There’s always time to reminisce.
A little less than a year ago, I packed my bags and escaped the urban jungle of Los Angeles in pursuit of adventure. My destination: yet another urban jungle on the opposite coast.
New York City was on the itinerary. In other words, street food, Broadway shows, exposure to the American counter-culture, and bike rides through Central Park were all in store.
We touched down in La Guardia around the “golden hour.” Seconds before landing, I was able to catch a panoramic glimpse of the city in its Lego-esque form. The billowing candy-floss clouds(or was that the infamous urban smog?) were also a nice touch to the view.
The city was my playground for the next several days. I adjusted to the subway system rather quickly; I’ve always enjoyed riding the train(sad, nobody uses the metro in LA…) and I certainly don’t mind seeing the many faces of New York throughout my journey. Plus, there’s the good possibility of being drawn by Jason Polan. With transportation in the bag, exploration naturally followed.
9/11 Memorial + The High Line
My first day in NYC encompassed the longest trek. I started towards the Ground Zero Memorial from my hotel in Times Square, meandering among the skyscrapers and disappearing into the subway tunnels throughout. It was a rather hot day(around 94°F if I remember correctly) and the East Coast humidity gained prevalence as the day progressed. But I remained a *very* happy camper.
The roaring water is audible from the minute you emerge from the subway. And the monument is HUGE. Surrounded by numerous towering skyscrapers, the Memorial encompasses a deep, square-shaped pit into which the water from all 4 sides cascades.
The white building in the background is a museum for 9/11, I believe.
3,000 names– those of adults and children– are inscribed in the smooth, black granite lining the sides. Remembrance roses were available to purchase, and many placed the flowers in the name crevices to honor those killed in the attacks. It was incredibly moving, and very sad.
After paying my respects, I set off towards Chelsea. The High Line was next.
Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of West Village as we were walking through. But dang, it was beautiful. Moving north, we passed by a number of brownstones and brick apartment complexes with the occasional community garden sprinkled in-between. Little green trees lined the streets, providing little shade as the sun peeked through. There was also an abundance of cute coffee rooms, and lots of locals were out, walking their dogs and enjoying the sunny day. As we walked slightly closer to the Hudson River, the scaffolding kicked in and we were relieved to be provided with some shade. Then there was a brief interlude for the Whole Foods in Tribeca.
The High Line is a boardwalk-esque park, placed high in the sky among its neighboring skyscrapers. The narrow walkway meanders along the Hudson River, featuring fantastic views of white sailboats and New Jersey right across the waterway. The 1.5-mile linear park used to be an old metro-railway-type-thing.
Dream vehicle. Right there.
As you can tell from the pictures, the pedestrians on the High Line are raised to the same level as the billboards and 6th-story floors in Soho. It’s pretty rad.
The High Line fuses the past and present. The park features remnants of steel structures throughout, referencing its previous life as a transportation system. At the same time, new “hipster”-y elements and references to today’s pop culture/political climate are present. There’s murals and modernist sculptures, as well as signs denoting the worldwide struggle against oppression.
Not pictured is the cute urban food court. After walking north for 20(?) minutes from the High Line’s visitor center, park-goers encounter a ginormous hollowed warehouse hosting a myriad of food vendors. Think “Anaheim Packing District” or perhaps “Grand-Central Market”, but on a much smaller scale. With iPad-facilitated transactions, of course. They had everything, ranging from paleo to macaron ice cream sandwiches. The humidity called for sipping a strawberry mango limeade, to which I happily obliged.
Cut-to: Neapolitan Pizza in Greenwich Village. I’m a sucker for traditional Margheritas, and this pie was SO GÜD. Absolutely loved the soft dough and the fresh basil. (I also later tried the actual ‘New York Pizza ™’, but didn’t get a good picture. So here’s a more photogenic Neapolitan, hah.) New York City, you’ve got an amazing food scene.
Retired back to the hotel near Times Square and lounged around for the remainder of that day. The heat finally got to us.