Day 5 (June 10, 2008) South of Manhattan


Manhattan map   This day we will visit the South of the island. The plan is using a 24h metro ticket for going from 79 St. station to Chamber St in the same line. Then, we would walk to World Trade Center. On that same spot is Century 21, the outlet with better prices as far as I could read about. We will go southern to Battery Park where we should find the ticket box for Liberty and Ellis islands ferries. We only want to go to the first one to get a closer look to Statue of Liberty. This is the same reason I discarded the free Staten Island trip: it would take more time and we wouldn’t be on the island, just for saving 8€ per person.

   Once back in Manhattan we will walk along Wall Street until the City Hall, where is the beginning of the Brooklyn Bridge, to going on to get the piers, where we can eat fresh and good fish. There is a Tckts office there too, where can be bought low cost tickets for shows in Broadway and you wait so much less than the other one in Times Square, because rows of people are so much shorter. Then we could walk around Chinatown or reaching the Empire State Building and Washington Square Park, where is a beautiful arch, and get the Flatiron Building, the thinner building I’ve never seen in pictures. May be this is a lot of thing for a single day.

   If we’ve finally got the tickets we would go to Broadway at night.

   Spots marked on map for the route of this day are:

 0- Hotel Belleclaire
 4- Wall Street
 5- Statue of Liberty
 6- World Trade Center
 8- Flatiron Building


   We take our breakfast on the patisserie we use to go – we use to go since yesterday -. Then we get a 24h ticket on the machine at 79 St Metro station, then we take the metro, but just for get out of it on the next station: 72 St, and wait for an express train to take. It comes soon and just four stops later we’re going out from Chamber St. station. Then I check the map as I cannot tell where South is. There are a lot of people around, the most are wearing suit and are in rush but still one man stops to offer his help to us. When I ask for Century 21 I’m getting the indications of walking down just for three or four blocks (the short ones) and reach the huge area in works which is World Trade Center now. There is a fence around the whole area so it’s not a lot to see here. In front of it we can find an old church with a garden full of gravestones. It looks so ancient we would say it’s from Middle Age if it was in Europe. Obviously it cannot be related with what happened here on 2001.

Church in WTCWorld Trade Center

   Just a bit further we can find Century 21. Its thermometer is displaying 89. It’s the temperature measured in Fahrenheit, which is the unit they use here for that, all different!, as per miles, gallons, acres, inches, feet,…. It corresponds to a 32 Celsius, which is quite good when we’re coming from the hell of more than 40 on the previous cities.

Century 21   Century 21 is an outlet for cloth shopping. The first floor is for men and the second for women. I don’t use to buy clothes and I’m an ignorant in brands and prices, but Eva knows everything about it. We spend a lot of time in there and go out with a Calvin Klein jeans, another white Nautica jeans, a Hellfinger (or something similar) polo shirt and some lingerie pieces. Total price: 100€. I only can have an idea of the saving in this shopping when Eva tells me the white jeans costs 150€ in Barcelona by themselves.

   We walk pleasantly to the end of the island. I’ve read this area is the older of the city, where the Dutch settlement was created, and it looks so. There are several buildings and churches looking ancient as that first church in front of World Trade Center did. We can see the entrance to Brooklyn tunnel, the one in “Daylight” movie, and just behind, appears Battery Park. Just at the beginning of the park we can see “The Sphere”, a sculpture which stood in the square between the two World Trade Center towers. Now is here, showing its wounds confirming it as exceptional witness of 9/11 .

The SphereTicket boxes for Liberty island's ferry

   It’s 11:30h and we haven’t done almost anything of our route for today, although I’m already carrying big shopping bags, which seems to be the usual. We can see the fort and go for visiting without knowing the tickets for Liberty Island ferry are sold in there. Just me in the row as women prefer the shadow of the sides of this circle rather the sun in the middle, where the ticket boxes are. There are few people and I don’t wait for long to get the tickets: it’s 12$ per person, return trip and valid for three days. We then follow the indications to the pier where we’re waiting for the ferry after passing through a security control. This wait is longer but we’ve got beautiful views. We can see the statue of Liberty far over the waters and New Jersey skyline is on the other side. This is an old pier and we can see, at park, how some children are fighting the heat by playing with the fountains, as can be seen in picture at left.

Refreshing in Battery ParkSouth Manhattan's skyline

   When ferry comes we board into it. It’s big and double decker with the top part opened, just covered by a canvas. The logic for the views points to the best position at the beginning is at stern (behind) for watching South Manhattan skyline and at the middle of the trip change to prow to watch the approaching to statue of Liberty. The monument is impressive and, even from this distance, the golden of the torch is shining as fire with the help of the sun. The boat arrives to the right side of the statue and is tied up at the left side, so you get the 180 view of the frontal on the last minutes of this trip.

   The island has a park behind the monument where there is an exhibition about the built of the statue with the figures of Bartholdi and Eiffel as highlight, which made the metallic skeleton of the statue among his famous tower. The pedestal is big as a building – Manhattan building- and there is a long row of people to get into it, which admittance is not included in the ticket. I know it is not allowed to go up to Miss Liberty head and the only you can find is an exhibition, so I had previously decided not going in. So happy about it when looking that long row under the sun. There are two highlights in this island, one is, obviously, the statue of Liberty, so high and big which makes difficult to take a picture of us with it; and the second is the views of Hudson River with New Jersey and Long Island riversides as chorus line for the main character: Manhattan. The picture below at right show the views, which can be enjoyed by seagulls too, except for one, which is looking at me as saying “Aren’t there any seagulls in your country?”. “Yes, there are… and you? How are you thinking in English?”
Manhattan from Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty

Liberty Island

   We spend pretty time in the island as it is another of those places you don’t want to leave but, as lunch time is coming, we go to the pier when seeing a ferry in there. The return trip is a bit longer as the boat stops in Ellis Island, where is sited the Immigration museum. In the meantime, I’m checking the map looking for the best option, which now seems to be, walking up until Wall Street and then taking the metro to Little Italy. We want to go there for lunch on my sister’s whim of eating the typical spaghetti with meatballs, which is our wish now too.

   We’re hungry, but we still have a short walk in front of us before lunching. I take the most direct path to Wall Street. I know there is the famous sculpture of a bull around but we have no time to search for it. When leaving Battery Park from the other side than the one we came in, we can see at our left the Staten Island ferries terminal. Then, we pass by a brick facade houseWall Street's bull “Philadelphia style” and the majestic facade of the old Custom House, with nice columns and statues. In front of it there is a small green area and, when it finish, we can see a group of people. It is the bull sculpture, with a row of tourists waiting for their turn for a picture with it. We don’t waste time here and take our pictures without us. When we’re leaving, the turn for the photo is for a boy wearing shorts who wants his photo riding the bull, so jumps gracefully and seat quickly upon the bronze animal, but not so quickly as his jump back to ground. This bounce has been caused by the contact of his naked legs with the metal at sun and the spontaneous laughs are heard. This bull gives you wings!

   We follow this street, which is Broadway and is not that broad on this part. The streets are quite narrow on all this area, far from the big avenues in the rest of Manhattan. It’s like the Old town of every city. This is the financial district too and is full of people wearing a suit eating in the street from the food acquired on the “Hot dog” vans around.

   When we see Trinity Church at left, Wall Street starts at right. We take that street and we’ve shocked by seeing this is the narrower and darker, as you can see on the picture at left below. “Are you sure it is here where the famous Federal Hall facade as Greek temple is sited? “, I’m wondering, and yes, it is. Few meters later we can see the side of the statue of Washington in front of us. The statue is in front of the mentioned facade, which is now at our left and is the beginning of the perpendicular street, Broad St. There, we can see the New York Stock Exchange building too, with a huge US flag covering its facade. There are some displays showing the trading values on an infinite scroll and some brokers smoking at the door .

Wall StreetFederal Hall

   The Broad St. metro station is here too, so taking this line until Bowery we will be quickly on Little Italy. We do so and notice the change on the streets when going out from the station: avenues are broad again and all the signs are in Chinese. I can get oriented because of the Empire State Building figure over the buildings. We walk around looking for Little Italy which we can find in Grand Street, one block from the metro station, with Italy flag colors around and small signs on every lamppost saying “Piccola Italia” or its known English equivalent. We check all the menus the places have outside and discard the first ones because whether price or not spaghetti with meatballs at menu. Finally, we go into restaurant Grotta Azzurra, in Mulberry St. The menu is cheap: 8$, but we’re going to the 16$ “expensive” menu, which includes our desired dish.

Little Italy   In restaurants there is no free bar for cokes, instead, we’re served with a complimentary big glass of water with ice and lemon. We will remember this for next time because this time we’ve already ordered our soft drinks and will lunch with two big glasses in front for each of us. I can see an European football match on TV and then I remember about Spain playing that championship, but I cannot follow it because the time difference makes the matches are played in the morning here and I don’t dare saying the women we’re stop visiting anything because of a football match. I’m so glad about the amount of food in this country. I’m big and eat quite well and I love being satisfied with a single plate of spaghetti.

   We need and want to walk for a while with a full stomach and it becomes a walking tour around Chinatown. I want to go to the South as close as possible to the Bridges, the City Hall and the Courts, so we follow Mulberry St. for five blocks along streets where you can barely remember it is USA. Everybody is Asiatic around. All the stores are as the typical ones in every city crammed with cheap stuff, only in this place they’re even cheaper. As an example I bought two Dragon Ball figures by 0.50€. Maybe you don’t know what it is, but that’s very cheap indeed.

   We’re in China and we cannot find any person or letter as ours. We pass by a park with all the benches occupied by elderly men with some kids playing baseball. When I’m checking the map, I can see we’re really close of Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, but you didn’t say so. We’re tired and want to rest at our hotel but when we arrive to the beginning of the bridges we cannot see them, just signs for letting drivers to take them. We don’t want to walk more, but we still can reach the square with the Courts and the City Hall. Picture at left show the very good looking building hosting the Courts, at right, one street you can see from there: pure China.

NYC courtsChinatown

ONU building    It’s the time to return to the hotel, but I cannot find a good combination for metro lines, so I check bus lines in a map I got from Grand Central Terminal yesterday. If we take route 15, starting just here, we can reach hotel’s horizontal street, but we will need another one for our trip from East to West across Central Park and I found one bus running over the whole 79 St. We can take advantage of our 24 hours ticket and we even are going to be able of seeing UN building in our way!

   We enjoy the bus trip as we could take window seats and we pass through New York areas we weren’t going to see. But we don’t put the cameras to work until reaching United Nations building: a special flat skyscraper, shaped as a domino piece. Once I detect we are on Upper East I looked for the streets name/number to be able of leaving the bus as close as possible of 79 St. 78 St. did the work. Then we wait for 49 bus, for reaching our hotel after a short trip through Central Park.

   Another dinner at room brought from the groceries store while resting from this journey. We’re now even happy of not being able of reaching the piers and purchase some tickets for a Broadway show. We can sleep instead.