Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bright Lights, Big City

Let me tell you, last night was like a scene from "Grumpy Old Men" around here. Picture me on one couch and Sean on the other.

"My feet hurt."

"Mine, too."

"My hip just popped."

"I have a cramp in my thigh."

"I just wanted my shoes off."

"I'm wearing my slippers for the rest of my life."

You get the idea.

Our legs and feet were sore because yesterday we decided to go into New York City, and we walked everywhere, all day.

Our morning started with a sad dumpster staring at us at the Ronkonkoma station on the Long Island Railroad:

sad dumpster

We had to drive almost an hour to get to the train, and then the train ride itself was about an hour and a half into the city. Once we got there, the whole rest of the day was subway travel, which sort of looks like this:

New York City subway (1)

except that there are somehow no people in that photo. They must all be standing just outside the frame. I took that, and I don't think it's real, because the subway is nothing but crowds, crowds, and more crowds. And also stairs. Endless waves of short flights of stairs, with nary an escalator in sight. We may have encountered three, all day, but one of them was turned off, so it was also stairs. I'm not sure if this is true or just my impression, but the New York City subway system seems dated, suffers from obvious deterioration, and seems to be trying to handle way more people than it was designed for. I'm not an urban planner, though, so my impression could be completely wrong.

I bet it's not.

Our first stop of the day was one of the ones I was most excited about: we went to the High Line, and walked the entire length and back.

the high line (1)

the high line (2)

If you're not familiar with the High Line, it is an urban park modeled after one in Paris, France, constructed on the remains of an elevated train line above the city. It's very popular with joggers and tourists, based on what we encountered along it yesterday.

the high line (3)

It currently runs from Chelsea to the Meatpacking District, but there is another expansion planned. When you walk it, you get to see a lot of graffiti:

high line grafitti (1)

high line grafitti (2)

high line grafitti (4)

high line grafitti (6)

including this one, which baffled and intrigued me:

high line grafitti (3)

It's hard to see clearly in my picture because of the glare on the windows, but toward the bottom you should see a mouth, then a nose in the middle, and then eyes in the top sets of windows. I have no idea how they did that, but I saw it all at once and the image clicked in my head and I gasped an "Oh!" loud enough for Sean to come over and see what I was looking at. I don't know how they did that, but it's very striking.

The High Line also gives random glimpses of neighborhoods from a slightly different perspective:

random street view

and you can spot a few famous landmarks, too, although they're far away:

distant empire state building

statue of liberty

and it has some art installed along the walking path:

high line sculpture (1)

("Why is Colin Powell holding a vial of meth out like that?"

"I don't know. Are you sure it's not a crack vial?")

high line sculpture (2)

("Cover your shame, satyr.")

and, best of all, the High Line has benches!

resting on the high line

So many benches, great and small, in case you get tired from walking and from interacting with the crowds.

Everywhere should have benches.

After the High Line, we went to meet up with my friend Leo for brunch. Leo and I haven't seen each other in person for eight or nine years, so it was fantastic to sit down, catch up, and then walk around the city for a while together. She suggested the Tenth Avenue Cookshop, where the griddle cakes with apples turned out to be delicious:

griddle cakes

and I somehow managed to get a photo of them that's approaching food stylist quality.

After brunch, we took the subway down to Times Square, where Leo showed us the New York Times building:

New York Times

and the cafeteria:

New York Times cafeteria

which had stunning views of the city on all sides.

Times Square itself was pretty much unchanged since the last time I was here: flashy, noisy, and crowded:

times square (1)

times square (2)

times square (3)

times square (4)

but visiting it just seems to be one of those things you do when you come to the city. I have, every single time, even if I came to the city alone. We went into a few of the stores, but I didn't buy anything, and then Sean and I had to head back to the subway to get to our theater in time for the purpose of the trip:

Heathers the Musical

"Heathers: The Musical", which is based on my all-time favorite movie of the same name.

It was great. The show is funny and slightly campy, and it's a nod to the fans without being a scene by scene reconstruction of the film. This disappointed some of the people in the audience, who were discussing it at the intermission, but I was ok with it. The spirit of the film is there, and I hope it moves to a bigger venue soon so that they can release the soundtrack. I want to hear again and sing along with Martha Dumptruck's plaintive song of love and heartbreak before she flings herself into traffic, and that's not even the best song in the show. I'd say that's probably a tie between "Dead Gay Son", "Candy Store", and maybe "Dead Girl Walkin'", but the last one is the weaker of those three, so maybe it's not a three way tie.

Either way, it's a good show. You should see it if you can.

After the musical, we did the subway again and then a taxi to get to S'mac, where they only serve mac and cheese. It's kind of a long wait, and seating is very limited, but it was totally worth it for this Buffalo Chicken mac and cheese:


The plastic fork is a bit of a challenge, though. I get that they're using it because they don't want to scrape up the skillets, but the skillets are hot enough to bend and distort the fork, so you have to eat very carefully and never leave your fork in the skillet.

After dinner and more subway (and boy was I tired of being bumped and jostled and crowded by people on the subway at this point in the day), the sun started to set on the Chrysler Building:

Chrysler Building

and the lights came on in the Empire State Building:

Empire State Building

and we took the train back to Long Island, where Sean is still sleeping off our exhausting busy day.

1 comment:

Marcheline said...

I live about 20 minutes from the Ronkonkoma train station - that's where we always go when we're going into the city. If you take trains from other stations, there's too much changing over. I like to just get on one train and go all the way in.