New York-Brand USA Visit

There was a small group of 7 soon to be 8 travel professionals on a visit to both New York and Boston. First was New York on August 19 and 20.

In New York accommodation was at the quirky boutique hotel  Arlo Hotel Soho. Located right by the Holland Tunnel entrance and nearby Canal Street Metro stop. Transfers were mainly by Uber. I have never been in an Uber before and it seemed much easier than hailing a cab from the street.

So straight up Hudson to Broadway and the Sunday Matinee of ‘Kinky Boots’ at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

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The theatre was Victorian in design and was mostly full. The show was fantastic and the staging was brilliant. I had seen the movie but that didn’t detract from the story being a musical. The British accents were a bit suspect in places but the music and the routines were very entertaining. At the end the audience rose as one to applaud the cast. I have never seen that before.

We strolled along to Times Square for photos through Theatreland. It was heaving with people. It does feel much safer nowadays around there. A few of us walked for nearly an hour back to the hotel, past the Penn Station, Madison Square Gardens, Empire State Building and Chelsea en route.

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The evening was spent with cocktails on the hotel’s roof top bar in view of the One World tower as the sun set over the city.

Soho is a neighbourhood with small shops and speciality restaurants punctuated with very small green areas. It is easy to navigate and feels very safe.

The following day we headed to World One and the Observatory for a guided tour.

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Did you know? The height of the new One World building including the areal is 1776 ft. The year of American Independence.

The elevator travels at 45 mph and the experience of the building up of New York on the elevator walls is stunning. It is very well presented and is a great spectacle for the city. The views on this occasion were shrouded in clouds so you could see down easily enough but not across. The clouds did clear somewhat so we did get to see across the city. It is fascinating looking across at The Statue of Liberty on her island welcoming shipping to Manhattan. What she must have seen since she was constructed!

Did you know? It took 25 years to turn Liberty the green she is today? She was delivered from France in 350 pieces in 214 crates.

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The group split up afterwards for shopping opportunities for some and the rest of us wandered across Broadway to Wall Street to see the Charging Bull statue outside of the old Lehman’s Building.

Charging Bull Wall St

It was insanely busy and the statue itself was a different colour where it had been touched my millions of previous visitors.

Next stop was Chelsea Market for lunch followed by a visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art. The market was heaving and finding tables anywhere was a challenge. Originally the site for the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) and where  the Oreo biscuit was produced. The railway tracks that once ran into the building are now part of the High Line.

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The Whitney Museum of American Art is in a new building that affords spectacular views of Manhattan. Located in the meat packers district it offers exhibits by American artists. The collection was started by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney who realised that there was nowhere for American Art to be displayed. Their next important exhibit is Andy Warhol that arrives in November.

After a break for a drink we climbed the steps to the High Line. Run by the New York Parks Department this disused rail track runs from Gansevoort Street to Hudson Yards a total of 1.45 miles. Old rail tracks are still scattered alongside the shrubbery the intersections are tastefully built with viewing platforms of the Avenues and Streets below. Surrounded by trendy apartment blocks and historic warehouses it is an interesting and FREE way to see some of New York City and superb views of the streets.

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For more information and maps see The High Line