Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sunset over the East River

Walking the High Line on the site of a former railway line - now a park.
As last night was our last night was did something pretty special to mark the occasion. Following dinner for a second time at the Polish place with my friend Brian, we made our way to the Wythe Hotel which I'd been recommended as a rooftop bar and as a great way to see the Manhattan skyline at sunset.

Flatiron Building, for once dappled in sunlight.
There was a small queue to get in but we were only waiting around 15 minutes and the result was absolutely worth it. Waiting for the lift attendant to take you up makes the experience feel exclusive and the crowd is a mixture of business types, hotel guests and private parties - plus a few excited tourists. Fortunately the mood was amiable and we got to the top at just the right time as the sunset was strikingly beautiful (photos speak for themselves).

Van Gogh's Starry Night on display at the Museum of Modern Art.
I'm definitely grateful for my friend's recommendation to see the place and would even consider staying here for a night or two in future. I don't imagine it's cheap to stay (although cheaper than the Plaza) but if you get one of the upper suites there's another, higher balcony overlooking the city from an even wider platform. Still, one for another time I think!

The sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art.
Yesterday was a glorious day and I was out in shorts and t-shirt thinking this must be but a taste of the searing New York summer that will hit the city in a month or two. It was an appropriate day to do the High Line, a former railway line turned into a walkway and public park. Interspersed with various art installations and forms of media it's an interesting project and an experiment that seems to have worked well. It was certainly very crowded when we walked along it.

The Manhattan skyline as seen at sunset from the Wythe Hotel. 
The end of the High Line brings you out in Chelsea, from where we made a beeline for Bleeker Street Records, around a 15 minute walk away in the West Vilage. We passed through Grove Street again on the way just to have another look at the Friends apartment building before heading on to the record shop.

Manhattan Skyline at dusk.
A quick rest for coffee and a doughnut and we headed down to South Ferry for a spot of lunch and to consider taking the Staten Island Ferry. In the end we decided against it as we had already done one ferry ride and would be taking another tomorrow. We headed back uptown instead to Rockefeller Centre and in my case the Museum of Modern Art. The museum is free on Fridays between 4 and 8pm (worth remembering) so I bought a very nice art print of Times Square in New York with a retro nod to Trans World Airlines flying above. It's a wonderful piece and it will look great one day when I have somewhere to put it. I had a swift 45 minute dash around the gallery itself (it deserves longer) and headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.

One last hurrah for TImes Square at midnight.
As stated above dinner was had for a second time at the Polish restaurant Dziupla, following which it was a swift trip to the Wythe Hotel. It's safe to say that this entire trip has been amazing and it will definitely be hard to leave the city. There's a come down after every holiday but I think it's safe to say this will be the biggest one yet! Enjoying the sunset over the East River with a $10 bottle of Brooklyn lager was the perfect way to end the trip and a return to our starting point in Brooklyn just over a week ago.

Street art at Red Hook in Brooklyn. 
Our final morning dawned dull and drizzly and we made our way to Pier 11 in the Financial district near Wall Street and took the (free at weekends) water taxi to Ikea in Red Hook. I only had one goal in mind and that was buying Widow Jane whiskey (see below). This is high end whiskey but I had heard great things about it and was determined to bring a bottle back - the more expensive bottles ranged from $120-160 but I was happy to settle for the 10 year bourbon, which was the cheapest in the range at $44.

Widow Jane whiskey from the  Cacao Prieto distillery in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
I also bought some luxuriously packaged chocolate of coffee and sea salt flavour to try with the whiskey. After this it was a quick dinner in Manhattan before grabbing our bags from the hotel and making a bid for the airport. We're now back in the UK but I am already making plans to come back to New York next year - a return visit is most definitely a must!!

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