Day 2 we start at Grand Central Station, then walking outside we see a whole bunch of people crowding around, and taxis marked “FREE” with ads for “Dr Oz”. WTF? No idea who this guy is, but he seems to be a celebrity Dr of sorts… Like a Celebrity Chef or something. OK whatever, the real celeb spot comes later We tried to use our free taxi pass just for the sake of it but flagging one of the Dr Oz taxis down wasn’t the easiest of tasks so we continued walking.
At the Rockefeller Center we Look up the GE Building (30 Rock, the sky scraper), and WAIT. OMFG Its a LEGO STORE! This is an official Lego store. Just Lego!! AWESOME! At first I was disappointed as I thought the sign wasn’t made of lego, then I look up close and it is entirely made of Lego Men!! I love this place already. There were some great models inside, a huge dragon, Harry Potter scene, Rockefeller Center itself, and the “Big Apple”. They even have Ninjago, Lego Ninja! Who doesn’t want Lego Ninja?!?!
Hanging around Times Square and heading to Zen Palate for dinner (a Vegan Japanese restaurant), we managed to spot another celebrity. A huge one actually. Although I didn’t recognise him at first! There were a few people taking pictures, then this guy with a big beard turns around and I thought OK who is he getting his picture taken with? Then I realize, behind that bushy beard and huge sunnies, its freaking ROBIN WILLIAMS!! Unfortunately he had to go inside as he is starring in a Broadway show, which I am guessing is reason for the beard. I grew up with Mork and Mindy, his hilarious stand up shows and even better interviews. He is a legend. I can’t believe I just saw Robin Williams on the street!
At Zen Palate we had an awesome meal. An older Chinese Lady (possibly the owner or chef) then told the staff to give us and the table next to us free dessert! Woo!
For a drink we went to 230 Fifth Avenue, a rooftop bar! About 30 floors up its a nice and fancy bar with a view of the Empire State Building in a really cool setting. Good Cocktails here too!
Another awesome day
An over-night flight gets me to New York early morning, and I head straight into Manhattan to stay with my friend Dasom (who is from South Korea, I met in Canada, and is doing an internship in NY!). Dasom was an awesome host, and she basically memorized an entire New York City guide! So she was giving me lots of information as we walked around. Better than the BS I usually make up haha
The weather was beautiful (contrary to all the forecasts I looked up!) so we headed via Wall Street to the Staten Island Ferry, for the best (and free) way to see the Statue of Liberty! We had heard before that there is nothing to do on Staten Island, and most people just get straight back on the return ferry! We tried to find something however, and there is a nice 9/11 Memorial near the water. Other than that, we couldn’t find anything else really worth seeing! So we did just get back on the next ferry.
Continuing around the harbour there is a large statue that looks kind of destroyed, on inspection we read that it was actually inside the World Trade Center Plaza for three decades before the attacks on 9/11. The damaged statue was moved to the park as a memorial and a constant flame lit in front of it.
We walked to the other end of Wall Street to see the infamous Bull (grab his balls for good luck?) and up to Ground Zero where construction is well under way. There is a beautiful memorial opening on the 10th anniversary this year, so we were not able to see that, but there is a small memorial exhibition near by.
After a rest (and a drink!) at South Street Seaport, we walked onto Brooklyn Bridge, before Vegan Dim Sum in China Town! An awesome-action-packed first day!
The Mission is a neighbourhood in in SF with a strong Latino influence & population, loads of cafes and bars, alleys lined with graffiti art / murals, and a stack of vegetarian restaurants! I stopped in Gracias Madre, a Vegan Mexican Bar, for lunch, before wandering the streets checking out all the graffiti. Balmy and Lilac streets (off 24th street) are good, and another on or near Clarion street off Mission near 18th street. They probably change often though!