Sunday, May 15, 2011

New York: Day 1

Our first day in New York City was a rainy one and when we arrived at where the Empire State Building is located, we looked up, then looked at each other and said, "Is that it?" Mainly because the fog had rolled in, obstructing our view from the 45th story on up. Luckily, but the time we meandered (well, walked quickly, because no one meanders in the city) past it for the second time we caught a glimpse of the entire building.

We are staying down in Chelsea, around 19th Street. Our trek today led us all the way up to 36th and Broadway. Or Madison. And I think it was 36th East and we're at 19th West. Anyhoo, it was raining when we left the apartment today so we thought something indoors would be good. Like shopping. So we headed up to 7th Avenue which is the shopping district. Let me just say that shopping in New York is slightly different than shopping in Bend. I mean Bend has all of the stores that NYC has...Banana Republic, Gap, American Eagle, Macy's and even Rite Aid. But the SIZE of the stores in New York - holy cow. I walked into Macy's and I've never seen so many clothes, and perfumes and make-up counters in my life. They just went on and on for three stories. I even went into the Louis Vuitton section just so I could say I shopped Louis Vuitton(not that I could afford anything).

There are approximately 82 billion people in New York City and by the time we came out of Macy's, at least half of those people were cruising the sidewalks. One thing I noticed is a lot of people here smoke. Maybe we're just health freaks in the west and if I take into consideration that my town has 80,000 people versus the billions that live in New York then per capita, it's probably about the same ratio. Did I mention how many people are in New York?

People in New York walk fast. I guess everyone needs to get there yesterday. So as mom and I pounded the pavement I told her to just keep moving and don't suddenly stop - because you'll be trampled to death. One thing I noticed is that when the crosswalk flashes the little orange hand, meaning do not cross, it's more of a suggestion. Even when the cars are coming, if the mob of people crossing the street is big enough, then the car will stop so just stay with the crowd and keep walking. It must suck to drive in the city.

We did go to the Pierpont Morgan Library Museum today and all I can say is wow. (Disclaimer: If you click on the link, a painting of a naked woman may be what comes up on the website. It is not porn. I don't know why artists liked to paint naked people way back when or why the museum chose to make that a highlight on their website.) Pierpont Morgan (father of JP Morgan) is the one who started the Morgan financial institution. He was a collector of rare books, paintings, writings, diaries, etc. I saw one of the original Gutenberg Bibles, letters from John Quincy Adams and George Washington, music manuscripts from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and even the Star Spangled Banner. I viewed the diaries of John Steinbeck, Nathanial Hawthorne, Charlotte Bronte, Henry David Thoreau and many others. While we have the wild west and Oregon trail history out where I live, there is nothing like reading an original letter commissioned by our very first president, George Washington. The picture is of the ceiling in the library's rotunda.

There are a lot of mom and pop places and I'll admit, I really enjoyed taking in all of the sites. I even cracked up when I saw a sign that read "You's Excellent Cleaners" because how New York is that. (Come to find out it was Yau's, not You's, but I prefer my version.)

Tomorrow, if the rain isn't pouring as it's supposed to we'll be heading out to Ellis Island, the Jewish Heritage Museum and Ground Zero. I'm guessing it will be a most humbling day.


D. K. Stangeland said...

YAY! You made it. Enjoy your time there. Thanks for the great updates and pictures!!

katdish said...

John Steinbeck's diary? Oh, I'd be all up in that. I love Steinbeck. If you think pedestrians take their lives into their own hands, ride around in a cab. Traffic signals really are just suggestions.

Helen said...

I'm glad you are enjoying yourself!