United States 10: Brooklyn

Simon and Angela, who were the first to arrive at the pit stop at 6pm, departed at 10am the next morning to explore more of the city of New York.  Racing from Brooklyn, the team set off for the first task of this leg of the race.

Taryn had provided another food challenge for this leg of the race.  The team were tasked with eating ice cream from the Brooklyn ice cream factory and then they were to walk off the deliciousness across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Simon was impressed with the quality of the ice cream and would’ve had two if they weren’t racing.

Ice cream factory Bridge and the factory
So very true…

After indulging, the team walked almost back to the centre of Brooklyn to access the secured pedestrian walkway that gave access to the bridge. They crossed the bridge in record time and headed back to Brooklyn via the subway.  Completing this challenge, the team once again relocated to new accommodation, their final for New York.

Brooklyn Bridge panorama
Bridge towards the island Another shot of the bridge
Serious bridge crossing face

For the second task of this leg of the race, the team had to attend the US Open.  After more sightseeing on Manhattan earlier in the day, the team set off on Saturday evening to Flushing to watch the match. The team had earlier purchased tickets to what they thought was going to be the Woman’s finals (Session 25).

Only part of the bull without people on it
F line subway Inside the Empire State
Naked Cowgirl of Cowgirl industries

They arrived in time at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre and were able to watch some of the outside games before going to their seats in the USTA Arthur Ashe Stadium. Due to earlier rain delays, their tickets, whilst allowing access for the session on Saturday, were for not the quarter final session.   Session 25 had been rescheduled to the Sunday night, which meant two entries for the price of one.  Ang was stoked.

Serena in the semi finals Polish girl hits back Serena wins!

The quarter final match was fairly one sided with Serena Williams soundly defeated Caroline Wozniacki, 6–2, 6–4. This meant the Woman’s final would be Serena versus the Australian, Sam Stosur and the team would be there to support!

More sightseeing was completed the next day, before the team once again headed out on the subway to Queens.

Grand Central station More of the station
Streetscape, Manhattan UN building
Outside the Guggenheim Inside the Guggenheim
Central Park lake Central Park field
Central Park castle Central Park wedding (complete with giant flags)

They received yet another pair of promotional caps and took their seats.  The match could be best described as electric with Sam defeating Serena 2-6, 3-6.  As Australians, the team was suitably proud and made many friends amongst the mostly American crowd.

Back at the tennis An outside match
Racers take their seats
Panorama from the stadium of Manhattan
Game on! Sam thumps the ball
Will Ferrell on the big screen Where’s Will?
Serena hits back Sam about to thump the ball again
Sam wins! Queenslander! Celebrating with friends and family
Sharing a moment Flag to win ratio seems wrong
First and second place Winner!
Stadium panorama, after the win

Later that night, on the journey back to Brooklyn, the team visited the 9/11 site.  They walked around to the fire station where 10 years earlier many fire fighters lost their lives trying to save others.  The team was moved.  The 10th anniversary had been sombre, subdued event and this brief walk by of the fire station, for Simon, was the most poignant commemoration they witnessed.

9/11 lights

Having originally planned to leave New York on the Monday, they received a surprise detour from Merryl. Their task now was to make their way as rapidly as possible to Guadaloupe, France where they would receive their next clue.

Flights were rapidly booked, but before they would leave the city, the team raced to the Top of the Rock where they took in a sunset.  They then had a few evening drinks at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment with Andrew, before heading back to Brooklyn one last time to pack for their flight, that was once again only a few short hours away in the early hours of the morning.

On Top of the Rock Pinching the Empire State
Night panorama from the Top of the Rock towards the south

United States 9: Manhattan, New York

Receiving their next clue the next morning, the team set out to explore as much of Manhattan as possible, before they were once again homeless.

Wise words from the sign
Subway art

Commencing with the neighbourhoods nearest to their hotel, the team walked around SoHo and ate in a restaurant in China town.  They took a subway ride to the Meatpacking district where they had some fantastic Thai.

Drying money like gangsters Freshpet in SoHo
View to the Empire State Empire state by night

Later, they walked the entire length of the Highline, a long elevated railway that has been converted to a park.  They walked around the areas of Greenwich, the Financial District and Wall Street.

Highline park benches Watching traffic on the Highline
Highline and watertanks Sad mouse next to the Highline
Highline panorama towards the Hudson
Highline panorama towards Meatpacking
Highline rail tracks
NYSE Federal Reserve
Brooklyn Bridge Mr Gecko wants his boat back
That is a lot of debt

Fashion Night Out was held on the Thursday with many shops staying open until late into the evening.  The team attended the event held at the Rockefellar centre.  Simon’s only regret was not bringing along a Generic Festival Clothing t-shirt wear on the red carpet.

Fashion night out model A sign for 30 Rock below 30 Rock!
Macy’s… epic Post Fashion night carnage

Later, the team made their way back to Greenwich to try some risotto in a gluten free restaurant.  Unfortunately it was closed, but, walking back to the subway, the team discovered perhaps one of the best pizza places in New York, Bleecker Street Pizza.  Famous previous Pizza Pie eaters included Edward Norton.  This place surprisingly served gluten free pizza even though it looked like a late night takeaway.  Rapidly, much wine and pizza was consumed was consumed in order for the team to receive their next clue.

Wine from a paper cup? Gluten free new york style pizza pie

There were two New York challenges provided by Callan for the team to complete.  These were to handstand in Times Square and photograph the Naked Cowboy.  These were completed in record time by the team.

Simon’s handstand Ang’s handstand
Challenge completed: Photo with Naked Cowboy Industries Times square by day

Later, the team checked out the east side and visited the UN building.  They then went to Magnolia Bakery, where they completed the other viewer challenge, provided by Taryn, to consume a Magnolia cupcake in Central Park.

Magnolia Bakery Ang eating a cupcake
Central Park underpass Central Park horse

Extensive searches for suitable accommodation had finally born fruit.  The team left their SoHo hotel and travelled out of Manhattan to Brooklyn.   There they arrived at the first of two places they had booked for the next four days, checking into the pit stop for this leg of the race.

Everyone needs a hardy mum

United States 8: Manhattan, New York

New York building

Previously on the Amazing Exclusive Race, one team of two raced from Montréal via Niagara Falls to New York.  There they met a frequent flyer and embarked on the next leg of the race.

The team along with Taryn (The frequent flyer) and Mark, took a cab to the pier where they boarded a Circleline sightseeing cruise for a tour down the Hudson River.  This voyage covered half the length of Manhattan and took the team as far as Liberty Island.  The tour was the first introduction to New York for the team and served to give them a good orientation to the major neighbourhoods of Manhattan.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Concorde
Mark and Taryn enjoying the view Liberty minics
Standard liberty statue Dudes taking the gunboat for a spin

Both Ang and Mark, who occasionally suffer from motion sickness, survived the journey well.  Taryn and Simon, as usual, had no such issues.

Following the cruise, the team raced to SoHo where they completed a lunchtime roadblock. Successfully finishing this meal, the team bid Taryn and Mark farewell and returned to the main task of this leg of the race – find accommodation or a suitable park bench for the night in Central Park.

Retreating to a nearby Starbucks where they resumed their seemingly fruitless search.  Out of frustration, the team gave up on the internet and set off on foot to the nearest SoHo hotel their internet search had located.

With some friendly banter, the team was able to secure accommodation for three nights at a reasonable price.  This challenge completed, meant that the team was then able to return to collect their bags from the Sheraton, and for the next few days at least, commence regular sightseeing racing in earnest.

Unfortunately we were unable to secure tickets

A short couple of subway rides later and the team checked into the pit stop with their bags for this leg of the race, earning a much needed rest.