After coffee and fresh fruit in the hotel we headed to the nearby Champs Deli and enjoyed a ‘two egg sandwich sunny side up’. This is essentially two fried eggs in a freshly baked sesame topped roll, it tastes delicious but is incredibly messy to eat with egg yolk oozing out constantly, lots of serviettes needed.
Breakfast completed, we took the subway to Clark Street then walked around Brooklyn Heights which was a pleasant neighbourhood with many brownstone buildings with wrought iron balustrades. Continuing on to DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) we strolled along the promenade in Brooklyn Bridge Park where there are splendid views looking back towards Manhattan. Heading inland, we walked along Pierrepoint as far as Brooklyn Borough Hall admiring more of the brown stone architecture. Next followed a hop on the subway to Prospect Park which is Brooklyn’s urban park and was, in fact, designed by the same person as Central Park.
Strolling through the park we noticed that the lake was partially frozen, and a little further we came to the large ice rink where we paused to watch a few people skating. We left the park at Parkside Avenue, it had been our intention to stop off for a coffee here but it didn’t seem the best of areas so we took the subway to High Street so that we could take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The entrance to the bridge walkway is signposted from this station (south side of Brooklyn Bridge promenade) exit. We chose to cross in this direction so that we could take full advantage of the Manhattan skyline views without constantly needing to look back. It’s a very safe and easy stroll across the bridge and as you don’t feel to be very high (with the road below you) and I doubt it would be a problem for those with a fear of heights. There were very few people walking across the bridge on this January day so we were able to pause for photos whenever we wished. We warmed up afterwards with bowls of soup in a nearby cafe.
After lunch we returned to New York’s financial district to visit the Federal Hall with the statue of George Washington at its entrance. It’s free to enter the Hall, a grand building. As a national monument, it is operated by the National Parks who have an informative visitor centre and small shop there. Just around the corner stands the Wall Street Trinity Episcopal Church which was visited by the Queen and Prince Philip in 1976.
Another short ride on the subway took us to 23rd Street / Little Italy. As expected, it’s mostly a collection of Italian restaurants and pizzerias located between Mulberry and Mott streets. Chinatown merges into Little Italy and we looked in an indoor food market similar to those found in South East Asia and wandered past street stalls bursting with colour from spices and exotic vegetables. Returning to Borough Hall we took the subway to 33rd street and found a small cafe called Gigi’s where we warmed up once again with mugs of hot chocolate before exploring the foyer of the Empire State Building which was nearby. Along the road we came to Herald Square home to Macy’s which claims to be the world’s largest department store.
After glancing around several floors we left feeling a little disappointed, I think we had expectations of it being a high end store something on the lines of Harrods in London but that wasn’t the case. We did however enjoy riding on the old wooden escalators which serve the upper floors.
Continuing further, we wandered along to Times Square to view it after dark seeing all the electronic billboards and ticker tape lighting up the night sky. It was crowded but this added to the atmosphere of experiencing Times Square for ourselves. It felt perfectly safe and it was reassuring to see so many NYPD police officers on every corner.
After taking the subway along to 8th Street/NYU, we found an attractive pizzeria for a well earned rest and dinner. Back at the hotel, we relaxed in the hotel’s club lounge on a comfortable sofa, watching Obama deliver his State of the Union Address whilst enjoying late night drinks and nibbles.
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