Once we realised that we wouldnt be travelling back to India over the long weekend of September last year we decided that we didnt want to 'waste' that time in Columbus. When we asked the other Indians everyone suggested we go to New York - once you go back everyone's definitely going to ask you if you saw NY - they said.
Thankfully for us - we had another couple-DVYDPK who hadnt seen NY and they decided to accompany us along with another collegue R of mine. NY being a solid 9 hrs drive from Columbus we started on Friday afternoon - while everyone else started from home, I as usual couldnt take the day off and so had to be picked up from work at 12pm. 2 hrs into the journey we realised that we werent carrying any identifications (in our case passports) which was specified as necessary in all websites to be given entry into Empire state building or the 'Statue of Liberty'. We turned right back and went home - for 5 mins of picking up the passports - wasting all of nearly 4 hrs journey!
The drive to NY was very good. It was a full moon night and it was as if we were driving towards the moon at the horizon - beautiful...We reached exhausted at 10.30pm and hit the sack - 3 ladies on 1 bed-so close that we couldnt even turn! And to top it off - I believe I was even talking in my sleep disturbing the others!
We were on a very tight schedule as we had only 2 days to see NY and Atlantic city (Oh yeah! We always jam packed our trips!).Since staying in NY was expensive we were staying in NJ and we were told not to drive everywhere in NY-bad traffic snarls. So we drove till the Grand Central station and from there took the day pass. We started for Central Park and then promptly lost our way-took the wrong train which took us almost all the way to Queens! Thanks to the train maps that we had we found our way back to Central Park and then the Rockerfeller center.
Nothing much in Central Park though we were thinking of Kal Ho Na Ho :-) but were mighty impressed with the Swarowski hangings and the staking rink at the Rockerfeller Center. With DPK taking pictures continually, we spent quite some time there and then DVY said we HAD to visit the church of Saint Mary very close to the center.
Then it was time for the famous Madame Tussaud's where we spent nearly couple of hours taking pictures with all the wax models we fancied :-) Hubby and me also got a crystal embossing of ourselves there as a memorablia(only place I guess where we did something like that!) Then we had our appointment time at the Empire state builing and thanks to all the pre planning by DVY we had passes we had booked online and we could go all the way to the top of the Empire state building without standing for hours in the holiday queue (Moral of the story-it pays to pre plan-always). There again was loads of photo shoot of NY city from every angle.
Oh yeah! We also got a glimpse of the 'Statue of Liberty' from there and were disappointed... With all the hype surrounding it, we were under the impression that it would be huge and we wouldnt be able to miss it but in reality it looked so tiny from on top of the empire state building - that we almost lost heart to go there the next day. Let me also add here that the next day when we did go, wasnt that great as well. The boat ride was fun but the lifts werent working and we had to climb nearly 500steps (I think DVY counted them too!) to get to the pedestal for another view of NY city and Manhattan.
And the Lady herself looked worn-out with the paint pealing off.
OK, back to empire state building and then from there on the night city tour of NY. The view from across the Brooklyn Bridge is really amazing-with all those lights in Manhattan across the water...
Once back on Times Square with the place crowded with people - a True 'Melting Pot of cultures' we got the train back to the hotel to collapse for the day. And through the day I just dont remember eating anything - except the big Juice at Jamba Juice I think...
Day 2: As I've already said we had booked tickets for the 'Statue of Liberty' for sunday and so morning was spent in that.Then to Ground Zero for 1/2 hr and then we all wanted a taste of Bisi Bele Baath at Saravana Bhavan - true desis that we are. And we walked and walked and walked to find this place and when we did finally find it - It was crowded with people standing outside in a Queue! Deciding that we didnt have that much of time to afford as we had to start for Atlantic City and since we were all starving with all teh climbing and walking at the statue we entered the nearest relatively empty restaurant - I guess it was 'Banana Leaf' and had lunch there.
Once done we went back to the Grand Central to start our drive to Atlantic City via NJ where we HAD to meet hubby's aunt and family. Another hour spent with them and we reached Atlantic city at 8pm. Deciding to eat on the Wharf and do some gambling we hardly spent any time at the hotel and by 9pm we were on another Casino 'Strip'. With no decent place open for food - we had burgers at some joint there and then took a walk along the Boardwalk.What was really surprising was that there werent many people at all. The Baordwalk wore a deserted look on a sunday night at 10pm! We walked the entire boardwalk entering any casino we felt like,
gambled around 40$ and lost it all - lady luck refused to smile at us as she had at Vegas :-( By 2am we were all so tired from the drive and the walk the 2mile walk back to where we had parked the car seemed impossible. So we took the man-pulled ride back (I really dont know what else its called). But by the time we got back to the hotel we were all again wider awake and though R went to sleep the 4 of us played cards until 5am and then went to sleep!
Woke up at 9.30, dressed hurriedly , checked-out and then went in search of an Indian restaurant for lunch as we had a long long journey back to Columbus. To cut the long story short (Its long enough now!) we reached back home at 11pm and just fell into slumber. The thought of going back to work the next day was sufficient for any remaining adrenaline levels to drop back to subzero :-).