Our day started at the breakfast buffet at the Library Hotel, to fuel up on bagels as we would be doing a lot of walking. The breakfast selection was good, the only thing missing was pancakes – what I imagine to be the standard American breakfast. Luckily, we had those at the airport, so aren’t missing out completely.
Our plan for the morning was to walk up 5th Avenue to Central Park, to catch the penguin feeding at 10:30. Due to our date with the penguins, we weren’t able to stop at any of the shops on 5th Avenue, so will have to go back.
At the zoo, penguin feeding time was actually a bit of a let down, as the penguins were inside and being fed individually. However, the sea lion feeding more than made up for it, even before the keepers arrived with their food the sea lions were showing off to the crowd. When the keepers arrived the sea lions did everything they were told and are obviously very intelligent creatures. It was quite surreal seeing these sea mammals playing in their pool with skyscrapers in the background.
Other highlights of the zoo included Japanese snow monkeys, a favourite of mine, red pandas and Snow Leopard cubs. I must admit I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a lion, hippo and giraffe like in the film Madagascar.
After the zoo we continued through the park to Belvedere castle and through the Ramble to Strawberry Fields, the area of the park dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. The park is an oasis of quiet in the middle of a busy city, with foraging squirrels seemingly the noisiest thing. For lunch we had a hotdog from a good cart in the park, another item ticked of our New York culinary to do list, it wasn’t as good as I’d been expecting, so may have to try another one to make sure.
Leaving the park we walked down Broadway to Macy’s, where I bought a Christmas present for my Mum. Then back to the hotel, via our first close up view of the Empire State Building and 5th Avenue.
Our evening started off with cheese and wine in the hotel, before heading back down 5th Avenue to Korea Way for a Korean BBQ. I’ve been to Korean BBQ restaurants a few times in Japan and had wanted to take Jen to one, but they aren’t very common in the UK, here in New York there’s a whole block of them. The idea is that there’s a gas burner in the middle of the table and raw meat is brought out to you, at this one the meat was cooked for us and accompanied by all sorts of salads and sauces, whereas in Japan you were left to cook your own meat. We had big plates of beef and pork, both were really tasty and we left with very full bellies – it was a good job we’d spent most of the day walking around the city!