We located Nora, and made a date to meet her at the hotel at 12:30 pm on Thursday. Then it was off to Times Square to begin a day’s sightseeing in the city.
The Subway was a bit of a mystery. Unlike the London Underground, there are no ‘stations’, as such. Instead the steps from the street lead down to an individual platform, travelling uptown or down. You cannot cross directly from one platform to the other, so if you are careless enough to arrive on the wrong one, you have to exit, and use another portion of your travelcard to re-enter the system. There are no maps on the platforms, and not all the trains that pass through actually stop. Oddly enough, apart from our initial confusion, we had no difficulty at all getting around, and the trains themselves are clean and wonderfully air-conditioned.
The garbage that accumulates daily on the streets of New York, is collected at night, but in hot weather it is hard to ignore the stench of rotten vegetables that persists throughout Manhattan.
We bought ourselves tickets for the Gray Line ‘hop on hop off’ tour aboard an open-top double-decker bus. It must have taken a good hour to move even half a mile, and we lost count of the times we seemed to pass Macy’s flagship store.
(Incidentally, this distorted reflection of our bus tour was captured by John as we passed under a tubular mirrored bridge near the World Trade Centre.)
We hopped off at Armoury Park, for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. John bought a couple of tickets before realising that our National Parks card would have gained us entry for free … The ferry was reminiscent of the old Isle of Wight steamers, packed to the gunnels with waving tourists.
John looked up the Rynne family name on the Ellis Island computer, and was delighted to find four ‘John Rynnes’ had landed there from County Clare.
Back on the coach, we toured the uptown end of Manhattan Island in daylight, then used the other part of our bus ticket for a night time tour.