Our penultimate day in ‘The Big Apple’. Wanted to throw that in, because I know the locals hate it when tourists call it that. Also, they apparently don’t like it when you type ‘NYC’ either, or eat pizza with a knife and fork. Yes, yes, I get it, you’re all very special people, but before New Yorkerists get too sniffy, let me point out that they don’t get everything right either. In Bluestone Lane there’s a sign which says ‘Sorry mates, we’re closed!’ or similar–ask any Australian why that’s dead wrong, I’m keeping it a mystery. You’ll know you’re from NYC if your immediate reaction is ‘Like I give a fuc* what Aussies think!’ unquote.

Uptown to 86th and Lexington, back into the Park for a relaxing day of farewell photography. The promised blue skies were on their way, but to begin with we felt dudded once again by the cloud and drizzle. Didn’t last long enough to dampen our spirits, and before long the squirrels were out posing, as were the peeps. We caught a skinny young woman doing a photoshoot in a nice dress and Ugg boots, and a Russian-looking couple balanced on a rock against the West Side backdrop. We saw turtles humping from the battlements of Belvedere Castle, got roundly scolded by an American Robin, had pastry and coffee at The Loeb Boathouse, watched kids cheering the bubbleman at Bethesda Terrace, and emerged with smiles on our faces. Best park in the world.

Lunch was at the Rock Centre Cafe where I persuaded my wife to indulge in a cocktail (at midday!) so that I could have one too. A medium-rare steak, some greens and my third (and final) slab of American Cheesecake seemed the perfect finale to our morning’s activities. After a break, we followed it up with a curtain-call with dinner at the Empire State Building, where I ate another dead animal and consumed two more cocktails. Yummo. We went to the ticket gate only to be told by a young man that the visibility was zero. Thinking this a clever ruse by the young ruffian to avoid doing any work tonight, I nonetheless seized the opportunity to retire early; but upon exiting the ESB (I can hear eight million New Yorkists gritting their teeth, it sounds like a glacier calving) by god the young scamp was correct. Visibility zero. Thus, we endeth the day as we begun-eth.

I didn’t mind. TripAdvisor highly recommended the ESB among its Top 10 iconic things to see and do when visiting NY, so of course I was sceptical. Plus, I was never a King Kong fan. I was just looking to squeeze the last value out of my New York Pass, but the thing has more than paid for itself already anyway. Also, given that my wife has consumed two cocktails AND a glass of white wine today, I didn’t much want the chore of having to carry her back to the hotel from the 86th floor of 338 5th Ave once the booze runs its course. I’m sure a man walking down Madison Ave with an unconscious woman over his shoulder is not unusual in this town, but why push my luck.

Speaking of luck, I’ll see you in the morning for Lucky 13, our last day in New York.

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