Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The liveable city?

Inside an old Subway car at the New York Transit Museum.
As I sit (or rather lay) writing this blog I wonder if New York is the kind of city I could call home. It's certainly very liveable, and exciting but it is very fast paced. In many ways it reminds me of London with it's iconic status, although on a much grander scale. It's easy to get around, clean and efficient and there are plenty of green spaces. Why would anyone ever need to leave?

Amusing advert featured in an old Subway car.
It's a valid question, of course in reality people would leave for many reasons. I imagine city life could be quite suffocating and it's always nice to get away somewhere different no matter how much you love it. I'm going off on a tangent again (been reading too many Monocle essays on the subject) so without further ado I'll move on to what I did (or didn't) do today.

9/11 memorial on the site of the old World Trade Center.
First stop was the New York Transit Museum which looks at history of the subway and bus systems. To most people I guess it would be kind of boring but the museum is built in a former disused subway station and explains how the transport authorities deal with things like freak weather, national crises etc. and also has a section on 9/11 showing sensitive pictures of stations that were crushed when the twin towers came down and maps of the system that were changed daily as the system became operational once again. It's a great place for enthusiasts but also for those wishing to get a different perspective on the city.

Names of victims inscribed on the sides of the 9/11 memorial.
The real gem comes on the second floor down however as a range of genuine subway cars from as far back as the 1920's are displayed on the tracks and you can wander in and out of them freely. The historic adverts in people particular are very charming (and amusing) and the phenomenon of seeing actual old fans in the subway cars instead of air conditioning will stay with me a long time, haha.
Dining out Polish style in Brooklyn.
After the museum we went to get our bags from the hotel in Brooklyn and transfered them across to our new hotel in Manhattan. Just down from Times Square, after checking in we made our way to Cortland Street station where the 9/11 memorial and museum is located. The memorial consists of two fountains placed exactly where the two towers were located. The fountains pour into an empty black pool with the names of all those who lost their lives inscribed on the sides of the memorial. It's a nice touch set against the backdrop of the new One World Trade Center and is considerably more thoughtful than if they'd just built over the old site.

Times Square again, this time at night.
Sadly the 9/11 museum was due to close early due to essential maintenance so we didn't get to go today, but will try again tomorrow or the next day. Instead, we made our way back on the subway to 23 Street to see the Flatiron building which due to the light wasn't in the best mood for photographs but was worth seeing anyway - possibly one to come back to later in the week.

The impressively illuminated Rockefeller Center at night.
I feel like I've been in the city for months (in a good way) so we hopped over on the subway again to Brooklyn, which is fast becoming our go-to area for sit down food. We found a really cool Polish place which was having its happy hour and got half price Polish dumplings as well as beer for $3(!). In these parts that's really good and as an added bonus the guy serving us at the bar was really cute haha. He'd moved here just a few weeks ago from California and had a really cool American accent, although I simply had to speak Polish with him and found out he's from Kraków.

Van Gogh's ear, formerly a swimming pool, at Rockefeller Centre.
We headed back to the hotel at this point for a breather as it had been a long day and Dad wanted a shower. After a brief respite however we took the chance to have our first proper nighttime outing which ended up being to Rockefeller Centre. It's a lot prettier than I'd imagined and has lots of cool water features, trees and lights so makes for lots of interesting photos. We made our way back to the hotel and saw the Empire State Building lit up in purple on top in honour of the Class of 2016 finishing school (I think). I bought some tasty looking food from the store next to our hotel - chicken and pasta for $7 but the chicken was only lukewarm when I got back so I left it. Don't want to be ill for the next few days exploration! Until tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read this blog, very good with all the photos. Conan