American Odyssey Part 3 – NY and Atlantic City

The final leg of my journey may have ended in Philadelphia but it included three days of early March madness through a windy and cold New York and snowing Atlantic City. We took off from Philly for the 2 hour drive to New York through the mild snow and rain. Heavy traffic through the Lincoln tunnel ensured that we reached a little later than usual as we were in a rush to take the NY Sights and Sounds Tour. We did manage to get on the tour bus close to noon. It was quite a good tour that included visit to the Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rocks, and the usual downtown Manhattan, Broadway, Wall Street et al. In 1984, we didn’t get a chance to get to Liberty Island due to renovation on the statue. This time we got up close though we didn’t get off the ferry due to lack of time. The Statue doesn’t look as big up close and well not too majestic, but well, I saw the Statue of Liberty. As we made our journey downtown on the double-decker buses the snowing began, ever so slightly. We were well behind time and our next stop after passing all the major landmarks like the UN Building was the Top of the Rocks that my cousin had advised me not to miss at all. We got down at 30 Rock and made it past the NBC Studios desk on the ground floor with our Top of the Rock tickets.

The view is breathtaking. You get to see downtown Manhattan and the Liberty Island from far and the view from the Observation Deck in the cold wintry weather was an experience to cherish. I loved Top of the Rock cause it really makes you feel on top of the world with some of the best views of New York. On our way down we did a bit of souvenir shopping and then made it back to Times Square for the ride back with my uncle and aunt to Atlantic City.

Atlantic City was a whole different ball game. I have never gambled save for the local fancy fetes where I went into those hit or miss lotto games (if you call that gambling by any yardstick). We made our way to the Borgata Casino, a place where some scenes of The Sopranos were filmed. Luxurious and enticing are the words I would subscribe to while entering the casino. The suite that was provided to my uncle gave me an idea of how valuable a customer he was. And while my aunt and uncle hit the blackjack tables, (a game I have absolutely no idea about), I hit the penny machines. A generous allowance from my mom and aunt made this possible. I did win big at one of the machines ($141 to be precise, on $20) and then greed got the better of me. In the end it was quits and I watched my aunt play at the blackjack table and still couldn’t figure out what was happening.

The evening was spent at a stand-up comic show that featured three comics, one of whom was on the Jay Leno show. While the first two were hilarious the Jay Leno guy wasn’t too funny and the laughs certainly didn’t enliven the hall. The second stand-up, a lady in her mid-sixties, was hilarious. She was good and really lively. A fun evening that ended two nights at the Borgata. I was told celebrities came around there often from NY, so I did keep my eyes open but didn’t bump into anyone. Maybe it was the snowstorm that had begun raging outside.

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