Saturday, April 22, 2006

New York experiences

Los Angeles

It's high time that I wrote a blog on New York, seeing as I left there two days ago. When I last wrote, I had just arrived in the East Village with its ghetto hostels and different shops and restauarants. I spent basically the whole time I was in New York walking around the city, and mostly in Manhattan.

This was my third trip to New York, so there were some activities and sights I didn't need to do - the Empire State building, the Staten Island ferry and so on. I think that after this visit I'm pretty much done with NYC for a while - it is very big and diverse, but the diversity is quite similar (if you see what I mean). Nonetheless, here are a few things I did see and enjoy:

On Tuesday, I had intended to walk south from 14th street to the bottom of Manhattan at Battery Park. Instead, I ended up walking north and west, past Union Square, the Flatiron Building, some government housing and to the Hudson River at Midtown. It's easy to forget in the bustle of Manhattan that there are over 7 million people living just on that one small island. They don't just live up north either - down the west side of the island there are lots of apartment blocks (not all mega-tall) and even three blocks west of Times Square there are 4-storey houses turned into restaurants and apartments. The human side of New York, if you will.

I had a glimpse of how the other half lives when I walked uptown past Central Park to the Upper East side on Wednesday evening. Strolling down Park Avenue with its immaculate flowerbeds in the centre of the road, condos with uniformed doormen outside and money growing on every tree was a somewhat different experience to 5 miles due south of there in the Lower East side. The other, other half eats at hot dog joints and KFC, where a notice says "Nutrition available on request". How true is that!

The weather was great while I was in New York - the sun was out and I had to respond and buy some flip-flops and shorts, which I had no need of in Toronto... the clear skies also made for great sunsets. After walking over the Manhattan Bridge at 6pm, I was perfectly placed to see the skyline silhouetted as the sun went down over the harbour. Very romantic...

As I said earlier, I spent nearly all my time in Manhattan. As I had plenty of time to catch my flight on Thursday, I left the hostel and took the subway to a stop in deepest Brooklyn and then a local bus to the airport. Just like last time, I was able to play "spot the Caucasian" and I still got to the airport ahead of time.

So, one city down, several more to go. Watch this (cyber)space!

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