Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Graduate Meets Midtown Manhattan

There's always an orientation period before using a city's public transit system becomes a pleasure. Our first encounter with MTA was a bus driver who told us cash was not acceptable in payment for our fare. By the end of the day, we had acquired unlimited transit passes and were traveling up and down Manhattan with relative ease.

That's not to say we didn't put shank's mare to the test by doing a lot of walking in between subway rides. I believe by the end of the day I was actually shorter!

That subway is like a magic carpet ride -- get on one place and get off in an entirely new world. Good public transportation is a real asset to the people who live in the community it services.

We took the magic carpet to midtown Manhattan to see the sights -- Top of the Rock, Times Square, St. Patrick's, Diamond District, New York Public Library, and Grand Central Station and its Oyster Bar. And of course, the people and the architecture and the buildings and the energy! High octane! Photos from all are included on the blog via a link to Picasa or an embedded slideshow. Let me know if you have trouble accessing anything and I'll do my best to fix it.

Rockefeller Center is so big -- Radio City, Plaza, Observation Deck and much more -- it took us most of the morning to check out the area and all of the architectural art. Then we had a short stroll down Fifth Avenue which took in St. Patrick's and the bronze Atlas across the street from the cathedral.

Diamond Way is store after store diamonds and other jewelry -- can't imagine the total price tag. It is a neighborhood unto itself peopled to a great extent by Hasidic Jews. We had lunch at a glatt kosher restaurant frequented by merchants in the area -- an authentic neighborhood experience. Best hummus we've ever had. Meat dumplings were a new experience -- a mound of chopped meat and cabbage baked into a thin, crispy bread crust. The menu recommends generous seasoning with the home made sauce provided on the table. I seasoned mine accordingly and had trouble catching my breath -- menu needs to include a heat warning!

Grand Central Station was beautiful and fun. Grabbing a seat at the oyster bar of the restaurant of the same name, Drew introduced Sarah to oysters and she actually ate two of them. I took a quick tour of the transit museum and checked out the architectural details of the building.

We thought about catching a subway home. Too late. The guidebooks warned that rush hour was a form of contact sport and they were correct. If you got sucked into the vortex created by the rivers of people crowding through a doorway, you could end up far from your desired destination. We waited it out in the GCS market. All of the vendors had a wide variety of top quality goods -- it rivaled my beloved West Side Market in Cleveland. We couldn't resist and got some treats to have for a later dinner in the room.

Day Three itinerary includes the Staten Island Ferry and sights of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Financial District, Ground Zero, the Brooklyn Bridge, and surrounding environs.

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