Monday, July 4, 2011

Trip to USA - New York City!

We had a great time at the Please Touch Museum and wished we could stay for a story at Story Castle, but we had to get back to Bucks County and over to New York City before the day was done. We were glad that we decided to rent a car and drive to Philadelphia - I think it wouldn't have been easy to get a cab from the museum back to Bucks County. Thank goodness Richard applied for an international driving licence for our trip!

We didn't use the interstate on our way back, so it was a bit of a meandering drive, but we got to our destination on time plus we got to see some of the suburban landscape in Pennsylvania.

Back in Bucks County, there was a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store near our hotel. I'd heard so much about Jo-Anns that I just had to pop in there before we returned the car. I was also hoping to buy some Pellon but didn't find the weight I wanted. Nevertheless, I loved walking through the huge store and exploring the aisles. It was like a huge version of Spotlight in Singapore, a crafter's heaven.

We returned our rental car, did the paperwork and got a lift back to our hotel. I'll always remember that, when we picked the car up in the morning, the guy there said to Ryan, "Hey buddy! How are you?" It was the perfect American touch to our holiday to be called "Buddy"!

Our limo service to New York City was the same one that fetched us from JFK airport to Bucks County two days back and it would only take us back to JFK airport in Queens (or, if we wanted, to any other airport). From JFK airport, we took a local cab to our hotel in Manhattan. Let me pen a reminder for myself here - JFK airport is HUGE and not every terminal has a cab stand! We spent quite a bit of time just trying to find our way to a terminal with a cab stand, all the while carrying Ryan and all our luggage.

We got into Manhattan past 8 pm. The sky was already dark but the lights of the city made up amply for that! It was an understatement to say that this place was completely different from Pennsylvania! Pennsylvania was wide open space, calm and peaceful, suburban. Manhattan was the complete opposite! People bustling everywhere, traffic filling up every road, lights blaring from every building, huge skyscrapers rising from the pavement, shiny sculptures, cosmopolitan and modern. The energy was restless, full-on, electrifying!

We were looking forward to exploring the city but right there and then, we just wanted to lay our hats down and get some shuteye. We were so tired - from our day at the museum and all the travelling plus we had been keeping early nights since we started our trip - our eyelids were heavy and our brains were dead.

Some facts for you. New York City, in the state of New York, consists of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island and Queens. We are not talking River Valley, Marine Parade or Ang Mo Kio here. Each borough is the equivalent of a large city in its own right. Each has its own unique culture and where you live and work says something about who you are.
Manhattan is a major commercial, financial, and cultural centre of both the United States and the world. The term “the city” refers to either New York City as a whole or to Manhattan alone, depending on the context. Even some natives of New York City's boroughs outside Manhattan will describe a trip to Manhattan as "going to the city". The other four boroughs are known as “the outer boroughs”.

Although Manhattan had, generally speaking, the most expensive hotels, we chose to stay there because it is home to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway, Central Park, Rockefeller Centre, Wall Street, SoHo and many museums. Ground Zero is also there.

[All photos shot by Richard on his iPhone while we were at the top of the Empire State Building.]


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