Empire State BuildingWe left the wind and rain of Seattle behind on a flight to San Francisco. The best American Airlines could do was a an indirect flight to JFK the day after our original flight.  Disappointed in losing a day in NYC and also having a much longer travel time, we were consoled by being unexpected allocated business class seats from San Francisco to JFK.

By the time we hit the NYC streets, it felt like Christmas had well and truly arrived: lavish shop window displays (with moving parts!), Christmas lights everywhere and skating at
Christmas at the Rockefeller Center the Rockefeller Centre (right).  Despite losing a day of our short stopover in New York, our credit cards had no trouble making up for it in a very short space of time.  

After Ian got his fix of Bathing Ape T-shirts and sneaker shops, we set aside time to do some tourist things. As the current tallest building in Manhattan, the Empire State Building had to be done (above left).

9/11 memorial for the Fire Dept Ground Zero is pretty much as you would imagine it: a huge building site awaiting the construction of the new "Freedom Tower".  There are various poignant reminders to the events of 9/11, including theChristmas at the New York Stock Exchange memorial on the right.  

We also had a look round the Wall Street area, where the NY Stock Exchange had a huge Christmas tree with "NYSE" stamped baubles (classy).  

To get the classic Manhattan skyline view, we took the boat across to the Statue of Liberty and then carried on to Ellis Island, where there is a museum
An alternative Lady Libertyabout the thousands of immigrants who passed through trying to reach the USA.  Some were successful but others were sent back on the next ship home.  We had a look round the museum, which included the huge registration hall (which makes an appearance in the films "Hitch" and "Godfather II", if you've seen either of them).  Once you've seen the main NY sights, this is defintely worth a visit as it puts the American "melting pot" into context.  After a final look across the Manhattan skyline,On Ellis Island we headed back in the sunset.

That pretty much concluded our time in New York and our 80 days away.  Thankfully, we managed to avoid Heathrow (and its cancelled flights) on the way home, passing through Frankfurt.

So, it's back to the reality of jobs and mortgage.....until next time.....

Farewell to New York

Rounding off the trip in the Big Apple

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