Visited New York again today (only the second time since I’ve been here, oops), photos (some taken by my tourist companion, this time a crazy Italian) are here.
Took the train in again, I should mention that they still have real live conductors from whom you can purchase tickets, and who have clippers to punch holes out of your cardboard tickets with. Amazing. Followed up the train with a subway ride, wihch was quite an experience. The subways seem packed, even on a Saturday afternoon. It’s $2 a ride (compared to $1.25 in Toronto), although they at least have modern electronic ticketing systems. The stations are all pretty filthy and run-down looking, and I was surprised (although by now this shouldn’t surprise me) to see that each subway car had a large American flag sticker on it. Just in case you were wondering where they were going, perhaps.
Got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Met”) and got in free with my IBM card. The Museum is huge — if you actually liked museums you could spend days and days there and not see everything, but I got tired of it after a few hours just wandering the ground floor. One of the first sections you walk through is a huge room full of art from the pacific islands and oceania, one tiny corner of which contains a handful of “Australian” art, all modern-day Aboriginal stuff. They had lots of important looking stuff, including room after room of artists like Picasso, whole Egyptian temples, and so on. After a while it all lost its impression on me.
Escaped from the museum and walked through the Southern end of Central Park. This was the first reasonably warm weekend of the year (about 15°C), so the place was packed. Supposedly it’s an escape from the city, but you can still see the skyscrapers and hear the sirens. Still pretty impressive. The final part on the quick walking tour was Strawberry Fields, complete with floral peace sign, neo-hippies and a guy who shouted “thank-you brother!” every time someone dropped some money in a hat.
After Central Park, walked south down Broadway through Times Square again, which was packed with pedestrians spilling onto the street (I assume) since all the Broadway shows had finished, or were about to start. The cars didn’t seem to mind to much though and just honked on approach, it’s a wonder they don’t have more accidents here.
Took the subway over to the East Village, and walked down Astor Pl looking for somewhere to eat. This is next to the university, and seems to be the freakier end of town. Lots of bars, tattoo parlours (including one labelled “Cappuccino & Tattoo”), and tiny shops selling unexpected things. Also lots of good-looking cheap restaurants, which are definitely lacking in Westchester, and an “Australian Ice-Cream and Chocolate” shop. I didn’t go in, so I can’t tell you what’s so special about Australian ice-cream or chocolate.