Hello from New York. Sometimes it hard to believe that such different cities (from the one I just called home) exist on the same planet. I went from a world that barely knew what a cookie was to NYC where they are available served warm and gooey for insomniacs until 3am. After five weeks of traveling, the difference is mind-bending for me, but something that you have to have experienced to necessarily appreciate…and maybe not really blogging material, at least at the level that I want to examine it. What was once normal can rapidly become normal once again, but I’m still enjoying crosswalks, sidewalks,traffic rules, fresh air and no horns. (No horn honking especially is still a pleasure!) Blogging in the midst of all this rediscovery has not been a focus or realistically possible given all the competition from travel, seeing friends and family, and just the packing and unpacking of our voluminous stuff. Last time my blog needed a little kickstart I reignited it with several short posts with the five days, five stories challenge, so I though I’d do that again starting tomorrow. This time with a Greek focus…stay tuned!
Aside from our Central Park adventures, there was lots to see and explore in the Upper West Side. Interesting architecture, cafes, stores and restaurants made the area very walkable and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as midtown. We were there during a spate of extreme heat which made exploring a little challenging at times. Having been in a deep sweat for 2.5 years in Manila, I really had to push through my fear of being boiled alive as I walked around. After 2.5 years of non-stop heat, there are days when I look up at a clear, sapphire blue sky and pray for clouds. The heatwave in NYC didn’t help with that!
Fortunately, towards the end of our stay we got a break in the weather. It was blissfully coolish in the upper 70s and the perfect time to get outside for the day. It even threatened to rain a little. Carla was visiting for an overnight stay and the next morning we decided to do another of our destination walks down to the High Line in Lower Manhattan. From W 87th it took about 1.5hrs, walking straight down Columbus and 10th St, through midtown and down to 23rd where it currently begins. If you’re not familiar with the High Line, it is a park, recently developed from an abandoned raised railway line and an excellent, imaginative use of space in crowded New York. However, it seems to be the “undiscovered” trendy thing to do, and everyone is doing it. Undiscovered it is not. Especially on the first cool morning for weeks. Seems like everyone else had the same idea. It was packed! Maybe this would have been a better experience off season on a Monday morning? We decided to leave the trail at the first exit and grab some lunch, after which Carla took the train home and I decided to walk alone back up to the Upper West Side. By now we were on 34th near Penn Station and I snapped a couple of typical New York scenarios: iconic yellow cabs, walk/ don’t walk, traffic, people, non stop everything…
My route back was up 8th, taking me through Times Square at an hour approaching the end of the work day. Big mistake….I cut back over to 10th, weaving through the throngs of people to a much more tolerable walk home.
I was so glad for the break in the weather which allowed me to see New York on a grander walking scale than before, piecing together the different neighborhoods on foot. Had we been blessed with more cooler weather and a little more time, I would have done the same North, West and East, but time had run out. At the end of the week we were heading back up to Washington DC for one more week, and then on to the vacation part of our trip: Greece!