Today we woke at a healthier time, either we were super tired last night or we were finally starting to adjust! I’m not sure if it was the flu I caught but it definitely took longer to adjust this trip than on previous trips. After a speedy shower we had a nutritious breakfast of cake, chocolate and other such junk. (At home I am a lot stricter so was going a bit hog wild on this trip!).
The weather was looking good today so we took advantage and headed out to catch the subway to the Staten Island Ferry. Typically we got a little lost and got there just after the ferry was leaving. The only thing for it was to distract ourselves in the little stores and buy some more nibbles. Before long it was 10:30 and the next ferry was pulling in. We heard a commotion going on and some policemen were escorting an extremely drunk guy off the ferry.
I was hoping there would be an outdoor deck but there wasn’t, so we took a seat and the sun started to come out. We weren’t expecting the ferry to get so jam packed full so we could barely see a thing! I think it was a rookie error taking a seat and not standing by the window. We stood up to get a glimpse and some guy felt sorry for me and let me have his front spot, so we took turns and got some pictures, but in reality we were still very far away. I was grateful my camera had a good zoom!
We had debated exploring Staten Island for a while but seeing as we had good weather we agreed to catch the ferry back and make the most of it. As we walked back to the subway station we encountered a group of excitable squirrels who were launching at us and trying to get into our shopping bags! We had bought (more) pop tarts so I had a feeling they were after those! They really got quite close and were fearless which scared me – I am a wimp with wild animals of any size!
On the metro we decided to stop off at Brooklyn Bridge and walk part way across for some daytime views. Many others clearly had the same idea whilst the skies were clear so it was busier than I expected. We got some nice pictures and chilled out on the bridge for a bit, heading back to explore St Marks Place and get hot dogs.
This place reminded me a bit of Camden in London on a smaller scale. There wasn’t a lot around that wasn’t food related so we headed to Papaya King for lunch. Our server was really nice chatting away to us and letting us try samples. We weren’t too keen on the papaya drinks and went for hot dog combos with curly fries. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the food, I didn’t expect too much from a hot dog but it was actually really good, and the witty sayings on the walls had us giggling.
Next we headed to the Colombus Circle holiday market which had only just opened, after a brief detour to our room to drop things off. This market was very similar to Union Square and I ended up buying a nice sterling silver ring, some personalized Christmas baubles and a meatball slider with jalapeno sauce from the “Mighty Balls” stall. We spied the Whole Foods inside Time Warner Center and picked up some desserts to take back to the room later.
I had a bit of a wobble and somehow bought a Michael Kors clutch bag whilst we were there as well. It wasn’t the most logical purchase as it is so small, it barely fits an iPhone and bank card inside! We had a quick stroll around the mall but not much else tickled me, except a funny graphic of a snowman in one of the shop windows!
From there we caught a subway to Rockefeller Centre to see the tree. It was lit now and looked pretty magical, we stood there for a while gawking at it and taking pictures, watching people skating on the rink below. This scene I have seen so many times in films and it never fails to make me feel Christmassy! Everyone was called off the rink but two people, and we were trying to work out what was going on, before he suddenly got down on one knee and proposed. It was so cute, but thankfully she said yes or that could have been very awkward in front of the whole crowd!
We hung around a little longer before giving away our front spot and strolling back to see the Bryant Park tree now that this too was lit up. Today was one of the most festive days, and we just walked around taking it all in. I had forgotten my hat and gloves at home, and now it was getting colder I decided to get some earmuffs from one of the stalls, even though I am convinced they make me look like Minnie Mouse.
Before long it was dinnertime and we walked down to Times Square to find Ellen’s Stardust Diner. We walked the scenic route around the circumference of Times Square but made it there in the end, where we were greeted by a 15-20 minute queue just to get inside, crazy! This wouldn’t have been on the top of my itinerary but my friend loves all that musical, film and stage stuff so I thought she would appreciate a visit there.
Once we finally got a seat our table was in the back corner right by the kitchen, so we were quite far from the action and constantly having the waiters come out with huge plates hovering above our heads! The singers were good, some were better than others, but the food was definitely less than good! It was probably the worst meal of our entire trip. I guess they were busy, but they got my order wrong and forgot to bring the extras we requested.
The food had no flavour and tasted like oven food or a budget ready meal. I had a grilled cheese and it was stuffed full of shiny plastic cheese, no real cheese inside, and the bread unfortunately had no taste at all. Both of our meals came with waffle fries despite requesting something different, and these were very greasy and flavourless.
I should have listened to the reviews and opinions and gave it a miss, but at least we can say we tried it. Based on the quality of the mains, we decided to skip dessert and eat the snacks we had bought for the room instead. We rushed out, caught the subway back to Chinatown, changing at W 4th Street where there were two guys playing music, one on the drums and the other on the saxophone. They got everyone upbeat and bopping along, we decided their performance was better than the Ellen’s experience and gave them some tip money!