[View from Ellis Island Ferry]
I’m not really a city person. I prefer the stillness and silence of deserted places, vast landscapes, and open skies. But, I like people and the creativity one finds in cities so I sometimes verge away from exploring places of solitude and wander into more populous areas.
This summer, my sister and I went to New York City for a weekend – my first time. Although I didn’t buy the “I heart New York” shirt, I could have. I loved New York City more than any city I’ve been to.
First off, I had the best grilled cheese I have ever had while in NYC. That pretty much sealed the deal. It got it in some cheesy deli (no pun intended) at 11:00 pm. A natural nighthawk, I love the open-late phenomenon. Plus, I ate it outside Central Park while watching dog owners try to restrain there frisky and aggressive dogs while a police van veered wildly into the park lane for no apparent reason. Free entertainment at its best.
Second – Central Park. I know I said I went to a city to get away from solitude, but I could not resist the urge to visit a very large piece of land in the middle of a densely populated city. Central Park was gorgeous. New York has done a fine job of balancing nature with the needs of park goers such as food vendors, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. Sales vendors were limited to an area called, “The Mall”, and no one was pushy or aggressive with their sales. Actually, the whole stereotype of New Yorkers being pushy, aggressive, or even rude was blown out of the water. I found New Yorkers, on the whole, to be friendly (much more than Southern Ontario residents), helpful, and funny. In the picture below, we had the honour of seeing this little girl learn how to ride her bike for the first time. We cheered along with her mother. It was a nice moment to walk into.
[Unique entrepreneur - The Mall]
Third – efficiency. Damn, New York has an efficient transit system. You buy a card instead of tokens as you would in Toronto if you don’t have a pass. This is hardly a modern concept, but it made travelling easier. Plus, all ticket machines in both the subway and at Grand Central Station worked. This sounds silly, but I often find that machines either don’t take your money or take your money without giving you a ticket. It’s likely that I was just lucky, and I will even admit to perhaps noticing positives that I wouldn’t notice in Ontario just because I was a little in love with the city! Nonetheless, travelling was smooth sailing.
But perhaps what most endeared me to New York City was its public and cheap spaces. They were amazing and plentiful. From the ease of finding a table and even an outdoor bar at Bryant Park to roof top patios with amazing views and no cover, New York spaces made it easy to rejuvenate and relax.
[View from Bryant Park at night]
[View of Empire State Building – from the rooftop Patio, “Up on the Strand”]
[An almost completed World Trade Center Memorial Building]
[Art installation on the dock of the Ellis and Staten Island Ferries]
[Statue of Liberty as viewed from Ellis Island Ferry]
Really, my only dislikes were that Times Square was awful, but an expected awful, and that the library wasn’t open on Sunday. What’s up with that?
[New York Public Library]