Day 233: DC to NYC …OMG

7 March 2011

Washington, DC to New York, New York

High Point: Seeing the NYC skyline come into view, hotel lobby disco balls

Low Point: Arriving in New York means the end of Stage 8

No Point: Sat nav in New York – no GPS and no knowledge of one way streets

Author’s notes

We had an early start from L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington DC. Thanks to Ed for putting us up (and Andy Peters from The Wynfrey Hotel, Birmingham, Alabama for putting us in touch).

After some suspect driving around the capital’s sights (a ’No truck’ sign surely doesn’t mean no Martha right?!) and subsequently a few close calls with local police (“Move away from this area sir”, “Please remove the person from the top of your vehicle mam”, “You do not have permission to film here sir”) we continued, unscathed and without any unscheduled visits to the police department – phew.

We were on our way to Stage 8’s finishing point – New York!

Seeing the city come into view on the horizon was like something from the movies. New York is an absolutely epic place and, having not visited before, I had high hopes for what it had to offer.

It didn’t disappoint! New York is featured so frequently in TV programmes and films that you wonder if it’s all exaggerated…it’s not! Everything we saw was like being on a movie set – steam rising from man hole covers, hot dog stands, yellow cabs, dog walkers, delivery vans and road work tents which obviously housed bank robbers ready to heist a local bank, and secret agents monitoring their every move! We even ran into Ladder 8…more commonly known as the home of Ecto 1 and the Ghostbusters – classic!

We then headed to our hotel – The Carlton Arms – which is probably the best hotel I’ve ever seen. Every hotel, no, every building, should have a glitter ball in the reception, and an owl playing a piano in the hallway. Each of the rooms are decorated by local artists, giving the place a very eclectic and kooky vibe. The amazingly generous guys at the hotel are donating our stay on behalf of the cause. Manager John is familiar with the fantastic work the Macmillan nurses do and was keen to help out. We can’t thank him, and the rest of the staff, enough. It’s an amazing place – do check it out if you’re ever in the city.

Just like the city we’d arrived in, FTFE never sleeps, so it was straight back out again to The Dark Horse bar, were we were hosting a fundraising event. We were met by FTFE fans from far and wide, some who had travelled many miles to meet us and show their support which made us feel very special. Over $200 raised in a few hours was fantastic – thanks to Gavin at the bar who made us all feel so welcome and kept us fed and watered.

As this will be my last FTFE blog, I wanted to look back on my three weeks on the engine as part of the crew…

Things I won’t miss:

– The un-relentless tiredness that comes over you when travelling, which seems pathetic considering I’ve only been on the road for three weeks. The only thing I can liken it to is trying to stay awake during a university lecture – the battle between wanting to stay awake and giving in to sleep resulting in nodding heads, sore necks and comedy video moments (see FTFE YouTube channel).

– Having a shocker navigating: pitifully I just don’t know my left from my right, get panicked quite easily and don’t always understand what the sat nav is trying to tell me – sorry all!

Things I’ll miss:

– Wearing matching outfits: it’s like being in a cheesy 80’s band every day…and a great homing device when in crowds

– Being ‘famous’: signing autographs and posing for photos at every turn…let’s face it, it’s the closest I’m going to get to my 15 seconds of fame

– Meeting the great people of the US – if my faith in humanity ever wavers I’m just going to think about the amazing people I’ve met on this trip, and the absolute kindness they’ve shown to us and what we’re doing

– Seeing small town America – before joining the expedition I was most looking forward to seeing the big towns – New Orleans, Washington DC and NYC, but it’s actually been the small towns that I’ve fallen in love with. Their community spirit, generosity and passion for what we were doing  was just immense

– Spending time with my best friends – just awesome. Could rattle on for an age about them, but to save time, and avoid scoring a ‘10’ on the cheese-factor scale, will just say it’s been an honour and a privilege, I love them lots and am very proud of them all

And now I’ve finished what could be my first album thank yous, I have a request…please, please, please if you haven’t done so already, donate to this amazing cause. 100 per cent of money goes directly to the three fantastic charities we’re supporting. We’ve already raised 92,000 GBP and would love to hit, and even exceed, the 100k mark by the time we’re through.

Thank you muchly,


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One Response to “Day 233: DC to NYC …OMG”

  1. Great blog gal…glad you liked our hospitality. new Yorkers know how to give !

    Now folks – do what the lady says and hand over your dollars…show her we care!!