Saturday, October 3, 2009

While in NY

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:

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.


MindyElias said...

I love that you went looking for things YOU wanted to see and experience and not just the "you have to do this while in NYC list".

I too was blown away with the old buildings and churches as there were so many as you walk around.

BTW, you are doing GREAT with your dare :)


Mamma has spoken said...

Small world in deed, Jonathan went to elemetary school where I work. Collabrated in his class twice a week. Smart kid. Oh and of course I love the pictures of New York. Makes you wonder if there is a place that hasn't been in a movie...

Teachinfourth said...

M - Thanks, It's been a lot of work, but it's fun, too. I agree about NYC; there is so much to see that you really do need to decide what it is that you want to do and then simply do it.

B - Josh Hutcherson went to your school when he was younger? Wow, that's pretty cool; I like him as an actor, though I must admit that it might be kind of strange to have been his teacher, and then gone and seen his latest movie over the weekend like Zathura or Bridge to Terabithia. It would have felt...odd; yet it would have been pretty cool at the same time, too.

As for NYC, I think the fact that places are used in movies, TV shows, or mentioned in songs, is really what helps them to become 'famous' and well-known.

Corine said...

I love this blog! :D What an awesome adventure you had in NY! Nicely done Jas!

Speaking of blogs...I certainly need to get creative with mine :0. I'd like to develop the kind of entertaining talent that you posess. Perhaps in time. :)

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, mainly because it was such a reminder of my own foot travels in NYC--the best part of the trip, in my opinion. We stumbled upon Ferrara's, a fantastic bakery of some renown, an amazing Thai restaurant, an Irish pub, Connolly's, that we revisited several times, and just so many other things of visual interest--a red bucket on a chain link fence, a pink balloon on a vendor's delivery truck--stuff like that. NYC is just eye candy. Loved your pics.

Rachel said...

Very cool. I can't say that if/when I ever go to NY I'd care about places where movies were made but that park! Those are the delightful things I love to find. The hidden secrets. Every city has them.

A Lark said...

You're getting more of your NY pix & experiences out there! I'm proud of you. (:

Mamma has spoken said...

Josh's family still lives in the area and he is great about helping out with fund raisers at the school. It is kinda funny to have everyone 'falling' all over him in order to get his autograph or to shake is hand while the rest of us are like "yea, we remember when he got in trouble for..."

Lars said...

Might I suggest taking a tennis ball on your next adventure that requires a ton of foot travel. Using it to massage your feet does wonders for the arches at the end of the day.

I am intrigued at the vast musical taste you have. Your ipod must be a treasure trove.

Teachinfourth said...

C - This park was one of my favorite parts of NYC; I also loved Ellis Island and my moment with Searching for Bobby Fischer in Washington Square Park.

As for blogging, I'm flattered that you think mine is entertaining.

L - I wish I'd thought to contact you and find out some of these 'secret' places you knew about. However, like you said, those things of personal 'visual' interest are probably those which captivate us the most.

R - It makes me wonder what other little hidden treasures our own little city has that I've not yet discovered...

J - It's just taken a while to get around to it, life keeps on needing to be lived whether or not I have time to write.

B - That has got to be fun...I sometimes tell my students, "I can't wait until you're famous and I can tell people about all the stuff you used to do in school."

L - Interesting. I'd never heard of that before, but if it works, I'll try it next time.

As for the iPod - 160 gigs and completely full. Of course, that doesn't mean that I listen to all of it, and there are a couple of movies in there too, but there is a chamber of musical secrets...I'll release some of those tomorrow.

The Mind of a Mom said...

I felt like I was in NY while reading the post! You so need to go to Quebec City, Quebec Canada. It is so filled with History and the architecture is visually breathtaking!

Rich said...

I have always wanted to visit N.Y. but through your post and story's I feel like I have already been there. If I went on my one I do not think that I would have seen so many wonders that N.Y. had to offer.

Julie said...

So jealous! Thanks for taking us on this journey with your amazing pictures.

Richard & Natalie said...

How timely this post is for me. My hubby is in NY on business and oh, how I have wanted to be there... and now I have and even to sites from one of my favorite movies. I'm so glad you weren't done with NY! I love that city.

Teachinfourth said...

M - I've been to Canada a couple of times before, it would be nice to head northward once again.

R - My posts and photos can only take you so far. In going and seeing, it's a totally different experience!

J - I'm glad you decided to come along for the ride. I have one or two more trips planned in the next week or two to take you along on; that is, if you want.

N - Like I mentioned to Julie, there is a bit more of NY still to come; I should have posted it all a long time ago, but other things just distracted me.

One day, I'll go again for real. There's even more I'd still like to see.

Gerb said...

(sigh) Awesome. Need I say more?

Teachinfourth said...

G - I think that I need to go back for another visit...

Wendi said...

I followed the links from your comment on cjane's blog. Thank you for sharing these adventures--they reminded me of my short visit to NYC awhile back. I love how you shared those film clips from "Little Manhattan" and "Searching for Bobby Fischer". I own both of those DVD's. And you have certainly perfected the art of the self-portrait. :)

Teachinfourth said...

W - When one is flying solo, he must do what he can in order to have the shots to remember the trip.

Thanks for visiting.

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