A bit of a stretch
Jun 1, 2017
|Our last day in NY - J and C wanted to go out and see more sights but I wanted to stay in bed - but I couldn't as we had to check out.
We packed up our bags and delivered them downstairs so the concierge could lock them away.
J had looked at a couple of options for a round city bus tour but decided not to book in case of rain or other problem. A quick trip up to 50th st (one past Times Sq) and a walk around the corner and we found the Gray Line office - a short queue so ten minutes later we had tickets, and another ten and we were on the top of the bus.
The bus took us dangerously close to many NY landmarks - I'm talking about the traffic lights and signs that hang down over the streets. They are only half a metre above the passengers heads, and the tour guide had to duck. It was only briefly in passing that were told not to stand up - and this was only in English, so non English speaking tourists could be at risk.
Anyway we kept our heads down and off we went - Times Sq, Ed Sullivan theatre, Empire State Building, Madison Sq Garden, etc. as we had the whole day, J thought a stop in Greenwich Village might be a good way to spend some time and have lunch. So we all got off at stop 7 and walked down to Washington Square. A very leafy suburb with lots of apartment buildings, art galleries, a university, and old churches ( a sort of red sandstone). The Square had a large stone arch ( with George W on it) plus a fountain, dog playground and children's playground. 2 streets south the cafes and restaurants and shops started. We had to take care as most shops have a basement accessed by stairs from the street. So you don't wander along without looking where you are stepping!
We had some vegetarian/Asian style food with a cold drink - luckily arriving 10 mins before lunchtime rush hr. we then walked across and down 5th ave towards the older part of NY and picked up the next bus - too busy to go on top so we sweltered downstairs for 2 stops before a bunch of people got off at the 911 museum stop , and we were back up top.
We continued on to the southern tip and the Wall st area - some old 1700s buildings here, then travelled up the east side. And eventually back to Times Sq. As it was now after 3, we grabbed a train and returned to the hotel where we got ourselves into travel mode and had cold drinks. We had a car booked at 5 to take us to the airport - the estimate was 1.5 hrs at rush hr. as our flight was 8:45 we thought that would be fine. Just before 5 the desk clerk came in and switch a strange expression, said "your car is here - and it's a stretch limo, but no extra cost!" And sure enough we were escorted to a black stretch limousine. J and C sat in the back, miles from the driver and relaxed in AC comfort as we headed off. A few young girls waved speculatively in case we were celebrities! ( with clacked out windows they couldn't see in)
We headed north and then over the bridge into Queens. It was a slow bumper to bumper ride - so we got to see a lot. We weren't sure if we were going to the right airport until we started seeing some landmarks were remembered ( eg the Billy Jean King tennis centre). Gradually the time ticked by and we never seemed much closer! Eventually, as C started panicking, we started speeding up and were soon at Terminal 7.
And that's when the fight started! Well more of an argument really. The driver wanted $70 cash and J said he didn't have cash and was told he could card it. The driver said $80 and J argued that he was told only a $5 card fee. He stood his ground and after the driver made a Spanish phone call he filled out the form for $75! But he wasn't happy!
J and C scuttled in and went through the checkin process - mild panic when some people left a small bag near the checkin desk! Security was tight and full body scans and patting don occurred. j lost his sunscreen ( 110 ml half used tube - containers need to be 100 ml or less)
On to the plane half an hour late and we were soon airborne. It was dark and we were told that they would make up time with a 6hr crossing to London. So we wouldn't be missing our Manchester connection!