Did I mention I got pulled over by the police last Sunday night? I have never had so many run-ins with the law as I have had in America. If anyone does not know, there is no turn on red in New York. The police could hear I wasn’t from around there, asked me where I was going and gave me some direction before walking off probably thinking “stupid tourist”.
Monday morning after we returned the car we went to explore the city with our first stop at St Patrick’s cathedral. It is a beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral that is over a 130 years old with a rich history as the church was built and paid for by the citizens and immigrants. Near the church is the Rockefeller Center which is a large complex (spanning three blocks) built in the 1930s in the art deco style. It is also home to Radio City Music Hall, Top of the Rock observation deck and NBC studios.
Our first stop was a tour of the biggest indoor theatre in the world – Radio City Music Hall which is an impressive theatre that can comfortably seat more than 6000 people. The design is also in the art deco style and the designer apparently used psychology in his design in choosing patterns and colours to create specific feelings such as the diamond striped carpet which is soothing and has a calming effect. The gold shimmering stage curtain is the largest in the world. The lifts are still the original lifts from the 1930s as well as the stage that was so well designed that there has not been a need to change it since it was built. It hosts the annual Christmas Spectacular with the famous Rockettes and has since it has opened its doors 80 years ago. It is also the venue for Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana. We got to meet a Rockette (world famous precision dancer) as well. The tour was phenomenal and it was interesting to learn more about the theatre and to just see this remarkable venue.
We had a stunning lunch in the centre before we went to explore NBC studios. We went on a guided tour of some of the studios, broadcasting centre and make-up room which was very interesting. The studios are kept very cold as the temperature rises by between 20-30 degrees when all the lights go on. High definition TV also means dust particles are picked up easily so when a studio is not in use the furniture gets covered. Make-up also needs to be sprayed on due to high definition that picks up so much detail. They also revealed some secrets of how they get the studio to look bigger and how the evening news anchor hangs around the studio the whole day in case of breaking news where they can prepare a studio and have the news to you in 48 seconds. It was a fun tour.
We ended the day with a view of New York City from the observation deck of Top of the Rock which is on the 67th floor of the Rockefeller Center. It gives a panoramic view of Manhattan, famous buildings and landmarks such as the new World Trade Centre buildings, Empire State building, the Chrysler building, Trump towers, Central Park, the many famous bridges, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square Ball and the Hudson river. We watched the sun set over New York and the many lights come on. It was a stunning day!