On the 29th I had arranged to meet up with my friend Rabi from St Andrews when her bus got in from Boston at 2pm. So the girls headed out and left me to chill out in the flat until Rabi arrived. It was a good opportunity to catch up on my blog and to chat to Mum, David and the dogs on Skype, followed by Dad and Sarah. Unfortunately Rabi’s bus was very very delayed and she didn’t arrive until 6pm, but that wasn’t a problem and it was great to see her. We had a bit of a catch up in the apartment before heading into Manhattan to meet her boyfriend Stuart (another St Andrews friend) for dinner. It was lovely to see them and it was great that it didn’t really matter that I hadn’t seen them for 18 months, we still got on as well as ever. After having dinner and Rabi recommending various places to go and not to go in Boston (marking them helpfully on the subway map). As well as sights and restaurants, there is a large section just marked “NO”, Rabi’s explanation, there are some streets here that are really nice but some where you will get shot so it’s not ideal if you don’t know where you are going! After leaving Stuart’s I got the subway to Park Slope to meet the girls and we went to check out Gingers, a bar that had been recommended to us. Although it was really really quiet we liked the bar itself and decided that we would come back for their masquerade party at New Year.

Having looked at the weather we had decided that the 30th was to be our Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island day, but unfortunately it was not to be. Arriving at Battery Park we were faced with people everywhere and after about half an hour in the ticket queue heard an announcement saying that the wait for the ferry after getting tickets was a further 3 hours! Since the last ferry back was at 5pm, this would have left us hardly any time on either island so we decided to come back another day. Both Hannah and Lizzie were keen to show me Soho and Little Italy where they had spent the day before so we headed there, via the South Street Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge observation point. We wandered around the shops for a bit and had lunch before heading back to the subway. I enjoyed Soho but found the sheer number of street sellers trying to sell handbags, perfumes etc. slightly annoying after a while. What was particularly funny later on was their reaction the the approach of the police… I have never seen people pack up and disappear so quickly. Both Lizzie and I did some clothes shopping, including discovering a brilliant discount Levi’s shop. We went to a wonderful Chinese restaurant for supper and to a cafe in Little Italy for dessert, where we were serenaded by the owner, Frank, singing Italian love songs (a special treat for his friends from Boston).

On New Year’s Eve Hannah had decided that she wanted a day in the apartment to chill out and rest her bad knee, so Lizzie and I planned an intense touristy day in an attempt to cover several things that we wanted to do that Hannah wasn’t interested in. Our itinerary for the day: Ground Zero, Wall Street, Stock Exchange, Guggenheim and if time the New York Public Library. We got an early start and headed straight for Ground Zero, although the whole site is hidden by high fences due to all the construction we were able to visit the preview for the memorial which is due to be unveiled on the 10th anniversary of the attacks in September. Although small, it was packed and bizarrely quiet inside. It was very moving to look at the timeline of the events and to see some of the tributes as well as hearing the stories of some of the survivors. After this we decided that we were in need of a hot drink and some food so we stopped off to buy tea and bagels on our way to Wall Street. After stopping with a crowd of other tourists and taking photos of a door marked New York Stock Exchange which was guarded by two intimidating security guards complete with machine guns we continued down the street to discover that we had just photographed the side door and that there was a much more grand entrance around the front! We were pleased to discover that the statue of George Washington was on Wall Street so each joined the queue to pose in front of the statue. Aware that our time was starting to run out we quickly finished our wander down Wall Street (stopping of course to take pictures with the giant gift boxes outside Tiffany’s) and headed towards the Guggenheim. We decided not to go for the audio guide (even though it was free) and headed into the exhibition. After a short while of looking seriously at art we found ourselves in an area with some quite abstract and colorful modern art, and proceeded to amuse ourselves by offering our own interpretations on what the paintings were portraying. We were regarded with a mixture of amusement and disgust by those in earshot and continued to come up with our own interpretations for the rest of the museum. We hadn’t quite realised how small the museum is, so after about 2 hours we found ourselves back outside taking photos of the exterior of the museum. Still having plenty of time before needing to head home, we caught the subway over to the New York Public Library. The library was incredible, everything a library should be… having spent 4 years frequenting St Andrews’ “Palace of Mustard” I was really quite envious of those who get to work in this library on a regular basis. On discovering that they had internet and printing facilities we decided to book Liberty tickets for the following week to avoid the long queues. This took rather longer than planned and after Lizzie having lots of fun with the printers… not her fault, it looked like a very complicated system… we headed back to Brooklyn to get ready for our night out.

On our return home we ordered pizza online, I will admit that although it is very sad I was quite excited that you could track your order and were told what stage it was at (prep, cooking, quality control and delivery). While this was happening we all got ready for our night out. Since we did not have any masks for the masquerade party at Gingers Lizzie had offered to draw me one in make up and glitter which was very cool, although she did have to hairspray my face to fix the glitter in place. Eventually we headed out, somewhat later than planned in the direction of Park Slope. Despite the fact that Jeff had warned us on our first day in Brooklyn not to draw too much attention to ourselves, Lizzie and I made quite a spectacle of ourselves on the way to the subway. This was due to the combination of our glittery, decorated faces and the fact that we were both wearing boots with no grip whatsoever and were sliding everywhere. At one crossing we were given some advice on traversing the slushy and icy puddles by a local, “You don’t wanna step in that shit, that shit’s deep”. Despite this we managed to get to Gingers without mishap and although it was pretty quiet to start off with it soon got busier and was overall a good night. We did watch the ball drop in Times Square on a TV mounted over the bar and then danced until about 3ish when we headed home.

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