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Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Saturday in New York
Saturday was my first full day in New York.

I went for a walk down to Central Park with Vincent and Yasmeen, down past the Dakota Building. We played tag in a play ground, then hide and seek!

Central park is a lot bigger than I expected, complete with several lakes. It has a huge path around it, which was full of cyclists and horses towing carriages. It is also full of children and parents taking advantage of the space - apartments here are tiny.

After a quick bagel, I left Vicent and Yasmeen at the corner of Central Park and 69th Street (I think) and hopped on the subway. I quickly aquired a Metrocard, and after fighting with the turnstyle for a bit - the swipe for the card doesn't work in the direction one might expect - I found myself having to find a platform. I had at least five to chose from! Eventually I found the line I was looking for, and I was on my first subway journey!

I hopped off the train at Times Square, which was about as hideously infested with tourists as I had expected. But I did acquire a map of Manhattan, and located a half price broadway show tickets booth. Which I will return to later to get tickets to see at least one musical - even though I don't like them much :-)

So I hopped on the subway again - I got the hang of it pretty quickly - and headed down to the World Trade Center Site. I still can't get over how big this city is. I went about six stations and I was still in middle of a busy city indeed!

The World Trade Center Site is... Well, now it just looks like a construction site. There's no evidence there of the events of that day, no scars on the surviving buildings. Mind you, it was seven or more years ago now. The only thing I could find was a cross apparently found in the rubble. It was mounted next to a church, just north of the site. It was literally part of the debris, unchanged from how it was found.

Some things of note at the WTC site: at least three different conspiracy theorists ranting away with different conspiracy theories next to the site. Folks selling weird books of photos about September 11th, complete with US flags on the front. And postcard recording before, during and after the collapse of the towers!

After that I wandered down to Wall Street, once I worked out how to get there. The Stock Exchange was closed, it being Saturday. Wall Street is actually quite narrow and mostly closed off from traffic. And indeed the stock exchange is actually around the corner... That end of town is the original city, and hence is a lot less well laid out than the rest of he island - the street layout is positively chaotic in fact. Which makes a nice change from the regular grid over the rest of the island, but also makes finding one's way around difficult.

From Wall Street, it's a short walk down to the waterfront. I found the terminal for the Staton Island Ferry, so I hopped on it! Along with half of France it seemed. About twelve tour buses disgorged a lot of French folks right into the terminal building.

I was very amused to see, wrapped around part of the terminal in big letters, a quote I recognised. A quote I though was very obscure, but apparently not. The line was "We were very tired, we were very merry. We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry" from a poem by Edna St Vicent Millay. Also the creator of the phrase "Burning the candle at both ends." I have a sudden urge to acquire some of her work.

The Staton Island Ferry is most famous for going past the Statue of Liberty. I thought I was being terribly clever by grabbed a seat at the front of the boat... Only to discover it was in fact the back of the boat. These ferries are the type that have two ends, like a tram, so they don't have to turn around, they just reverse direction for the return trip! D'oh!

I took some pictures of the statue, and various other mildly interesting landmarks.

At Staton island, fully 90% of the passengers got straight back on the ferry. Poor Staton island. I see why they call it the Forgotten Borough.

Back on Manhattan, I started walking through Battery Park, when I got a call from my host Amanda. She was in the East Village, and asked me to join them for dinner. So I used a neat Iphone app I downloaded, which told me to get on the subway at a station called Bowling Green, then to hop on to another line heading towards Queens. Which worked a treat - damn, the public transport here is serious and effective. And frequent...

The East Village is a bit like Fitzroy, only about fifty times larger! There was some kind of dance festival going on in a park. We wandered from there to a not bad Italian restaurant, where the presence of three children under four made for a typically chaotic dinner.

Later we started walking north, to catch a subway, past the oldest bar/pub in New York, and through a random Ukrainian festival that was on. This city is a busy one... This was a typical spring weekend apparently...

On the way home, we stopped off at a sculpture called "Alamo", which is cube balanced on one corner... Which is moveable! If you push it hard enough, it actually turns around and a round. So we spun it for a bit...

As we were wandering west, I realised we'd crossed a street called Lafayette. Later that evening I was planning to see a band at a bar there called "Joe's Pub" (a less pub-like place I can't imagine...) So I abandoned my new friends, said good night to Yasmeen, and doubled back to find this gig... Which requires a whole separate entry.....!

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oh how i miss new york bagels. the ones in caulfield just don't cut he mustard.

Do try going to a new york deli for lunch @ least once - there's nothing quite like paying for food by the pound.

I'm also majorly missing new york pizza - the sexiest pizza in the whole damn world.

the joys of a new york carb coma

I did make it to Zabars and ate some of their bagels. Yum! Wait for the more detailed entry :-)

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