Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New York, 2015 (Day 2)

This is a long one, so buckle up, Dorothy...
I always said she was a Demon-Child
We ate breakfast around 8am (granola, yogurt, fruit salad, coffee) and were revved up for our first full day in the city. Our plan was to walk to the High Line Park. Walk along the High Line Park. Then, do some exploring in Hell's Kitchen. Even the plans of wise wizards go astray... Here is what happened.

Last night I stayed up late editing photos, and making a blog entry for you to read. Leora was really keen about the walking we did on Monday, so we decided to walk into Manhattan again. I did a Google search and came up with this Frommer's article on the 5 best walks in NYC. 3 of them happened to work with our route on the way to the High Line Park, so there was our morning.
The best parts of the Manhattan Bridge look like this.
The Manhattan Bridge is less attractive than the Brooklyn Bridge, which we crossed yesterday. It isn't apparent from a distance, but up close it is obvious to pedestrians. Rather than a lovely promenade up above the traffic, pedestrians are relegated to one side (bikes on the other). It would have a better view of the Manhattan skyline, if only there were not chain link fencing running the entire length. To add insult to injury, it is VERY loud with 4 metro lines running the length of it. A train seems to pass every 3-5 minutes. There are also 2 layers of vehicle traffic (7 lanes worth). The whole thing vibrates pretty much constantly. I found it gritty--in a beautiful and tragic way.
As it turns out... not as long as you'd think ;)
I was looking over at the Brooklyn Bridge and thinking how lovely it would be if I could snap a great picture of it. After trying, unsuccessfully, to get a good picture through the chainlink and under the rail, I was seriously contemplating climbing up and having Leora pass me my camera when the most marvellous thing occurred. A hole appeared in the fence. Right where I would have put it.
The picture I got through the fence
The view I would have had. Thanks Shutter Cutter :)
Now, some of you may be thinking, "OMG! Mike is going to be arrested for cutting a hole in the Manhattan Bridge!" Remain calm. In the immortal words of Bart Simpson, "I didn't do it!" But, some one did and I'm pretty certain it was a photographer (or perhaps several). After the 3rd such opening (at just the right spot, I might add), Leora dubbed our mysterious Ur-Photographer "The Shutter Cutter" and we have become watchful for his vigilante work throughout the city.
"You buy? Cheap cheap--one dolla"
Not so cheap. Pretty commonly $14000 dollars
Leora has always had a fascination for East Asian culture. After our peek at China Town yesterday, she was determined to go again today. It really is a marvel. Sort of like New York's version of Portobello Road. Only, instead of a treasure trove of antiques, there are lots of mandarin oranges, sketchy glass jars full of bits of fish and ginseng and stores specializing in lamp shades, restaurant chairs, or gaudy chandeliers.
We made our way up Bowery to Prince Street. Prince is the first of the recommended walks on our path. There were many Pretty buildings, Lots of XXX shops and a crazy, unmanned music store. Further along I discovered that Apple and Lululemon stores are pretty much the same everywhere--full of things I can't buy.

We had lunch at an artisanal sandwich shop, Chalait. Great food. Average coffee. What is with that? In Italy and Honduras, homeless urchins could make a fantastic cup of espresso with nothing more than a rusty can and a blow torch. Yet, Americans, so full of bootstrapping ingenuity, really seem to have immense trouble coaxing flavour out of a toasted bean. I don't get it. I'm starting to think that (à la Hudson Hawk) I'll need to save the world and keep the secrets of DaVinci safe before I can get my cup of coffee.

Some time after lunch, we arrived at the park entrance. Closed--just the day before, as it happens--due to icy conditions :(
No. Shut them all down! Hurry!
Sigh! If I had been a genius and followed them on Twitter, I would have seen that they opened up a chunk of the park later in the day after clearing ice. But, really... it's winter. Do they not expect ice? I could have handled it. Sad, sad, me. Perhaps I will console myself by re-watching this documentary, narrated by Susan Sarandon

So, rather than walking along the High Line, we walked beside and beneath and dejectedly away from the High Line. I did get to see some "cool" buildings. Iceberg cool... see what I did there?
Ice-berg Buildings
We spent about an hour at the Chelsea market. Specifically, Artists and Fleas. Lots of handmade jewelry and clothing. With our budget, or lack thereof, it was a real trial to see so many beautiful things we couldn't have.

We walked over top of Penn Station and past Madison Square Garden and then on to Time Square. Up until this point, I had seen a fair amount of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. I was thinking, this isn't so busy. As we approached the hub of Western consumerism, I stopped wondering where all the people were. They were here. I'm sure it is far worse in the summer, but even in New York's coldest month, it was pretty busy.
42nd St. The Beginning of Time Square
On 42nd St. we ducked into Madam Tussaud's. We didn't have to wait in line, but we did have to part with $40 USD each. I'm not going to complain... much. After all, The Spice Girls did invite me up on stage to sing with them ;)
Now it was getting close to supper and we were both exhausted with about 25km of walking under our feet. We grabbed some fantastic bread from Amy's Bread and took the Q home so we could grab an hour's rest in our room.

After a quick supper of olive bread, blue corn chips and guacamole with carrots and fruit we went to the Ambassador Theatre to watch our first Broadway musical, Chicago. I'm not going to bore you with a full review or anything. Suffice to say, it was really good. Some of the personalities worked better for me than others, but the dancing was terrific and the music was stellar!

I wanted to fall into bed after a day of 30000 steps. But, there won't be many clear nights while I'm here and I heard there was a decent view from the roof of our building. Here you go. Thanks for staying with me :)

I'm working pretty hard to keep the pictures under control on this trip. The growing album can be found on G+, as usual, arranged oldest to newest.