Day 7 began with a stroll around Battery Park and Castle Clinton, trying to buy Statue of Liberty tickets. Turns out we (well, I) had underestimated the popularity just a little - by 11:30am, they had stopped selling tickets with monument access, meaning we would only be able to wander around the island. We shelved that for tomorrow, and headed back out.
Where there's tourists, there's a buck to be made, and a very friendly old Chinese chap named Sam convinced us (well, Fern) to sit for a sketch. The price starts low but rapidly rises when he starts adding second people and a frame (which is required for a charcoal sketch), so some haggling is required.
We went back home to drop the sketch off and have a break, and contemplate our next move. Fern took some photos out the window, of the back of the building we were staying in - when they get around to tearing it down, it will be worth some serious money. It's not much to look at at the moment though! As you can see though, it's very close to the Empire State Building, but we won't get there today. Instead, we took a trip uptown to Columbus Circle, at the bottom-right corner of Central Park.
Columbus Circle is the home of Time Warner/CNN, and also the Trump International Hotel and Tower, made famous by The Apprentice (back when it was good). From the corner of the park, hawkers try and sell you pedicab (bicycle rickshaw) rides, or just hire you a bike. We tried to find a New Yorker to take us around the park, but we (well, I) got suckered in by a pushy Nigerian gent, who did us a demon deal on a trip around the park.
Central Park is iconic, and we were treated to famous sights from dozens of movies I hadn't seen. Our guy treated us to the story of how the producers of Friends rebuilt this fountain in LA, to film the splashing around in the intro: turns out it's complete crap, and the Friends fountain looks nothing like it. He also told us how Manhattan got its name, and its reputation: Manhattan schist is a shiny rock, which is well suited to laying the foundations for skyscrapers in. After the Friends story, it's probably crap.
John Lennon was shot not far from here, and ceremonial flames still burn outside the building he lived in. Yoko Ono raised a large sum of money and dedicated a corner of the park to Lennon's memory, which houses the famous "Imagine" mosaic, to which flowers and memorials are laid every day by well wishers. (And today, a ukelele).
We walked back around the Bethesda Fountain area, where small musical groups had to battle for attention with larger musical groups. There's no contest really, when the audience includes a guy who clearly put on his robe and wizard hat...
Earlier in the week, we (well, Fern) had been suckered into buying tickets to a comedy show at Stand Up NY (standard Times Square street-hawker routine: it's where the comedy segments in Seinfeld were filmed, Chris Rock plays there all the time, etc etc). The cover isn't extravagant, but they impose a $15/person drink minimum, which thankfully they didn't enforce in the 1/3rd full club. I can't say it was particularly memorable - there were a number of comedians on the bill, and there was about one who was funny. They didn't watch each other's acts, in the most part, so the poor Australian guy near the stage got asked who he was and what he did by each guy in turn. I've seen much better comedy even here in Kitchener. But, when in Rome, they say. I was more impressed by the pizza store next door, with photos of the owner and many famous people beforehand. And less impressed still with the broccolli pizza.
Take a virtual tour of Central Park in the Day 7 gallery.