Saturday, June 7, 2014

Biting into the Big Apple.

I've never been to the Big Apple, but I've heard about New York City and Manhattan, Central Park alll of my life.  My mother was born and grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  And I think part of her never left.

As a child, I learned the importance of walking with a purpose, as fast as you can, keeping your eyes ahead of you, and not smiling or saying anything to anyone on the street.  I was taught it was rude to walk 3 'abreast'.  Walking in 2's was only acceptable when there was room for people around you and if needed, you were to slide back into single file.  

(Empire State building from Herald Square &34th)

As I grew up, people commented on my fast paced walking style.  Some thought I was unfriendly or rude as I charged down sidewalks looking only ahead of me.  I didn't understand, you see, I'd been taught by my mother that this was the proper behavior.  The problem was that we lived in the suburbs of Michigan, Ohio and Oregon where people stroll, hike, greet each other with nods and smiles.  

I was trained by a native New Yorker.  When we hit the streets in Mid-town Manhattan, I fell right into the flow.
(Central Park entrance, 89th)
It was easy to get around.  We walked everywhere and, yes, we even jay walked like the natives.  There was a lot see and do...from Central Park, Metropolitan Museum, Times Square, Empire State Building, The Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, Broadway to Herald Square, MoMa, New York Public Library and Bryant Park.  
(Waldorf Astoria elevators Lexington side)
We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria.  Filled with marble statues, deco adorned elevators, mosiac inlaid tile entries and a huge gold clock in the lobby. 

We saw Wicked on Broadway.  We ate at delis, a small Italian cafe, got take out from Grand Central Station market and ate at Bryant Park. 
(Bryant Park)
This park, located behind the NY Public Library, is a big space surrounded by skyscrapers with a large patio restaurant, a carousell and kid space, another bar/restaurant where they were playing bingo, food carts, a reading area with books from the library and a big lawn area circled by hundreds of bistro tables and chairs filled with people eating and chatting. 

(Van Gogh Starry Night at MoMa)

We went to museums filled with ancient art and modern masters.  Floors filled with pieces from Ancient Rome, Colonial and  Victorian eras to Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, O'Keefe, Monet, Pre-Raphelite masters, Warhol and much more.  
(View of Times Square from Top of the Rock)

The views from the Empire State and Top of the Rock were amazing.
(St. Patrick's)
St. Patrick's Catherdral was undergoing a huge rennovation but so was most of the city.  Scaffolding was everywhere and walked through and around by all the natives with no notice.
(Central Park sailboat pond)
Central Park was a beautiful oasis in the midst of skyscrapers.  And the only place we noticed the natives walking in groups, slowly, sitting on benches talking and eating and walking dogs. Although, it was obvious the people with the dogs were dog walkers, not dog owners.
(Lobby clock in Waldorf Astoria lobby)

All in all it was a fast and fun four days.  For years, I've been out of step in the suburbs, but thanks to my mom, I fell right into step on the streets of Manhattan.


Lisa Griffen said...

Looks like a wonderful trip!

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

It was wonderful and inspiring and funny how I learned more about my mom, too.