Friday, February 13, 2015

New York, 2015 (Day 3)

One World Trade Center and Friends

Day 3

We are sleeping in. Yesterday was crazy and unsustainable. We had a great time, but were both exhausted. We lounged around in bed and ate a late breakfast. Headed out into the city about 11:30am

The plan is to walk to Central Park and explore a bit. No mean feat. Google maps tells me it will take 2.5 hrs to walk there, but we are nothing if not determined. It's still cool here, but it is the first legitimately sunny day since we arrived.

Leora loves to walk through the crowed fish/spice/junk market that is China Town. We spend an hour just looking at the various shops and testing her skill at deciphering some of the signs. The best she can really do is tell if the word "food" or "eyes" is featured. It's a good distinction to make, when you think about it.

On the long stroll North, we switch between walking on Park, Madison, and 5th Ave. These are some of the most prominent streets that exist in the modern mythology that is the New York of my mind. After only ten blocks I can almost forget about the seedy markets of China Town. Now, the sidewalks are 4 times wider and people are wearing business suits and carrying Gucci bags. Mixed in with the cabs are now Lexus and Mercedes, rather than Isuzu and Mack Trucks. The buildings look similar, but are taller than in Little Italy and lack the once omnipresent fire escapes and bi-block piles of garbage bags and scrap brick.

After my rant of yesterday, I have to admit that I finally found a great cup of coffee (and some awesome sandwiches). I highly recommend Think Coffee on 4th Ave, near Union Square.

We pass the Empire State Building and the New York Public Library. Indoor public space is very rare. We take advantage of the opportunity to just sit for a while and rest our feet. Onward, we pass The Rockefeller Center, Tiffany, Versace, Ralph Lauren--the list seems endless. As far as modern fashion is concerned EVERYTHING IS HERE. We don't go into any of the stores. High fashion isn't Leo's thing and she is a little intimidated by staff wearing Tuxedos or white suits and kid gloves.
5th Avenue as seen from the entrance to Central Park

When we reach Trump Tower, I make her go in, just so I can say I was inside. The elevator operators are wearing Tux 'n' Tails. The opulence is both wonderful and horrific at the same time. It's almost the same way I "enjoy" the look of a condemned building. The decay is both beautiful and terrible. I don't know how else to describe it.

By the time we get to Central Park, we are a bit tired and my eyes feel like they are peeling back into my skull from staring at... at--everything. It all feels a bit surreal. My senses are overwhelmed.

I'm ready for the park, but it's not quite what I had hoped. I think Central Park would be better in the summer. There are no leaves on the trees and hence no sense of seclusion. The city is still audible AND visible. Also, the children's play equipment is all locked up because of snow and ice. I wonder what New York children do when all their parks close at the fist sign of snow?
Pretty Sure is is neither too HOT nor too much SNOW
On the other hand, there is a squirrel on a nearby tree. Leora is tempted to try and coax it near with some bread. As she rustles in her backpack, a half dozen of the critters come racing out of every hole in the tree with such speed that it takes a moment for my heart to settle down. I am actually a bit scared that we will be swarmed by a horde of squirrels. I wonder if that ever happens?
Wendy would have loved this Gazebo
We realize at this point that we are both pretty burned out (in a beautiful and terrible way, I suppose) and decide that discretion is the better part of valour. We hop on the subway and spend the evening at home. Leora devours a novel over the course of 4 hours and I spend the evening editing pictures and trying to make sense of what is happening here. We are recharging our batteries and I miss the creature comforts of home.

Tomorrow, New York will still be here.