New York City
That's the truth! We have been deprived of city life for too long. We drank in New York today like water for people who are dying of thirst. New York City is incredible. For whatever reason, it has the reputation of being fast, cold, harsh and unfriendly, but both times I have been here, my impression and experience has been exactly the opposite. If someone sees you looking at a map they ask nicely if they can help or if you're lost, if you've got a kid who needs a toilet, they will let you in wherever and comment "I can't blame you for not using the Burger King restrooms, they're pretty skeevy." Maybe the bad reputation is just a way of keeping people from absolutely overrunning this fantastic metropolis.
We took a great walk from Battery Park around the southern tip of Manhattan via the Esplanade, winding up in Tribeca. This frog was spotted in Rockefeller Park, just one sculpture from a jam packed little area of sculptures by Tom Otterness. For more, go here. All of the little guys around the bigger figures remind me of scenes from the animated film Fantastic Planet, in a way creepy, yet endearing.
We also went to Central Park, since I hadn't been there yet and really wanted to see it. It was way more than I expected. The landscape is just beautiful, it's full of rocks, trees, water and people people everywhere!
We also saw the Trump Tower, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (from a distance), and were in Greenwich Village, Soho, the Financial District, and the future site of the "Freedom is not free" monument, or whatever they are currently calling the former site of the World Trade Center. This trip has resulted in the decision to definitely take at least a week vacation in New York City sometime soon. Like our cab driver said tonight: "You could stay here for a month and still want to see more."
Our cab driver was full of wisdom. We mentioned that we were leaving Michigan to move back to Germany, and were just on vacation here for a couple of days, and he said "Michigan is like a ghost town. All they do there is build cars." To which I couldn't resist replying: "Not any more! Now it's just a ghost town!" This resulted in roaring laughter and 100% agreement. He also agreed that "Chicago sucks", confirming what I've heard before about New Yorkers disliking Chicago and Chicagoans disliking New York. This guy got a good tip, unlike the guy yesterday from New Jersey who was a total d!$% and did not even help lift suitcases into the trunk, just stood there with crossed arms smoking his Parliaments. Like I said when he called back wanting detailed directions to the place where he was to pick us up: "The address is XYZ, I see an exit called Fish House Road, there are no special landmarks, that's all I know. That's why I call a service to come pick me up." Why don't you have a GPS that works? And why are you driving a 300C and not a Lincoln Town Car like we ordered? You can get more luggage in a Chrysler Sebring than a 300C, that big, ugly, boxy car is a joke.