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Michael’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 12 Dec 2006

Location: New York, USA

MapHello again all...

Well, Tuesday has come and is going, and I continue to love this city. We started the morning, slower than planned, and headed down to NBC for the chance to get stand-by ticekts to a Conan O'Brien taping. Unfortunately, we did arrive rather late and got stand-by tickets 43-45.

From there we headed down to Battery Park, and jumped on the Ferry to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. I have been there before back in 2003, but was happy enough to go back again, with tickets at $17.50 for a ferry trip and audio tour. We also snagged a couple tickets to climb up to the pedestal which acts as the base of the statue. This wasn't open in 2003 when I was there, and re-opened just a week afterwards. In all honesty, all Richie and I wanted to do was "climb to the top of the bitch" but they clearly weren't gonna let two Aussie's go THAT way with THAT girl. The were phasing out letting people climb to the top as early as 1999, but after the events of September 11, 2001, the top deck was never re-opened. I was glad we walked to the pedestal though, with a glass bottom separating the inside of the statue and us, we could see right through the guts of her to the top.

After wandering around the pedestal, and then back down to the bottom and around the island, we ferried across to Ellis Island, for the Immigration Museum. In the peak times in the late 1800's and early 1900's, they were processing over 12,000 people a day, and had over 20,000 people still sitting in ships in the harbour waiting to be processed. Interesting place (not really the second time through it though) and is included as part of the Liberty ticket anyway.

From there we headed back to the Rockefeller Centre, home of the NBC studios, and stood around waiting to find out what the story was with the stand-by tickets. After 20 minutes or so, we were told that anyone holding a ticket above 40 was not going to get in - that ended that little idea.

Leaving Rockefella, it was now getting dark, and we decided to head up the Empire State Building for a view of the city at night - something I had also done back in 2003 with Milo. I love the view from up there. It is amazing how much there is to see of New York. And at night, it gives a totally different perspective, especially at Christams time. The Rockefella Centre had spotlights projecting snow flakes onto the side of the building. The Empire State Building itself is topped with Green and Red lights in the festive spirit. The cost of that one, $14 - again, very reasonable.

So in general, things are going well. I have taken a stand (okay, its not gonna last long, but I am trying) and decided to try and avoid the junk food. It is tougher than you imagine. Aside from a drunken Maccas binge, and the Mexican feast, generally I've been good. Then again, I'm sure the Philly Cheese Steak Roll from Hooters wasn't that good for me either! But lunch the last couple days has been Muso soup yesterday (damn huge and damn tasty) and a grilled chicken and salad wrap today. Trying hard not to let the over processed, deep fried, and smothered in cheese diet of the USA ruin all of the good work of the last while.

Richie and I are off to get our skate on now, either skating in front of the Rockefeller Centre under the Christmas Tree or at a skate rink we spotted from the top of the Empire State Building just now that appears to be on about 40th between 5th and 6th Ave. Yesterday, in the most predictable scene in the history of my travels, we saw a proposal on the skating rink. Richie is threatening to emulate the act on the ice tonight and propose to me? Guess it depends on the size of the ring!

Tomorrow could be a number of things, but a trip to Wall Street and Ground Zero are likely, as is a trip to the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum. Or perhaps there may be a journey into the Bronx to see Yankee Stadium. One other option is to see Les Miserable - one of Richie's favourite musicals. In any case, we'll still be busy!

Hope you're all well, and see/chat/wriet to ya'll soon.

P.S. Richie just put up a photo page with his first cut of pics from NYC.

www.planetranger.com/richard