New York… well… it seems so very long ago, and so very far away. Probably because sitting in my not-so-snazzy gray cubicle all day is very nearly the opposite of being in New York.
Summing up our trip in a few words, I’d describe it as this: walking, eating, nausea, and STUPID-BANK. Thankfully, not all at once, or even in that order.
Arriving at the airport, we decided to avoid the confusion of trying to get to our hotel by train and subway, and just take a cab. In Toronto, rush-hour lasts a lot longer than an hour. In New York, it lasts ALL THE TIME. It isn’t ever over, especially going to Manhattan, and driving through Manhattan. Insert first nausea! I’m fine with most car trips, but the kind with stop-and-go traffic, lots of jerky stops, jerky turns and bouncy pothole filled driving are the kind that kill me. Especially since cabs all seem to have that awful baby-powder smell – a smell that makes my stomach twist a bit even when not in a moving vehicle. Note to Cabbies everywhere – Don’t use Baby Powder scent to make your cab smell clean, or for whatever reason it is that Cabbies coat their cabs in baby powder scent!
Our hotel was a few blocks away from Central Park (thank you, M’s dad and his air miles!), and very swanky. I’ve never seen a less queen-sized queen-size-bed (it was at most a double), and we had some issues with heating (more specifically, not getting any heat), but it was overall a very nice hotel! I do question the fact that such a nice hotel didn’t have free wireless internet ($30/day!), but luckily, we’d brought enough maps to get around relatively easily, and we sneakily raided Starbucks wireless whenever we really didn’t know where it was we were going.
Our first visit on our first day in NYC was to a random office-looking building near Central Park. Our trip’s timing was perfect, in that it happened while M’s cousin was also in town on business. What business is that? SHOW BUSINESS! We got to go on the set of White Collar, and got to watch a scene being shot. Very cool thing to see from the inside. We had headsets, so that we could hear the director and the actors speaking, as well as anyone else with a microphone talking, and we watched the scene on the writer’s tv’s, one for each camera. We could hear and see when they stopped shooting to go over just where Marsha should set her phone down, how she should press ‘speed dial’ before picking up the phone to talk with someone, when a character should start and stop moving while in conversation, and all of these other details I would just take for granted in a movie or show. The five minute section of scene got shot about 8 times with all the cameras watching the one character… then they took a break and reshuffled the cameras, and shot the scene again about 8 times, filming the other character. A 45 minute long show takes about a week of long-day filming to get done. I’ll admit, I was happy to leave when we did leave – show business isn’t nearly as glamorous as I had thought it would be! I want to see the full episode, to see how that scene was actually set into the film.
We walked through parts of Central Park, not seeing nearly as much of it as I would have liked, but seeing enough of it to know for sure that I couldn’t live in New York. I realise that the fencing around ALL the grass is temporary, and likely to let the grass grow nicely for summer, but it seemed like a cross between a park and a museum to me.
The parts of the park we did visit were beautiful and lush and FULL of people. No quiet little trails to go on and unhook your dog from his leash, and no perfect park solitude. The park damped out some of the City Noise, but not enough of it to give you a sense that you were far from the city. However, for visiting, it was beautiful. There were so many flowers blooming, it was beautiful. I’m sure this past weekend must have been even more spectacular, as there were at least twice as many flowers just-about-ready-to-bloom as there were flowers in bloom when we were there. We saw some great pedestrian bridges, a man making giant bubbles out of two sticks with string in between and a big bucket of soapy water, some very recognisable sections that were often used in movies, and a really cool roller-blade/scooter/ski machine thing. And a woman dancing down the street on bouncy shoes that added about a foot to her height even before the bounce kicked in. I’ve never seen someone so clearly and thoroughly enjoying her jog (run? Dance? Jazzercize?) that much before.
We ended our first day in NYC at a Cuban restaurant called Guantanamera. We went armed with a Groupon discount, and I would definitely go back there again, if it were a bit closer to my neck of the woods. The food was amazing (melt-in-your-mouth, and so flavourful!), the Sangria was delicious, and the music was live and kickin’. It’s a good thing that we got a reservation, because it isn’t all that big a place, and it was packed. We had originally planned to dance (possibly there, but their lack of dance-floor removed that plan), or at least go out and do something night-life-ish, but by the time dinner was over, it was late, and we were exhausted. Despite the lack of time-change, travelling is really really tiring!
In order to keep the post at a reasonable length, I’m choosing to divide the NYC saga into multiple posts. No… I don’t think each day should require an individual post, since I’m not going to take you through a blow-by-blow account of the touristy things.