NY-1

After an excellent show the previous night, we returned to our cabin, finished packing and put our cases in the corridor in readiness for the crew to store them.

We woke, showered and dressed at 6am and were in break fast for 6.30am in the Lido with a surprising number of other passengers.
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After our last full English on board, we returned to the cabin and watched our entry into the Hudson River from our balcony. As we approached the Bay bridge we went on deck to photograph it and the Statue of Liberty as we passed by. A good many photos and video were shot before the ship was berthed next to the USS Enterprise with Concorde alongside.
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Disembarkation took a time, we were due to exit the ship at 10.30am but slow customs and immigration meant that for our group this didn’t happen until after 11.30am. After queueing and laboriously passing through passport control we found our taxi and were soon on our way to the Holiday Inn on 57th Street. Check in at the hotel was quick though we did take the wrong elevator to our room and had to return to ground 0 and start again. After checking the room and noticing that it was snowing outside we returned to reception to deposit passports and valuables into a safe deposit box.
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Using the SatNav on my phone we took a short walk to the Columbus Statue end of Central Park. Ignoring the rather persistent cycle-cab touts we set off to DO the park. We meandered along the paths with other tourists and New Yorkers, of which there was a great many as it was a holiday weekend. There was still evidence of last weeks snow in little piles stacked up in readiness to be moved by the Parks Department, who seemed to be everywhere. We came across a crowd watching an ice carving demonstration and then a little later on a wedding taking place outside a castle. The bride was wearing bright red and black and it looked very nice. Later on we were to see another wedding taking place by some waterfalls , and that bride was also wearing bright red. There are quite a few lakes in the park which all except the largest, were frozen. At the very other end of the park is Harlem and here we stopped to watch an ice hockey game among girls around the age of 9 or 10 (I guess), they were very good. On our return journey we were stopped by a concerned lady who thought we appeared lost. She didn’t seem to understand that we had just walked the length of the park and were going to do the same back. She insisted on letting us know how to catch the bus back and also where the nearest Starbucks was as we must have looked emaciated (oh yeah?) I resisted the temptation to mention that I do not patronise American companies that make huge profits in the UK but fail to pay their taxes. She stayed with us for quite a while, so we set off in the direction indicated and when she was out of sight, we returned to our meandering. We stopped at the Boat Restaurant by one of the lakes for a rest and coffee and there we met a couple from the Queen Elizabeth (small world). When the light faded and the buildings around us began to glow, we set off back to the hotel.
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On the way back to the room we stopped at the Concierge desk and got him to check which shows were available (if any) for that night. We were in luck and managed to get two tickets for ‘Chicago’ at the Ambassador Theatre on 49th Street. The performance started at 8pm and was walkable in 10 minutes he said. My SatNav said 19 minutes. We hurried to our room to get changed and then had proper American Fayre in the hotel lounge bar, burgers, chips and salad. They were huge. We met and chatted to two of our dinner table partners who were staying at our hotel for a few moments before scoffing as much as we could and then setting off to the theatre. It took around 15 minutes.

We collected our (very expensive) tickets from the Ticket office and then found our way to our seats. It is a very old theatre and not very large. The seats are jammed together like RyanAir and there is no, absolutely no leg room. We must have had the last two tickets as the auditorium was full, not a seat left. In the UK you would expect the audience to 90% middle to old age, 10% younger. It was the reverse here, most of our fellow spectators were in their teens or early 20’s. Of course the clapping was always accompanied with outlandish whooping, and I must confess in such a small space it did add to the atmosphere and wasn’t at all annoying (for once). Well what of the play/musical? It was outstanding. The songs, the dances, the jokes, the set, the movement and the acting were as I could see from our seats smack in the centre of the Auditorium, perfectly performed. Absolutely loved it. If it didn’t cost so much, we would do it again tomorrow.
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It was rather chilly and close to midnight on our walk back to the hotel and bed.

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