The Labor Day holiday is hands down the best time to visit the Big Apple because many New Yorkers bail for the
America’s greatest modern day tragedy has become big business and tourists flock from all around the world as if on pilgrimage to see the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Towers which are rising into the sky like silver blue wavy columns of steel and glass. The recently completed first tower reminded me of a shiny stiletto. And it is definitely more attractive than what was there before.
Two things struck me as a bit odd about
Ground Zero area. New York
The first is just kind of goofy. In order to achieve the previous super height of the
Speaking of structural hats, did you know that the wooden water tanks atop many
The second thing I noticed was incredibly ironic. And those were the many Arabs – especially women in head scarves and scowling men wearing Yankees baseball caps – aggressively hawking 9/11 Memorial souvenirs and books all around the 9/11 Memorial. I’m sorry if that sounds racist, or politically incorrect, but the whole scene just rubbed me the wrong way.
Inna and I have been traveling a lot lately and we were recently in
In the past, I always visited
Which brings me to the smell. Now, I love
NYC produces an almost unimaginable amount of garbage every single day, and at night, all of the businesses and residents pile their overflowing trash bags along the curbs, creating plastic bag mountains of oozing waste. And to its credit, the city has their crews out there first thing every morning picking up the garbage. But it still gets pretty nasty when it's warm.
I was out walking at six in the morning on Labor Day, and the only people afoot were the garbage men and cops. But they can’t get up early enough to beat the rats that come out of their underground haunts at night and voraciously attack the garbage piles. It’s not uncommon to see twenty or more come scurrying out of a pile of trash sitting at the corner of a busy street. And while it probably isn’t dangerous – I mean, the rats don’t attack you, or anything like that – it’s still creepy as hell. Dimly lit stairwells literally teem with the creeping little demons at night.
I have no idea how the city might solve this pesky problem. Putting all of the trash in dumpsters wouldn’t stop the rats. And poison always causes collateral damage, starting with the neighborhood dogs and cats. So, New Yorkers have just gotten used to the whole smelly scene, like pig farmers who don’t even notice the overpowering smell on their farms.But the one thing they might try to do is to wash the streets a little more often. Many large cities in Europe hose down their downtown streets on a daily basis – in
Okay, enough about the bad stuff in NYC. Because the good far outweighs the bad.
Every time I go to MOMA, I hear someone say, “I saw that painting in Chicago last year,” pointing to “Starry Night” or Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina's World”. Or you will hear someone ask, in vague disbelief, “Is that the original?”
Oh yeah. The one and only.
Work on the trail began in 2006, and phase one opened in 2009, phase two in 2012, and phase three will be completed in late 2014. The southern terminus starts at
We arrived at the High Line a little after ten on a Sunday morning and things were already hopping. Tourists and locals crowded the meandering stone path, and we immediately found ourselves within a white birch forest that framed the trail just like the real thing. The trees soon gave way to manicured flower beds in full bloom, interesting sculptures, and stylish wooden benches lining the grass-divided trail. At each cross street there were overlooks, and stairways down to the street; and some even sported wooden bleachers where artists performed free impromptu shows to the delight of the passersby. There were vendors selling coffee, ice cream, sandwiches, and art works, and it had the look and feel of a European promenade – in the air. It took us about an hour to walk the whole trail that ends at
South Street Seaport is the oldest part of NYC (1620's) and it looks just like Fell's Point in Baltimore, down to the cobbled streets, red brick waterfront warehouse architecture, and funky restaurants and bars. We had a yummy lunch at the Paris Cafe, which was built in 1873, but almost wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. Owning a business on the New York City waterfront these days is at best a crap shoot with climate change and sea level rise.