170928 Washington to New York

On our way to New York, we stop over and explore the historic Philadelphia. The BIG APPLE wants to care for us at the Renaissance New York, right on Times Square, for two nights.

Another early start and our bus driver is well versed in the directions to get us out of the Washington and onto the correct expressway or turnpike towards New York, our final destination before boarding our cruise boat. I checked with our driver for the costs of the tollways and he was not too sure, although had an idea that many of the toll costs were less than $3.00 a pass; one may have been $15.00. The tunnel across to New York was $15 for cars and trucks but for coaches it is just $3. That’s very good prices compared to most of the paid expressways in Australia. He made mention that a German company had been buying up some tollways and the prices had gone up 3 to 5 fold on take over.

We took a short stop at a service centre for morning tea. There were over 12 food and coffee outlets and many of them were very busy; would you believe at one coffee outlet, you had to wait 15-20 minutes to get served.

Philadelphia is the home to the original writing of the constitution and all things American. A one hour tour is not long but we crammed a few famous sites into it; the Art Museum where the famous Roxy movie star did his stance that you see a groom attempting to his bride.

Eventually, the famous New York skyline came into view and everyone on the coach became ‘recharged’ for the visit to the Big Apple. I don’t see the reason for the nic name as there is not an apple tree in sight. Traffic is very heavy and is stop start all the way to our hotel from the tunnel crossing; apparently in front of us, police were attending a stabbing of a Uber driver and that caused the traffic mayhem. Our hotel Renaissance is at Times Square, in fact, the restaurant view has the best view for those who enjoy neon flashing lights and huge screens. We notice a few “family” street names – not bad – two in 20 minutes, however, we didn’t lay claim to them; Jay Street was named after a famous rapper.

We are in NEW YORK! Oh dear! The Yarra Valley isn’t so bad after all. The traffic is at a stand still and regularly, someone wants everyone to know that their car has a horn. And then the chorus begins. Sirens whirl from everywhere and at times you think you are in Paris – the place of blaring police sirens.

Tonight is the last night, before winter, that the red topless buses are doing night tours. So soon after our arrival, we line up for the bus. It turned out our bus didn’t have it’s whisperer working and so the guide had to shout from the front of the bus all the information he had to share about sites along the way. Someone from our group said he was very good and made their tour something worth doing. My hearing is pathetic in open spaces and so missed the commentary the whole journey. Lights are lights but the view from the Manhattan Bridge is one of the best.

We arrive back to our hotel around 9:00pm and realise that we haven’t had a meal so we check out the hotel restaurant and that ‘best view of Times Square’. Suddenly, it was 11:00pm and time for bed.

Tomorrow is free time to look around this very busy city.