August 25th 2014
New York City!
What a whirlwind adventure! Drew did a lot of firsts this week including visiting the city!
We took the Metro North train into Grand Central Station. I loved riding the trains and the subways (which I found out are also called trains by locals). Not exactly sure why I find them so charming but I think it has to be a combination of the historical yet run down feeling you get when they screech and squeak along the railway. For some reason I also like the musty smell and loneliness of staring down a dark tunnel. Gives me chills! I could spend a day down there exploring the stations and inventing stories about what those walls have seen.
I picked up the subway routes pretty quickly and Drew was plenty happy to follow my lead. From the moment we stepped into the main atrium of Grand Central Station he was awed, over stimulated and exhausted with the city. It’s a big change to make in a day - that morning we woke up on a peaceful mountain side and by lunch we’re bumping our way through midtown.
He was delighted, of course, by the grandeur of the old station and needed a moment to take it all in. We only had enough energy to sneak a peek at the 42nd street library before heading to Brooklyn for the night.
Much of the next day consisted of laundry, showers, and naps, topped off with authentic NY pizza by the slice. It lives up to the hype, people. We did find the courage to venture out 3 blocks to the local Salvation Army to find some city clothes to wear. It’s amazing how different one block can feel from the next. And the smells! They changed drastically from block to block (not always a good thing).
On our second full day in the city I convinced Drew to wander outside our 3 block comfort zone to search for lunch. We were able to weave in some sightseeing and walked the Brooklyn Bridge on our way to Chinatown! What a cool experience! The skyline of Manhattan is breathtaking. We could see the Statue of Liberty and it surprised Drew how tiny it was - relatively speaking of course. Those grand photographs and sweeping camera angles make it seem larger than life, but its dwarfed compared to the southern half of Manhattan.
We made our way to Chinatown for some Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles, Inc. dumplings and roast duck soup. I could go for a bowl of their soup right now actually. We knew we we’re getting close to Chinatown when we paused in a park and suddenly realized everyone around us was Chinese. We lingered in the park to watch groups of old Chinese people playing checkers or cards and gambling on the outcome. They were throwing money down and all yelling over eachother in a mass of confusion. I found it comical as it sounds.
We spent some time in the Brooklyn Bridge park that night eating a wonderful picnic dinner overlooking Manhattan skyline. They pulled out a big projector screen to show Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. It was a gorgeous evening. We biked around Brooklyn to get there - my first time biking in a city like that. What a rush! It was fun but got my adrenaline pumping. It was a nice way to see all the beautiful old brownstone architecture, and I enjoyed getting off my feet for a while. Biking feels so fast when you’re used to walking!
After seeing Chinatown, Drew was feeling brave enough to let me take him back to midtown for an afternoon. This time we went to the heart of Times Square and realized the only thing to do there is eat and shop. We ducked into Toys R Us to see the big ferris wheel and check out the Lego collection. Too bad we can’t justify bringing Legos on the trail.
M&M world was our next stop - I had to show Drew the rainbow wall of chocolate. We had a field day picking out new flavors (raspberry and coconut) as well as stocking up on dark chocolate peanut m&ms. We left with two pounds of chocolate.
It’s hard staying in a place that crowded and stimulating so we ducked out of Times Square to eat some street cart gyros in Rockefeller Plaza. Perfect place to people watch for the afternoon. A lady sat down near us to start painting her toenails. I think that’s when I started to see how public yet private people’s lives are in a city this big. When there are millions of other people around you fighting for attention, it’s hard to notice any one in particular. Except the ones that smell like acetone. ;)
We found ourselves gravitating towards Central Park for some peace and quiet but it was much busier than we expected! Runners and bikers everywhere.
Along with the sight seeing, we enjoyed some of life’s simple pleasures as well.
Something as common as relaxing on a couch or curling up under a blanket we took great pleasure in. We watched the Birdcage in honor of Robin Williams death (first we heard of it was getting into the city) and just enjoyed spending time with family.
The longer we stayed the more comfortable we got exploring the city and really got to see a wide spread. Upper west side bagels, lunch in grenwich village, window shopping in soho, world trade center memorial, upper east side poking around, and Washington Square park dog watching. I was surprised to see how many people owned dogs in the city. Some big dogs too! I imaging that’s what contributes to the smell on the streets.
The week we were in the city went by SO FAST the next thing I knew we were rushing to Grand Central Station again hoping we got back on the right train. I wasn’t ready to leave but knew we had to keep making miles. There’s so much I feel like we didn’t do but I know we’ll be back.
Onward and upward to the southern states!