I and Gautham started off from Candlewood suites at 6AM in the morning in my Chevrolet Impala to Lindsley Alms to pick up Ben & Edna to start our exploratory trip to Manhattan, NY. After breakfast, we set out on our trip at 6:45 AM. Ben had done some research on parking spaces and he was driving since my license(IDP) did not allow me to drive in the state of NY.
The traffic was light, and without major hiccups, we reached our designated parking at 8:15 AM and was heartbroken to see that the parking would cost us $38 different from the $12 that was mentioned in the website. Whatever; the more we start looking out, we might end up with not getting a parking at all. So we subscribed to the same parking lot and started our exploration with a hand held GPS & a black berry. We walked on to the nearest intersection and started our search for the Empire State building. While the GPS was downloading information, I read out the name of the building right in front of us and it read - "Empire State Building" - Now, Isn't that amazing? But again, this is the problem if all the buildings are sky scrapers, cant make out which one is the tallest from our frame of reference.
We bought tickets for the 86th floor deck & the 102nd floor observatory to have a view of downtown Manhattan. There was an express lift available to the 80th floor and then another to the 86th one and yet another one to the 102nd observatory. It was a very nice view from the top, though it was foggy, later during the day, the vision cleared - We could see the Liberty Statue, Ground zero (Where the twin towers stood before the terrorists brought it down), The neighbouring islands, ferry, dock and stuff like that. After about spending 3 hours there and clicking pictures, we decided to continue our expedition; but obviously after taking a bite at the nearby McDonald's.
We decided to go to the Times Square next. Times Square is a major intersection in Manhattan, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Times Square has achieved the status of an iconic world landmark and has become a symbol of its home city. Times Square is principally defined by its animated, digital advertisements. We took a Taxi to Times Square and realized that noon was a wrong time to be at Times Square, though we hit a jackpot there. Somebody was distributing $10 discount cards to go to the Madame Tussuad's wax museum which was pretty close. And I must say that the best deal of the day was the this wax museum; though we were a bit disappointed to see that our own AB, SRK & Aish are in the London museum & not in the NY museum.
After taking entry ticket in to the museum where we had Paris Hilton & the Shrek (wax statues) to welcome us at the entrance. The statues looked so real and at many places (where I dint know the real celebrity), I mistook them for real people. There was a self portrait that Madame Tussauds(1761-1850) had personally modelled in 1842 when she was 82. All I could say is that it is just amazing! Who ever plans to visit Manhattan should not miss this. It is definitely worth it! We went ahead clicking pictures with each and every celebrity and the most recent one was Johny Depp in the last version of the Pirates of Caribbean - At worlds end. We spent time until 3:30 there and the finally decided that we should cover the Central Park too before we start back to Morris town. After a few minutes of effort to find out out way through blackberry & GPS, we figured out that the best way to go to Central park is to take another taxi. And that took us there.
There was a group of street dancers whop had put up a show there and we were kind of relaxing there. Then thundershowers started playing spoiled sport then and we just saw the south entrance of the central park and decided to stay away from adventure since we had costly electronic equipment with us and more importantly due to other factors of Ben's family. We decided to go back. Another taxi to the parking lot where the taxi driver was a paki. We found that most of the Cabbies in New York are either Pakistanis or Indians and some others.
We were much relaxed to see that the parking had cost us only $14 unlike the anticipated $38 because of some early bird offer; and the website was true! And the travel back to Morris town started amidst the rain, and we figured out that it was bright sunlight in New Jersey... And back home by 6 PM.
And all through the trip, I missed my dear daughter Amiya & Kannu. I wish they are with me...