Our holiday plans for the USA included the fact that Alex would be spending his birthday in New York. Today is the big day so… a happy birthday wish for Alex is the first thing I have to do today and this also means I have to be nice to Alex today which, in theory, should be easy… right?
Not sure how it happened but I have already been mean to Alex… must try harder to be nice…
Today we are heading off to explore Central Park. We start via the corner coffee shop, the Coffee Bean and in return for our USD$3.15 we receive our froth filled cup (with some coffee sloshing around in the bottom of the cup).
Take away cups in hand we walk the two blocks from J-Man’s apartment to Central Park. We begin our exploration of the part at the Great Lawn where baseball is being played. Alex even spots a group of four guys playing Aussie Rules kick-to-kick. I am sure Alex is desperate to join them but is far too shy to act on it.
Onwards through the park we stumble upon Belvedere Castle (built 1872).
The climb to the top reveals stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. Here, at the top of the castle, I discover that somebody (ie Alex) forgot to charge somebody else’s (ie my) new camera and sure enough… my battery dies… aaargh! Lucky I have the smartphone camera on hand.
Further on the path we wander when, without warning, Alex cries out “raccoon”. Alex is claiming he spotted a raccoon crossing the path… this isn’t Seinfeld Alex… were you squinting and just thought it was a raccoon?
In true “Pretty Woman” style we have just finished copping a squat with my own version of Richard Gere (aka Alex) in Central Park. Our 5cm baby hotdog (apparently worth 320 calories) cost a mere USD$2.00.
While sitting watching the passing parade we see the bicycle cyclo guys dropping people off. As Alex can’t swim we won’t be doing the “hire a boat on the lake” so, instead we agree to grab a bike ride around the park.
The prices per minute are marked on the side of the bikes and they do vary. We negotiate a 15 minute ride from where we are to the carousel. The negotiated fee is USD$30.00 (plus a tip of $10.00).
The bike guy’s informative commentary includes where Brangelina (Brad and Angelina) live, Yoko Ono and Celine Dion, amongst others and how much some apartments cost… USD$88 million for one of the most expensive… wow!
Finally we arrive at the gorgeous carousel which is where our bike ride finishes.
The carousel is working with its organ music playing and the horses slowly moving up and down their pole, as they rotate around the platform. I think it is charming… Alex does not. Begrudgingly Alex buys our USD$3.00 ticket each.
We choose our horses (Pharlap for me) and Brown Caviar for Alex (Alex pedantically clarifying his horse is brown, not black). Yes, we are the oldest people on the ride and Alex’s embarrassment lasts every second of the 4 short minutes of our fabulous ride. Alex says it felt like 20 minutes… slight embellishment Alex.
We move from riding carousels to shopping at Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue. This is a popular little shop. We can’t afford the diamonds on street level as a momento so we take the lift to level 3 where all the stirling silver jewellery is… Tiffany’s stirling silver nevertheless.
Strangely, even though it is Alex’s birthday, I somehow wound up with jewellery. Note to self… be nice to Alex… be nice to Alex. We then spend some time wandering Manhattan. I hold tight onto my little blue Tiffany’s bag.
Alex and I return to J-Man’s apartment on the Upper West Side. We need to freshen up and then grab the train downtown to meet J-Man on the corner of 34th and 7th. J-Man has made a reservation for Alex’s dinner at Wolfgang’s. It quickly becomes apparent this is a very nice restaurant. J-Man had said it was the best steak in town. The steak was divine, the service was amazing and the atmosphere was decadent and located within a gorgeous building. Dinner for three USA$250.
Happy birthday Alex, hope you had a fantastic day with your nephew and me.[showmyads]
For previous USA series post see Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York
For next USA series see Midtown Manhattan including the Rockefeller Centre and Times Square