As some of you may know, I am ever so slightly obsessed with New York City. So a few weeks ago I was chatting with Roman and Mimi, and I said, “Next time you go to NYC, let me know because I want to go along.” “Really,” they said, “do you mean the very next time? We are leaving in two days to go there!”Obviously there was nothing else for it but to buy a ticket up, take a day or two off of work, and attach myself to their little party.
In the course of just three days, I managed to eat so many different things, see a few popular attractions that I hadn’t gotten to before such as Central Park and the Met and Saint Peter’s Cathedral, walk many many miles, navigate Manhattan all on my own, and not at all quench my desire to live there someday.
If you want to really see the place, let me recommend having as your tour guide someone who has lived in the city for years. If you can acquire one of those, you might get taken to the best little spots that you never would have found on your own. For instance, Chelsea Market. Be still, my beating heart. This place is a dream if you like weird architecture, winding hallways, exotic foods, artsy creations, or people watching. It looks like it’s made out of a very old warehouse brought back to life, complete with lumpy floors, old bricks and light fixtures, and old hardware everywhere.
We stopped in a seafood store (the kind that sells things like sea urchins to cook) and played it safe by purchasing a little bowl of New England clam chowder. I think I’ll let our faces tell you if it was worthwhile or not.
When our feet were about ready to drop off, we went up to the Highline Park which is just around the corner from the market. The park is the brainchild of some brilliant engineer who thought that an old elevated railroad track would make a good place to plant flowers and put benches. Coolest idea ever. There we refreshed ourselves with ginger sodas from a little cart, running water put there for weary feet, gorgeous views, and baby smiles.
We saw the One World Trade Center, and the 911 Memorial, both inside and out. The inside of the memorial feels a lot like being in a whale’s belly might, with the the odd architecture that is reminiscent of ribs. There were two fountains/pools as well which I don’t have pictures of- massive, creepy, dark holes with the still water sliding down into the middle of nowhere- with names of the deceased engraved in stone the whole way around their large, square circumferences. The hole in the middle of the pool looked like the kind of place a massive octopus might come out of, like the kind that was in the pool by the mountains of Moria. I confess, I don’t quite understand the logic behind making a memorial such a creepy place.
One of the days Roman and Mimi had a wedding to attend, so I wandered about the city by myself. I ran into a farm girl from New Zealand who was touring the city by herself and needed directions, and we walked the blocks from the train station to the Met together, talking about our small town lives compared to the big city. Not gonna lie, it made me fairly happy to be asked for directions from other outsiders, even if I didn’t have a clue what I was doing myself.
Sadly, I chose the wrong day (Saturday morning) and the wrong time (pre-coffee) to go to the Met, and did not enjoy it as much as I might have otherwise. It was completely packed with humans, eating and chattering and taking pictures of statues and disturbing me when I tried to sit on the floor to charge my phone a little. Next time I go, I’d like to pick a quieter day, and also someone to take along to discuss all the oddities of art with, such as the bizarre threesome pictured above. Somehow they struck my fancy, just sitting there with their hands on their knees, waiting for life to happen like they have for ages past.
Once I was sufficiently parched and hungry, and my brain was full enough of art, I purchased a street hotdog, mostly because HOW NEW YORKISH IS THAT? I felt the moment was worthy of documentation, even if the hotdog itself was nothing special.
I walked the Brooklyn Bridge twice, once as the sun was thinking about setting, and again when it was turning to dusk. The cool wind at the top of the bridge alone was worth it, after melting in the heat for two days, not to mention the views. On one of my jaunts over it, I discovered that there was a concert going on below the bridge, and that if I leaned over the edge enough, I could watch it happening through the cracks. There’s more than one way to see a free concert!
I made the discovery of what it’s like to ride for many stops in an un-airconditioned train car in July. Hint: don’t do it. We hauled the stroller up seemingly miles of subway steps and walked endless steamy corridors. We jammed ourselves into many greasy cars, where Hudson baby always seemed to make friends, regardless of the reputed coldness of New Yorkers. In just 2 days, I managed to walk about 24 miles or so. I’d say moving to the city might be a fairly decent fitness plan, regardless of all the tempting food around every corner.
Speaking of which, ohmygoodness the food! I’d live there just for that pretty much, since I’m unfortunately a die-hard foodie. We stuffed our faces with Taiwanese, New York pizza, so much bubble tea, pastries from a French bakery, Chinese, my (not so epic) hotdog, and to finish it off, the Korean spread pictured below. The little bowls are our free appetizers- I guess the Korean version of chips and salsa- and the delectable pile of fried goodness on the cast iron was my plate. If you want to go to the city, please take me along so I can take you to this place. You won’t regret it, unless you’re not at all a fan of delicious flavor, in which case you shouldn’t even bother to go to the city at all.
Regrettably, going didn’t really do much to dampen my youthful and ignorant enthusiasm for that great metropolis, even though it’s expensive and wearying and harsh and hot sometimes. So, who wants to go with me next time?