This morning we had a quick breakfast downstairs, then booked it down to the Subway where we were to take our final walking tour of the trip: The High Line, Chelsea and Meatpacking District. Unfortunately for me, I took us down the wrong route through the Subway, taking us several blocks out of our way, which resulted in us being slightly (2 minutes) late for the start of the tour. The guide asked if we were the Lang party (“Who are late!”) and I had to admit that yes, we were, and it was my fault. We did the walk of shame, got processed, and walked through Chelsea Market, a beautiful old building with many food stands.
We toured the High Line, which is a park built on the site of an elevated train, with views of the city, terrific hotels, and high buildings that you can actually walk beneath without feeling like you are beneath the buildings. We saw some awesome historic buildings in the area, and heard how the Chelsea neighborhood was transformed from a run-down beat-up area to one of the most happening neighborhoods in new York City – rent here can run you $5000 a month, and that’s for a little studio apartment!
Jenny did most of the guide work on this tour as well, and did a fantastic job! She got lost once and tried to take me with the other tour group – our tour had taken a quick right turn that she didn’t see, so she did the only thing she could think of. Our tour guide, Linda, got to say hi to her after the tour, which made her smile – she has a dog as well who lives with her daughter in the country because NYC is a bit too much for him.
By the end of the tour, we were very very cold, so we stepped into an old-style diner for terrific food – three-bean turkey chili for me, chicken fingers for Ben. We planned out our afternoon, then – sufficiently warm – we walked to the Subway, where we caught the E train to Lexington and 53 St, and took an 8-block walk to Dylan’s Candy Bar. This place was full of candy – like FULL! I think I read that it was three floors! We kept it pretty simple, and I got some Reese’s peanut butter cups, gummy fruit salad, and mint Hershey kisses. Jenny was a bit overwhelmed by all the smells, but did not scavenge or scrounge, even when our bag ripped and gummy fruit wound up on the floor.
From there, we left the sweet-smelling shop and took another 8-block walk to Carnegie Hall. Along the way, we heard an actual copy-cat of two car horns – one would honk twice, so would the other; one would make a long honk, the other would follow suit. This lasted for a full minute, and it made us smile as we walked the loooooong blocks to Carnegie Hall… where we found out they were closed until January 8! I was so disappointed – I had wanted to see Carnegie Hall so badly (if you have ever played an instrument, you know that Carnegie Hall is one of The places that you want to perform). I actually cried!
Dejected, we tried to do some shopping at Columbus Circle, but you couldn’t sneeze there without being charged $20 for the privilege. So we headed back to the B&B, relaxed, and got started packing…
We booked a reservation for a place called Uncle Boon’s, which had three important qualities for a New Years Eve spot: It was relatively inexpensive compared to other choices, they were still taking reservations, and (I thought) they were close-ish to our B&B. So we walked… and walked… and WALKED… a good 40-minute walk – not nearly as close as I thought. Ben was pretty irritated that we were walking that far in the cold, but once we sat down in the little Thai restaurant, with Thai remakes of 60s music playing in the background, and the food started to arrive, I think his irritation lessened considerably. We started off with lotus leaves wrapped around peanuts and sesame seeds, a coconut custard with lobster that packed a HUGE punch once it hit the back of your tongue, and tapioca dumplings… and there was MORE food…. and MORE food! Ben thinks his favorite was the oyster soup (even though I got to eat his oyster(, which tasted like a lemon ginger broth with onions and mushrooms; mine was probably the pork belly (it tastes like a pork chop, but slightly greasier)… and we both adored the bourbon ice cream with rice and Pomegranate seeds. The food was all terrific, though, and well worth the very long walk back, where we saw in the distance the Empire State Building all lit up in different colours.
It was 9:30 when we got back from Uncle Boon’s, so we stayed up late, relaxing, and watched the ball drop on TV. reportedly, a million people were crammed into Times Square that night, and even though we couldn’t see them, we could hear the fireworks from Times Square. it is a great place to be – NYC at New Year’s – but I do agree with those to stay away from Times Square to avoid the crowds.
Happy New Year! My next entry will be from my own home, which – as much as I love it here – is calling me back with my own bed, my cozy house, and three kitties who will probably shun me on arrival.