Friday, July 28, 2006

My New York Trip: The Sights

It turns out the Empire State Building is open til midnight. I had no clue. I also had no clue that I'd just walked within a couple of blocks of it. Why not?

I needed to find a store, and I spotted a Kmart at the ground floor of a tall building. It turned out the basement exit flushed me out into Penn Station. I was in Penn Station! Then, to the Empire State Building. Long wait for tickets, then long wait for the elevators. Not as long as it could be though. I was reminded of the lines at Marriott's Great America when I was a kid. I'm so clueless, got off one elevator and didn't realize they were sending me to another elevator. Well they didn't send me and I ended up in a line to go back down. Ah well. I had time to see the goofy souvenir photos. (Why would someone want to go on a virtual tour of New York when they're in New York and can see it? And then take a souvenir photo with the skyline?) Then they sent me up to the observation deck.

Some teen girls kept saying, "That fog is so creepy." I thought it looked cool, the clouds swirling around the spire above us. Time to head back, too much time on my feet. I think it was on this walk back to the hotel that I saw a two-inch cockroach scrabble across the sidewalk. When I spoke to him on the phone, that prompted my husband to ask if I'd seen any rats. No rats. No panhandlers either. I think he was hanging out in a different part of town when he was there.

The next morning, actually, more like around noon, I set out to find the little Greek coffee shop I'd seen on my earlier meanderings. I didn't, of course, but I found the Starbucks. The mocha was better than Starbucks here in Portland. Hmmm. So was the coffee cake, sweeter and moister. Then, on to MOMA. I saw someone taking photos. Taking photos?! I asked one of the many staff standing around. Yes, but no flash. How could I resist? Me and Starry Starry Night. Me and Monet. Panorama of the most breathtaking Reflections of Clouds on the Water Lily Pond. I kind of forgot to eat. Over three hours to meander from bottom to top, wish I could have lingered.

Next stop, the library of course. First I wandered the MOMA store and got a few presents to take home. The library looked closed. I was confused, and am still confused because the website says open 9-9 on Mondays, but the wrought iron in front of the doors were closed and no one went in or out. Ah well. I sat on the steps where some street performers danced on the sidewalk. They kept having false starts because they needed the audience to block foot traffic. Otherwise people just walked right through, never mind that they might get kicked in the head by some gymnastic-hip-hop-break-dancers. They had DVDs for sale, and I accidentally got one because I didn't have a smaller bill than a ten for the bucket. After seeing the routine for about the third time (and a half-dozen false starts) I hopped on a bus headed in the direction of West 23rd.

I landed in front of the Flat Iron building. It was while on that bus that I saw the Museum of Sex. Oh man, I wanted to check that out, but it would have to be in the morning. Who could miss it, when the sign on the street said something about no licking or fondling of the exhibits allowed? Across the street from the Flat Iron building, I found Madison Square Park with the Shake Shack busily selling burgers, cheese fries and custard. Veggie burger? Even better, a fried Portobello mushroom stuffed with a white cheese and onions, topped with their special shack sauce. I made up for not eating since the noon hour coffee and crumb cake. I think the custard even beat The Point back in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin for best custard.

Back at the hotel, I flopped on the couch in the lobby. (I probably wasn't supposed to flop.) I've never been in a hotel before where I wanted to sit around in the lobby. An artist was painting the lobby, walls distorted, all the furniture floating near the ceiling. (David Combs ...not the one pictured at his site, a new one) The man who showed me my room went out the front door, probably for a cig. The other front desk guy came over and asked if I was staying there, and what room was I in? I showed him my key. He did a double take. Hmmm, why the surprise? Could it be he didn't expect that I was staying there? It seems a lot of people come into the Chelsea without checking in, hoping to gain access to the back hallways and the doors to famous peoples' rooms. That happened at least once while I hovered at the desk to ask a question.

The next morning all the activity caught up with me, I was slow to pack and check out at noon. No Museum of Sex for me this time.

Finally, finished. I hope you enjoyed it. You can see photos here. For some reason blogger is not letting me upload photos.

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