Sorry to inflict you with a picture of myself… but this is me outside Times Square

Yeah… today, Tuesday, we headed off to midtown Manhattan towards the central park area. Central Park is huge — bigger than the “country” of Monaco. We drove past apartments owned by movie stars like Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis, Seinfeld and many, many others. A cool $10-million may get you one. I have to admit they looked rather ordinary from the outside, although I am sure they look just great on the inside.

In stark contrast, only four blocks north of the wealthy Central Park suburbs we passed through one of the poorest areas — the projects in Harlem near Malcom X drive. Despite the streotypes and what you’ve seen in the movies, Harlem is largely crime free and on the comeback trail these days.

We also passed through Manhattan’s West Side (west side of central park) — remember the gangs of West Side Story? We also went past Times square and I had my obligatory bi-annual McDonald’s (the shame!), to top off a very unhealthy day which included a cinnamon muffin, a donut, a frappacino with a mountain of whipped cream and a milkshake. Tomorrow its only healthy stuff.

After that it was back to Central Park for the Natural History Museum where we saw some towering T-Rex and Brontosaurus (Apatosaurus?) fossils. We watched an pretty amazing space show (“Cosmic Collisions”), shown on a planetarium dome which helps create an all encompasing 3D effect. Besides the space show I generally didn’t find the Natural History Museum as good as others I’ve seen in other cities.

But today is July 4, so we headed off to see some fireworks on the East shore. The Lower East Side is a slightly run-down but funky, young (student?) suburb where we had a few beers and supper at a place called Cafe Charbon. A yankees game was on which created periodic whooping and yelling. There were also a few ironic cheers for “America” from some of the American patrons. We saw the 4 July fireworks from some astroturfed field just down the road by the harbour… and then it was bedtime.

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