We came, we saw, I took a million pictures…and New York City is simply amazing! First, there’s the first view of that mighty skyline, which to me has always seemed like the American dream given solid form, and which I don’t think any other city in the world can match.
Then there’s Times Square, which at 10:30 PM is as lively as downtown Indianapolis at noon, and please understand here that I’m referring to downtown Indy when something really major’s happening! And the subways are even faster than the taxis: we got from Rockefeller Center to Brooklyn in 30 minutes – I kept track, and I swear those trains have to reach 60 MPH….
The AAA tour book says something like, “If you aren’t familiar with driving in Manhattan, the best advice is: DON’T.” And they are sooo right: I have no idea how anyone ever gets anywhere in a car on Manhattan, unless they’re in a taxi, and sometimes I suspected that if ONE MORE CAR had come onto the island, the entire place would have sunk!
Love those Broadway musicals, especially 42nd Street, which seems to embody the “spirit of Broadway,” the idea that “the show must go on,” no matter what, even in the middle of the Depression, and which sounds an awful lot like the spirit that helped send the Empire State rocketing skyward…
A few New York moments:
Hubby and I were crossing 7th Avenue at 34th Street when a couple of gals in wheel chairs raced past us, and by the time we’d crossed 7th, they’d also crossed 34th, without even getting back on the sidewalk…Now that really made me feel slow…J
We were walking down 8th Avenue, behind two men in business suits and one lady in an evening gown, and one of the men was doing tricks with a little neon green yo-yo…J
We were crossing that big median strip in the middle of Times Square, when we heard a guitar: as I glanced over (this is how short I am!), the first thing I saw was a pair of men’s briefs, with “naked cowboy” printed on the back, which was all the guitarist was wearing, except for a cowboy hat and boots…
**Chuckle** I noticed a little book in a number of the gift shops, called “50 (or was it 75?) Places to Find Peace and Quiet in New York.” Are these places all in the outer boroughs or hidden deep in Central Park, I wonder? **Chuckle**
I’ll always have fond memories of the New Yorkers who went out of their way to make us wide-eyed tourists fell welcome, and who were willing to share some of their pride in their City with us – and they certainly have a lot to be proud of!
And as for the architecture…Well, when we went to the top of the Empire State at sunset, I was in seventh heaven – one of the most magnificent views that men, by the grace of God, have ever built, seen from, IMHO, one of the most magnificent skyscrapers yet built - simply a wonder and a marvel! And the buildings are also absolutely lovely on a bright, sunny day when their facades can dance with the light; the Chrysler Building is so joyous she seems about to dance right off the side walk, the Empire State is all soaring, shining power and grace, and even the merest steel and glass, flat topped box has a cheerful sparkle.
And New York has a lot of styles in her architectural repertoire, from 19th century eclectic, which one of our Grey Line tour guides helpfully defined as putting as many other styles as you wish into a cuisinart, then using them all on the same building, to the wild-and-crazy variety of post-modernism. Which brings me back to Times Square….
Architects please note: if you want to design a crazy and wild tower, as long as it looks like some sort of building (you hear that, Frank Gehry and the “decon” crowd?), put it in Times Square, and it’ll fit right in! Somehow, Times Square stands traditional architectural notions, such as context, on their heads, and still works…I don’t know how it does, but it does. Maybe it’s simply that the only context is “wild and crazy, and the more flashing lights and bright colors, the better”…At any rate, I enjoyed every flashing light of it!
In fact, about the only architecture I didn’t like was Lincoln Center; not only am I not crazy about that particular form of 60’s design, I’m wondering what IN * THE * WORLD kind of stone they used, because whatever it looked like back then, it certainly is UGLY now; scarred, stained, pitted, and utterly tacky looking…Well, I guess it looks better at night….
Then there’s the sadness, still edged with anger and incomprehension, I felt at Ground Zero, and felt again as I looked down from the Empire State towards the tip of the island, and remembered what should have been there…
Finally, lest anyone accuse me of being a starry-eyed rube wearing rose-colored glasses, yes, I realize there are problems behind the amazing views…So what else do you expect with 8 million people? But in spite of all that, New York is still a wonder and a marvel! (And with all respect to the worthy Pejman and other Chicagoans out there, Chicago, as impressive as her skyline is, is still outclassed in that department)