Last Saturday, Anne and I woke up in New York. We were staying at the Broadway Millennium Hilton, just off of Times Square. Minutes after waking up we got a wakeup call from John G., inviting us to lunch in Chinatown. We got up and got out and started looking for breakfast. I showed Anne Times Square. There was a charity walk going on and they had blocked off traffic. It didn’t seem to be as bright in the daytime as it did at night.
We headed east on 44th street and came upon the Algonquin Hotel. This is the home of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table where a group of 1920s New York City writers, critics, actors and wits, met daily for lunch. One of them, Dorothy Parker was once asked to use the word horticulture in a sentence. She quipped, “You can lead a whore to culture, but you cannot make her think.” We eventually settled upon a rather non-descript eating establishment, after passing up a much better looking one.
After breakfast, we walked around midtown, sightseeing. We saw the New York Public Library, which was under renovation. The lion statues out front of it which were featured in the first Ghostbusters movie were still there in all their majesty and mystery. We saw the Chrysler Building and photographed the exterior quite a bit. We also went into its lobby. It is one of the first examples of the use of stainless steel over a large exposed building surface. The decorative treatment of the masonry walls below changes with every set-back and includes story-high basket-weave designs, radiator-cap gargoyles, and a band of abstract automobiles. The lobby is a modernistic composition of African marble and chrome steel.
We backtracked to Grand Central Station. A picture of Anne standing before the main concourse graced last Saturday’s post. From Grand Central we took the subway to Chinatown. The subway was a much nicer experience then it was when last I rode it, in 1982. The cars were clean and well taken care of, similar in feel to Saint Louis’ own MetroLink system. The stations looked all of their hundred plus years of service
Arriving in Chinatown, we found John and Jim right away and were whisked off for some dim sum. For the uninitiated, which before Saturday included us, dim sum is a Chinese cuisine which involves a wide range of light dishes served with tea. It is usually served until noon at most Chinese restaurants and at specialty dim sum eateries where it is available throughout the day. Dishes come in small portions and may include meat, seafood, and vegetables. John and Jim grew up in a restaurant family, so they were quite the aficionados. The food was varied, but uniformly great. Don and DJ joined us after a while and we enjoyed a second wave of dim sum.
After lunch, John and Jim went off to try to see a matinee show. We elected to hang out with Don and DJ. We started walking north, window shopping as we went. We walked through Chinatown and by Little Italy all on our way to Soho. Soho was chock full of all sorts of rather trendy stores. We went in the Prada store and I was blown away, not by the merchandise, which was almost nonexistent, but by the décor. Half the floor space was devoted to a sunken level that was accessible on one side via oversize steps and on the other side via a quarter-pipe, perfect for skateboarding. We shopped at the MoMA gallery store and KidRobot. KidRobot sells collectable Anime and comic book figures. Their hook though is that you don’t know exactly which figure you have purchased until after the sale.
Time started to tug at our elbows, so we started the walk down to Battery Park, in order to pick up our bikes. We walked past street vendors galore, some selling watches out of briefcases with legs. They looked perfect for the quick get aways. Anne and DJ noticed several fabric stores, but they were all closed. This mystified them until they made the Jewish tailor-Sabbath connection. We walked by city hall, Trinity Church of National Treasure fame, and St. Paul’s Chapel. We stopped at Don and DJ’s hotel. Today’s header is just part of their view.
We picked up the bikes without any troubles. We had a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. At lunch, John and Jim had related their family story that their father had passed through Ellis Island the day the Hindenburg came to town. This would also have been the same day that it burned. We rode our rental bikes back uptown along the west side of Manhattan. There is a separate bike trail that ran as far as we needed to go. At 42nd Street we turned off into traffic. We got to within four blocks before the auto traffic jams made walking the better option.
We showered, changed and headed out to dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant that the concierge had recommended. Banana, I had a Manhattan on Manhattan, with dinner! Next up, was our play, Exit the King. It was at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, great aunt to Drew. Geoffrey Rush was the king and Susan Sarandon played his estranged wife. The play was good, but I think it will take some further percolation before I can make anymore comments. After the show, Times Square was still going strong and Anne had to drag me out of Toys R’ Us.
Love dim sum! What a great adventure you had!