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Zoo as in Central Park Zoo

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Z is for Zoo

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

Only in America would you find a zoo in a park. Okay, I admit I haven’t actually checked if that is correct or if there are more zoos in parks.

What I do know is in the North West of England we have Chester Zoo (not in a park) and Blackpool Zoo (not in a park).

In New York, they have a children’s zoo in a park. That park being Central Park. Admittedly they can afford the space for a park given how vast Central Park is.

I was very grateful for this distraction so my son could visit the zoo with his dad, while I went off on a Mad Men tour.

That’s it folks. Z is the final day in this April A-Z Challenge.

It’s been a hoot.

Thanks for reading.

The photograph below is me by the fountain in the opening credits of Friends, I think I was trying to be Jennifer Aniston plus 30 pounds!!!

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Yellow Cabs

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Y is for Yellow

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

For every outdoor scene featured in a movie or a television show there will always be a yellow cab in sight.IMG_5064

I always thought that the amount of yellow cabs was an exaggeration, given how infrequent British black cabs are in our cities.

It’s true though, there are cabs a plenty from the moment you step outside of the airport.

Walk down any of the streets or the avenues in New York City, whatever time of day and there will be a cab or two in sight.

They are not only visual, but the constant beeping of them is something that I found very amusing too.

There is beeping, and there is New York City beeping. An endless string of beeps for no other reason than to let other cabbies know they are on the road too.

Gotta love New York!

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Xanadu

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X is for Xanadu

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

Alright, I know I’m scraping the barrel with todays blog entry which is a post about the letter X. Coming up with X in a blog challenge about New York City is proving to be difficult.

And then the word Xanadu popped into my head.

When I think of Xanadu I am immediately transported back to the 80s and I’m watching a dodgy movie starring Olivia Newton-John, where she plays a greek goddess or something as obscure as that. I can remember roller skates, singing and a painting where there were several equally gorgeous ladies and that’s about all.

Well I’m not referring to that Xanadu.

According to the dictionary Xanadu can be defined as “dreamland, dreamworld, promised land”.

New York City was all of those descriptions to me. I’d dreamed of visiting New York from the first time I watched Ghostbusters as a geeky ten-year old.

Everytime I would get asked if I could visit one place in the world where would it be? New York City was always my response. I was attracted to films and TV shows about this wonderful city – 30 Rock, Friends, Sex and the City, Elf, Big and Girls.

I knew one day that I would get there. It should have been in 2011 when I’d first booked flights there but a long-term back injury ruined that chance. Two years later I finally got to step foot in my Xanadu.

And boy it did not disappoint.

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World Trade Center

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W is for World Trade Center

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

Not many people will visit New York City without paying a visit to the World Trade Center.

After all it is now boasting a brand new building which has added to the iconic skyline, filling a gap where those twin towers left a space.IMG_4848

A trip to the 9/11 memorial is also a must-visit spot if not for anything else but to pay respects to all of those who lost their lives on that fateful day in 2001.

I would also recommend visiting St Pauls Chapel located at 209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets in Lower Manhattan.

The Chapel’s rear faces the east side of the World Trade Center site and when the towers collapsed it served as a place of rest and refuge for the recovery workers who were at the World Trade Center site.

It is a miracle that the Chapel survived the impact of the towers collapsing. For eight months hundreds of volunteers worked 12 hour shifts around the clock. It served as a resting place for the New York Fire Department staff, police, construction working and others, and these volunteers provided meals, beds and general care for these workers.

Inside the Chapel you can view the impromptu memorials that the Americans brought to this site. Photographs, teddy bears, posters, letters and prayers which were all displayed on the railings outside, are now on display for the general public.

I was particularly choked by a pair of boots that one of the firefighters left. He had taken another pair to wear while rescuing people, and never returned for them.IMG_4828

A beautiful tribute to everybody who was affected by the events of 9/11.

There also rests the remains of tree roots outside of the chapel which also survived the trauma.

Walking around the site, seeing all of these memorials still made it feel surreal to me.

It didn’t quite sink in that I was standing at the site where thirteen years ago those images that I watched on television actually happened.

Even as I stood next to the foundations of the twin towers, trying to imagine what it must have been like to be part of that day was difficult. Luckily I won’t be haunted by those images like hundreds of New Yorkers are.

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V is for Voices

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I’ve fallen behind by two days in this blog challenge.

It’s not that I’ve given up on this or anything. At the very last minute I decided to accompany my better half to London for the weekend and completely abandoned this A-Z challenge.

My V post is for the voices in my head, and possibly publicly outs me as a prospective crazy.

You know when you are in a certain place or situation and a voice in your head tells you to do something that would be sooooo bad.

Or is that just me?

An example where my voice tries to get me into trouble is anywhere where there is a one or two minute silence. I swear, it tells me that I have tourettes and that I should shout the word “Wanker” really loud, or I’m sitting in front of my kids’ teachers in a parents evening and it tells me to “Laugh” or jump up in a theatre and heckle the performance.

It very nearly got me in a pickle last summer on entering John F.Kennedy Airport.

Prior to me visiting this wonderful city last summer I heard various stories about how Americans hate the British. I’m sure that is pure fictional, but anyway I was pre-warned that the worst of them are the people who work at the airports. Story has it that they will think of anything obscure to now allow you to enter their country and they like nothing better than to turn British citizens away and back to where they came from.

I took this fable with a pinch of salt, but I must admit entering the USA and especially going through the airport I may just have been a teensy weensy bit apprehensive.

I looked for the yellow line and made sure I didn’t dare cross it. Nervously waiting for the queue to subside I kept my eye on those guards who had guns strapped to them and tried to remain calm.

We were up next, passports in hand, visas at the ready and we tried to appear really friendly that there was no way they wouldn’t let us enter their country. The voice was quiet, I’m sure it was tired from the long journey.

We were called up by an American lady who looked as mean as I do when I’m not happy about something. First up she wanted to check our passports, asked us why we were coming to the USA and how long for.

I let husband do the talking and then my trusting naughty voice starts trying to get me into trouble, “Go on” it was saying “Say the word bomb, say it, say it, say it”.

Smiling through this I handed over my passport. “Tell them you have a gun” the voice was saying. For gods sake, why on earth do I think ridiculous things like that? Luckily I’m in charge of that naughty voice and can tone it down.

I smiled, told the voice to take a hike and allowed this lady to take a scan of my thumb. She wasn’t mean at all, she chatted to my son and got us on our way pretty quickly.

I was hoping the voice was going to be held at customs, no such luck.

Underground

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U is for Underground

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

I hold my hands up, this is a bit of a cheat for todays letter U. Of course New York City doesn’t have an underground, they have a Subway.IMG_4783

But, I’m British and we call it underground so I will stick to my Britishness.

Most big cities now have undergrounds. Think London, Paris and lots of other European cities. It’s the best way to get around quickly in my opinion.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t like the underground in London for two reasons.

1)    Rush hour should be named sardine hour, as the crowds on the underground is just ridiculous. You can’t be a prude about personal space when encountering that.

2)    Nobody looks at each other.

The underground in New York City seemed perfectly fine to me. We didn’t venture into it in rush hour, apart from being transported to Flushing Meadows.

It was a really cheap way to travel around the city so we stuck to the underground mostly, apart from a cab ride in a yellow taxi which we took for two reasons.

1)    I would have been late for my Mad Men tour as we were travelling from Greenwich village.

2)    The cab drivers really do just beep every few seconds.

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Times Square

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T is for Times Square

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

A blog challenge about New York City would not be complete without an entry about Times Square.IMG_4675

We ventured into Times Square several times whilst in New York as our hotel was just two minutes away from the famous landmark.

It’s certainly the place to be in the evening, once the sun has retired for the evening and the bright lights come out in all of their glory. Times Square comes along at night and it really can be an extremely place to visit.

There are dozens of famous cartoon characters dotted all around the place, superheroes, Sesame Street and also a naked guitar playing cowboy. A word of warning though, if you want your photograph taken with any of them you have to tip them afterwards.

We fell foul of this, just not thinking that this was what you were supposed to do. So after inviting the Cookie Monster and Minnie Mouse into our photograph, thanking them we were then chased down the road by a very angry Cookie Monster and Minnie Mouse who demanded a tip. Whoops! We totally messed that one up.IMG_4860

Although hilariously, when I was on the Mad Men tour I was telling my guide about this experience and he told me that the previous year that Big Bird and Elmo got into a scrape over tips resulting in arrests. Hilarious!

There was also a really freaky thing occurred as dozens of girls started screaming and taking photographs. Being the nosey git that I am I was dying to see who they were screaming at, so made my way up some seats to have a nosey and asked someone who it was. It was a young, good looking lad surrounded by big, burly security staff. I overheard someone who said it was just a publicity stunt to see if girls would scream over anyone who they think is famous.

I don’t need to say anymore about Times Square, I will let my youtube video do the rest of the talking, and be warned, there is some dodgy singing 53 or so seconds in.

Times Square singalong