New York is one of the places that I have been most looking forward to visiting on our trip and it more than lived up to our expectation. Again we were quite lucky with the location of our accommodation, being only a couple of blocks from Central Park. Since the weather was a lot better than in London we started every day with a run around this fantastic park. There were so many others out doing the same thing, sometimes it felt like you were in an organized event.
On our first day we spent time just wandering around Broadway and Time Square, soaking up the environment. This is truly the city of commercial excess. They have a store for everything… including a three story giant devoted entirely to M & M’s product and merchandise. On recommendation we bypassed the lines at the Empire State Building and headed for the Rockerfeller Centre. The line was non-existent and the views from the top were even better. On day two we decided to brave the crowds and head for the Statue of Liberty. This time the lines could not be avoided and over the course of the day we probably spent close to three and a half hours standing one behind the other. We were lucky in that the trip also included a stop at Ellis Island, which is where all of the early immigrants to the US were processed. There was a fantastic museum there and a lot of the original buildings are still standing giving you a great appreciation of what the immigrants must have gone through.
After all the sporting events we have attended so far on our trip, it was certainly time to get a bit cultural. I left the choice of show squarely in Imelda’s court and she chose well. We saw The Chorus Line, which is one of the longest running original Broadway shows. Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m not usually the biggest fan of musical shows, but these guys were pretty good.
We only had two full days in Washington so at our usual pace we whirled round to see as much as we could of the main sights...The White House, Capitol Hill and the US Supreme Court. The three big must sees didn’t disappoint. The National Air and Space Museum (my concession for dragging Kel to a Broadway show in New York) was actually fantastic, even for us girls.
You could easily be mistaken for thinking that the centre of Washington solely consists of monuments and memorials. There are so many of them that we booked in for a night tour to see the main ones – Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Vietnam, Korean War and WWII. The Americans don’t do monuments and memorials by halves, these were works of art and they really do give you a good appreciation of aspects of American history. For example, the Roosevelt memorial spans four different sections, each representing one of his four terms in office (and of course four important sections of US history). The war memorials put you in quite a reflective mood. The Vietnam memorial is strikingly simple, a basic wall that follows a curve, but it is filled from start to finish with names. It was particularly moving.