Sunday, October 20, 2013

A New York Honeymoon

Shortly after the wedding Chrissy and I jumped on a flight from Edmonton to Newark and then a train onto New York. Chrissy has been to New York before but it was my first ever trip to the City.

When we hit the street right out of Penn Station I was pleasantly surprised. For as long as I can remember I have envisioned NY and especially Manhattan as a tight labyrinth of skyscrapers with sidewalks covered in shadow. Arriving right at midday it was surprisingly bright with streets infinitely wider than I imagined. A short walk later through Midtown we arrived at our hotel, The Herald Square Hotel where we were immediately upgraded in celebration of our honeymoon.

We didn't know when we booked, but the building was the old offices of LIFE magazine before being renovated.

The LIFE cherub in gold above the entrance of the Hotel

From our home-base we spent 5 days in New York, or to be precise Manhattan. Below are some of the favourite things from our trip.

Central Park

We spent many an hour just wandering through the park and taking in the sights.



Christina and Lewis Carrol

Picnic in the Park near Strawberry Fields
The sheer scope and scale of park space within the boundaries of one of the biggest cities in the world is a little mind boggling. Many times we would meander along the edges marvelling at the great old buildings (like the Dakota) on one side and the massive trees on the other side.

Fence Details at the Dakota
A true highlight for Chrissy and I was paddling around "The Lake" in a rowboat. It's just a weird, albeit enjoyable, experience leisurely rowing a boat in an urban oasis with not a care in the world.

At one point I maneuvered upto a Japanese tourist couple and cajoled them through hand motions that we could move away from each other and then take a picture of each couple with the others camera. 

It's not the greatest shot but considering the language and the moving boat it is fine. Secretly I kind of hoped that the couple would try to abscond with our camera so we could have a boat chase. 

Empire State Building

I loved the fact that only 3 blocks away from our Hotel was the Empire State Building. Other than being a good navigation landmark it was just cool to walk by daily. I can't trace when or how I first became aware of the building but it's always had a mythical place in my mind as THE Skyscraper. Every building since its construction could only hope to be a fraction as cool, as significant or as regal. 

On a clear and calm morning we cashed in our Citypass ticket for a ride to the top.



The view was fantastic and the building itself from all angles lived up to all of my expectations.

Museums - The Met & The Cloisters

I powerwalk museums. Don't get me wrong, I love museums, it's just that I don't feel the need to read about every exhibit or sit and ponder endlessly on the motivations of artists. I either like stuff and linger for a moment or I move on.

Some of my highlights of the Met:

Below is the Roentgen's Berlin Secretary Cabinet, the coolest piece of furniture ever - hell, it's one of the coolest anythings ever. Check out the 2 minute video below produced by the Met, you won't regret it.

The Cloisters is a satellite location of the Met located at the end of the A Subway Line in beautiful Fort Tryon Park. The building, and its cloistered gardens, is an exhibit in of itself of medieval architecture and it houses art, decor and relics of medieval times. 

The most famous pieces of art in the Cloisters are the Unicorn Tapestries. The giant tapestries were created in the late 1490's in the Netherlands and are truly impressive.

Street Food

I love street food and I don't mean food trucks. I love sausages, pretzels, and apparently knishes. 

Italian Sausage on the grill during San Genarro Feast

Other than food you can eat with your hands we did have sitdown meals including a great Brazilian feast at Ipanema Restaurant. But for me a true highlight was at a Deli; the Park West Deli and Grocery near the NW edge of Central Park. The owner treated us like royalty offering great service, awesome sandwiches, Elvis on the stereo, and fantastic food. The Turkish beer and coffee further offered me the perfect cool down and pick me up. 

The owner was everything positive you could associate with NY. Chrissy and I greatly enjoyed the modest gem.

Accomplice New York

While browsing on TripAdvisor I came upon a highly rated activity that was completely unknown to me - Accomplice New York. After experiencing it I can only describe it as an interactive performance art and scavenger hunt. Needless to say it was quite fun.

Through the show/game we met some interesting people, explored the Downtown, Chinatown, and Little Italy areas and had a bunch of laughs. I won't describe too much for fear of spoilers. All I will say is if you find yourself in NY - go do it.

Statue of Liberty

For me nothing symbolises the American Dream like the Statue of Liberty. Just imagine, you have abandoned all you have ever known for a new life in a foreign land, your sea journey last weeks and you've subsisted on scraps, you're tired and second guessing everything...and then you see her...The Statue of Liberty. For those immigrants coming to America all those years ago I can't imagine the feeling of first seeing it. It's such a beacon of hope and potential. Even for a middle class Canadian white dude like me she's impressive.

We actually chose to go out and see her twice during our trip. Once on the ferry from Battery Park to tour the island and another time on the speedboat, "The Beast" which raced down the Hudson River at 45MPH. That was ridiculously fun.

Other Highlights

Mural as viewed from the Highline
Off Broadway Show
New York Public Library

On the "Top of The Rock"

Rockefeller Center
Flatiron Building

My first straight razor shave

For the trip Chrissy and I decided to make a concession to each other that she would not spend too much time shopping and I wouldn't subject her to any sporting events. Which ended up suiting the both of us just fine as we now have further reason to go back!

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