It feels a teeny bit embarrassing to conclude my American travel posts 4 months and the following year after our return to Australia. Nonetheless, today I am doing just that! This post provides the 12th and final recap for our 18 days in America, and the 4th recap specific to New York City. (The previous posts can be found on my travel page.)
|Smoggy Empire State Building views|
Our final US day was really and truly our final US day, because we flew out at 11pm at night. Having a whole day of sight seeing before getting on a plane and travelling across the world is rather an odd thing to do. It certainly makes the day seem full!
We started with a visit to the Empire State Building, with advance purchased tickets in hand. There are lots of warnings around about the queues, and there certainly were queues, but we didn't find them to be too bad (and we arrived at 10am, so not very early). The route up is rather maze-like though, encompassing two lifts and several winding sections of barriers where queues presumably do build up at times. The experience is worthwhile in an "I've done that" kind of way, and I recommend it as a quintessentially tourist activity!
After the Empire State Building, we caught the subway south to the Lower East Side. In a very booking organised kind of day (unlike us), we'd arranged to take the Tenement Museum's "Hard Times" tour. The museum is based in one of the old tenement buildings of the Lower East Side, where immigrants of the late 1800s and early 1900s lived, worked, and very often struggled. The tours are a mix of period architecture and possessions, with oral history accounts from those who lived in the area and their descendants. The tours are well reviewed and deservedly so, although they are quite pricey and there is a certain sense of "perhaps I could have read a book to find this out". Still, I admire the way the museum has been set up and think it's a concept that more places could benefit from.
Before our museum visit, we had lunch at Teany (or TeaNY), which was founded by the musician Moby in 2002. It is just around the corner from the Tenement Museum and offers an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu. As I only came across it the evening before, when searching for food options near the Tenement Museum, we felt fortunate to have identified it and be able to visit.
One of the problems of an extensive veggie menu is having to make a choice between competing items. (Admittedly, it's not a huge problem!) With some nostalgia for the grilled chicken salads I enjoyed years ago, I ordered their vegan 'chicken' salad and an almond milk coffee to drink. There is an extensive tea menu and if I wasn't focused on staying alert until our 11pm flight, I would have tried that instead of coffee.
|The building with pink is Teany.|
To my disappointment, the chicken salad differed from my imagined strips of grilled faux chicken and instead included diced, mayonnaise covered chicken equivalent. Mayonnaise is second only to cheese in my list of disliked foods, and sadly soy mayonnaise is no more appealing than the regular sort. The rest of the salad was enjoyable (with varied vegetables and chickpeas) but it wasn't the lunch of my dreams. I should have ordered the chipotle veggie burger or one of the many vegan desserts instead!
|Vegan 'chicken' salad.|
Mr Bite had the Mediterannean baguette ("with roasted red peppers, tomato, arugula, basil pesto and olive tapenade"), which he proclaimed good but not excellent. The cafe was a relaxing spot to sit and I would like to return and redeem my order one day.
After the Tenement Museum we walked south-east to hit the East River, where Manhattan's bridges to Brooklyn can be found.
|Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.|
In stark contrast to current NYC temperatures, it was a warm day and we were glad of the breeze off the water, as well as the shade from the overhead roads that run along the river's edge, connecting with the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
We continued walking down to the lower tip of Manhattan, where we caught the Staten Island ferry as a free and restful way to see the waterfront areas of lower Manhattan and Staten Island - and the Statue of Liberty.
|Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry.|
Post boat ride, we made a hurried tour of the financial district, including the Freedom Tower at the old World Trade Centre site, before getting the subway back to the upper west side where our bags awaited us (the owner of the apartment we rented kindly stored them over the day). We then got the subway back down again and all the way through Brooklyn out to JFK airport. A long day, but a good one to finish on!
TeaNY is located at 90 Rivington St between Orchard St and Ludlow St, Lower East Side, New York City. They are open for brunch and lunch.
Phone - (212) 475 9190
The Tenement Museum is located at 103 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, New York City. It is open daily from 10am-6pm. Tours are required to see the tenement buildings and can be booked online at http://www.tenement.org.
Phone - (212) 982 8420.