Thursday, May 06, 2010

New York: Day 4

(Friday, April 30)

is Julie's apartment building.

This is the lobby.

And this is the view from her floor.

But this is not where we are staying today. Not when we are in New York and there are copious things to do. Instead we are getting on the subway and riding it to:
this place, which is Battery Park.

And this is where we are headed, as soon as we get through a lengthy security screening.

There's nothing fun to be said about security screenings. But, this being New York, quite a few people were working the line, trying to make the best of it (and pick up a little jingle in the process). There was the steel drum player thunking out renditions of "In The Mood" and "Für Elise," the white-bearded flautist, the two guys with huge boa constrictors wrapped around their necks, the street acrobats, the five-piece a cappella group accompanied by plucked bass. Only Disney has better crowd control.

This is the dock as we pull away.

This is Lower Manhattan from the harbor, and the wake of the ferry.

This is the private sailboat, out for a pleasure cruise in summery weather.

This is Ellis Island, where I intend to go after visiting Liberty Island. (Alas, it is not fated to be, on which more later.)

And this is the pretty lady.

Hello, pretty lady!

These are the watery shadows of all the tourists up on deck, also taking pictures of the pretty lady.

This is the island where the pretty lady lives.

This is the meeting point where the park rangers wait to give free tours of the island and tell visitors many interesting and salient facts about its history.

And this is the park ranger who gave me an hour-long, one-on-one personal tour. She was thorough, intelligent and professional, and was remarkably patient with my insufferable know-it-all behavior. (Thanks, Kristin!)

This is the cafe and overpriced gift shop.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry masses yearning to eat cheese..."

Having seen all there is to see without actually being able to go inside the statue (they only hand out a few of those passes per day), we return to the ferry to go to Ellis Island.

This is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. This is also about the point where I realized I wasn't going to get to Ellis Island on this trip -- they stopped making runs to the island about half an hour earlier. Noooo! I wanted to see if they had more information about my great-grandma's voyage from Rotterdam to New York!

Not shown: Sooz temporarily sulking.

How many bridges can you count from here? Forget it. You cannot count that high.

Eventually I stopped sulking, disembarked at the dock and took a train up to SoHo.

This is Muji, home of nifty Japanese goodies -- mostly clothing and home goods.

And what's this, guarded over by a green dragon?

Ah! This is Pearl River Mart, home of awesome cheapie Asian goodness!

This is the ground floor. There are at least three floors of goodies in this shop.

This is the boulangerie we pass, which reminds Sooz that she has had nothing to eat since breakfast.

And this... this is Kate's Paperie.

Ohohohohhhh, katespaperieeee... I could spend a whole lotta lucre in this store.

It's about time for dinner. And we're close to Mulberry Street. So...

This is our next stop, slightly under construction but still open.

This is dinner (penne arrabiata)...

...and this is dinner (chicken marsala with broccoli and oven-roasted potatoes; the broccoli is a bit underdone, but otherwise the verdict is yum).

This is the point at which Sooz decides to head uptown and try to catch a Broadway musical.

And this is Times Square.

This is where I went next, in a vain attempt to pick up a cancellation ticket for the sold-out showing of The Lion King. (It was not to be. They wanted cash instead of credit, and I didn't have it.)

What else is interesting about this photo? Less than 24 hours later, this would be the spot where a certain person (unknown but presumed to be Faisal Shahzad) would drive a Nissan Pathfinder full of accelerants, explosives and detonators up to the curb, park it and walk away. I was standing at what would have been Ground Zero, if the Times Square car bomb had detonated according to plan. I remember seeing two vendors on the street corner that night, who would later see smoke coming from the car and alert the police.

Yes, I do find that a little freaky to think about.

After failing to get into The Lion King, I had to reconsider my options. But I was in the middle of Times Square on a Friday night, so my options were pretty open. First I went into the humongous Foot Locker store and finally picked up a new pair of shoes, then I called home and talked to Captain Midnight, and then I decided it was time to fish or cut bait.

So this is our next stop.

Maybe a movie is a little bit of a cop-out, but it was available, affordable, and a place to kill a few hours until I could reach Julie. I caught a showing of Alice in Wonderland in 3D. The second time through I found the ending to be a little too facile, but it's still visually top-notch.

By the way, this theater complex is out-of-control huge. 25 screens. I went up five escalators just to get to my theater. I don't think I've been any higher in an airplane. They were handing out 3D glasses and oxygen masks at the door.

After the showing I gave Julie a call and discovered that she was waiting for me outside at the marquee, so after about 20 minutes of riding down escalators I joined her and we walked over to
CrackberryPinkberry. Mmmm, mini-pomegranate. Then we proceeded to a Thai place mellifluously titled Yum Yum Too, and picked up a late-night order of tom kha and spring rolls. (I've had better Thai fare elsewhere, but not at midnight.)

Then we found our way to the 50th Street subway station...
...where one may find this...

...and this, among other themed mosaics (strangely apropos for the evening).

Rode the train back to Julie's apt., got inside, passed out. So there's my show and tell for the day.

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