Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Last day New York

For our last day in New York we started our day as usual with the bacon and egg at McDonald's right next door to the hotel. Maccas are nearly as frequent here as Starbucks, one on every corner is the phrase!
Sustained, we started off with the Uptown bus (notice how familiar we are with terms now)! Billy Joel wasn't there but we heard all about all the famous people who live around there and saw where John Lennon sadly met his end and where Yoko still lives. apparently, as our tour guide informed us, anyone who has met her says she is a lovely lady. Glenn Close and a whole host of other celebrities live there and it is hardly surprising. It is a beautiful part of the city and the buildings are amazing. So beautiful, and so well maintained. 
We left the bus and walked through a small part of Central Park which was just so lovely. We had heard about how large the park was and how diverse it is in the design, and no wonder it is huge. It must have been amazing as it was being built and there were hundreds of men working on site. The irony was that when it was finished there was no way that the families of the men who worked on site for six days and only went home for one day, could come and enjoy the park. It was initially built for the rich who lived close by. Later transportation was established and now it is a park for everyone with various areas designed with different needs in mind. We could have stayed there all day, except of course I would have been lost if Ian had walked away!
Then for a contrast, it was off for the Harlem Tour which was certainly a contrast. This city is so diverse and colourful and yet in some areas the poverty is extreme. Public housing  is very highly sought after and 220,000 are on the waiting list. We learnt how important it is to be in a property where the rent is fixed and can only rise by a small percentage each year and long fixed leases are very highly sought after.
As  areas become more popular and properties are bought up the landlords sometimes try to buy out tenants leases, renovate the properties and treble the rents. Great if you can afford the rent but it only puts more pressure on the other rental options. 
Another interesting thing is that very few people have cars here, although from the traffic you wouldn't know. Most of the number plates are from out of town though. It costs as much as apartment rent to find a garage for a car and the waiting list, unless you have a fistful of cash is ten years. There is really no permanent street parking and in many streets cars just seem to double park, for how long we didn't know! The bus seems to charge down past the cars with abandon and we just hold our breath.
Overall a fascinating time again in New York. And of to Boston tomorrow.

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