Judy and Peter US and Cuba 2017 travel blog

One of the buildings around the city

Museum of Modern Art

Van Gogh at MoMA

Sculptures at MoMA

Central Park

Squirrel in Central Park

Pete having a busk in the park

Steam coming out of the ground

Top of the Rock

Empire State Building

The bus arrived into New York at 6:00am, 40 minutes before schedule. We did the backtrack through the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the subway and our New York home. We had to recharge our Metro cards before we went anywhere as we'd used up our 7 days. We certainly got our money's worth out of the week. I expected to be really tired however wasn't feeling too bad. I had a reasonable amount of sleep on the bus as both Pete and I had a double seat to ourselves. We decided to get some washing and drying done before tackling the city. It's our last full day and we want to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)and Top of the Rock in the evening.

Washing done, we set out for the subway station in 168th Street. I checked the journey planner for our trip to the airport tomorrow and leaving from here gives us the least amount of train changes. We arrived into the city in extra quick time as the A trAin in this line is an express. Our first stop was to check whether we had to book a time for Top of the Rock(going to the top of the Rockefeller Centre) to see the view of the city. Yes, we did so I organised it for 8:10pm as our preferred time of 7:30 was booked out.

We then set out for MOMA. It's a good day to be inside an art gallery as its going to be 32C today and the gallery is nice and cool. We had to go through a security check before we could go in and decided to check our bags as well because we weren't allowed to take our water in. Once again, there's some lovely works of art and some that are not to my taste. I'm not too excited about the more abstract paintings. We were a bit puzzled as the gallery has collections of works by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso and Monet....not sure why they are in a gallery of modern art. I need to look up the gallery's 'about us' page to see how they fit in.

After spending a couple of hours at the gallery, went to find a bar to have a beer. Of course, we were near 5th Avenue so had trouble finding the sort of bar we can afford. Finished up at a diner so I had a Caesar salad as well as a beer. Before we left the gallery, I went to pick up our bags...they have a great automated system whereby the bag-check person types the check number they give you into a key pad and the rack swings around and stops at you item. Pretty fancy for a hick from the sticks to see.

Central Park was next on the list. We wanted a bit more of a look around so set off into the park. We stopped at the first pond we got to and were chatting to a guy who was there taking photos with a camera that had a humongous lens. He takes nature photos and puts them on Getty Images and even though I didn't get a straight answer, assume he is paid for them if someone uses them. He comes to the park to take photos of the birds, especially the herons and egrets. He showed us some he'd taken previously with the egrets catching and eating fish. Apparent,y there's quite large fish in the pond and the birds often fish in the area. While we were watching, a couple of heron came in so we was snapping them while waiting for the perfect shot when they take off to catch a fish or just fly. He also does fashion photography and reckons some of the models he photographs have legs like the heron....very skinny. We saw a beautiful male robin red breast as well while we were watching....they are red all over, with the chest being a deeper colour.

We left him to his bird watching and moved on. Heaps of people were out enjoying the park in this very warm day. It was still 30C at about 7:30pm. There was a busker a bit further along and Pete sang some harmonies with the guy after he'd chatted with him for a while. We're not sure why but all of a sudden he and hawker who works in the same area started having a shouting match which was pretty venomous so we decided it was time to move in. We'd heard something about a car mowing people down in Time Square earlier in the day however didn't know the details and we didn't want to be around if this blew up into something too big.

We arrived a Top of the Rock a bit before our scheduled time so decided to buy an ice cream. We selected our cone size and asked for the flavour we each wanted. The server wanted to know how big an ice cream we wanted. We said the size for this small cone. He again wanted to know what size. It appears he wanted to know how many scoops...very confusing. In Australia, if you select a kiddie cone, you normally get one scoop and there was nothing on the menu board to say anything different.

Top of the Rock is run like a machine. People coming in at their allocated time slots, tickets checked, security check and then in the lifts to the 67th floor.....OMG, the 67th floor. I didn't want to think about it. You get a great view of the city and its 360 degrees. It was quite hazy as we arrived just after dusk however the darker it got, the less the haze the noticeable. We took the steps up to the 68th and 69th level and then caught the lift back down. I was pleased to get back on the ground. I couldn't help thinking how terrible it must have been for people in the twin towers when the building was on fire and looking like it was going down. You would feel so helpless at that height.

Off to the train and home to bed. The train home was absolutely packed. We stood just about the whole way and were dripping with sweat by the time we alighted. It was good to get out into the cooler evening air. As we came out of the train station, there was a guy having a rant session with himself. Not sure what that was all about. I opened our room window and we had a lovely breeze coming in the cool the room. In the nights we've stayed in this apartment, we've gone from having a light quilt to the light quilt and a doona to just a sheet. Crazy weather.

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