This post is going to be a bit longer than the usual APADs, both in terms of number of photos and the commentary – this is partly due to my inability to post in the past few days, and in part due to the fact that I have so much to talk about
To know New York is to walk on the streets of this city – no cab, no bicycle, no ‘hop-on, hop-off’, no pedi-cab will ever let you experience this place like being on your twos will.
I have followed this religiously so far, but I realised, that so far, I have always walked to go from one point to another – this time, I decided to walk for the sake of walking. To stop when I want to stand and stare, to walk when I am satisfied with one spot, to turn when I feel like and let the city take me to wherever I was going – there was this simple algorithm that I followed:
- Keep walking on one street till it gets deserted/boring/repetitive
- Change streets/aves according to the traffic lights
- As far as possible, Jaywalk (not recommended)
And what followed, was a completely different, but amazing set of experiences
Start time: 12:30 pm
End time: 7:30 pm
Start point: 125 St, riverside
End point: Wall St
Mode of transport: walking
I decided to move on to Central Park West, since broadway was getting monotonous – and I was reminded of one thing I am yet to check off from my ‘list of tourist-ey things to do in NYC’ – Visit the Museum of Natural History
Further south, I reached the 72nd Street, Central Park West – probably the most iconic place for John Lennon fans – the place where he was shot
I entered Central Park there, to make one stop which I had been dying to make ever since I came here – Strawberry Fields! I saw the memorial made for Lennon (ardent beatles fans keep tiny yellow submarines there!)
And just when I was about to leave the place, I heard someone play ‘Here comes the sun’ – some musician trying to make a few bucks, with some really awesome adaptations of beatles songs. James Dalton Baker – he was an amazing guy – generous enough to let me jam with him on the only two beatles songs I knew on the harmonica (I should totally get him to PostCrypt at Columbia University!)
After spending 30 odd minutes there (I am definitely going back!) I continued till the south-west corner of Central Park (I had been here before – I got lost and reached the SW corner instead of the NE – simply because I thought using iPhone maps would hurt my ego – well, better the ego than the feet) and I saw this amazing Donald Trump creation
Got back on broadway – another item added to my must-do list – watch a Broadway Musical (Phantom of the Opera/Lion King? which?)
And then to this building – nothing really special about it, but it really appealed to me for some reason
On to Times Square – there is something about this place…everyone feels overwhelmed by it the first time they come there, but it really gets irritating after that – for some strange reason
And then, midtown – the ESB – one tourist-ey thing I am definitely not doing – too much effort waiting in queue etc.
On to ‘downtown’ and Greenwich village – a completely different New York – this place had the ‘small town’ feel to it – with an array of nice restaurants and baristas lined up – I obviously did not stop at any of them! I do not quite remember, but I think there was a whole ‘Fashion Avenue’ somewhere around this place – contrary to my general behaviour, I did walk on that one for a while!
I stopped for 5 minutes to witness an awesome basketball game – a 4-a-side game – those kids were really really good!
After a few wrong turns and a lot of asking around (This is where all the street signs stop making sense) – I reached Canal Street – this was supposed to be my final destination before I headed back – the beginning of Chinatown! This place reminded me of Fashion Street in Mumbai – a probably stripped off and creepy version of it. I was hardly interested in the shawls and hats and ‘I ❤ NY ‘ T-shirts they were selling and I really didn’t want to stay in Chinatown for long ..but I was a man on a mission – to hog on Dumplings! And I found an ‘excellent place’ for that! (I also got offered a job by some Bangladeshi Immigrant – was I willing to flout Visa rules to deliver a package on a bicycle? No, Thank You!)
Crawled inside, got a nice little table at a silent corner – had to ask the waiter 20 questions to ensure that what I was ordering was vegetarian – by MY definition of vegetarian food – finally settled on Veg Spring Rolls and some spinach and veggie dumplings (they were pretty good, but nothing beats the MoMos in Kasol, Himachal Pradesh) The tea, was mind blowing – I could come down all the way just for that!
Back to broadway, and I started seeing these glass buildings again – I realized, Wall St. should not be far (I also saw too many suits and people walking at twice the normal pace – clear indications)
I walked past this building and I just halted and stood still for a few minutes – the colours!
One awesome thing about Manhattan, is the abundance of parks – I was led to this one by the sound of someone playing some amazing blues on the trumpet
Still no sign of Wall St. though – I thought this would be a good time to study the Map which I, in a moment of infinite wisdom decided to take with me – just in case! (felt like such a tourist!)
After passing through dozens of glass buildings, finally
Wall St, was kind of a letdown – hardly an financial services companies and no architectural marvels as far as I could notice
By this time, I determined that there was little to visit post 7 pm (I was tempted to try Hell’s Kitchen, but decided to go for that some other day) and decided to call it a day – found the closest subway station and hopped on a metro back to the univ (where, we had another fun jam session! I could get used to this)
Conclusion, I should just get out of my place and keep walking, more often… and draw in a huge breath of the city every time