Although I was born in Long Beach, CA, I consider myself a bit of a country girl. Sure, Austin is a big place with lots of people. However, all you have to do is drive an hour and you are in the country enjoying a quieter pace.
I lucked out with our schedule this week and am now typing from Manhattan in New York City. Our son had a Boy Scout summer camp to attend this week. My husband had to teach in NYC. It was a perfect opportunity to tag along and see a new city and state.
I wasn’t looking forward to the 4+ hours of flying time. I hate to fly. Yeah, yeah, I know about the “it is safer than driving” schpeal. Does it matter to me? Nope. Not a bit. I still hate the turbulence, the closed in quarters, and the lack of peanuts and movies. However, it beats walking or swimming to your vacation destination. Right? Our flight wasn’t bad (by my husband’s standards). We had a few bumps here and there, but thankfully it was mostly uneventful.
The first misconception I had of NYC was the cabs. They aren’t yellow any longer. They are more of a Cheez Whiz/Goldfish Cracker color. They are also expensive. The ride from the airport to our hotel @ 24th & 6th was $41.50. Not cheap. Again, beats walking or swimming to our hotel.
As our hotel room wasn’t ready (we lucked out thanks to my husband’s Admiral Club account and got a flight 2 hours earlier..Woohoo!), we checked in our luggage and decided to go site seeing.
Our first stop was for lunch. We went to this tiny little italian pizza place called Maffei’s. Wowwie! Their slices (you just call them “slices”, not “slices of pizza” I was told) are HUGE! We split a two slices of Margharita & Buffalo Chicken pizza. Sitting here 4+ hours later, and I am still not hungry for dinner.
After lunch, we started walking. We walked right past the Flatiron Building (one of my favorites) until my husband told me to turn around and see it from the point of the triangle. Wow! It is more beautiful up close. Just amazing!
The things I have noticed in my few hours are this:
1) The architecture is gorgeous. Sure, the behemoth skyscrapers aren’t much to look at (unless you like lots of glass). I mean the older buildings…those are breathtaking. The scroll work, gargoyles, and gingerbread trim are amazing. I’m far from an architect major, but even I know that these older buildings are something to be treasured.
2) The smells are “interesting”. There is the exhaust smells from all the cabs & buses. There is the sweet/sour odor of stale garbage. There is the ever present cornucopia of ethnic foods wafting from the food carts and restaurants. There is the smell of thousands of passing pedestrians on their way to hundreds of destinations.
3) It is crowded beyond words. I know that Mexico City or even Tokyo probably has more bodies moving around. However, it almost causes controlled paranoia when you are mashed into bodies at every corner waiting for the light to change. This country girl likes a little (ok, a lot) more elbow room.
4) The people are fascinating to just watch. Some of the clothing that these people are wearing! Have you ever seen more hideous, HUMONGOUS, gawdy purses? What is with the gold gladiator sandals, ladies? Oh! I see that NYC guys don’t know how to pull up their pants/shorts either. How many NYC guys did I see with their shorts belted around their mid-thighs & wearing extra long shirts to cover their boxers? Just one word fellas: belt.
5) The noise is deafening. That sounds weird, but it is true. Deafening from the taxi horns, the light beeps, the chatter from millions of people, the subway rumbles, and the street vendors peddling their wares. It makes me wonder if big city people ever crave for a tropical island of peace and quiet. Do they ever just wish they could turn the sound off?
6) There is so much here that I am familiar with, and didn’t even know it. I saw the flying saucer construction from Men in Black. I saw the building where the zombie dogs come out to attack Will Smith in I Am Legend. I saw the guy that plays Professor Flitwick (you might also remember him as the actor that played Willow) in a huge camera store called B&H today. Pretty cool. I was looking for Kong when I walked by the Empire State Building. He was probably on his lunch break.
I am looking forward to walking around in Times Square this evening with my husband. If we don’t go tonight, we will need to this week sometime. I am looking forward to seeing all of the lights at night.
This is going to be an interesting, and over-stimulating, week for me. I will try to post pictures later on. My week will be planned with lots of art museums (shooting for the Guggenheim, Met, and Natural History), as well as the touristy stuff like Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Empire State Building. Hopefully, my Metro card to the subway and my trusty Google Maps will keep me out of trouble. Thank goodness for good walking shoes! 😀