I still wasn’t feeling brilliant today but with a limited amount of time in New York you kind of need to push yourself and get out and about. Fortunately non of the renowned New York winter snow had made an appearance, although it was raining heavily. I headed across to the southern part of Manhattan to attend a free walking tour of the Chelsea, Little Italy and Chinatown neighbourhoods. The tour guide was Laurie who had a bit of a loud New York-style mouth on her. To be fair though she seemed to know her stuff. After vomitting on my fleece yesterday I was already a layer down and not having gloves in a damp and cold climate was another schoolboy error. Laurie seemed to have a knack for stopping at the windiest possible spots to tell her stories, resulting in the maximum effects of the icy horizontal rain. There was a decent turnout of 14 people considering the awful weather. I’m not sure what the couple visiting from Cairo must have made of it! The tour encompassed some key areas of New York immigrant history. We passed the Five Points area where Gangs of New York was set. Laurie seemed to have eaten in most of the countless Little Italy and Chinatown restaurants and pointed out some of the good ones. She sounded sincere rather than just naming places that provide free meals for customer referrals! In this area you can eat in places where Mafia bosses have been whacked, Sopranos scenes filmed, or simply just enjoy some excellent pizza, pasta or Chinese food. As a fan of quirky facts, around 90% of New York’s monkey and organ grinders were once located in Little Italy. However the authorities soon clamped down on this sideshow due to an increasing wild monkey problem following escaped apes wandering the streets and causing trouble! There were also plenty of pop culture references on the tour with locations from Ghost, Sex in the City and Men In Black pointed out. We also passed the apartment where Heath Ledger died, although I don’t really like the morbid gorping at such sites. Overall it was quite an interesting tour. I’d probably have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t lost the feeling in my feet after the first few minutes!
I hadn’t planned to go back to the hostel but needed to get into some dry clothes. After 10 minutes thawing out in a hot shower, it was back out again and across to New Jersey. Newark is relatively close to central Manhattan, with the train from Penn Station taking only 17 minutes. From there it’s a short walk to the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils ice hockey team. Google assured me that there would be no problems getting a ticket from a tout for well below face value tonight. By waiting until most of the crowd had dispersed into the arena I managed to pick up a ticket for $21 following a bit of bargaining. I thought that I was being clever by waiting until after kickoff (or whatever it’s called in hockey) for the price to drop but this backfired a bit. Upon arriving at my seat with three and a half minutes played, the score was 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings. Only two more goals were scored in the remaining 56 and a half minutes in what was a fairly comfortable 3-1 win for the Kings. Hockey is probably my favourite of the major North American sports. The game seems to flow well without too many interruptions and it resembles football in many ways. It’s much easier to follow the puck in the arena than on television although HD tellies are great in this respect. I was surprised at how few people were there. New Jersey have won Stanley Cups in the past and is a proper hockey area. The crowd was announced as 13,000-something although I doubt that the 17,000-seat arena was even half full. Either someone in the Trump administration must have been counting the attendance or a fair few tickets holders hadn’t turned up but were still counted. I suppose with 41 homes games a year, season ticket holders may miss the odd game and a cold and rainy Tuesday night in Newark may have been one to avoid!