(2) – Exploring Mid-Town Manhattan

Since our plane landed nice and early we had virtually a whole day left to explore yesterday. The weather was pretty nice, quite sunny when we started, although it clouded over a little and was a little on the cool side, it never got much above 15 degrees Celsius.

Around noon time we hopped on the Q subway line, which is literally 5 minutes from our bed and breakfast, and we made our way into Manhattan. The subway actually emerges at the Manhattan Bridge and we got a good look at the Brooklyn Bridge and the south-eastern tip of Manhattan.

We decided to get off on Times Square, figuring that this would be pretty good place to start exploring NYC. Times Square, with all its neon advertising signs, and promotional displays is something else. The sidewalks were totally full of people strolling and tons of promoters were handing out flyers for broadway shows, comedy shows and other entertainment events. There is so much advertising in the Times Square area with lights and displays blinking everywhere, that the individual advertisements actually started to run into one another in my mind, probably not the effect the advertisers tried to achieve. Indeed, the hustle and bustle in this area is huge and can get a little overwhelming.

Neon lights galore at Times Square

We strolled around that area for a while, and walked by Rockefeller Center, although we did not get to explore the whole complex. Then we tracked down Grand Central Terminal and walked through this grandiose historic train station which opened in 1913. There are over 100 commuter train platforms at Grand central and they all run off a glorious central concourse.

The famous Chrysler Building.

The east side of Grand Central opens out almost straight onto the Chrysler Building, and considering that I am a huge fan of Art Deco skyscrapers, I had to go inside this 1929 masterpiece. As a tourist you can only access the lobby, but the central area with its ceiling mural and the authentic Art Deco elevators (and their doors covered in wood marquetry) are definitely worth a little detour.

Then we snaked our way up towards Central Park, mostly on Lexington and Fifth Avenues. We walked by the (apparently just closed) famous Plaza Hotel and into the south end of Central Park, a masterpiece of landscape design and 850 acres of much-needed recreational space by the famous landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead. We only explored the south end, including the Dairy and Sheep Meadow and headed out onto Central Park West with all its stately apartment buildings, including the Dakota Building, in front of which John Lennon was shot in 1980. The Strawberry Fields hillside garden was dedicated to his memory.

The Dakota Building.

Everything is blooming here right now, and New York City is definitely a few weeks ahead of Toronto in terms of the horticultural cycle. Something was in the air, and I had to sneeze about a hundred times, and by the end of the day we both had to pick up some allergy medication since we were both battling major hayfever symptoms.

Then a brief hop on the subway later, we popped up again in Greenwich Village, a beautiful neighbourhood of brownstone townhouses and took in the ambience. We ended up at a nice little restaurant on 7th Avenue, called “Pennyfeathers” where we had a beautiful dinner in an enclosed porch so we could take in the street life.

A couple of subway rides later we came back to our temporary home in Brooklyn where we dropped into bed exhausted from all the walking, trying to catch up on a bit of rest for the next day.

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