Uptown…. Or who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb

This morning we woke to very different weather…drizzly rain and a lot cooler. With jackets on we set out for breakfast at a local place where one stepped up to the counter and it seemed you could order just about any breakfast. They were fast and the food delicious. The place totally filled up while we were eating so we were fortunate to have a local woman sit with us and give us her perspective on life in the city. She loved it. We’ve actually found that all the people we’ve chatted with have been friendly. And helpful. And all our fellow tourists are always willing to exchange photo taking so everyone can be in the picture. 

Breakfast over it was a walk back to the Empire State Building. I’d been up years ago, but this was for Dana. We found no lines! Number one positive thing about less than ideal weather. Up we went to first the interior outlook on floor  80, with the story of the building going up told on the walls. What an amazing building – I love all the art deco aspects. Then we went up to floor 86 to the classic spot from “Sleepless in Seattle “….unfortunately no sightings of some favorite actors. But even with hazy clouds occluding some buildings and the wind whipping around we enjoyed the view. The other wonderful thing was the fabulous staff…. Everyone from the doormen to the security to the elevator operators was delightful – in my opinion the nicest bunch we’ve run into. I was thanking the gentlemen up on the top floor, which they seemed pleased to hear, but they said “It’s even better if you could tell our boss” so I enquired as to who that was and they informed me that it was Angelo and I could find him on the 2nd floor. Down we went and when I spotted another gentleman in the red livery outfit I asked about speaking with Angelo. ” Nothing’s wrong, is it?” He asked. Quite the contrary I told him. So he paged his boss who promptly emerged. He was so pleased to hear praise for his staff. Well worth the extra minutes.

Afterwards we hoofed it over to catch another of the sightseeing buses for an uptown tour. We drove along seeing different sections of the city as we made our way up the west side of Central Park. One of my favorite sightings was the infamous soup restaurant featured in Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” episode. We alighted at the memorial to General/President Grant. We watched an informative film about Grant, then as we prepared to go across the street to see the mausoleum the ranger said “Oh, it won’t be open again for almost an hour…. Guess I forgot to mention that.” Sigh. In the meantime we wandered around the building and happily found the most amazing mosaic benches around the two sides and back. Rather incongruous but great fun to see. And eventually we got in to see the entombed general and his wife.

And then it was back on the bus, but inside rather than on top for the open air viewing, as it had decided to rain again. We popped off when we were along the top of Central Park on the east side as we wanted to walk through the park and the rain had reduced to spotty drops. Well, it’s a rather sizeable park with lots of paths. We wandered along until it seemed a bit confusing. We stopped a guy walking his dog and asked about our locale…. Good thing we did as we had gotten turned around and were heading back to Harlem. Oops. On we went in the correct direction and happily found what was called the bridle path…. Finally an unpaved surface! Yay! My feet were happy. Eventually we came upon Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon. We found the “Imagine” mosaic, which somehow I thought would be bigger or more elaborate. We eventually made our way through the entire park and back to our hotel.

We stayed long enough just to get warmer jackets then went out for an early dinner as somehow we missed lunch. Best of all, I treated myself to a piece of New York cheese cake. After eating we went off to a comedy club to see a magic/comedy show. What fun! It was in this small venue in Times Square with a small audience with two different acts. Lots of audience participation which made it even more enjoyable. Both Dar and I had parts. Turned out the second act guy was from South Africa and when we mentioned that we were flying there tomorrow he said “Tell me you’ll be in Cape Town”. Well, yes we shall be, so he proceeded to give us recommendations of where to go. Small world.

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