Today was a surreal, beautiful, wonderful, extreme whirlwind of a day.
I managed to get up at 9.30am for a hostel led tour of Greenwich Village. It was run by a guy who has grown up there and he took us around the neighbourhood.
We saw exteriors of the Sex and the City apartment, Friends apartment and the super cool shops along the way. The guy knew a lot of history about every building. It was where a lot of writers and musicians lived in the 60s and 70s. Bob Dylan and The Ramones were prominent local figures.
We walked for five hours on this tour. We started with about 15 people and finished with four as people got lost or distracted along the way. I was too interested in asking the guy about his life here in the 70s to wander off.
Part of the tour took us to the Washington Square Gardens. I saw my first squirrel! A man was playing a Philip Glass composition on the piano. It’s fascinating because when I saw the San Francisco Ballet my favorite dance was also set to Philip Glass. It’s the music from the film The Truman Show and it happens to be my favourite piece to play on the piano.
Glass’ name has been following me everywhere since I arrived in the U.S. He’s a popular man at the moment. I told a girl on the tour and she said it must be the soundtrack to my trip. I like that idea.
Once we finished up I headed to the Broadway street to look at shops. My first point of call was the Chocolate from the Bald Man cafe for a bathroom break and chance to rest. I had an “80s milkshake”. I felt a bit ill. Time to walk it off!
I then looked at the clothes shops (I was kind of in heaven, all the shops were different to the NZ ones).
After a couple of hours I was really tired. It was probably time to go back to the hostel for a nap. As I thought that I walked past a day spa. “You’re not here all the time Holly” I told myself “and no one is going to make you feel guilty for going in…” the devil on my shoulder won out and I strolled into a white bathed room with smiling people and a blissful scent. I asked if I could have a massage and they said there had just been a cancellation so I could.
He then told the masseuse she had to delay her lunch break. It was 5.30pm. I said don’t worry I’ll come back later and she assured me it was fine. I felt pretty bad though.
Alas, I was taken to a blue lit room and lay there for an hour while she massaged my extremely tense shoulders. I forget how tight they get. I spent the whole time focusing on relaxing my muscles so it didn’t hurt. It was fine. My natural state seems to be to tense them so relaxing is a conscious action for me!
After that I was wonderfully sleepy so I headed for the subway. I had to get off at Times Square for the interchange. Curiosity got the better of me and I walked up the steps to take a look.
I had seen it in films but I was still blown away.
Screens are everywhere, all the signs are brightly lit. It would appear tacky if it wasn’t so epic and surreal. Instead the huge number of advertisements, the people standing on every corner asking you to buy things, the crowds, the tourists taking photos everywhere and the lights are just really ridiculously cool. A lot of people would hate this place. I loved it. I couldn’t live here and I would hate for the world to turn into this, but as a touristy place it’s just really fun.
I could now see why it’s called “the city that never sleeps”, my tiredness was instantly washed away from the bright lights at every turn.
I walked past Madame Tussuods and decided to go through. It’s fantastic and slightly creepy to look at celebs up close. I felt like they would spring to life at any second.
I also had to be consciously aware of my surroundings to decipher who was human and who was not! At one point I waited for a woman to take a photo. She took a while. A man started laughing at me and it took me a few seconds to realise she was a wax figure. Oh Holly…
There was a “4D experience” with The Avengers as part of the attraction. My brothers would have loved it. In that instant I missed them more than anything. I really wish they were here so I could laugh about all this with them.
After that I got my first American McDonald’s and quite liked it. Then popped into Forever 21. This is a four storey clothes shop and it’s open until 2am every night. More heaven for me. I felt sorry for the staff though.
My phone had died in Madame Tussuods so I had no idea what the time was. I went outside and looked up. There are no clocks. I thought this was called “Times Square”…
All I knew was it was time to call it a night before I fell asleep right there and then.
I only got on one wrong subway and made it home within what felt like 20 mins. A man sung New York New York complete with backing music and microphone on the train. I smiled at him, he was pretty good. Everyone else was really pissed off/tired about it so I guess it’s not a novelty for everyone.
I made it back to my room just buzzing and realising I’ll need to go back another night to get photos.
I slept for 14 hours straight.