Day # 3 in the Big Apple…

Our 3rd day in New York City was going to be all about sight seeing. In the past, both Yvonne and I, have used the Grayline double decker buses to get around town. To me, they are simply the best way to see NYC. For $60 you get 48 hours of “Hop On/Off” service. You don’t have to get off at different places if you dont want to, you are more than welcome to just get on once and ride the bus the full loop if you choose. We loved the idea of being driven around the city, as a tour guide tells you way more than you would even be able to remember. It’s a lot of fun, especially on days where they weather is amazing (unlike the 1st day Bob and I tried last summer and it was pouring rain!). We were just going to cab/subway our way around but decided to do the double decker bus instead. We did go ahead and drive into the city because Yvonne was going to try to walk the Brooklyn Bridge after we had an early lunch at Katz’s (that didn’t happen because I wasn’t sure where to drop her off and drove right by it, so we decided to do it the next day).

Lunch was great, the only thing I didn’t like about Katz’s Deli was the parking outside as I got a freakin’ ticket for not seeing a sign at the complete  opposite end of the block that said “No Parking”. It was literally on the opposite end of the block and hidden behind trees. No, where I was there was no such sign and there were pay stations as well, so I paid and put the tag on my passenger side window just like you are supposed to do. WHOOOPS! I still got a ticket. (Btw, flash forward, I fought it online last year and I lost. According to them if you are going to park anywhere, you need to walk the entire block first to make sure it is ok and if you pay at the little pay stations… you don’t get your $$ back either, even if you still have the receipt!). Anyways, back to lunch. We split a corned beef sandwich (which was awesome), had my first ever Magic Hat #9 beer (meh) and a Brooklyn Lager, took the usual “I’m a tourist” photo’s of the table from “When Harry Met Sally” and enjoyed the platter of several different kinds of pickles they brought out to us.

After lunch, and finding the $35 parking ticket, we found a garage where to park they car that wouldn’t cost us a 3rd mortgage on the house and left the car there as we got on the double decker bus for our tour of the City. We decided to do the “Uptown Loop” first (they have 3 loops during the day: Uptown, Downtown & Brooklyn). Our thought was that if we did this we could actually get off and walk through a part of Central Park, so that is exactly what we did. After riding for a while and getting to see things like Trump Towers, Grant’s Tomb, Columbus Circle and a whole lot of amazing architecture, we got off the by by the apartment building known as The Dakota on the corner of 72nd & Central Park West. The Dakota is of course famous for being where John Lennon lived and was shot and killed on December 8, 1980. His widow, Yoko Ono, still lives in the building.

My first foot step into the world famous Central Park was right across from The Dakota in an area known as “Strawberry Fields”. It is a memorial to John Lennon which has a really nice mosaic on the ground with the word “Imagine” in it. There were several people in this area as we got there, but it was almost eerie quiet. Of course to me, when I saw the word “Imagine” there all I could think about was my high school graduation almost 20 years ago because “Imagine” by John Lennon was our class song. Funny thing about that, most of us didn’t want it as our class song, we wanted “Friends In Low Places”, but our class advisor, Mrs. Cable, overruled us and we got ‘stuck’ with “Imagine”. Looking back now, I think it was a great choice, though come on, Garth would have best described my class. Lol 🙂

As we continued into Central Park, we took a left and headed up a path that would take us by The Lake, which is one of at least 4 different bodies of water in Central Park. We stopped for some pictures and then kept going. It was freakin’ hot and what got me the most about walking through there is that its so rocky. It’s by no means a flat easy ass walk in the park, nope! I guess I didn’t realize that but as we kept going we eventually made it up to “Belvedere Tower” which gave us a great place to not only rest a moment, but a great vantage point to look out at more of the park. As we continued around we came to the Central Park Boathouse restaurant. This was a perfect place to use the restroom and get a bottle of Gatorade before we got moving again. From here on back to our bus stop was kinda cool. 1st off, most of the walking was downhill at this point. 2nd it was just simply beautiful. Everything about it was awesome. I can’t really say what impressed me so much, but I really did enjoy it. Up a little ways was this plaza like area, with a huge fountain and you could see The Lake behind it. Was pretty dang awesome. Of course there were police and medics there getting into wet suits, not really sure what was going on beyond that.

When we got back to our bus stop, which did include a little uphill walk up into Strawberry Fields, we got back on the bus and continued around the “Uptown Loop”. This loop took us up into Harlem where we got to see the Apollo Theater. The loop continues down Central Park East to Central Park South and eventually back into Times Square where you have to get off. We did and just got on the “Downtown Loop”.

The “Downtown Loop” takes you, well, downtown. 🙂 It has some great places to check out like The Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, The United Nations Building, Battery Park, the Staten Island ferry terminal and of course from down there you can see the Statue of Liberty really well. We decided that due to time, we would just ride the complete loop. We’ve done the loop before, a couple times, but each and every time it is so much fun. The “Downtown Loop”, like the “Uptown Loop”, ends in Times Square. I honestly think that is because it is easier for most tourist to find and know where they are. Either way, it’s pretty cool.

After our bus ride we started walking back to the garage where we parked our car. As we were walking the wife decided she wanted to check out a couple stores and I was fine with that as long as she was fine that I was going to duck into an Irish Pub called Hurley’s. She was, so she went shopping and I went to have a few cold ones. This pub was wicked cool! It had several HD tv screens playing a few different ball games. Plus, the A/C was working nicely in there. The beer? Well, it was pretty good. Nothing that really jumped out at me. I know I had another Brooklyn Lager, beyond that nothing that I really cared to remember I guess.

Once Yvonne was done and joined me we set out to find something to eat. After we got our car we headed downtown to “Lombardi’s Pizza” which is called “The best on the planet” by Zagat. Lombardi’s is located @ 32 Spring Street in Little Italy. I gotta say this, it is cash only and it can take forever to get a table as this place is pretty small. Luckily they are open late so that helped. As we waited we grabbed a couple glasses of sangria, which was good. By the time we got our table, we ordered a pitcher of the sangria and our pizza and it was awesome! I still say that I liked the pizza in Mystic better, but this is more traditional, old school, pizza. The crust was darn near perfection on this bad boy. As I sit here typing this I am starting to crave it now lol 🙂

After we finished at Lombardi’s and as we made our way back to our car, Yvonne spotted a place called “Rice To Riches” across the street. It’s a flavored rice pudding place. She just had to try it. I admit that my first thought was, “Yuck!” But it was pretty good really. She got 2 flavors, one being strawberry, and it was pretty tasty. We shared bites of it on our drive back to our hotel in New Jersey which is only 8.7 miles, but due to traffic in the City and roads being closed, took us just over an hour. While that is a long time, there is so much to see that it really didn’t seem to take all that long. Either way, Day # 3 in NYC was awesome….

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