A trip to New York – Part 2

Day 3: Empire State Building, Intrepid Museum and Top of the Rock

Empire State Building Lobby

Empire State Building Lobby

I was up at 6.00am the following morning thanks to the time difference and travelling. I dragged Aidan out of bed around 8.00am, as I wanted to get to the Empire State Building as soon as possible, as I’d read it can get busy later in the day.

We were out of the hotel and walking towards the Empire State Building by 8.20am. One thing that I liked about the New York streets is that once you’ve got your head around the street and avenue numbering system, it’s very easy to find your way around.

We arrived at the Empire State Building around 8.40am, and went straight in. We found that most attractions in New York had security checkpoints, and this was no different, so we went through the x-ray machine and metal detector and there was no wait at all for the lifts, so we were straight up to the 86th floor and out onto the viewing deck.

Before we went up to the viewing deck, there was an interesting exhibition of the history of the building, which we spent a good few minutes looking at.

Luckily, today was another fine day with clear blue skies, so we had a great view of everything for miles around. When we first got up there and wanted to take photos, we were a bit worried about holding our cameras through the fencing in case we dropped them but we soon got over that and were snapping away.

It was really amazing the view from up there, you could see the whole of Manhattan, looking south right down to the Financial district and the Statue of Liberty, and looking north, right up Harlem in the north.

We spent a good 1 ½ hours up there, just taking in the view and taking lots and lots of pictures, it helped that it was a nice day, with very little breeze, so it was very comfortable up there.

I had bought a souvenir map which unfolded and showed a lot of the points of interest to the north / east / south /west, which came in useful.

Anyhow, after these 1 ½ hours, we decided it was time to move on, so we made our way down, stopping at the gift shop to buy a couple of presents for the family at home.

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First snow and my studded tires.

Our garden looking very picturesque in the snow.

Our garden looking very picturesque in the snow.

The snow settled here for the first time on Friday and it made our garden look very nice.

Apart from the obvious snow man making session by our daughter it also allowed me to try out my studded tires on my bike.

As my electric bike is slightly awkward to put new tyres on I decided to use my existing Haro mountain bike and use it a winter bike by replacing it’s tires with some Schwalbe Snow Stud tyres instead.

I purchased them in August for 35 pounds for a pair. I know how difficult they are to get hold of as soon as winter arrives and the temperature drops because I couldn’t buy them last year but I was determined to be prepared this year.

Coming home from work on my bike on Friday after the heavy snow had fallen I was impressed how much more grip they appeared to give compared with normal tires.

I also saw several people on bikes sliding to a stop in several places, and I didn’t seem to have this problem. It could be that I was just taking it more carefully than these people but I like to think the tires were helping too.

I had my previously had my doubts to be honest about how good they were but I’m happy now I put the effort in early in the year to put the tires on. The studs within the tires are slightly on the side of the tread so normally you don’t really know you are riding on them too much, but if you slightly start to lose grip they seem to catch you and stop you from sliding over.

A Close up of the studs.

A Close up of the studs.

When you use them in normal conditions you have them fully inflated and you know you have got studs on because you can slightly hear them clacking on the road.

While riding on ice or slippery snow you slightly deflate them, but you still get the nice feeling when you hear them bite into the surface underneath through the ice or snow.

It certainly makes riding more enjoyable in the snow and ice, for me anyway.