Friday, June 26, 2009

NYC Impressions

Now that we're back from our Manhattan trip, I can put some thoughts down on a post. First... wow. What a mass of people, structures, taxis, food, sights, etc. jammed, piled, stacked (above and below ground) on to one small island! I can see why this place never sleeps. Corey reminded moi in a comment that we were The Out of Towners. And that, coincidentally, was one of films I could point to, the 1970 Neil Simon/Arthur Hiller film version, as one of the reasons I was so NYC-phobic for decades (that, and Scorsese's Taxi Driver--back then you couldn't have sent me here for free). Gee, the New York Chamber of Commerce must of loved the films of the 70's. But for another perspective, I'll quote the one responsible for bringing us here (in response to getting into some of the various famous places on the island):
With us moving from one line to another, it feels like Disneyland. ~ She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed

NEW YORK - JULY 7:  A taxi driver, who decline...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Let's start with what has to be a symbol of the city. Ah... the taxi cabs of N.Y. Through some of the most crowded streets I've ever encountered, they were either a nightmare of vehicular proportions or one of the better amusement park rides, ever (the latter for me). I got used to them very quickly (though I never conceived one could squeeze a car/minivan/SUV in-between and around so many moving or static objects--including NYPD patrol cars!). And who knew that my children's eyes could get so big?!? They were a white-knuckle experience for my wife, as well. Performing the same in our home town buys you a road-rage ticket, or a local news helicopter video taping your exploits. Here in the Big Apple, it's business as usual.

Every pedestrian, and I mean everyone native to this city, ignores the red lights to cross a street. And I saw some seriously considering doing it in front of siren-screaming emergency vehicles. You can clearly see the irritation on some who had to wait for the right-of-way vehicles to go by (the nerve!). But, that's okay. The taxi drivers will nudge them back on to the curb for you safety-minded. Quite a change for us Angelenos--back home, I've personally seen 2 AM drunks stand on an empty corner in barren streets till the light turns. I guess the LAPD will do that to you.

IMG_2182Image by le0pard13 via Flickr

I can safely say, I have now experienced two of the best urban park areas in the country. Our own awesomely untamed Griffith Park and this city's majestic Central Park. That one day we spent there alone had my son asking us if we could move to NYC. So many of its sights were so familiar to me since they've been captured on to so many films through the years.

Of course, it was more than a little off-putting for this parent upon reaching certain areas of the park that had me recalling that infamous kidnapping scene from the movie Ransom. I was counting heads by day's end. But, at least the sailboat pond was one of the highlights for them.

IMG_2225Image by le0pard13 via Flickr

Staying at a hotel right in the middle of Times Square made for entertainment available All Night Long. I'd never envisioned that the city of New York would supply blocked off street locations and even picnic chairs for whomever wanted to sit, relax and enjoy the spectacle that was all about them. Believe me when I say this, but those seats were rarely unfilled during the night time hours we were out.

IMG_0057Image by le0pard13 via Flickr

All in the same area of our stay were two of biggest specialty item stores imaginable. First, there was the single largest, multi-story Toy R Us store I've ever seen! This one location was so big, it had its own interior Ferris Wheel! To say that it was a parent's nightmare would be an understatement.

IMG_0055Image by le0pard13 via Flickr

Second, my children and I got to completely immerse ourselves in two stories of comic/superhero heaven that was Mid-Town Comics. All manner of comic books, graphic novels, action figures, props, clothing... every superhero item you can name, they had it. Except for the steeply stepped walk-up, it would cause Comic Book Guy to stroke out, it was a geek's wet dream. I've already unpacked my very own Green Lantern t-shirt... and warned my darling spouse that she cannot wear it as a night shirt!

IMG_2201Image by le0pard13 via Flickr

Near the end of our last full day/night in this city, we headed out for the iconic Empire State Building. Between those hawking their independent tour services right outside of it, the $20 charge each adult (kids a little less) had to pay to get one to the 86th floor observatory station (double that to get you to the 102nd floor station), and any fear of heights, it was quite something. Oh, and its gift store on the 80th floor had a great many An Affair to Remember memorabilia (including the DVD) on sale. But, the views were magnificent (my son caught this cloud cast sunset from on high).

I don't think we caught even 1% of this great city had to offer in the time allotted to us on this trip. I didn't even get over to Brooklyn, for chrissakes (over 20 years ago, I took my future wife to see the movie Moonstruck just before we got engaged--guess I'll have to settle for re-watching the DVD this weekend). But I hope we, or at least my children, in the future will return to explore more of it. I will always love L.A., but for a brief time in June, I ♥ NY (and I have the t-shirt to prove it). Finally, I'll end it here with a song that mentions the Big Apple, and matches the poignancy of this week.

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  1. What a great post, it's wonderful to see NYC through the eyes of another non-New Yorker. It's not usually a place that's high of my list of "want to see" locations, but you've made me want to go right now.

    Green Lantern t-shirt? Cool!

  2. Oh MY GOD!! I know exactly what you mean about the taxis. We actually took the subway more than taxis while we were there, but the few times we were in taxis, I was certain we were going to die! I couldn't even look.

    I don't think it's someplace I could ever live, but I'd go back for another visit in a heartbeat! And your recap reminded me of that fact! Beautious!!

  3. Clicked on your link for Randy, one of my favorites, that big nasty redhead,,,,,,,,,,,oooh. I have spent most of my adult life in big cities, plotting my escape, (bay area SF, Seattle, Miami)over the wall so to speak. I have done it! Now I am willing to visit NYC, gotta see the shows, listen to some good music,do the sights, glad you guys had fun. Oh yeah the Green Lantern was the best of DC.

  4. Corey: I was the same as you before leaving for this. It's a wonderful thing when something fun causes you to change your mind. I think you'd enjoy yourself.

    Jen: yes, to go back would be great--living there is quite another.

    Glad you guys liked it. Thanks.