We don’t have Thanksgiving in these here parts, so when there was a possibility of experiencing the American holiday first hand, I jumped at the chance. And I had all these grand plans too.. I was going to go to the Thanksgiving Parade and then have pumpkin pie… so what did I do instead?
Well I went on the Staten Island Ferry and fell over in front of a bunch of cops & firemen.
Lets backtrack to the day before… 21st November 2012…
I had just got back from a night in Philly (which I loved FYI) and had arrived at Penn Station around middayish (from what I remember). I do remember that it was packed. And I don’t mean a few hundred people – I mean you couldn’t even get up the escalator into the arrivals hall because people were packed like sardines waiting for their train.
It was bedlam.
That night I met up with a friend and we went to the Natural History Museum to check out the Thanksgiving Parade balloons before they were to be unleashed upon the world the next day. Again more people and it took a while to get through the crowd to see balloons, that you really couldn’t see anyway.. they were big though, I do remember that.
We ended up leaving half way around the circuit and headed to Grand Central Station instead – which is stunning & I wish I had better photos than from my dodgy old phone instead. I honestly don’t think that seeing the balloons the night before the parade is worth it. There are heaps of people, the balloons are squashed under netting so you don’t even really get to see how big they are, and it’s cold! Oh and did I mention the people?!
The next morning I got up all prepared to head down to the parade, I think I got as far as 34th & Madison Ave (a block from where I was staying) before I spoke to a couple of people who said I would have had to go up to 45th St to get a decent look.
It was then I decided that I would forgo the parade & head in the opposite direction.
I jumped on the subway, which to be honest I had not mastered at all during my time in NYC. I think I only used it about 5 or 6 times. It was very confusing to me. I managed to get myself to Bowling Green Station & then headed over to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where the escalators & lifts weren’t working.
Seems like my day was really not working out the way I had planned.
Jumped on the next Staten Island Ferry – which by the way, is totally cool & totally free. I still can’t believe that something like this is free! We went past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island & had a great view of Downtown Manhattan. We were also escorted by the Coast Guard – not sure if that is a normal thing or not! On the other side I didn’t get straight back on the next ferry but went briefly outside the terminal for my glimpse of Staten Island.
Oh and I also had the best selfie-bomb ever.. still makes me laugh.
After I got back on Manhattan I went for a wander around the financial district, checking out the Financial District bull and then to the world famous NY Stock Exchange on Wall Street, where the front of the building isn’t technically ON Wall Street.. semantics I guess.
Then I headed into Trinity Church on Broadway (the Financial District end of Broadway, not the Times Square end of Broadway – it’s actually rather a long street). Here’s where I knew my time in NYC was over – I hadn’t really had that successful of a time in the city overall. It was all a bit of a culture shock for me.
Anyhoo, I come out of Trinity Church to find Broadway covered with cops & firemen (no I didn’t get arrested!). No idea what was going on, watched the news that night and nothing was said so still have no idea where they were all there. Watched the goings-on with a bunch of other people for a while, then turned to go back into the graveyard next to the church. I was going in for a specific reason, not just because I like to frequent graveyards… hmmm well actually… well that’s a story for another day!
So where was I? Right, I turned to go into the graveyard, stupidly tripped up a step and proceeded to fall over in front of said cops, firemen & gathered crowd. I hurt my knee & broke my camera in the process. A lovely gentleman helped me up (must have been from out-of-town!) and I headed into the graveyard to bawl my eyes out from the trauma.. as you do.
I did manage to get a photo of the reason I wanted to go to the Trinity Church graveyard, that was a photo of Alexander Hamilton’s grave. And before you go all ‘Hamilton Musical’ on me – this was in 2012, long before the musical and I had already known about Alexander Hamilton at that point, thanks to my favourite podcast lads – The Bowery Boys who had done a podcast on the man a couple of years previously.
After those events, I got the subway back to my accommodation and so ends my tale of Thanksgiving in NYC.