will be coming back to Central Park in the future as there is much more to see that we did on our visit. Our route took us past the the Lake to Bethesda Fountain and Terrace with its decorative ceiling.
Continuing on into the middle of the massive park we stopped for a rest on one of the many lawns for a breather before seeing the Obelisk. Though known as Cleopatra’s Needle, it was in fact commissioned by Thutmosis III. Sadly this obelisk is deteriorating and seems much more the worse for wear than its sister obelisk in London.
Belvedere Castle was next on our route back towards the edge of the park. A folly built in 1869 it’s now a visitor centre, observation deck and weather station. A much-needed quick refreshment break was taken as we approached the exit of the park and we agreed we will definitely have to come back. There is much more to see in this fantastic park!
Our final stop of the day was “Top of the Rock”, an observation deck at the top of the Rockefeller Centre. Whilst not the highest observation deck, we chose this one for its proximity to Central Park and for the fact that we would be able to see the buildings that the other two observation decks are in- namely the Empire State Building and One World Trade Centre.
After a brief panic, when we realised that the subway was running alternate routes (we had timed entrance tickets), we used our handy Transit app again to get there by bus (we had now bought travel passes, so no need to try and blag another free ride!) We arrived in time, despite having intended getting there early, and were quickly inside with our pre-purchased tickets scanned directly off our phones (Edit by Stacey…thankfully since I left our paper tickets back at the hotel. Oops!)
After a short queue for the lifts we were out on the lower of the observation decks. As these are enclosed in glass, photos are rather difficult, so we headed straight on up to the next level where there are gaps in the glass panels that you can squeeze your camera through to take some pictures. Looking back towards Central Park we could see 432 Park Avenue tower (where the Penthouse would cost about $100 million!), the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and Times Square (including the ball that drops on New Year’s Eve).
You can even see all the way downtown and glimpse the Statue of Liberty in the distance if it’s clear enough, and for any Highlander fans, the Silvercup sign where the final battle starts in the film! I had no idea this was in New York, or even that it was a real place and not just a set, so this was a pleasant thing to find out and see. We really enjoyed the views from the Top of the Rock and it was a great way to end our day.
Well actually not quite the end of our day as we ensured we stood on the other side of the Staten Island Ferry for the return trip and got a look at the Brooklyn Bridge and Governors Island that will also be part of our plans for a future trip.
We then watched New York’s skyline recede into the distance, well until tomorrow when we had a final packed day planned… for this visit anyway.
To read more about our New York City Weekend Getaway, please feel free to check out these posts: