Okay Thursday morning we headed into Manhattan, really all that was left on our 'sight-seeing' list was lower town, financial district, and that area. With the recommendation from Patty we decided to hop a double decker tour bus. She says this is one of the things she's willing to do over and over and is a great way to see the city. Since we really just wanted to see lower Manhattan, we did the downtown tour.
On our walk to where the tourist place was to purchase tickets we saw this crazy snowman up on the 4th level or so of a building. I thought it was funny.
The tickets which were only about $40 a piece and were good for 24 hours. There were certain red buses (many double decker tour brands in NYC) that we could hop on and off as much as we want to. There were designated stops throughout the tour and a tour guide to talk us through. It was rather chilly that day, and some of the double decker tour buses had covered tops. But I did not want a covered top because, well we wanted to be able to see good, take pictures, and get the most out of our experience. Kyle was in agreance to wait for an uncovered bus. We had to wait in quite the line in Times Square which is where our downtown tour began.
Here's a map of the tour we took through New York Sightseeing, it's the GREEN route you see in this crazy map: If you can find the green box with a 1 in it that's where we started (times square)
So we hopped aboard our first bus and were on our way heading down Broadway then onto 7th Ave.
Our tour guide was quite interesting.... an older lady... not sure if she wanted to be there or not. Pointing out very odd things, "and here's times square, if you weren't aware they are having a very big party here tomorrow night, so as you can see they are getting set up for that". Kyle couldn't help to point out the label on the back of the seat in front of us... heehee.
I got MANY, MANY pictures. Most of nothing at all, I just couldn't help to snap away as we drove along.
It was a very sunny afternoon, it was about noon when we got on the bus. Which made for some difficult pictures with the sun being so direct. Then we approached Macy's and Madison Square Gardens. We quickly learned our tour guide had a thing for Macy's, about 8 or so times she had said "if you go to the customer service desk in Macy's and mention you are from out of town you'll get a 10% discount"... she was a very 'obvious tour guide' talking about people crossing the road in front of us, "now we are stopped at a red light", "wonder if we'll make it through this light".... very interesting. As we approached maddison square gardens she states "now we are seeing Madison Square Gardens, but as you can see it is not square at all... it is actually round"... well duh! She didn't bother to tell us WHY it's called what it's called... just that it isn't square.
at the end of the MSG block was the post office
We made a loop around MSG and back to 34th to go by the other side of Macy's and of course there goes our tour guide telling us all about Macy's again. Some of it was pretty interesting about the man who started Macy's and his wife. They were on the titanic and went down with the boat since the woman did not want to leave her husband. Then she points out the big bag on the side of Macy's and talks about the star. Damn it I just realized I didn't get a picture of either of the things I'm about to tell you. Oh well, just visualize :-) Okay so she tells us about how the huge bag on the side of the building is red with a white star, and that all the bags you will get when you shop there will be white with a red star... then Kyle and I look down at the side walk to the right of us... and what do we see!?!?! A woman carrying a bag, a RED bag, with a white star. Hmmmmm our tour guide was instantly dis-credited and the rest of her talk was just gibberish in our ears, but comical.
As we went down 34th we had great views of the Empire State building and our tour guide told us about how she worked there back in the day.
After the Empire State stop, we turned down 5th Ave, over 23rd, and down Broadway again. Now coming upon the Flat Iron building which is my SECOND favorite building in the city. (remember my first? heehee) I'm really disappointed that the sun was so bright as I really couldn't get a good shot of the building. But here she is from all angels!
After a few more turns we entered the Village for our 7th stop. Each stop some people got off and some got on, we choose just to ride it out as this was a fun way of seeing the city.
Our tour guide lady pointed out things here and there, such as "and there's H&R Block, you might see those all over the city, that's where people go to get their taxes done". We did a quick glance through a side street at Washington Square Park as we drove by, I quickly snapped this photo of the arch.
Then we traveled through SoHo on Broadway (which stands for South of Houston St - NoHo is obviously North of Houston).
We began to approach city hall, and at this point Kyle and I were FROZEN! and hungry. So we decided we'd get off at the world trade center site stop, get something to eat, and I wanted to show him Anthony's name on the wall (Patty's husband).
So we went and got a slice of pizza to eat, still frozen. At least there was a 'bathroom' in the pizza place. Although it wasn't really a bathroom because it was the grosses closet I've ever seen, I wanted a bath just after walking in there. I wasn't sure what side of the World Trade Center we were on, and there were lots of people. I was honestly a little cranky at this point we were so cold. So we just decided to head back to the bus, because I didn't know where to find the wall of names. On the way back to the bus stop there was a little 'museum' store with info about 9/11. Inside there was a flag, and the flag had Anthony's name on it, so at least I was able to show Kyle something.
We headed back to the tour bus stop, where we waited... and waited... for another bus to come. One did, but the line was so long we didn't get on it. So we waited some more. We were hoping for a covered bus this time, because we were so cold. But that didn't happen, so we ended up just sitting in the bottom of the bus, where you couldn't really see much. You could still hear the tour guide, but the view was kinda crappy.
The bus took us down broadway to battery park, passing wall street and the bull. This new tour guide was quite funny. He wasn't anal about people being seated (although it was important because a lot of times the stop lights and street signs came VERY close to our heads while sitting, imagine if someone was caught by one of those things standing. The first lady made sure to tell everyone every 10 minutes not to stand. This guy stood himself and gave up his seat for a customer, but was very careful about those signs. We saw a GORGEOUS view of the statue of liberty with the sun setting right next to it, unfortunately I was unable to get a picture. But I have the mental image :-) I'm kicking myself now for not getting off at the battery park stop to get shots of lady liberty and the sunset, but honestly we were just tired and frozen.
We went over by the south street sea port
but honestly it was starting to get dark anyway. We drove along side the FDR (it's a highway) and the tour guide told us, out of all the spots, this spot the bottom deck of the bus had the better view of the bridges (Manhattan & Brooklyn) because the FDR was blocking the upper deck from seeing it. I ended up taking a nap between the sea port and the UN (I must have been tired) although I can say the tour guide was better. He had a thing for bridges and told us ALL about the three bridges we passed (the Williamsburg was the other one). Although the Brooklyn bridge is older, he called her more of a 'drama queen' because she only wanted passenger cars and pedestrians on her; while the Manhattan bridge was a work horse and took subways, trucks, and passenger cars.
We got off at the UN (which wasn't the end of the tour) but close to where we were meeting Patty for dinner. We walked north a ways to over near the tram at a restaurant called Pasty's. We meet Patty, Patrick, and Anthony there for dinner, then headed back to the house - worn out with our day of sight-seeing.
We decided we'd get up the next morning and head down to battery park to finish up the remainder of the tour (the part we missed and the part where we were sitting on the bottom level) since our pass was good til noon the next day. As long as we were on by noon we could ride it to the end point - which was times square.