New York-At first Glance

9.03.2006

So we arrived in New York on Thursday and stayed until Sunday. We packed in two Broadway shows, lots of eating, some sight seeing and shopping and a load of walking. It was an amazing trip with 4 really great ladies. I really need some time away from the girls, time to wander aimlessly, time to finish a complete sentence, time to feel like an adult. I definitely did all this and more.

I think anyone coming to New York for the first time comes with a set of ideas of what the city is. You can't help but equate the city with all the literary, television and film images. As we walked and drove through the city we would pass many of these landmarks.

timessquare statenislandferry empirestatebuilding

These were amazing to see. Sometimes they were recognizable, the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and sometimes they were just recollections- I think I have seen and this view before-
view
but I'm not sure where. As we drove down Park Ave in cab on the way to the hotel I felt what Eva Gabor sings in "give me Park Ave." The buildings were old and decadent,round windows and ornate ironwork on massive decorative buildings. It wasn't until we explored other areas of Manhattan that one realized how ornate the buildings were.
Times Square was a busy and bustling as you would think but didn't seem much more than a place you walk through and say "Hey, This is Times Square", sorta like the crowds on Michigan Ave.
What was unexpected about Manhattan is that it is where people live. The Loop in Chicago can be very empty at night or on weekends, but everywhere we went in Manhattan there were people going about their daily routine, people headed to work, grocery shopping, grabbing their morning cup of coffee. In the midst of all the people just sitting down on a stair, taking a rest or talking on the phone.
We would walk past a park and people would be having a picnic, or reading a book. As we entered Central Park we came across the Great Lawn. It was full of people playing softball, Frisbee and relaxing. You always see images of the parks in New York and they look like this
view2 and here I was experiencing it all. I was such a tourist but not for those landmarks just for the whole city.

I was also surprised by all the color in the city. The buildings were old and grey or brown but adorning the entrances were doors of red, periwinkle and lime green. The ubiquitous awnings were stripped in red and white or bright yellow. All the activity of life also brought color yellow cabs whizzing by, rugs being hauled down the street and the myriad of knock-off Gucci bags hanging from racks on the street.

Our first cab driver was from Ghana and our second from Chad, there were the bartenders from Poland, more about them later, and the nice Swedish woman at the CVS that wanted to know if she would like Honey Wheat Pretzels. We may not have made it to the United Nations building but we shared a drink with a Canadian and a laugh with a Frenchman.

What surprised me the most was everywhere around us there were babies. When in uptown they were babies in expensive prams being pushed by nannies, in Central Park it was new moms getting in some exercise while pushing their little ones in jogging strollers and in Greenwich Village it was hipster dad's out with their hipply dressed toddlers on the way to the park.

More New York tomorrow......

1 comments:

kirsten said...

I'm glad you had a great trip - my first and only trip to New York was so fun- we even had a trench coat guy approach us - he opened it up and tried to sell us watches! Awesome.