Saturday, October 18, 2008

The city that never sleeps

Getting to NYC took some doing but I am glad I did it. I successfully navigated the subway and arrived in Brooklyn Heights only slightly weary. My first outing was a walk along the promenade to view the Manhattan skyline. Its very pretty but I hate to think what the electricity bill per building is when they are lit like that all night. I'll post a picture once I'm back on my own computer.

My next day started at 8.30am. For those who know me well, this is very early but I survived. I walked across Brooklyn Bridge which has an amazing view of the river and Manhattan. The bridge is a steel wire suspension bridge, the first of its kind. Walking along and looking up feels like you are in a giant spiderweb. The bridge ends at the bottom of Manhattan right next to the courts. I think walked past the supreme court and criminal court. The architecture of the buildings in spectacular.

Walking along you start to realise the scale and height of the buildings. You cannot feel the sunlight at ground level, there are just too many buildings blocking the rays from ever reaching it. I started my exploration of the area in earnest in Chinatown and its confusing, I'm not going to lie. I think I circled the same block about 3 times to find what I was looking for. Everyone is very welcoming and the array of foods and goods is quite unreal.

Finally navigating my way out of Chinatown I managed to miss Little Italy on the way to Soho. Not quite sure how but I think I was expecting an Italian version of Chinatown and it turns out its not. Soho is weird and wonderful and has a number of nice shops. I was stopped and asked if I support Developing Nations, some charity for uplifting poverty in Africa. What a laugh, after their whole spiel about poverty etc I finally had to point out that I'm South African and hence live in the place.

Next on my list was Greenwich Village which seems less spectacular than I imagined. I made an effort and deviated from my target of Central Park for the Empire State building. The queue to get up to the observation deck was 1.5 hours. Not a chance! I decided I didn't really need to wait that long to pay $30+ to see the city from above.

I browsed Macy's but I didn't find anything that fitted within my price range :( The One Day Sale is on today and I think that will be true chaos. I ended up in Old Navy and I have to say I could quite happily spend a fortune in there.

My walking tour back on target I wandered around Broadway til Central Park. Central Park is gorgeous and still very green. Coming from a riot of Autumn colours in Ann Arbor it seems weird. The park as a beautiful tranquil feeling going for it, despite the activity in it. The Besthesda Fountain doesn't quite measure up to the hype but the lake itself is well worth the trek. There was a couple having their wedding pictures taken with the lake as their backdrop. I sat and absorbed the quietness after the noise of the city and then headed out to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At $10 for students I appreciate the London ethos of free entry in museums. The museum is huge and you really do need the map they provide. The Chinese scrolls on display are worth the visit alone. I also enjoyed the Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian section which was rescued from the threat of submergence when the Egyptians built a new dam. I'm sad I didn't have time to do the Design and Photography section, I think that would also be worth a perusal.

Once back on the street, I ventured into the subway and down to Times Square. My god, its noisy and busy and an overload of screens. Started in ToysRUs which has a ferris wheel in the store and then went to TGIF for dinner. Next stop chocolate! The M&M store is huge and filled with every flavour M&M available. The Hersheys store added yet more chocolate to the list.

The last stop of the day was the Rockefeller Building which provides a view from above without the long queues to get in. The Empire State Building was lit up in purple and orange for the night as part of the Cat Fanciers Association Conference.

The end result of my whirlwind tour is bruised feet, lots of photos and a lot more information than I can possibly remember. My feet will hopefully recover enough to do Philadelphia :)

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I enjoyed Central Park when I was there, they got that right. Times Square was a let down for me, almost walked through it without noticing. I like their subway/bus/etc system, very easy to get around.