Whew, what a week so far. Anyway, I'm getting back to the midwest slowly but surely. I took a tonna pictures of NYC while I was there. You can take a gander at 'em over here. I don't really feel like having the energy to explain every single picture, so just look at them and shut up. (Boy do I need a nap or what?)
As for the textual portion of our program, I finally got into Manhattan around 5pm. I walked the block from the bus station down to Time Square and took a buncha photos while the light was still good, then it started to puring rain. Great, it always rains when I'm in New York or it's freakin' colder than a witches elbow. So i duck into the subway entry there on 42nd street and catch a train downtown to Little Italy. For any of you who have been to NYC and skip the lower east side in favor of the more traditional sightseeing spots uptown, you're missing out on the best parts of the New York experience. The lower east side is by far my favorite part of town, for dining, for window shopping, just for walking around. I hadn't eaten anything all day: I was saving myself for this moment: pure Italian gluttony. I took the subway down to Union Square and changed trains, then continued on down to the Spring Street station. I took the little walk up to Mulbery Street. Mulberry Street is this small, teeny little street that doesn't even show up on a lot of NYC maps, but it is the heart of Little Italy. It is lined with souveneir shops and, most importantly, the restaurants - some of which have been there for over a hundred years. Everytime I go I uually try a different restaurant and/or different dishes, but I think I found one this time I will have to revisit. For an appetizer I ordered mussels on the half shell covered in a white/marinara with basil and garlic. It was simply one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. For the main course I had plain ol' Pasta Al Pesto. There was nothing incredibly special about it, but I love a fresh pesto sauce, and that made it special enough.
I waddled out of the restaurant and down the street into Chinatown. I love strolling through Chinatown with all it's open-air seafood and produce shops. There on Canal street right next to the subway entrance is a seafood shop with a restaurant next door. It's one of those kinds of Chinese eateries where they have the duck carcasses already cooked on skewers in the windows. They have the best hot and sour soup. I was beginning to wish I had saved a little rom for it, but there was no way I was going to be able to eat any. The smell there is amazing. I glanced through some of the street vendor's things and slowly made my way down to Chrystie Street.
I was going to Chrystie Street for one purpose, to take a couple of pictures of the building at 59 Chrystie St. I had visisted the building one time before but the pictures hadn't turned out. I wanted to get some to put up on my Beastie Boys lyrics site. So I snapped a couple of quick ones and some of the Manhattan Bridge entrance (they unfrotunately didn't turn out so good) and backtracked to Bowery St. and began trudging along.
Bowery is a very wide street and runs north out of Chinatown toward midtown. So on this walk I could see the Empire State building looing in the distance, its spire shrouded in clouds. I checked out a record tore along the way, but after realizing it was a dance-record shop, filled with the zillion different sub-genres of techno music, I didn't stay very long. A couple blocks further and I found myself outside Filaments lamp shop which is a really col place to browse. They have the neatest antique lamps just packed into this itty bitty little corner shop. Alas, they were closed already so I peered ni the window for a few seconds before continuing on.
I was more than aimlessly wandering, I was heading for the intersection of Bowery and Bleecker St, which is where CBGB is located. I had gone there once before on my very first trip to New York but had neglected to get soemthing from there. So, I got a T-shirt and had a shot of Maker's Mark before taking to the streets again. Maybe someday I'll actually be fortunate enough to see a decent band play there. It seems everytime I'm in town, no one worthwhile is playing anywhere, much less, at CBGB. I had been hopeful that something might actually be going on because of all the punk kiddies hanging outside when I walked up, but I guess they just hang out there. I can't blame them, I'd imagine it would be kinda cool to hang out in front of CBGB all day long and talk about punk bands and smoke cigarettes.
When I left CBGB I walked up Bleecker to the subway station there and caught a train back to Time Square. On 42nd Street is an internet cafe that I had tried to check out once before but they were having problem with their credit machines and I didn't feel like waiting in line. This time there were no lines and they seemed to be working fine so I got a caramel mocha and got online for a couple of hours, as you can tell from the "live from New York" post a couple of posts back.
Now it's going on 10 o'clock so I decide this would be a really fun time to take the seedier stroll of the theatre district. Along 8th Avenue, from the bus terminal at 42nd street down to about 46th street is where there is a really high concentration of adult oriented businesses: strip clubs, adult bookstores - in addition to pizza joints, bars, sovenier shops, and restaurants. Late at night, it can be a varitable sideshow. Sadly, tonight wasn't oe of those nights. In the past I've had "hey baby" whispers from the streetwalkers, seen Navy guys on shore leave puking on the sidewalk, and had guys walk up beside me and just say "I got it, if you need it". Tonight, the most interesting this I saw was a woman sotrm out of a pub crying and her girlfriend chasing after her and the whole thing melting down into drama on the sidewalk (both were really really drunk).
I walked back down into Time Square and took a few more "night time" photos which turned out a lot better than I thought they would. I was in the little triangle island that seperates Broadway from 9th Avenue, right in front of the Armed Services recruitment building. I tucked my new CBGB t-shirt under my head and just laid down flat on the pavement. I lay there watching the clouds roll over, lit white by the city light. Occasionally a jet could be seen making it's final approach to La Guardia. All around me I could hear the noise of the city: honking horns and the chatter of hundreds of people talking simultaneously. Every few minutes, the Grand Central Station shuttle would rumble in and out beneath me in the subway below. Electric light of every imaginable hue danced with each other on the sides of the buildings. I didn't have any hoakey epiphanies, but it was awfully relaxing watching the fake steam rsie out of the larger-than-life Cup o' Noodles sign. New York captured my imagination for years before I was able to finally visit. And with each and every trip, I become more and more captivated.