Monday, 16 May 2016

Book shopping on Broadway

Well it's safe to say today has been another truly amazing day. I am now officially hooked on the city and it's very easy to see why the city has the reputation it has. Best of all, when you're here all the amazing things just seem normal, you feel like a local and just like why haven't I been doing this all along? That's not to say other cities aren't great - even Sheffield where I live (which is much smaller) is a great place to live and has come a long way in the 21st century. Still, New York is at the very top of it's game and simply can't compare to other places.

Cool underground art at 36 St subway station.
Most of today was taken up by visiting the Ellis and Liberty Islands to see the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where many hundreds of thousands of people from all backgrounds and countries arrived in the city during the 20th century. It's a lengthy expedition, with constant crowds of people queueing up for tickets then an hours wait to go through airport style  security. It really is worth it though; it's very nature means you're not likely to do it again in a hurry and as such make the most of every moment.

Manhattan as seen from the Liberty/Ellis Island ferry.
Pedestal access tickets to the onsite museum are hard to come by unless you start early, and crown access tickets even harder (unless you take advantage of the ticket touts assaulting you in your way out of South Ferry subway station). Everyone has to go through security though and it was a sunny day, so we were happy enough to just wander round taking pictures through the throng before boarding the ferry again over to Ellis Island.

Not really sure what this is.
The views from the boat are tremendous, although tinged with sadness still as you note the twin towers missing from the skyline, lost to history. There's no time for sadness though as you head off the boat and into Ellis Island museum. The museum itself is fascinating and free to enter (though the ferry ticket to get here costs), but is quite time consuming. I bought a nice affordable book from the museum gift shop with stories from immigrants from all over the world from the early 20th century to the present day about their lives after arrival in America.

Statue of Liberty as seen from Ellis Island.
Back in Manhattan we had a cheeky snack of bacon cheese fries (delicious) before heading to the Strand bookshop on Broadway. Absolutely huge with (it's said) over 18 miles of books, a massive bibliophile (i.e. me) could spend hours in there. I didn't however but managed to find a copy of the beautiful hard cover book I'd seen previously about the  Grand Central Rail Terminal in the New York Transit Museum at Central station for an amazing $12.95 as compared to $50 in the museum. I was reeling in a positive way at the price so bought another small Taschen art book I'd had my eye on for $8.95 before making my escape, ever conscious of my increasing luggage weight.

The Strand bookstore on Broadway - this is a dangerous place.
Dinner was had in Brooklyn again, this time at a German style bierhalle. Currywurst, fries and a hofbrau dunkel for just under $20. Nice! We were pretty tired by this point so headed back to the hotel to settle down. Tomorrow we're moving our things over to our Manhattan-based hotel so it should be easier to explore upper Manhattan or just take a break in the middle of the day if necessary. I still need to see Central Park, Top of the rock, 9/11 Memorial museum, MoMA, Friend's house and so many other things in the next 5 days I don't know where to start.

Very cool good shop and deli in Brooklyn.
I still can't believe I'm so close to all these things and it's very easy to see why New Yorkers love their city. On the way back to the hotel I discovered an amazing food shop and deli in Williamsburg and picked up an artsy magazine in a bookstore known as The Brooklyn Rail which I'm going to sit and read now - critical perspectives on arts, politics and culture await! Time to get my hipster on - until tomorrow ;)

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