November 08, 2013
9:20 Hopped on the subway and rode into the city with Michelle. She left me at Grand Street where she got off for work and I continued uptown to my destination of Central Park. 10:00 detour at Grand Central Station. What a pleasant surprise it was to find myself in the middle of the famous arched complex. The place was swarmed by tourists requesting photos or asking of their whereabouts. To be honest I was the same as them, but since I was exploring alone I did not stand out as a tourist. Instead I was able to blend in with my surroundings and saw the sights of New York in a more polite way. 10:30 Arrive at Central Park!
What a magnificent oasis embedded in the urban jungle. You must remember this is not just autumn – my favorite time of year, but Autumn – in New York! A time of year so enchanting that it has songs named after it! The trees were a glowing-red and the earth was littered with bright fallen leaves. This was a sight for sore eyes; these same eyes glistened with tears of joy. I can be a rather sentimental chap at times, this time was one of them. You see, I grew up near a park by the same name in California, so I always thought of “MY Central Park” as home. Ever since I realized there was a land by the same name in New York I had dreamed of going. Here I was, standing in the heart of my dreams. Surrounded by beauty unheard of in Southern California. Surrounded by the season of autumn and the changing of leaves, the brisk air, the horse-drawn carriages, the zoo, the tunnels and bridges… I took in everything and everything took my breath away. 12:00 Michelle recommended I visit Cafe Sabarsky. In which I tweeted “Cafe Sabarsky, where even the espresso shots are fancy.” accompanied by a twit.pic of my miniature glass of espresso topped with whipped cream. I drank my espresso in the quiet of my own table as old couples dined on fine white china filled with gourmet pretzels and sausages around me. 12:30 Must find bank. Must tell bank that I am indeed traveling and not walking around with a stolen credit card. 12:50 The MET! How magnificent! If you thought traipsing through the paths of Central Park had me all choked up, wandering the halls of one of the greatest museums in the world was even merrier! As you can see by the tweets below, I was awestruck.
Never in any dream did I imagine seeing the likes of Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, and Seurat just sitting in galleries waiting for me to gaze upon them. Perhaps I’m being selfish, these masterpieces were there for others to enjoy too, but when one comes across something that reminds them of their entire upbringing, such as artwork that lived on the walls of my home and the pages of my parents’ art books for the past 23 years… If this person by chance stumbles upon the original masterpieces whilst traveling alone through a foreign city, it is an experience worth far more than 1000 words. Especially when I found Seurat. If you know anything about me you know that I’m in love with Ferris Bueller. Now let us recall the Chicago museum scene where they’re getting lost in the fabulous works: Cameron finds Seurat’s ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ and stares at it perplexed for a matter of minutes, maybe hours. I found a smaller version of this mural and had to stop and stare à la Frye; Lisa Loperfido was having a day off too ya know. 1:45 Still figuring out that darn subway. Tweet: “Poll: what’s more fun, subway hopping or subway eavesdropping? (in Manhattan, NY 2:37 pm). 2:45 I found my way to canal street, this task alone was not too difficult, but my phone was now officially low on juice, and I just realized I had not eaten anything all day (minus the dollop of whipped cream on the top of my double shot of caffeine.) Good thing I was right next to a Starbucks! Three old gift cards paid for my lunch and I ate it while charging my phone. While waiting there at the window bar overlooking the street I met Clyde. Clyde was a nice old man with a mustache. He told me how he’s sick of “this old grind” and wants to move out, perhaps to California. I recommended Long Beach because “you still have the city feel but without the hustle and bustle of New York.” He then left to go home and feed his bulldog so it wouldn’t chew up his couch. Once his barstool vacated it was filled by a girl my own age. She was getting off the street to avoid her stalker who hangs out by Starbucks because he knows she frequents it.
3:00 Shopping Time! I did not shop Canal Street because I was not in the mood for tacky counterfeits, I also did not want to be a hypocrite, because I wrote a long report in college about the counterfeit industry and the malignancy that comes with it (though I did keep my eyes open for a rose gold wrist watch, no luck.) Instead I shopped the windows of Soho. I discovered the stores I’ve only read about in Magazines… Top Shop, Made Well, Open Ceremony, how I love thee. I also admitted a cold hard truth:
I didn’t buy anything, mostly because I didn’t want to carry it around the rest of the day; being in the stores and seeing the styles was enough. 4:45 Walked into a small restaurant called Snack for a snack. They were offering a terrific happy hour: white wine and spanakopitas for approx $3 each, what a steal! (I paid more than that for my espresso earlier) I sat there, dined, and charged my phone again. 5:30 Michelle was set to get off work soon so I headed back to China Town to look around. 6:15 Meet Michelle, all aboard the subway express! 7:00 Hunt for dinner. Michelle took me to the Chelsea Market. 7:30. Our grumbling stomachs passed over the flashy eateries with the long lines and we popped into the decadent smelling shop in the front, La Rana, (isn’t that spanish for frog?) It turned out to be some overpriced Italian place. I’m not going to tell you what the bill was, but I will say we could have bought 23 street dogs for the same price. Don’t get me wrong, the butternut squash ravioli was impeccable, but that price in relation to the plentiful food options of the surrounding city was a let down. 8:30 Walk the high line. The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side –thehighline.org. 10:30 Ok, despite popular belief I do not like to get inebriated. The thought of a night of debauchery in the big city never even crossed my mind. Besides, we had an early day ahead of us and Michelle was catching a cold. That being said, we went out for drinks at a small venue called Home Sweet Home. A basement bar lit with incandescent red bulbs and graced with the presence of beasts. There were hipster undertones but the crowd coming in was covered head to toe in north face. It felt like I should have been in Portland. Nonetheless we drank our G&Ts, discussed our boy problems (literally, what is our problem with boys?) and went on our way. 11:30 Traipse back through the now-quiet trains and their adjacent vacated terminals.12:30 stopped at Popeye’s for corn on the cob. 1:00 fell fast asleep.
Thanks for following along, I appreciate your interest in my over-embellished ramblings.
You can view my entire East Coast Travel Log here:
Day 0 – New York Ready
Day 1 – Brooklyn Bound
Day 2 – New York Pretty (now viewing!)
Day 3 – Lady Liberty
Day 4 – Philly Cheese State
Day 5 – New York Time Spare
Day 6 – Autumn in New York
Fun Facts – 5 Practical Things to Know About Visiting New York and 1 Video!