Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 3: New York

After managing to stay abed until 6:50am, we decided on breakfast. I wore my shiny mermaid leggings, praying the heat would not seep through them. A brief visit outside revealed that last night’s rain had scrubbed away the oppressive heat, leaving us with humidity instead. The leggings were thin enough to make it manageable.

This item of clothing also drew attention as we took the subway to Penn Station. I pulled out the chunky SLR camera and went to town with the skyscrapers while we made our way towards the Empire State Building. We walked over more of those ground grates which shoot up hot air - suspect they vent the subways?

We had to use Fifth Avenue door to enter the Empire State Building then went up some escalators where we discovered that the 102nd floor, which had the highest observatory, was closed so we’d have to get a refund. Our express tickets had us darting down passages ahead of - well, not much of a queue at 8:30am! Loved the Art Deco interior.

A little bit fancy

One lift to the 80th floor. Then another to the 86th. The air-con gave way to a cool windy observatory deck. Smog smothered Manhattan in all directions. Beneath the smog lay skyscraper after skyscraper, an urban sprawl that blanketed the land. It was frightening to see. Even the rivers were unable to keep the sprawl at bay.

It just goes on and on and on and on...

We walked around and had a look out at all sides - I don’t think we missed out on much with not being able to go up to the higher deck. The romanticism of the movies was missing, given how the smog obscured the view but it was a nice reprieve from the heat.

We attempted a selfie but the wind flung my hair all over both our faces! I was very careful when taking photos as I had to push the lens through the fence to avoid weird whirring and blurring. Not much else to see or experience - it is just a viewing platform - so we went inside. First, though, a bathroom stop - a guard followed me into the room, asking where I had got my pants as her daughter needed mermaid ones for a play. I pointed her towards eBay.

We passed by the Empire State gift shop which had a lot of King Kong paraphernalia. Then we meandered over to Macy’s which was still closed (they open at 9:30am) so we went in search of Harold Finch’s library from the television show Person of Interest. This was on the corner of East 30th Street and Lexington Avenue, a 15 minutes stroll away.

We passed an area that, along with the usual constant stench of garbage, smelled of smokey BBQ sauce (this was suspiciously outside an animal hospital). Coming upon Finch’s library was…wow. I had to crane my neck to make the connection, as the building looks different on foot. There were shops visible on the lower level which I think Finch would have disapprove of!

"You are being watched..."

Filled with the anti-climatic realisation that it was only a building and had no history of housing The Machine, I allowed my fiancĂ© to lead me back towards Macy’s. We pushed through the doors into the first level of a giant department store that leaves David Jones in Sydney to shame. Macy’s had seven levels full of trinkets, clothes, gifts, toilets and eateries, including a McDonald’s.

Beside the ground escalators was a boarded up floor which blocked off the LG level. Amusingly, Shark Week took advantage of the disused escalators by making it seem as though sea, sand and sharks were encroaching on it. Bought Mum a Macy’s teddy bear before we navigated our way outside - destination: Grand Central Station via the New York Public Library.

We ran into Bryant Park at the back of the library. Here we found a grassy area rimmed by scattered tables and chairs (some had cupholders!). A screen was set up in front of the grass. On it were dates for the screenings of certain films. My fiancé pointed out that Ghostbusters was on that list which we found funny.

It was no coincidence that Bryant Park was much cooler than anywhere else we’d been on the ground - it had trees and a breeze.

We headed around to the front to take in the two marble lions that guard the library (but not from ghosts, evidently!). Then we entered and discovered the foyer was made of smooth marble as well. People seemed to be there to do things other than sight-see. Had to tear myself away from the gift shop which was selling my favourite brand of notebooks.

I ain't 'fraid of no ghost!

“Library Walk” led us down to Grand Central Station. It would be crazy trying to get in there during peak hour - each individual door (quite a few of them though) had to be pulled open. Then there was another row of doors to get through. We slowly walked into the expansive station, awed by the immense size, the pretty lights, the streams of people, the 100+ platforms (!!) and the inconspicuous military men on duty. They faded into the beige walls, adorned in desert fatigues and solemn expressions.

More marble. The station was cool and large and had very aesthetically pleasing lighting. I could have stayed there longer, simply to take it all in.


“I like your leggings,” a woman said to me as she leaned against the wall, phone in hand.

“Thanks!” I said, very pleased to be causing a stir in new York City with my mermaid leggings.

It wasn’t until we left that A) I realised I should have found a bathroom and B) I had no flashback to that scene from Unbreakable.

We then hunted down the Rockefeller Centre which looked very strange from ground level - less impressive, I think. We passed NBC Studios before wending our way to Eighth Avenue. Bought some stamps for my postcards.

Lunch was had at Cosmic Diner. They served what could be the best chocolate milkshake…in the world. Divine. I had this along with curly fries and a panini which I failed to finish. We stuck the printed stamps onto my postcards then posted them.

Relaxing in hotel room watching TV. Some of these ads have peculiar segueways.

No comments:

Post a Comment