Following breakfast in Champs Deli we took the subway to the Upper East Side to ride the aerial tramway across the East River to Roosevelt Island. The tramway is actually a cable car carrying up to 110 passengers every 15 minutes and the journey is included in the Metro pass. The tramway reaches a height of 76 metres following the route of the Queensboro Bridge.
At around 9.00 am when we boarded the cable car was almost deserted as commuters were travelling into town from the Roosevelt side, this extra space made taking photos much easier.
Strolling through Franklin Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park we enjoyed good views across to Manhattan and apart from the occasional dog walker, we had the park much to ourselves. We came across the former Renwick Smallpox Hospital in the nearby Southview Park, it’s now in ruins and designated a New York City landmark. After riding the cable car back across the river we took a look inside Bloomingdales department store and preferred the shopping experience there to our recent visit to Macy’s.
Finishing shopping, we headed to Hudson Yards by subway, this is the newest station on the New York subway system, only opening its doors in September 2015. The reason for coming here was to walk the High Line. This is an elevated, disused freight rail line now transformed into an urban park and walkway running from West 34th Street to Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District, a distance of 1.45 miles.
It was bright and sunny but bitterly cold as we strolled along the elevated walkway which has been attractively laid out with wooden seats, raised flower beds and art work, the path winding its way between the high rise buildings and bordering the Hudson River at its start. There are access points at varying intervals, some with lift access. We stopped off at Chelsea Market where we warmed up with mugs of hot chocolate before looking in the small but interesting shops within the market. It’s not a ‘market’ as such, but rather a collection of small boutiques, craft shops, bookstores and deli’s. Leaving the market from the far exit we came across the offices of Google and walked along smart tree lined roads of historic terraced houses. Rejoining the High Line, we continued the short distance to its end in the Meat Packing district.
It had been our plan to eat lunch in Gansevoort Market but as we had only just had a snack in the nearby Chelsea Market, we just looked around instead. Again, a very attractive setting with mostly deli type eateries. Exploring further on foot we ate lunch in a delightful cafe tucked away on Jane Street and then took the subway to Union Square where we spotted a branch of Marimekko, the Finnish retailer. Noticing the Flatiron building on the corner we paused to take photographs, I just loved the shape and beauty of this building when viewed from an angle.
From there we were also able to view the Empire State Building and the landmark Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower with a handsome clock face on each of its sides. Returning to our hotel late afternoon we found various film crew vans parked outside filming in the building opposite. After a short rest and a welcome coffee in the Club Lounge we raised the energy to walk along to the South Ferry terminal where we boarded the 6.00 pm Staten Island Ferry. This ferry is completely free and passengers do not need to possess a Metro card to travel on it. The journey takes 25 minutes to the Whitehall ferry terminal on Staten Island. For passengers wishing to return aboard the same ferry it is necessary to disembark and walk through the waiting room to return.
Our outward crossing was busy with commuters but we had no difficulty finding seats and on our return to Manhattan it was almost empty affording us good night time photo opportunities of both the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. For the best views remember to sit on the right hand side of the ferry when travelling towards Staten Island and on the left for the return journey, the ferry being double ended and therefore it does not turn round.
Leaving the ferry we took the subway to Court Street over in Brooklyn where we walked down to the DUMBO district (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) where we tucked into delicious burgers at Shake Shack. This branch, overlooking Brooklyn Bridge was much nicer than the one near the American Museum of Natural History. The interior is created from reclaimed wooden factory beams from the local neighbourhood and a corner fireplace made it warm and cosy on a cold January evening. We returned to the hotel feeling tired after another fun day exploring New York.
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