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Man I needed that sleep. I could sleep for longer but, on with the tourism! The hotel snacky breakfast isn’t that bad really, considering the usual continental affair is often some hard fruit that’s been in the fridge too long, chewy croissants and watery coffee flavoured liquid. The coffee wasn’t too bad, Florida OJ in the fridge and a mixed berry pastry, was what I picked for myself. Bagels were also up for grabs, as well as methods of cooking them so yeah, not bad really for the basics.

Today covered the rest of the big museums, via Central Park and was a splendid day for it; cold and clear. First up was the Guggenheim, which is halfway through Central Park, on the Museum Mile. To get there from the hotel, there was the subway option but walking seemed more worthwhile today, for at least part of the way. After getting some daytime shots of the Empire State Building, I was childishly giddy to see the Macy’s Xmas display, even more more so, when I spotted a little girl who bounced up and down grinning, as the Santa roller-coaster flew around the window display. It’s really nice to see the spirit of things put such glee still, on kids (and mine!) faces. More daytime shots taken, this time in Times Square and a quick jump to the Subway, to emerge on the North end of Central Park.

Being Winter, the park is far from the lush green of the pictures, but it’s bloody big. Following the east side of the path through the park, it was pleasant to watch the handful of ice-skaters in the rink and just a few runners on the main roads. It actually turned out that most of the runners were in the southern half of the park, so it was a wonderful emptiness. Getting to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir, meant it was time to head out the park and south a few more blocks to the Guggenheim. Just before that however, there was a surprising sight of the Church of Heavenly Rest, across from the park exit. Spending some time in here proved more than worth it, with the most amazingly deep blue stained windows I’ve seen. When the Sun started to explode through one of them, it left an enchanting rainbow spirit, hovering on the wall – so delightful. Trying not to spend all day in this peaceful place, it was time to continue the walk.

The Guggenheim has an interesting layout, spiralling each floor until you reach the top. The main exhibit currently, is Richard Prince and although interesting, there’s nothing overly inspiring for me at least. Not so, for the permanent exhibitions. I’ve never actually been up close and personal with the likes of Van Gogh, Picasso and Pollock, so it was very enlightening for me. Hitting the targeted time of an hour and thirty minutes, it was time to hit the streets again to the next stop.

Unfortunately, the Whitney Museum of American Art was closed (not something I had noticed, on the website), so a little extra time was gained. Not so deflated as I could have been, as there was more to come but still a shame and something else to visit, when I’m back here again.

The time made up, soon whittled away while looking for something alternate to the hotdog carts. Specifically, there was apparently a Jamaican stand serving traditional food, somewhere in the area but attempts to find it proved fruitless. What I did see however, were crowds of cops (literally hundreds), all getting ready for the evenings festivities, in and around Times Square. What a mixed bunch too, with many looking like they’d just stepped off the set of Police Academy.

Giving up on the food idea, it was straight to the MoMA and man, I wish it was reached earlier in the day. With little more than an hour and a half before the place closed, it was quite the effort to get everything of significance in. After thinking the Guggenheim was good, this practically blew me away. I’ve never seen so much art in my life period. Whether it be in magazines, Internet or wherever, this was something else. You name it and it was here; so many famous artists on display and all within a few inches of reach. I truly got the point here, because I was left speechless and a lot of it in fact, was quite emotional for me personally. I owe New York an extra day and it’s to be spent entirely devoted to this place.

Just about squeezed in the last floor in super-quick time, before heading back out on to the street, and across the road to the subway. At this point, the road was already blocked off for the evening, with the cop letting nobody through unless they had a ticket and with the instructions of heading the other way, until there was an open road. Finally made it back to the hotel, after finding a usable subway, back in the direction I’d come from. Cut it very close though, with hardly any time before heading out for dinner with Pam.

Dinner was held at a wonderful old world style establishment, called Marion’s and the food was several courses from a preset menu, around a New Orleans theme. The place was packed and it was a squeeze to get in but damn, was it worth it. The food was divine, the glass of wine supplied with each course was relaxing and warming and so was the sequined lady, who took to the small stage to belt out a few old songs, in her husky voice. If you’re ever in Manhattan, make sure you check this place out (http://marionsnyc.com); it has such a wonderful history to it and leaves quite the impression.

Opting out of any kind of crowded affair in clubs, it was damn nice to just walk around, watching the merriment and ring in the New Year, with a stroll back to the hotel. Couldn’t quite let the evening go without some champagne, so quaffed a cup of the free stuff, that was in the hotel lobby, along with some of the cheese laid out. I could be getting old, considering I was asleep not long after 1am, although I think all the walking helped with that. It’s the end of a year and I didn’t try for anything outrageous, like last year – this sure beats sitting at home watching fireworks on TV though.