After staying the night at their hotel, we made our way back to Queens to freshen up and get ready for the evening. The plan was, we would head to a place called Ellens Stardust Diner, and have the waiters perform show tunes in-between serving tables. It’s definitely worth a visit if you appreciate musicals, but I would argue that staying for a drink or two is long enough to get a feel for the place if you’re not out to party. The performances were really good and I’m sure that a couple will make it on to the big stage, but a couple seemed a bit flat. Dan overheard one of the flat singers mentioning something about being fired, so we quickly forgave the lack of heart in his performance.
The host, who had a remarkable voice that did not match his body in the slightest, would always say a few words in between each performance. In one particular interval, he got up and spoke for quite some time about the talent of his performers and the struggle of affording tap lessons whilst trying to make it big. It became evident half way through his speech that he was asking for a donation. I don’t know how the others felt about his speech, but it irritated me a little and seemed very condescending towards his performers. They were good enough without needing to pull on our heartstrings to try and get donations, and I felt like he laboured too much on the idea of each donation going towards tap lessons.
The main thing we wanted to see that evening were the 9/11 memorials, so after a round of drinks we headed out. It was mine and Dan’s second visit, but this time it was at night and even more beautiful. Not only the waterfall was lit up, but there were faint lights behind the names, which made them glow as you walked directly past them. We also noticed this time how uniform the trees were, and wondered if the amount of trees was in relation to the amount of victims the day of 9/11 and previous attacks. During our first visit, we watched a short film in the museum that told of the clean-up and building of the waterfalls. We were young when it happened, so I can’t pretend to have understood the significance of what took place and I know for certain that I didn’t consider the effort that must have taken place to not only clear the area, but build something beautiful in its place. Our tour guide from the previous day told us about how the area was cornered off for the best part of a year because the air surrounding the area had become toxic from all the debris and dust. It was impossible to comprehend the destruction fifteen years later, next to a barely audible waterfall and still trees.
The white building was the ‘World Trade Centre Transportation Hub’, which is a bit of a mouthful to day, but I guess it hasn’t been around long enough yet to receive a nickname. It seemed a bit strange at first to have a shopping mall under the umbrella of the World Trade Centre memorials, but I guess it should function as any other subway station does.
Afterwards, we made our way back to an Irish bar right next to their hotel and spent the night eating good food and experimenting with virgin cocktails. On both visits to New York, we’ve found bar staff to be approachable and service has always been amazing. I just asked our bartender to make something that resembled a Cosmo, and he happily made four or five variations of the same drink, to the point where we agreed that they were nicer than the alcoholic versions. What was even better, was he didn’t charge me for any of them.
Here’s us with said cosmos and behind us is the awesome bar man himself.
We may not be expected to tip quite so much in the UK, but this is the second time I’ve had a drink on the house here and apparently its something to be expected if you go as part of a large group. Feeling valued as a costumer is something that I think deserves a tip, and it’s a system that ensures that the staff are rewarded for their hard work, so it’s something you have to consider when budgeting for a meal out.
I’ve never felt lonely since coming out here, but it was really nice being part of a large group that we knew well. After an all too brief visit, we had to part ways and make our move while they made their way back home. We’ll miss you!