21 October 2014
Wonderful cafes in Little Italy, New York
Today is to be our last day in New York, before we head south to Orlando, Florida. There was no hurry to get up early, we intend this to be a slow day! We started with breakfast at Starbucks, just around the corner from the hotel. We notice that most of the cafes are “To Go” centres – not many people sit down and have their coffee (very few tables and chairs), they are all in a great hurry to get somewhere so consequently most cafes have lots of packaged food ready “To Go”. However we do enjoy our Starbucks coffee, it is much better than any other type of coffee available.
We feel we have seen so much of this great city, and enjoyed every minute of it. It is a crazy city, crowded, dirty in parts, heavy traffic, noisy…….but like any city there are the beautiful parts, and we have found a lot of them. Our plan today is to see some of the city that we missed out on, but really wanted to see, so our first destination was the area known as Little Italy which is close to our Soho hotel. Soho itself is a busy, vibrant part of New York, close to Chinatown, there are lots of quirky shops around, the ground floor of our hotel is a mass of souvenir shops.
One of the many quirky shops in Little Italy – Skinny Bitches not allowed in this one!
Little Italy is an older part of New York, most of the streets are one-way, and there are some ornate old buildings, pretty flower boxes, street art and tree-lined avenues. Little Italy is colourful and vibrant, with cafes spilling on to the street so there are only narrow pathways to walk along. The cafe owners are out front to lure customers in, and are very persuasive in telling you of the delicious food they offer. We didn’t take up their offer then, but decided we would have dinner at Little Italy tonight.
A busy corner in Little Italy
We eventually found our way to the subway where we boarded the train to the Financial District, and Wall Street. The subways are a great way to travel under the city, but I would not like to be there in the heat of summer – no air conditioning and thousands of people! The main challenge is to find the correct side of the street to enter the subway, whether you are going Uptown or Downtown – we were caught once, but mostly we found the correct train.
Wall Street was also very crowded at lunch time (with parts blocked off for renovation work), we found the Federal Memorial with the statue of George Washington out front (left), the ornate St Patrick’s Church, and the Stock Exchange building (below). We walked along to find somewhere for lunch, and came across Panini’s, overlooking a park where workers were installing lights in all the trees, obviously in preparation for Christmas. After lunch we found our way again to the Century 21 shopping complex, where we spent an hour doing some last-minute shopping.
The Stock Exchange building in Wall Street, New York
Wandering back to our hotel (and feeling foot sore and weary!) we came across Little Italy again, and decided on a decadent afternoon tea at Cha Cha’s. We ordered cappuccino which arrived in a long glass, the coffee was warm and topped with thick, cold cream – not quite what we expected (mostly you buy latte, they don’t seem to know much about cappuccino) but delicious all the same.
Back in our hotel we had some time for relaxing, then we walked back to Little Italy for dinner at Cafe Napoli. Although the evening was cool, most patrons were choosing to dine outside, so we had a delicious last New York dinner under the stars – a perfect way to end our adventure in New York.
Tomorrow we leave for Orlando, Florida where I will attend my mediation training, and Marlene and Pete will take it easy!
Street scenes in Little Italy
The most sensible sized car to drive in New York (left) and a jazzy 3-wheel Morgan motor vehicle (right)
Some great street art in Little Italy!