Pin It While I was in The Big Apple, I knew that I’d only be there for a week; yet there was far too much for one pair of enthusiastic eyes to see in that limited timeframe. While one might argue that there was plenty to be viewed in the expected touristy places like Ellis Island, The Empire State Building, as well as a melee of places situated in and around Broadway, this was simply not enough—I wanted to see it all.
In the city, the subway is a quick transit from one locale to another—a spidery network linking the city in an underground circuit of tunnels; however, in riding the underground I was missing out on far too much of what could be seen on the surface. There was only one way to combat this miry predicament, and that was to travel by foot as much as possible, by which I would be able to bathe myself in the sights and sounds which would be happening all around me.
Walk I did, seeing old cathedrals and beautiful architecture
I saw John Lennon’s “Imagine” and strawberry fields in Central Park, along with the fountain from Enchanted though, admittedly, that last one was because I’d gotten lost—I hadn’t been searching for it.
I discovered the hidden location of The Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail which, consequently, was a cheese and antique shop which had closed a few months before, so instead of taking a photo of the grimy windows and darkened interior, I instead dug up a photo online of when it was still in its glory days. (image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/girlposse/2935474398/)
I headed to Grey’s Papaya for a dog and guava—the place where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’ characters partook of a paltry meal after their ‘friendship’ had been formed near the end of the movie.
I even discovered the locale where their paths crossed at the beginning of the film when that song by The Cranberries is playing while the beginning credits are still flashing intermittently here and there on the screen (which, consequently, was only across the street from Grey’s Papaya).
I walked to a trove of other sites from movies including those from Buddy, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Legend, and Ghostbusters. After all, who can visit New York and not take the time to see the infamous firehouse headquarters—who you gonna call? I did try to gain access to the building—I’d loved to have tried the fire pole, but it was locked and a keypad door was the only way into the building. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a code.
I walked the flower district, and through various marketplaces; I even found the restaurant storefront used for the taping of Seinfeld.
Taking to the streets was a great solution, and good friend back home served as tour guide via the Internet, utilizing Mapquest, Google Earth, and various search engines and web pages; together we spent several days combing the city and finding these hidden treasures. However, these treasures did not come without a price on my end; the problem was that I’d completely destroyed the arch supports in my shoes, they having not been constructed for the serious wear and tear I’d been putting them through the past few days—after all, there had just so much to see.
I felt like I was going to die. My feet were aching and my back felt like that of a seventy year-old man.
I was spent.
I called my tour guide and asked directions for one more destination. This one, a bit more off of the beaten path; my friend did not let me down. It wasn’t long before I found myself slipping through the gate of Manhattan’s smallest park—completely alone. Strangers shuffled past the gated entrance, but hardly anyone seemed to notice the existence to my own private sanctuary. I moved to one of the paint-peeled benches and eased my weight off of my burning feet. I opened my water bottle and allowed the cool water, like liquid silver, to run down my parched throat.
The sounds of the city were muffled as I sat alone, slipping into my headphones and allowing myself a moment or two of solace. After being amidst the crushing deluge of people for so long, it was nice to be secreted away—to be a single entity once more. I felt that this park had been constructed solely for me and for me alone.
I allowed the images of my earlier days’ adventures to rise to the surface of memory as the sounds of Sliding Down cascaded all around me, wrapping me in a familiar blanket of remembrance.
I don’t know how long it was that I sat there, but no one came. For as long as I was there, the park was mine.
This was yet another beloved moment of my trip to New York, and one I will not soon forget.
It soon came time to head to the subway. I was to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law. Tonight was to be the night we headed out for Indian food.
As I left the park I closed the gate behind me, looked back at my dear, new friend, and smiled.