29 August 2012

I want to be a part of it, New York, New York

When we left off yesterday, I was about to board a train with my friends, Lil’ C and her boyfriend the Swiss Mister, to Grand Central Station in... New York City!

While I had been to NYC before, it was over two decades ago, when I was a little kid. This time, I just wanted spend the afternoon walking around the city and seeing the sights through my grown-up eyes. Fortunately, my New Haven friends share the same travel philosophy as Team P in that they enjoy seeing the city on foot! So, on the train, Lil’ C handed over her NYC travel guide to let me plan our afternoon:

Yes, Mr. P made fun of my awful on-foot navigational skills. Publicly. Although he would probably just call it “fair warning.”

Unfortunately my friends were not much better. This photo is only a little staged.

But we made it to our first destination without a single wrong turn! (So there, Mr. P.) Here we are at the setting of a novel I’ve been reading as well as lunch for the day: Little Italy!

Notice, please, how we are not dripping sweaty grossness at this point in our journey. Thanks to the city heat radiating off the asphalt on a ninety-plus-degree day, it went downhill from there.

Because Mr. P wasn’t there to join us, I made sure to grab a photo with a laughably bad copy of his namesake statue:

(Why yes, I was giddily immature about being photographed with the statue’s, uh, manhood.)

After a tasty lunch on Mulberry Street, we meandered through the assault of sights, sounds, and smells that is nearby Chinatown. The most unique part, perhaps? Every few yards in Columbus Park was a group of musicians performing ethnic Chinese music.

Guess what, guys! Sound travels more than just a few yards! Oh, the cacophony. And yet... every band had a group of loyal elderly Chinese seated in front of them, enjoying (?) the music. So adorable, so bizarre.

We next headed east to try to see the Brooklyn Bridge. Along the way, we found the federal courthouse...

Which has virtually nothing to do with SCOTUS. I don’t know why I got so excited. I blame my misplaced excitement on the fact that I mostly spent U. S. Government class doodling and studying more-fun stuff. Like science.

After almost wandering into a federal prison (thanks, heavily-Brooklyn-accented guy who told us to turn around and go a different direction!), we finally found the pedestrian entrance to...

The Brooklyn Bridge! And all its Via dell’Amore-like charm!

(Okay, the locks are admittedly the only thing the Brooklyn Bridge has in common with Via dell’Amore. That and I was excited to see them both!)

We wanted to look out over the river to Manhattan and Brooklyn, but for some reason (construction?) there were tall, temporary walls lining the footpath up until the middle of the bridge. You know, where that tall tower is in the distance. So basically we walked a good part of the way to Brooklyn. Whee!

After our half-trip to Brooklyn, we wandered around the financial district and saw the new One World Trade Center building, currently under construction:

We didn’t see the 9/11 memorial as it requires tickets in advance, but I think the new tower alone is absolutely beautiful. Reflection, literally!

We next headed over to the site of another (somewhat less life-changing) cultural event in our country’s recent history: Zuccotti Park, where protestors Occupied Wall Street. And in an unexpected (to me) turn of events, I found this statue there:

If I had more spare time (as in, any at all), I’d find and scan the photo of me sitting with this statue over twenty years ago. Back then, my mom asked seven-year-old me to pose with this same statue so she could take my picture. For no explicable reason, I was an absolute turd about it, refusing to sit near it or smile (at the time, I thought hiding my face behind my can of Grape Crush was a more attractive option).

Years later, I saw THIS photo days after the 9/11 attacks. It made me cry. I don’t remember a lot about that trip to NYC in the 1980s when I was seven years old, but both then and now, I vividly remember pitching that fit over my nonsensical refusal to pose with the statue. Seeing my one actual, real-life memory of NYC covered in debris... well, everyone had something that “brought home” the horror of 9/11 for them, right?

Anyway. I was happy to see the statue again, and to get a do-over on the photo. And this time I gladly smiled! No Grape Crush obscuring my face this time, nope!

Moving on. After catching our breath for a little while in the shade of Zuccotti park (you see how melty I’d become, yes?), we headed toward Wall Street where Lil’ C and I also posed with another, more-famous statue!

And yet ANOTHER!

Okay, hard to see, yes, but that’s us in Battery Park with Lady Liberty herself in the background!

Unfortunately, we were nearly viciously attacked just outside Battery Park. And here was the culprit:

Yes. That is a turkey. In Manhattan. Apparently named Zelda. Which ran out into the street before that gentleman to the left chased back to the sidewalk, where the Swiss Mister thought it’d be good to crouch down to turkey-level for some action shots of Zelda running right for him starting to stretch out its wings, at which point Lil’ C had enough of SM ignoring her warnings to GET AWAY FROM THE BIRD and grabbed SM’s backpack and yanked him backwards to safety by reminding Zelda WHO IS BIGGER.

It’s times like those I wonder why I don’t have a smartphone that takes video. Ah, well.

After the Great Lower Manhattan Turkey Named Zelda Incident of August Twenty-Twelve, we decided to head uptown to Central Park...

Which was near our dinner plans for the day!

You remember GROM, right? The chain gelato shop that Mr. P and I followed around Italy? There are locations in the States, but only in NYC! I felt really, really bad about having GROM gelato without Mr. P, but... sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Lil’ C gave her first GROM experience a thumbs up!

Finally, it was time to head back towards the train station... but we made sure to take the scenic route.

The Swiss Mister did indeed tell me to stand right on that dot for the photo, by the by.

And one last look at iconic New York, New York before heading back to Connecticut:

Thanks so much to my New Haven friends for taking me on this adventure! I’m so, so glad that the wackadoodle idea to visit my friends en route to Nerd Camp came to fruition. If nothing else, it was a lot easier getting on a plane, leaving home and Mr. P behind for two weeks, knowing I had these darling friends waiting for me on the other end. If only I could have packed them in my suitcase to continue on to Nerd Camp, as well!


Christal said...

Thank you for taking the time to come see us! I know it was a rather complicated process for you, so we REALLY appreciate it! So fun!!!! (and glad you documented the Great Turkey Incident. :-) )

cindy said...

So glad to FINALLY hear the entire turkey story!

Tina said...

Didn't I tell you that sooommmme day you'd probably be not very proud of the grape crush picture??? ;-)