Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ireland -> NYC (Sunday)

Today was our last day in Ireland :-(

We dropped off the rental car and boarded our plane at Shannon airport. After a 3-movie flight across the Atlantic we landed at JFK. We took a shuttle to our hotel, dropped off our bags and caught the tram and subway into Manhattan (a 1-hour ride on the “E” train). We exited on the last stop, the World Trade Center station.

It was powerful to see it in person, I only wish I could have seen it before. We headed on foot (East?) toward the water to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. It wasn’t more than a block before I spotted a 9-light and a 12k on a condor. Hmmm… Then a Panavision NYC truck, then a crowd. Turns out they were shooting “Spiderman 3” and setting up for a stunt shot. I talked to a grip who was rigging a process trailer with a frame of truss and a winch to do wire work of a person (Toby?) being pulled off a moped while driving down a Manhattan street. Way cool, but I’m on vacation and this feels a little bit like work.

We passed a hotdog cart and bought a pretzel and a Gatorade (What no crab juice?!?) then took the subway to the pier section and caught a 2hr cruise around the island. We got a nice close view of the Statue of Liberty. The sun set and we watched the lights of the city turn on as we came back to port.

Once we docked, we walked the short distance to Broadway. It was easy to tell, just follow the lights… From there we headed up to 53rd street and caught a glimpse of the famous Ed Sullivan Theatre and the even more famous Hello Deli. Unfortunately they were closed :-(

Our next stop was to be the Empire State Building, but to get there was a bit of a walk, and we were fast approaching a 24hr long day, so we hailed a human powered bicycle rickshaw cab ($20). Riding down Broadway at night under the lights – so cool! Siobhan was a bit nervous with all the weaving in and out of traffic, and the taxis honking at us and all… But I wasn’t nervous, after all I’m sure our driver was experienced and knew what he was doing… right? Turns out he was a new citizen from Azerbaijan, and he had only been in the country for 3 weeks – D’oh!

We arrived safe enough and while the lobby of the Empire State Building was magnificent, we decided not to pay the $16 to go up to the top. It seems the top was in the clouds, and visibility was zero. People coming down said it looked like a big grey wall…

Exhausted, we made it back to the subway for the 1hr return trip. Instead of taking the tram though, we decided to take a taxi to get back to the hotel. It turns out our driver was driving an “unlicensed” cab. It was just a guy and his car, no meter. But oh well, we had a pre-arranged price ($10, same as the tram) and got back to the hotel soon enough. (Bed!!!)