Friday, October 16, 2009

New York New York

On the weekend we packed a bag and took a 2-day trip to Niagara Falls - sounds a bit like the start of Gilligan's Island, but we did get home on time. The Falls are spectacular - everyone has seen pictures and movie footage, but it's something almost primal to travel on the 'Maid of the Mist' boat trip to the bottom of the falls and hear the roar of the water, feel the spray and the surge of the current at the bottom. 'Mist' nothing, we got SOAKED, despite the very attractive plastic rain poncho supplied. Almost at the bottom of the falls is a walkway called the 'Cave of Winds', described when the falls froze solid decades ago, creating ice bridges and sculpted formations people could walk through. Now it is a wooden walkway around the foot of the Bridal Falls, where I stood with the water cascading over my feet, looking straight up hundreds of feet into the waterfall as it spilled over the edge. I don't know how long I stood mesmerised, breathless (and soaked again) before making my way back to the top. (Sadly not available for those with heart conditions).
Unfortunately the tour was not well organised, leaving too little time at the Falls, and I won't bother mentioning the rest (Corning glass factory visit wasn't TOO bad).
The rest of our New York stay was a blur of sights, sounds and experiences. We did it all - or as much as we could jam in to the week. Times Square, 42nd St, 5th Ave, Empire State Building, the beautiful Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, and finally the Guggenheim (a Kandinsky exhibition not really our cup of tea, but plenty of Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Manet in the permanent display). We took the obligatory horse carriage ride in Central Park - looks so romantic in all those movies, but as Rich pointed out, you can't see anything and it smells like horse shit! Also must mention the New York deli lunch and the Reuben Sandwich with 1lb meat - that's it, nothing else, just bread & 1lb meat! Oh, and a pickle. Absolutely risible, ended up giving half of it to passing lady with small dog at the airport(which probably died trying to eat it). We found the Brill Building, where Gershwin, Arlen and many other greats knocked out their wonderful tunes; it's currently home to a music store selling everything from the latest CD to hard-to-get sheet music and tacky jewellery made from old vinyl records - so we had to buy a CD & some pins.
Of course the week ended and we had to get the luggage DOWN those appalling stairs and off to Calgary.

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