To twist things up again, we decided to head back to our 23rd State, New York. We’d touched on it a while ago, however, it was just so we could get to Canada to see the Falls at Niagara. We were now following the coast of New York that meant we would be spending the next 7 days in the Big Apple – the city of New York, New York.
We saw this as our halfway point travelling the States and it had come around so quickly. But, it was a good break and due to the transit system, it meant that I didn’t have to do ANY driving the whole time we were there! We were staying at the Days Inn in Brooklyn, which was only a 30 minute train ride to central Manhattan.
As you can imagine, there is so much stuff to do in NYC, you could stay for months and only have touched the surface.
Just like in Boston, we had booked a TV and Movie tour bus with the tour group, On Location. It seems like every other film or TV show is filmed there so we had high hopes for it. As we got to the meeting point, we saw that it wasn’t a small mini bus as before, but a massive coach! With the coach full of tourists, we headed off to see the various sights around NYC. As we set off – there was a big crowd on the pavement. Being in a coach, we had a better few – it was Rita Ora and Chrissie Teigen doing an interview. Our first famous person sightings of NYC!
The first stop was the Washington Square Park and Arch. If you don’t recognise it from TV, it’s been on “When Harry Met Sally”, “Deep Impact”, “Friends”, “Glee”, “Big Daddy”, and the list goes on. But what did interest me were the houses just opposite it. It’s where Will Smith Lived in “I Am Legend”. I didn’t see any zombies, but some of the people on our coach came very close in the looks department.
The next stop was a longer stop where we were given a small map and had 30 minutes to visit some of the highlights. There was one small hitch though. There were about four things to see, but only time to see two of them. With Stef deciding the route, our first walking stop was at Dash. For those that don’t know, it’s a store owned by the Kardashians. I let Stef browse for a bit while I stood outside taking photos of the surrounding buildings. To me, the clothes looked cheap and tacky – but I was surprised when I looked at the price tags as they definitely weren’t cheap!
With only a small amount of time left walking, we headed to the late Heath Ledgers old apartment, where he lived and died. Just like most things in NYC, there was building work happening there so we couldn’t really see much. The whole building is now owned by Sarah Jessica-Parker.
As we drove around, the sights just piled on. There were so many. We went past the NY Supreme County Courthouse that has been filmed more times than I’ve had hot dinners. A favourite of mine is Batman, where there is a major fight seen at the end of the film where he battles with Bane. It’s also starred in “Miracle on 34th Street”, “The Godfather”, “Legally Blonde” and “The Adjustment Bureau”. At the present time, “Law and Order” is filmed there on a regular basis.
After seeing the Bull on Wall Street and Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s apartment, we headed to my favourite stop of the tour. It was more or less the same as in the film. It was the Ghostbusters fire station. It is still in operation, not as the Ghostbusters base, but for an actual fire crew known as Hook and Ladder 8. They still have the sign from the film hanging up inside and have even painted a memorial of the film on the pavement for all us fans to appreciate and snap at.
Next up was Stef’s favourite part of the tour. We visited the apartment block from the TV show, Friends. In the TV show, you imagine it as a huge sky rise. But in real life, it was only a six-floor block. Not at any stage did they tell you it was a tall building. It’s weird how the brain works. Also across the road was “Fat Ugly Naked Guy’s” apartment where Ross later moved in. In an episode, they think the guy is dead and prod him with a few chopsticks tied together. As there is a road in between the buildings with huge pavements either side, them sticks would never have reached. Lies. All Lies!! Just around the corner was the theatre, Lucille Lortel. Here, Joey stared in a play where he was an alien and ended the show being lifted into his spacecraft. Of course, the whole show was filmed in a studio in LA and not in NYC where it is supposedly based. This is the case for nearly EVERYTHING based in NYC. They have a few clips of building to get you to think it’s there. Clever.
As we left the coach for the last time, we were outside a pub called McGees. It’s supposedly the idea behind the bar in “How I Met Your Mother”. A few footsteps further was the original “Soup Nazi”. Again, it’s a Seinfeld reference.
In total, we saw over 50 famous building and locations made famous by film and TV. It was a lot to take in a worth doing.
For the rest of the day, we were on our own. Having been driven around most of Manhattan, we felt like locals walking around. It’s just so easy to navigate. The roads all run parallel and are numbered instead of names. We headed straight to Central Park to have a walk around. We had no idea that it was as big as it is. On TV it doesn’t look that big but it took us about 30 minutes just to walk a quarter of the length. We ended the walk at a section of the park called Strawberry Fields. It was a memorial to John Lennon who was assassinated nearby. As we were looking at it, some bloke was there, scattering someone’s ashes all over it – It’s a good job it wasn’t a windy day!
After walking around the park for a about an hour, we were getting hungry. So in true NYC fashion, we had some Dogs. To be honest, they were on the small side of things and cost a lot more than anticipated. I guess it’s called the Big Apple and not the Big Hotdog so I can’t really complain.
Just out of the park, we were outside FAO Schwarz toy store. I’d never heard of it by name, however, it is home to the giant floor piano in the Tom Hanks’ film “BIG”. From the front, the store didn’t look that big, however, on the inside, it was massive! We headed straight to the piano. Like most tourist attractions, there was a queue to get on it AND you had to pay! One hilarious thing was that you could have your photo taken on it. But you weren’t actually standing on it when the photo was taken – you’d be on the green screen next to it and they would superimpose you onto it! It was literally next to the piano. The Americans love their green screens. You’d have your photo taken right before you go on the attraction – with the attraction in your eyesight. I know it’s a time saver but come on! The photo never looks any good. Empire State building. Green Screen. Big Piano. Green Screen. Alcatraz. Green Screen. Niagara Falls. Green Screen. I guarantee that if you wanted your photo taken with a green screen, you’d have it taken on another green screen and they would Photoshop it on!
They also had a large Lego section in the toy store, which we spent a while in, having our photos taken with various figures. It was awesome.
As we headed back to the subway to get home, we passed the Trump Tower and the Tiffany store from the film “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. As one of Stef’s favourite films, she had to have her photo taken by it. You can’t see from her emotionless robot face – but she was really happy about it. She was the one that told ME to take the photo – and that doesn’t happen a lot!
One thing that we don’t have in London though is the famous Naked Cowboy and topless flag girls walking around.