APAD #NYC: I walk alone…

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:

  1. Keep walking on one street till it gets deserted/boring/repetitive
  2. Change streets/aves according to the traffic lights
  3. 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

Uptown

Uptown

My sister would have gone crazy had she been there - this is probably the sexiest car I have seen live (The Jaguar F-type convertible)

1. My sister would have gone crazy had she been there – this is probably the sexiest car I have seen live (The Jaguar F-type convertible)

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

The Museum of Natural History - A must see, according to most tourists and New Yorkers

2. The Museum of Natural History – A must see, according to most tourists and New Yorkers

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

IMG_2967

The Dakota - John Lennon's residence (his wife still stays here)

3. The Dakota – John Lennon’s residence (his wife still stays here)

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!)

Strawberry Fields forever

4. Strawberry Fields forever

The memorial

4. The memorial

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!)

Jamming with James on Love me Do - highlight of the day!

5. Jamming with James on Love me Do – highlight of the day!

Midtown

Midtown

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

Reminds me of 'The Apprentice'

6. Reminds me of ‘The Apprentice’

Got back on broadway – another item added to my must-do list – watch a Broadway Musical (Phantom of the Opera/Lion King? which?)

I am guessing not this one

7. I am guessing not this one

And then to this building – nothing really special about it, but it really appealed to me for some reason

IMG_2979

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

Lots of tourists, everywhere ><

8. Lots of tourists, everywhere ><

And then, midtown – the ESB – one tourist-ey thing I am definitely not doing – too much effort waiting in queue etc.

IMG_2984

9. The Utlimate Tourist spot

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!

Downtown

Downtown

First Indications that Haloween is not far

10. First Indications that Haloween is not far

I stopped for 5 minutes to witness an awesome basketball game – a 4-a-side game – those kids were really really good!

IMG_2987The walk on Greenwich Village was probably the most pleasant part of the walk – there was something really calm and stable about that place – very unlike the Manhattan I have seen so far

Don't know if this is some famous place - but looks familiar - and reminded me of the movie 'Little Manhattan'

11. Don’t know if this is some famous place – but looks familiar – and reminded me of the movie ‘Little Manhattan’

IMG_2992

Yup, Haloween is definitely around the corner

12. Yup, Haloween is definitely around the corner

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!)

IMG_3004

13. See, Excellent!

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!

I have abstained for posting food pics in this one - probably another post?

13. I have abstained from posting food pics in this one – probably another post?

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)

IMG_3009

Another (possibly) random, but really beautiful building

14. Another (possibly) random, but really beautiful building

I walked past this building and I just halted and stood still for a few minutes – the colours!

Federal Plaza (?)

15. Federal Plaza (?)

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

The fountain at City Hall Park

16. The fountain at City Hall Park

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!)

IMG_3034

After passing through dozens of glass buildings, finally

I know, not the best of photos

17. I know, not the best of photos

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

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