Day 6 – Monday – Escape from New York City
Today was going to be a bit different from the other days as today we’d been leaving New York City and heading out to the Suburbs. We were going to visit our friend who we met with yesterday but at her house. This would involve a trip on a train out of Grand Central Terminal and would give me a chance to see some different scenery.
It was Martin Luther King day and as such some people would be off work however much of America treats it like a standard working day.
We started with a breakfast but we decided against Andrew’s Cafe and went to the restaurant opposite Grand Central. I had walked past it a few time but only when I just wanted a tea and not food. This time, as we’d be going for breakfast, I’d be able to try something new.
The walk to Grand Central was cold but the knowledge of hot breakfast was speeding us up! We arrived, took off our cold weather clothes (well, jackets, scarves, and gloves) and sat at a booth. We were quickly approached by a waiter who took our drinks order – two English breakfast teas – and left us to review the menu.
Today I fancied something different so chose pancakes with chocolate chips. I’d not had pancakes this trip yet so took this as an opportunity to fulfill my american food consumption plan.
The pancakes were not as good as Andrew’s. They were a little smaller and not as fluffy but still very tasty. In true American style I drowned them in syrup that was served in a little gravy jug. Somehow the chocolate, the pancakes and the syrup worked really well together. I finished every last mouthful.
They didn’t offer a top-up of hot water for our cups of tea, so we asked for the bill, paid up, and left.
Back into the station and we did some searching for our friend’s kids. We picked them up a small cuddly toy and a transform. A safe bet for a 4 year old and a 2 year old. The tickets were purchased from a ticket booth and we had 5 minutes to get the next train. Before we left we had to nip to The Apple Store to steal their free wifi to send our friend a WhatsApp that we would be there in about an hour.
I have been on a train in America before. That was a massive double decker train – bigger than any other train I’d been on. Our train out of New York City was smaller than that but bigger than our trains in the UK. We were lucky enough that the train stayed quite empty and we had our 4 seater section to ourselves for the entire journey.
It was ace watching the scenery change as we left the city and headed north. What stood out for me most was that the train line followed the shoreline against the Hudson. In the UK you would not have prime real estate used in such a way. There were some buildings but mostly industrial and only very occasionally was there a block of flats. It seemed like such a waste of river-frontage.
The Hudson was still frozen in some areas. We saw a few seagulls but then spotted something we weren’t expecting….an American Eagle just kicking back on some of the ice! If we had been in a car I would have pulled over to take a photo but by the time I got my phone out and tried to take a photo the train had zoomed past and the moment was gone.
With no wifi and no internet on my phone (EE wanted to charge me £5 a day for 500mb) it did make for a little boring a journey but I was able to type up some of my blog in preparation for publishing it. A good use of some non-connected time.
We arrived in the ‘burbs and got collected by our friend. The drive to their house was 5 minutes from the station and the car was lovely and warm. We pulled into the drive of a house like you see on TV and in the movies. Our friend clicked their clicker and the double garage door opened automatically! This house was amazing and we’d not even left the car! They also had ‘proper’ American post boxes for their post!
The rest of the day was spent with our friend and her kids. They had views of the Hudson from their living room/kitchen which was very impressive. Imagine how much a house would cost in the UK with views of the Thames? Make that a 3 story house with a double garage! We are talking mucho mucho moola! 😀
I won’t bore you with what we talked about but I will tell you that because our friend is British she had proper tea! She also baked us some home made cookies! Heaven. The final bit of info from this trip out was that we had take-away pizza. We did have a slice of $1 pizza a few days ago but tonight we would get full pizzas! Well, we had 2 medium pizzas between 3 adults and 2 kids. When they arrived, if you’d had asked me what size they were I’d have said large or extra large! The were massive! So big we didn’t finish them! More left-overs for the kids tomorrow.
Soon the evening was over and we got a taxi back to the station. There was a sign in the cab saying “All local journeys are $4.30” (or something like that), so it cost about $5 to get back to the station and then we jumped on our train back to the City. It was a bit busier coming back but we had a row of 4 seats to ourselves and just over an hour later we were back in our hotel room.
The kids presents went down a storm, in case you were wondering!