Before leaving Arizona, my Uncle Mike described New York as having the “best and worst of everything”, and I can completely appreciate that sentiment after having spent 3 days here. Central Park, for example, is a beautiful and inspiring place, a sanctuary in the city. The best brands are here, the best shows are here, the best people-watching is here. The best, however, is enveloped by dirty streets, dirty smells, dirty subways, and then some. NYC is a fascinating place full of contrasts and characters.
New York, New York
... and the lovely.
My Aunt Erica, being the angel that she is, dropped us off at the airport at 5am for our flight to New York which included a stop-over in Denver, Colorado. When we arrived at Laguardia Airport we got a cab to our AirBnB apartment in Manhattan. The apartment was really welcoming, and in true New York style, very small. There wasn’t enough room to dry off in the bathroom after a shower so I had to go into the hallway! We settled in and wandered down to Sullivan’s Bistro for dinner. With Halloween only a few nights away, the local cafes, bars and shops were decked out in pumpkins, cobwebs and ghoulish characters. The long day in transit had worn us out so we had an early night.
I woke up super early to the sound of construction coming from the vacant lot next door. Also, our pillows were covered in plastic liners so every time I moved slightly during the night, my ear drums were filled with crackling plastic sounds. Needless to say I woke up pretty tired but I forced myself to sleep in until late morning.
We decided to brave the New York subway and venture to Central Park. As it was our first time, we accidentally got the express train and ended up way too far north, so we got off and got another train back south again. Central Park was beautiful. We found a cute little cafe in the park, ordered some lunch and soaked in the beauty of the fall colours. Numerous paths wind through the park so we walked off our lunch under gorgeous golden canopies. Cute little fuzzy squirrels dashed between trees, people walked their dogs, mums played with their kids, brides and grooms strolled hand-in-hand and buskers entertained on every corner. I could easily have spent all day in the park. We were very grateful for amazing weather!
We walked to Times Square and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t see the draw for tourists here. It’s basically a big intersection with a ton of huge ads on digital billboards. That’s about it. There are a few souvenir shops and a few nice stores as well, but nothing overly special. It was also insanely busy. We moved on quickly to a massive photography store a few blocks away that Justin wanted to check out. It was like Bunnings or Spotlight for photographers- it had everything! It was dark out when we left the store so we walked back to Times Square, which had started to look pretty all lit-up, and had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. We figured while we’re in New York and at Times Square, we were going to be touristy tourists! The restaurant was pretty cool and had some great merchandise. We once again battled the crowds of Times Square and made our way back to the Subway for the trip home.
After breakfast at Sullivan’s Bistro we took the subway to the Museum of Modern Art where we wandered around for hours looking at art and installations. The highlight for me was seeing Van Gogh’s Starry Night in person. We then walked to the Apple Store just for kicks. We were amazed by the amount of people there. It was a hive of activity.
We later had dinner at a pretty average Italian joint before heading off to a massive highlight of the trip so far. One of our favourite musicians, Zoe Keating, was performing in the Village just around the corner from where we were staying and we managed to get last minute tickets to her show. She was playing at a funky new venue called Subculture on Bleecker Street. It’s a small, intimate underground venue for live shows. I had a delicious warm mulled cider with cinnamon as we waited for Zoe to appear. Due to the size and layout of the room, we also had amazing seats only meters away from the stage. Zoe’s performance was sensational and I felt so grateful to have been there to see her play.
If anyone reading this hasn’t heard of Zoe, here is a link to a video of her playing live on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkHSYTijWdc
We headed Downtown today and went to the 9/11 Memorial. It was a pretty somber experience but they have done a beautiful job at the site. After a bit of an aimless wander around, we went back to the apartment and waited for the Halloween parade to start in the Village.
I put on a little witch’s hat with black and orange feathers and we lined up along the main fence with thousands upon thousands of others in anticipation of the start of the parade. There was a great vibe and it was nice to see the community come together for the event. The floats and costumes were phenomenal, and it quickly became apparent that a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into the parade every year. I couldn’t believe how long it went for either! We’d been watching everyone pass by for well over 2 hours and there was no end in sight. It was a celebration of epic proportions and it was really cool to be a part of it, especially as Halloween isn’t recognised much back home. Another highlight to add to the list.