No matter how many times I come here, I just haven't ever gotten an understanding of it. I think that is changing this time since I have had a few days of walking with some riding thrown in. Before I have stayed in Midtown and never strayed much to places like Bleeker Street, Battery Park, Brooklyn, Harlem, SOHO, Greenwich Village, etc... I was usually here for just a weekend so it was some show, a little dinner and a few bars. Not this time.
NYC turned out to by my 6k Service point for my bike. (Can you believe that I have 6500 miles on it in less than 3 months? 4800 on this trip alone) I had to rush through Washington, DC and miss catching up with friends because I couldn't schedule my service for later in the week or the beginning of the next week. It was a good thing that I called to schedule - might not have worked out otherwise. I suppose that I could have done the service in Jessup, Maryland or Frederick, Virginia. I suppose that I will have to spend a day in a few of those little backwaters without wheels for a couple of days, but it seemed better to walk around NYC than Jessup.
After dropping my bike off I caught a cab to SOHO and started walking around looking for a breakfast restaurant. Perhaps some of you have the same issue that I do... Whenever I am here, I want to find the most hole-in-the-wall-gem restaurant and not just anything will do. So, with the quest for a a great breakfast (it is 10am by the time I caught the cab) I just started walking. And walking. And then I found Bleeker Street. Wow, what a great little street with lots of choices. Too many choices! By this time I was really ready for breakfast and all the lunch restaurants were opening giving me more choices. I stumbled into a little Thai restaurant and was the first to sit down. There is something disconcerting about being the ONLY PERSON in a restaurant in New York. In NYC you are never the only person. Being the only person in a New York restaurant usually means that there is something wrong. All this was going through my head when the door swung open and two girls came in speaking Japanese. Then three more people came in and then two more and two more and another three. I stopped worrying about something being wrong as more people came in and it started getting crowded, I started to become bothered that this little gem I found was now full of people.
I don't know if I could ever find my way back there, which would be a shame. Not a great shame since it wasn't the best Thai ever, but it was good and wasn't a chain. (see following story called "Chains"). From here I continued up Bleeker until I veered off onto another street and then up another to another and about this time I was wishing for a city map. I didn't feel lost, but I didn't know where I was until I stumbled across Broadway and then it became clear that I was not even close to Times Square. At the time I didn't realize I was close to the Financial District and Wall St., otherwise I would have made a u-turn to worship at the "great bull" and hope for a turn around of the stock market. I was able to stumble across this mean looking bronze statue the next day - twice. The first time I had the bull all to myself and pulled up in front only to have mobs swarm it without respect that I wanted to take a picture. It worked out much better later on.
Onward up Broadway through a couple of parks an Irish pub, another Irish pub, another park, up a couple more streets to 34th and then left to get to B&H Photo (Mecca for camera gear). It was then that I stumbled across Madison Square Garden. The history of basketball runs through this arena. I stood in awe for a few minutes... and then the walk signal came on.
If you want to spend a day in NYC, walk from SOHO to the Lincoln Ferry Terminal. It was a great way to see the parts that are equally as New York as the stuff in Mid-town.
Day two in NYC had me lying low for a good part of it. Catching up on some phone calls, bank stuff and other things. After I did what I could, I hopped on the ferry from New Jersey back to the city to get into some trouble. A little walk around Time Square to see what shows I might want to see and a little dinner. What I found were a slew of chains catering to the "Plastic Food People", so I kept walking... and then I found it. Tickets for Yaz (I did say Yaz! As in Upstairs at Erics Yaz). I thought that Allison Moyet was retired.
You know you are in New York when you see a buck naked dude jogging in the middle of the day, or so I thought. He was already halfway down the block as I pulled into it. I couldn't quite get my mind around what I was seeing. I thought perhaps he was wearing all white or cream, but NO! About the time that I got close, the van in front of me was slowing down and then they let him in a the end of the block. Nothing like a good dare I suppose.
I barely got out of Manhattan last night before falling asleep... at midnight! Of course I can blame that on waking at 530 and being on the ferry at 8 to get my bike from its service and spending the rest of the day walking around Battery and Central Park, then the Met, then dinner, then the Yaz concert . I made the mistake of dropping the bike at one side of Central park and catching a cab to the other side. About the halfway point I started to doubt the wisdom in this and then about 3/4's of the way I knew it was certainly going to be a bad idea. I got out of the cab and realized that my feet hurt from all the walking I have already done the past few days, what was I thinking. I can always pop out and cab it back I suppose. One step and another until I am striding past the lagoon, past the reservoir and through throngs of people. It was about halfway to this point that I realized that I didn't bring my camera. I suppose that is not a bad thing - it would have been destroyed by the sweat and humidity. After I had enough I walked out to one side of the park and accidentally stumbled across the MET and there was no line! Wow, AC and a bench to sit on where I could pretend to be interested in some piece of art for a while. Life is good when you are in NY!
Day four is yet to come, but once I get motivated I am going to visit the Tuttles at Orange County Choppers. Perhaps "visit" is not the right word, but I am going up there to check out the crafted scooters and then in bed for an early night. Maybe even some room service.