Wednesday, August 18, 2010

18/8/10 - Two Pennies, a Girl, and a Pizza Place

I just noticed that I dated yesterday's blog with 18/8/10. It was meant to be 17/8/10. My bad. Although I'm guessing that nobody would have noticed if I didn't point it out.

Anyways, my body clock is getting all screwey, probably due to my jetlag having jetlag, so today started at midday. Naturally, my first port of call was breakfast, or in this case, lunch.

I was determined to try New York's pizza today, so that was what I settled on for lunch. After a quick subway ride down to the financial district, I found a suitable pizza joint, and indulged in a slice of "everything pizza". I don't know if that was its official name or not, but it had a lot of toppings, so that's what I called it.

Firstly, the singular slice of pizza that I ate was truly massive. Like, one slice was about half the size of your typical Dominos pizza from Australia. Secondly, it was damn cheap. About $3 for a slice. And, for a lunchtime meal, that's more than enough. Thirdly, it tasted quite good. I'd be lying if I said it was the best pizza I've ever eaten, but it was still quite nice. Definitely quantity over quality, but that wasn't a bad thing in this case...

I then took the subway out of Manhattan, to Brooklyn. My goal was to walk the Brooklyn bridge, so I got off at the stop closest to it.

When I got out of the subway, the first thing I was greeted with was a very pleasant park. Children playing on the swings, people walking their dogs, squirrels hoarding nuts for the winter, and a junkie furiously scratching the track-marks on his forearms...

Ok, so the park was great except for the junkie, and whilst I didn't go anywhere near him, as I think my Aussie accent would have given away that I wasn't from Brooklyn, and as such made me an exemplary mugging-target, I did feel very sorry for him.

Aside from his arms, he didn't seem all that seedy... Just a guy who had made some bad choices, and was now addicted to a life-destroying substance. I hope that he gets help soon...

I then made a bee-line for the Brooklyn Bridge. The walk across it was hot and sunny, but it did offer some very nice views of the Manhattan skyline, and the south street harbour. Lots of photos were taken. The walk itself took close to an hour, and you end up pretty much in the middle of the financial district when you can finally get off the bridge walkway.

I then made my way down to the boardwalk of the east river. It hugged the shore all the way around to Battery Park, at the very lower tip of Manhattan. My next destination was the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.

On my way, I stopped at the south street dock, and took some photos of the ships there, including one called the "Peking". It has some significance to my family's history, or so my Dad tells me. These ships were mainly sail boats - definitely relics from another age.

Another 30 minutes of walking later, and I was at Battery Park. I bought my ticket and audio tour, and proceeded onto the ferry.

Now a fun physics diversion. Ever heard of the term "positive reinforcement"? From my understanding, it has alot to do with waves, be them light, sound, electricity, or in this case, fluid. Positive reinforcement occurs when two waves add together to amplify eachother - ie make a bigger, singular wave. A practical example of this is someone pushing a child on a swing set - with every push, they swing higher. This happened when everybody got on the ferry. Everybody getting on the boat and moving to the other side caused the boat to rock in such a way that with each new passenger that got on, the boat rose higher and lower - almost to the point of the deck dipping into the water. They actually had to stop the people getting on the boat to let the waves calm down!

Liberty island was definitely impressive, as was the statue itself. The audio tour taught me several things that I would not have had a clue about otherwise, so it was definitely worth the extra $8. For example, the Statue of Liberty is hollow! It is made of copper, and is only as thick as two pennies! Furthermore, she was originally brown in colour, but the oxidation process caused her to turn the familiar green colour within 20 years of her construction.

She's also quite a large statue. I can't remember the exact measurements the tour gave me, but it was within the several hundred feet range.

The audio tour was somewhat patriotic, and being the Aussie tourist that I am, it was mainly lost on me. But, I did still feel like I was a traveller walking on very special ground.

After about an hour of sightseeing and reflection on the island, I caught the ferry back to Manhattan. It was going on 6pm by now, so I headed up to Times Square for some dinner.

I was still in the mood for pizza - so I was going to eat at Ray's pizza place. It's quite famous, apparently. I had seen the pizza in the film "Iron Man", and every time I saw it, I craved pizza, so I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to eat there.

I ended up spending close to 90 minutes trying to find the damn place. The problem with Times Square is that with all the over-saturation of advertisements, billboards and flashing lights, it becomes very difficult to find anything at all, because everything is screaming in your face.

I tried to use my phone on the various wifi networks to try and find the address online, but they wouldn't let me access the Internet, even though they were apparently "free". I eventually gave up, and used data roaming to find where the bloody place was. It gave me a street number. Two different ones on two different streets, apparently alluding to the same place. FFFFfffffff-

After several more frustrated walks in any which way but the right direction, I discovered that the two different streets (7th Avenue and Broadway) actually merge together on the walking street that is Times Square. Then I just had to find a street number so I could get my bearings. Eventually I did, and I finally found the damn place.

Thankfully, the pizza was very tasty, and also very cheap. So cheap that I ate two slices - even though they were massive. All in all, a good dinner, and under $10, too.

I noticed that most of the locals who eat at pizza shops tend to "fold" the pizza up so they could fit more of it in their mouth per bite. I found this strange. The slices are already so huge... Why do you need to fit even more of it in your mouth at once? Strange New Yorkers...

After that, nothing really interesting happened. I headed back to the hotel, watched some "Dexter" with Peta, and wrote this blog. All in all, another good day.

Tomorrow: Central Park Zoo! The Toy Store from "Big"! New York Public Library!

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