Saturday, July 16, 2011

Trip to USA - Times Square

On Wednesday, 4 May 2011, we decided to go to the premium outlets at Woodbury Common in Central Valley for some shopping. Richard arranged transportation for us, the journey took about an hour or so and we spent about 4-5 hours there.

The outlets are where the manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public, which means that the prices are much lower than in the retail shops. Woodbury Common is basically a collection of these outlets. It has about 220 outlets and is one of the largest contiguous outlet centers in the world. This is the store listing, and you can see that it has a good selection of designer and luxury brands, which is what makes it worthwhile. I was pleased to see that, in addition to stock from previous seasons, you can also buy new arrivals. The outlets are run as well as a retail store, they do not look like factory outlets at all. We bought a ton of stuff! We even bought a piece of luggage from Samsonite because we knew we couldn't fit everything into our bags!

It rained while we were there. We were running from store to store in the drizzle, pushing our shopping cart and carrying Ryan at the same time. It was the only day that it rained on our trip. Sorry we didn't take any photos!

We were still quite energetic by the time we got back to the hotel at about 5pm so we decided not to waste the evening. We walked over to the subway and took the train to Broadway and Times Square, in the Theater District.

We alighted near the Garment District and when we got up onto the street, there was the main campus of Parsons the New School for Design! I was so excited! Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Donna Karan and Jasper Conran are just some of its notable alumni, and of course it hosts Project Runway. I just had to take a photo!

When we got to Times Square, our jaws hit the ground.

Can you believe the lights in this place? Times Square is the only neighbourhood where the zoning regulations actually require building owners to display illuminated signs. And these are MASSIVE signs! They are officially called "spectaculars" and the largest ones are called "jumbotrons"! Mind you, these are not just lighted up billboards, these are screens showing moving images and videos. The lights and the displays are always moving, always changing.

These shots were taken by Richard on his iPhone with PhotoSynth.

Times Square is also known as "The Crossroads of the World" and "The Great White Way". The saying goes that, if you stand there long enough, you'll meet everyone you've ever known. I was tickled to find out that Times Square and I share the same birthday - April 8! Times Square is 107 years old (much much older than I am!).
All bundled up - it was chilly and windy!
This is the northern triangle, which is known as Duffy Square. There is a statue of Chaplain Francis P. Duffy there.  The Duffy Statue and the square were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The flight of illuminated red steps you see is actually the roof of the TKTS discount theatre tickets booth. As you can see, Ryan had a lot of fun going up and down the steps. People were just sitting around soaking in the atmosphere, taking photographs and admiring the lights.

If Manhattan is the heart of New York, Times Square is certainly the heart of Manhattan. It is everything that Manhattan is - intensely urban, incredibly alive, big and loud - an appropriate representation of "the city that never sleeps".

Ryan showing some signs of tiredness here.
From Times Square, you can see the lights of Broadway. The billboards for the musicals/plays are just as big and bright as the spectaculars/jumbotrons. Times Square is also home to many attractions such as Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, giant Hershey's and M&M's stores across the street from each other, restaurants such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and of course the Toys "Я" Us store, with the famous indoor ferris wheel. We popped in there for a ride.

Wandered around the huge store and bought some DVDs and a Barney T-shirt for Ryan. There was this T-Rex - it moves!

After that, we were pretty tired so we decided to grab some dinner to eat back at the hotel. Popped into the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (of Forrest Gump fame) and had a drink at the bar while waiting for our food. Ryan fell asleep in my arms at the bar, and that was the end of the day for him. Back at the hotel, Richard and I had our dinner and then we crawled into bed.


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