I've had a sort of odd week in New York City life, marked by confusion, mistakes, and spur of the moment decision making. In a good way.
First confusion first - every time I enter Central Park, I am inevitably lost. Since I never go when I have to be in a hurry, it's not really an unpleasant way to be. I wander through, thinking I'm heading west (while actually heading in any other direction), and discover all kinds of new things.
Sir Walter Scott? What are you doing here?
I'd had no idea the people of New York were such fans of Ivanhoe until I encountered this Sir Walter Scott statue. He was across from Robert Burns, and near William Shakespeare and an unlabeled Indian with a dog. Why? 'Cause. In Central Park, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. "Wait, there's a carousel there? Where did this jazz quartet come from? Does no one else find that girl doing Cirque du Soleil style hula hooping strange or interesting? Ok, fine, I'll just continue going West (North)." Really, the only way to be sure I've got my bearings is to leave Central Park, and thus return to the orderly grid of New York streets that I'm becoming quite familiar with.
Spur of the moment choice? My decision to visit the New York Stock Exchange and the Charging Bull statue. I had been watching a tv show on Netflix (Dead Like Me), and it completely bummed me out. Hardly surprising since - as the title may have suggested - death is a pretty major focus of the show. So I decided to go for a walk to cheer myself up, and the New York Stock exchange was the perfect distance away. I admit, this was also more out of a sense of duty to New York sightseeing than actual interest. I figured I go, I'd see them, I'd take my pictures, and I'd have it done. And I was at least half right. I did get my New York Stock Exchange picture, with the Wall Street sign in the frame and everything. It was right across the street from where George Washington took the oath of office. (Thanks to my time in DC, I already knew that Washington was the third capital under the Constitution - preceded by Philadelphia and New York. However, I had not known that George Washington was sworn in on Wall Street, so that was kind of a fun surprise).
The Charging Bull is actually not on Wall Street, but further down Broadway. And it's impressive, but not impressive enough for me to fight through all these people for a good picture. I still count myself as having seen it though.
Yesterday I went to lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant with a few girls in my program, and Rachel and I got coffee at Mud - my favorite coffee place by far. Then, I decided to walk to these two stores that sounded interesting, and were four miles away. So I headed up Madison Avenue.
Passing Times Square, I realized I was at the right time to try to win cheap tickets to Wicked in the lottery, so I tried. I lost, but didn't mind as it's not much trouble and I'll have plenty more opportunities. I bet not as many people show up in the dead of winter.
So I continued up Madison Avenue, and (finally) got to the first store of interest... and it had gone out of business recently. Darn. Another 10/15 blocks and I get to the second store of interest..... which closes at 7. I got there at exactly 7, and they were extremely closed. Oh well.
So I start to walk back (I am now 74 blocks from my apartment, and kind of tired). I considered taking the subway, but it was a beautiful night and the streets were packed with tourists, so there was really no reason to. I switched over to 5th Avenue, which I prefer to Madison. At around 34th Street (only 30 blocks from the goal!), I passed the Empire State Building. And I thought to myself, "Why let the evening be a total bust?" So I went to the top of the Empire State Building.
It really was a breathtaking view, and the fact that a thunderstorm started about 30 seconds after I got out on the deck did not diminish the experience. It may have made it cooler. And it did motivate me to take the subway for those last 30 blocks.