Tue 7 May - New York City, NY

Big day planned. We will see tonight's recording of Daily Show with Jon Stewart. But first, we will go on the Staten Island ferry that departs from Manhattan's southern tip.

We wander Catherine Street from Henry Street straight down to the water, which will see us between Manhattan Bridge (to our left) and Brooklyn Bridge (to our right).

The elevated roadway at the shoreline above us is referred to as Franklin D Roosevelt East River drive or FDR Drive for short. There are cyclists and joggers and walkers and... The occasional bum on a park bench too.

We wander right or southwest along the water's edge.

The view of the two bridges.

Almost underneath Brooklyn Bridge, there is a... Beach... Of sorts...

Well, this is rush hour so lots of commuters exit the ferry having arrived from Staten Island. Travelling in the opposite direction was a lot quieter. This brings a tear to our eye through the inevitable comparison with the Manly ferries in Sydney...

And yes, as Manly Ferries are predominantly green and yellow, the Staten Island ferries are... Orange.

Checking out the scenery from the Staten Island ferry.

The lady...

A few other mandatory shots from the back of the Staten Island ferry. Well, heck, everybody does it.

The Staten Island ferry was followed by a US Coast Guard boat for a while.

The US Coast Guard gunship, complete with a fellow and a machine gun at its front. They take security seriously here.

The Staten Island ferry from an alternative angle.

Staten Island ferry terminal (and bus and train terminal)
Inside the Staten Island ferry terminal.

Well, once you get out of the Staten Island ferry terminal, the envionment looks... Dull. Granted, some construction work was taking place here too, but it could have looked a lot better...

And if you walk inland a bit and then look back at the ferry terminal, it reminded us of an... airport terminal...

Well, we decided to give Staten Island a chance, but it wasn't really much to see...

The most interesting thing we found on Staten Island near the waterfront was this colourful bird box village...

So, we walked back to the ferry terminal, bought ourselves a cuppa and sat outside watching the water world. And inside... Be alert but not alarmed...

Back on the Staten Island ferry going back to Manhattan. Well, we needed an inside shot for the inevitable comparasion with the Manly ferries.

The 2 ladies...

Unfortunately Liberty Island is still closed from Hurricane Sandy. So we figure this is as close as we will get for now.

Arriving back at the South Port Ferry Terminal in Manhattan...the terminal blends in well with the background. The older terminal on the right is to Governor's Island and will open to the public at the end of May.

An orthodox Jewish excursion to Staten Island...all very young boys and some rabbis (we think). Dressed very much alike.

Leaving the ferry we hop on the subway to 50th street so we are in a closer neighbourhood to where the filming of Jon Stewart's Daily Show will take place. Tickets will be handed out from 2.30pm and they are hot....

We step out from the underground at the top of Broadway Theatre District and Hans recalls seeing Cats at the Wintergarden Theatre back in 1984. Today, Mamma Mia is shown there.

The street scene below is fairly typical of NYC. Construction work is happening everywhere, on buildings, streets and underground. These steaming stacks in the middle of the street are regular sights. Makes for good photography.

Yep - there are plenty of religious groups in NYC, some who are happy to tell you in big neon signs what you should be doing or not doing. And if you don't do it "their" way, then..

We wander a bit on 11th avenue with no set agenda as we have a few hours to kill before we can pick up our tickets to the Daily Show. 11th avenue has become an upmarket auto alley with MBM (Mercedes Benz Manhattan), Lexus, BMW, Audi etc. We are not interested so find other areas to wander.
We found this little "hole in the wall" Chinese food place where we had lunch for two for $10.50. Plenty of food and quite good, with lots of workers and tradies as customers from what we could tell.
Hans points out that Di is the only female customer we see in our time here. And now she is hiding...

We still have time before we can pick up tickets for the Jon Stewart show so we head to the western waterfront along Hudson River. We come across a few piers with some larger vessels.

Russian billionaire owner?

American tourists? (We found out this ship goes non stop to Bermuda and returns within a week.)


We were walking past the Daily Show filming location on 11th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Street at 1.45pm and the queue to pick up tickets was already big. Oops, better join the queue now.

Mostly locals queuing for tickets from what we could tell, but here is an excited Aussie tourist among them...

While we wait, a long limo pulls up...Jon Stewart? Nope, he would have been inside for hours already. No celeb... The limo driver just needed to make some phone calls.
Good thing we queued 45 minutes early. Guaranteed seating is for owners of yellow tickets up to 120. We have tickets 108 and 109! We are told to go away and come back at 4.30pm. So we search for a coffee shop to wait. This photo is taken from a small coffee shop on 9th Avenue where we had our cuppa.

By 3.40pm we are bored with the coffee shop and wander some more.

Cycling this must have been a pain in the ass (direct quote from Di)...

We keep returning to the waterfront as much of it has pedestrian and bike paths, with parks and gives you some views. This is looking north west up the Hudson River. We sit for a while and enjoy the sun and views then wander again.

Some wishful thinking here... Thirsty...
When it comes to fuel, Americans pay far less than most of the rest of the world. Average price we paid was a out $3.30 per Gallon (just under 4 litres). But not in Manhattan. The price here $4.399 per gallon.
Owning a car in Manhattan is for rich people. Parking costs are also expensive and we assume rego and insurance is not cheap either. It explains why we see a lot of luxury cars here.
Queuing again but in a very orderly manner - in fact in ticket number order. The security guys clearly explain what we need to do and have worked out the best way to process a large number of people into the studio.
Everyone is patient but there is a hum of excitement as we wait.
From this point on, no photos or phones are allowed. Security want cameras off and inside bags which are stored for the duration of the filming. Same for phones. We get scanned and our bags taken from us with our photo ID tucked inside an attached plastic bag.
Into the studio and we have great seats - last row, of only about 8 rows, and looking straight on to Jon Stewart's desk. The crowd warm up starts at about 5.30pm and Jon comes out at 5.45pm to take questions from the audience. He's very funny. It's clear that he can think fast on his feet and that he is a significant input to content and feel. The audience questions are mixed - some just weird (a woman trying to get him involved in a sexism discussion and another asking him to sing happy birthday to her) - but some are funny and lead onto a great repartee (a guy asked if Jon was going to the Knicks game tonight and whether he had spare tickets - Jon responded with "you're kidding, this is the most circuitous route I've ever heard of to buy scalped Knicks tickets..."and so on.
The show is good, funny and very smooth. Only one small retake and its not because of a mistake, they just realise one story has a better and funnier ending if shown another way. We are finished by 6.45pm and it takes only minutes to grab bags and exit.
We are a bit wound up so need a drink. Ahhh - a nice vibe Irish pub, called the Hibernian, not far from our subway station, corner of 8th -Avenue and 50th Street.
Dogfish Head 60 minutes IPA goes down very fast! Yep, that was the name of that brew. Very nice.

Lots of sports are being shown on the TVs at the Hibernian including a Knicks game, which brings the sidewalk to a standstill as people pass and see the big screen game through the open windows next to us. Another guy parked his car and sat watching through his window for quite a while. Cheapskates!

Other patrons are ordering food which a a good sign. It's cheap and looks good. We order baked potato skins and a French onion soup for Di (which appears to be the most popular menu item).

Hot hot soup but delicious. Potato skins were also yummy.

With alcohol and food we are fading and head home. The night street scape also looks good.

We don't think Manhattan is every really dark.

Uneventful subway trip home and we are ready for bed. Another big day. Good night.

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