New York

October 24, 2012

From one coast to the other. A couple weeks after coming home from California I headed to New York to provide on site support for one of my clients. Originally they only needed me onsite for 1 day. They were going to fly me out saturday night and fly me home monday morning. But somewhere in the chain of emails going to 6 different people a day was added and my flight was booked home for Tuesday. They still only needed me on site for one day, so I had a whole day to myself in New York City.

I arrived Saturday night. The event was in Times Square, so my hotel was a block away. A block away from Times Square on a Saturday night. It took over an hour to get from the airport to the hotel (I thought the hotel was just a long way from the airport, but nope just a ton of people in Times Square on a Saturday night, no idea why the cab driver didn’t attempt to go around…). Since I didn’t need to be on site until 10:30am the next day I decided to go on a walk (what turned into a 6 mile walk) to Dylan’s Candy Bar. I walked through Times Square, which is completely insane on a Saturday night. It brighter at night then it was the next morning, and Im not sure I have ever seen that many people in one place at the same time. Every store was packed and you couldn’t move on the street without bumping into people.

One thing that completely confused me was all the characters dressed up. I saw Elmo’s, Cookie Monsters (there is a cookie monster and a mickey mouse in the photo), Oscar the Grouch, Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, and countless Superheros. They would pose for photos, but I couldn’t figure out why they were there (other then to pose for photos), it made no sense at all.

“Times Square” is a bit misleading, its more like 6 blocks of insanity. It just seemed to go on and on. And everything was dirty, the stores, the streets, sometimes the people. I finally made it to Dylan’s Candy Bar and was a bit disappointed. Maybe it was the 3 mile walk that hyped it up in my mind, or their recent appearance on Project Runway, but I was picturing something more. The store was crowded (at 10:30 pm), dingy, and dirty. I only bought prepackaged candy because the thought of how many people had stuck their hands in  the candy bins kinda grossed me out.

The next day I spent at NASDAQ. It ended up being an 11 hour day, but alot of it was watching rehearsals and making small tweaks to make sure the presentations ran smoothly.

Monday was my day off and I was hoping to make the most of it. Sleep in and then wander all over the city. The wander part happened but the sleeping in part did not. I got a call at 7:45am needing one last edit to the file, right before they gave the presentation. So I got an early start to the day, which considering what I wanted to get done was probably a good thing.

I headed back through Times Square and walked down Broadway toward Central Park.

Central Park is beautiful. The juxtaposition of nature versus the city was stunning. But I also thought it was a little sad looking. Tons of horse drawn carriages left the park smelling like manure, and as I walked along I got a running commentary on the park in several languages.

The park wasn’t just full of tourists. Plenty of native New Yorkers were there as well. Nannies pushing strollers, runners, families enjoying the park. But it was the only green space I had seen since landing, so I could see why people flocked there.

Our backyard overlooks 400 acres of green space, so the lack of anything green was a bit disturbing. I have come to love our quiet neighborhood bordering the country. We can go on a bike ride and the most exciting thing we see are cows and flowers. In 5 minutes on a bike we can be away from houses and sub developments. Downtown Austin doesn’t have alot of green spaces, but there are trees. And the river borders one side of downtown. Do nature is always just a few minutes from where ever we are. New York doesn’t have that. I don’t think I saw a single tree until I got to Central Park. I did see some trees in neighborhoods on my walk toward the Hudson River. But Times Square and the Garment District were nature-less.

I spent a little over an hour wandering through the park exploring the trails, seeing the sights, and people watching. I will give New York credit for having fabulous people watching.

I was also confused by the vendors in and around Central Park. Most of them all sold the same thing, and alot were still selling ice cream. Really? It was in the 40’s at night and only in the 60’s during the day. Even after walking 10 miles I still wasn’t interested in ice cream. Where was all the warm food and beverages?

I didn’t think about it being Columbus Day, its not a holiday that is really celebrated anymore. I remember as a kid getting the day off from school. They slowly phased that out and replaced it with Presidents Day. Lumping all the days together so that we didn’t have as many holidays. But Columbus day is still celebrated in New York. Im glad I got to central park when I did. As I was leaving they were setting up for a parade.

But since it was relatively early I  got to enjoy brief moments of quiet to see central park.  It was a pleasant way to pass the morning.

I ended up taking so many photos that I will break the day into 2 posts. The next post will be how I ended up walking almost 10 miles in a single day, before I finally gave up and took the subway.

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