Day 3 – Friday – Shopping and Exploring
Another night of slightly interrupted sleep but with no alarm, woke around 7.30am. Got dressed and ready for the day. Wanted to try something different so headed over to a different place for breakfast. I’m usually a creature of habit so trying somewhere else when I’m happy with a place I’ve already been is a little out of character.
There was a warm greeting when we arrived but the place didn’t seem as ‘polished’ as Andrews. The orders were simple enough – 2 eggs on toast, with home fries, and scrambled eggs with tomato, with home fries, and two teas.
My eggs on toast were nothing to write home about. It was served on a paper plate and came with plastic knife and fork. Really not a good sign! There were no sauces on the table and salt and pepper was from little paper sachets. The home fries were cold. Not just lukewarm, but actually cold! Is this how they are supposed to be? The scrambled eggs with tomato got even stranger as what we were served was actually a tomato omelette.
After pointing out that it wasn’t what we ordered the guy behind the counter said that it was. We ignored that plate of food until they offered to make us what we wanted. It was replaced by a plain omelette with chopped tomato on the side. Closer to what we wanted but still not quite right. The home fries were also cold. I guess in the US they don’t really understand scrambled eggs. I make great scrambled eggs but they certainly don’t look like omelettes.
We quickly left without eating most of what we had and when we came to the bill it looked like they charged us for an extra breakfast. The cheeky little tikes! We weren’t actually sure as it was a $6.99 charge but felt it was better just to get out of there. Breakfast was worst tasting, worst presented and most expensive so far – needless to say, we wont be going back.
Today was going to be for looking around the area and shopping. There is the largest shop in the world – Macy’s – within 3 minutes walk from the hotel. The plan was also to get me some replacement Vans. I love Vans skate shoes and really fancied a classic style to join my collection of board-shoes. There was a Vans shop directly opposite Macy’s so we popped in there. I was struggling a little as Vans have moved on a lot from when I was a kid. I got my first pair of Vans when I was 14, 23 years ago!
I eventually found a pair I liked. The were in burnt copper (or crushed ginger or something) and looked ace. The sales guy radioed down to get my size. A few moments later a couple of boxes came up. One pair was too small and the other pair were the right size, but the wrong colour! What a shame as the colour really was the selling point for this trainer.
Not to be deterred, I hunted further for other shoes. Within minutes I’d hit gold! Another pair of low back sneakers. The did the same shoe in a high-top so I asked him to get me both – but in the fantastic green. The stock check was made and another 2 boxes came up. They had the low backs in my size AND in my colour. I put them on and…..DISASTER!
My flat feet ruined things for me. You know when you put a shirt on that is too small for you, but you can do the buttons up? My feet looked like that! It was like the laces were straining and the top of my foot wanted to escape! I imagine that my foot looked like Lou Ferino’s foot when he changes into the Hulk from David Banner! They did suggest trying on the hi-top but as it was in the right colour, but the wrong size, I decided against it.
You can’t say I didn’t try, Vans store in New York City!
Heading over to Macy’s I tried to continue shopping. The store was massive. Too massive, I’d say as it made the shopping experience a little too daunting. It had departments for all major brands and there was so much I could have tried on. Keeping on a shoe theme I headed over to the men’s shoe (not trainer section).
Many years ago I had the most excellent pair of leather boots. No, not like THAT! They were just higher than ankle/Chelsea boots but they had two features that I really liked. Firstly they were zip-up with a side zip and secondly, they were brogue in style. In the UK I have really struggled to find a replacement pair of these boots and so I thought that in the largest store in the world, with a massive shoe section, I’d be in with a chance.
A sales person saw me looking and asked if I’d like any assistance. I told him exactly what I wanted. He thought for a second and asked if I’d tried boots without a zip or maybe in an oxford style. I re-iterated that I wanted single zip and brogue style. He admitted that was not a style they had in stock and was I sure I couldn’t be tempted by another style. I explained I could get other styles in the UK but I’d not be giving up and defecting to a different style any time soon. The truth is I DO have some different boots already, but I really missed my old boots and I’m desperate to replace them.
I also wanted to buy a new Minnesota Vikings Jersey. My current one is over 10 years old and I’m long overdue a replacement. I went to the sportswear section in Macy’s. Here they had loads of New York based sports tops – baseball, basketball and American Football football tops….but they didn’t have any Vikings tops. Seeing I was disheartened they recommended that I head over to Modells which was just across the road.
I headed over and it was very much the Sports Direct of America. It had tons of young staff who had little interest in actually serving anyone. I found the 1 remaining Viking Jersey in the store and joined the long queue to pay. There was one Till out of 6 open so they weren’t trying to make this easy for me. Eventually I had paid and I was out of there. The best bit was in the UK that Jersey is £110 but in the US it was $79 inc tax – about £55-60. I headed back to Macy’s as I’d had enough of the unhelpfulness of Modells.
To build up some energy we headed over to the in-store pretzel shop – Auntie Anne. I’ve had small pretzels from a packet before but these were as big as my hand! We had a cinnamon sugared pretzel with a coke to share. The coke, like the pretzel, was massive. Halfway through eating the pretzel there was a hair INSIDE the dough 🙁 BLURRRRRRRRRRG!
I took it to the checkout and pointed it out to the lady there but she couldn’t be more disinterested if she tried! It appeared to be more important that she explained it wasn’t her hair as this was white and her hair was black. I did explain that it was firmly baked INTO the dough and obviously wasn’t mine. After a silent stand-off she walked off, got some tissue and took the remaining pretzel off me. A bit more silence she offered another pretzel but explained it would be 12 minutes to cook. 🙁 Then she offered what was essentially churros for free. So I took these and decided to not worry about any body hair I might find inside!
We were starting to flag, as if the sugar in the pretzel and the sugar in the coke wasn’t doing their job, so we decided to be British and go get some tea! It would also give us a great chance to explore and find a coffee shop like the kind of thing the guys from Friends go to – comfy seats, a selection of cakes and table service. Explore we did. Street after street. Block after block. There was a Starbucks if we wanted it, or a Pret A Manger, or another Starbucks. Or a Pret. After about an hour we had to admit defeat – we could not find a coffee shop anywhere that wasn’t part of a massive chain. We went into the nearest Starbucks but it didn’t have any seats. Just a raised floor area were a few people were sat, leeching off the free WiFi.
So we headed to a different Starbucks 2 blocks away which had limited seating but we could at least sit down. I’m very disappointed about the poor coffee shop options in MidTown. A quick tea and we headed back to the hotel for a short siesta before dinner.
According to the Lonely Planet guide to New York City that I got as a secret Santa present, the steakhouse on the same street as the hotel got rave reviews. We walked down there and they said there was a 30 minute wait for a table. We didn’t like the sound of that! Off for more exploring!
We ended up at a hotel that had a nice menu outside. No starters, and I went for a bone-in Rib-Eye. It was lush! And MASSIVE! The Rib-Eye had a lovely shallot red wine sauce and a mountain of fries. After all this I was stuffed so I passed on dessert and we headed back to the Hotel.
The walk was short but it was very cold. Maybe we were lucky for the first 2 days but I get the feeling the next couple of days will be FREEEZING!