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Taking the plane to New York was kind of dumb, as the train would have been faster and more direct and, as it turned out, our hotel, the Helmsley, was just two blocks from Grand Central Station. The flight was a commuter flight so ours was the only luggage on the flight and the baggage carousel at La Guardia ran for about 30 seconds before stopping.

Was very hot in NYC, even hotter than Boston, making it tiring to wander around. The city has changed greatly since I was there last many years ago. The old warehouses along the foreshore - the remnants of a time when NYC was a port - have all gone, replaced by parks and bicycle paths.

Most unusual was the Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street in an old mansion overlooking Central Park. Apart from what I expected to find, there was an exhibition entitled The High Style of Dorothy Draper about a formidable woman who was "a pioneer in interior design, dominating the field, not only in New York but nationally, from 1925 to 1960 when she was named the most influential tastemaker in America." There was also an exhibit of photographs of Latino sk8ters in Brooklyn.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is truly awesome. It has massive collections of arms and armour and ancient and medieval artifacts.

Also had a look at the USS Intrepid. I love warships.

Took the Staten Island Ferry across to Staten Island and back. It passes by the Liberty and Ellis Islands and provides great views of both. For years it used to cost a measly 50 cents but since 1997 has been free! It is now escorted by a small Coast Guard vessel armed with machine guns.

Took a Sex and the City Tour which takes you to all the spots where the show was filmed and took place. Although most of the characters live on the Upper East side, the show was mainly filmed downtown, where the small, crooked 17th Century street system is easier to block off and control. What was apparent was how gentrified the SoHo, TiBeCa and the Village have become. (Times Square has also changed totally in 20 years.) They are even driving the meat packers out of the Meat Packers District, which is the latest trendy area. Jenette was impressed by the cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery (which were unbelievably good) and the fact that, true to its name, O'Neal's Speakeasy does not check IDs.

Since it was only a couple of blocks from the hotel, we also took a tour of the United Nations.

Naturally, I had to look at a few bookstores, especially Strands. After New York and Boston, weight was definitely an issue for the luggage. It seems that my bag is less than two thirds full. That's because the allowance always used to be 70 lbs / 32 kg but the airlines slashed it to 50 lbs / 23 kg in 2005, probably to save a few bucks in jet fuel.

I always go "never again" after flying out of JFK (a more sensible itinerary would have been to travel to Boston after NYC and avoid it). However, LaGuardia was well avoided that day as baggage handling broke down. The plane waited on the ground for some time owing to thunderstorms somewhere out in the Atlantic while we sat on the runway in the sunshine.

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