Streets of New York

Yesterday was another hot day in New York City. Since it was my last full day in the city, it was my day to do tourist stuff. It's impossible to do New York City justice in one day, of course, so we just hit the highlights. Karl (my semi-native guide) had some things he had to do in the morning, so Kurt and I hit the subways and streets on our own. Kurt has been here before, so he had an idea of where we wanted to go. We ended up wandering the streets quite a bit, taking in the ambiance.

We took the A train south from Karl's neighborhood, Inwood and got off at 42nd and Broadway. We quickly noticed that about half of Puerto Rico was on the streets around us, preparing for the annual Puerto Rican parade. They were a happily boisterous group, with flags and bandannas and t-shirts incorporating the flag of Puerto Rico. They also seemed inordinately fond of whistles. When the cops made an opening, we actually crossed the street through the parade and continued eastward all the way to the East River. We were looking for Central Park, not realizing it was a bit further north and back to the west. We eventually found it, and the Puerto Rico parade again as well. We walked along a winding road that cut through Central Park, and then came out near Central Park West not far from Trump Tower. We sat on a park bench, watching some kids taking an exercise class and other people laying out in the hot sun.

After catching our breath, we caught a subway down to the World Trade Center site and paid our respects, then crossed the street to St. Paul's Chapel, which is the oldest building in New York still in use. From there, I called my friend Mary, who was coming into the city from New Jersey to see me, and found out that she was at the Empire State Building, another place I wanted to see. We caught another subway back that way, met up with Mary and then went up to the observation deck on the 86th floor. When we got up there, we got a call from Karl, who was there but at ground level. While we waited for him to come up, we admired the spectacular panorama of the city stretching out in all directions. Fortunately, I remembered to bring my camera, so I took a few pictures, which I'll go through when I get home and maybe upload a few here.

After a while, we could see that weather was coming in from the north, so we went back down to find some lunch. We ended up eating at the Heartland Brewery & Rotisserie, which is on the first floor of the Empire State Building at 34th Street and 5th Avenue. Kurt, Karl and I tried the beer samplers, which were hit-and-miss; we liked some of the varieties better than others. Mary and Karl talked over lunch about the fact that she taught school for a couple of years in the same neighborhood where he lives. It is, indeed, a small world.

Afterward, we took the subway back north, with Mary getting off a few stops before we did to catch a bus back across the George Washington Bridge to where she had parked her car. I'm really glad I finally got a chance to meet Mary, who is just as nice in person as she is online.

I don't know how many miles I walked yesterday, but my knees were barking at the end of it, especially after going up and down all of the stairs in the subways. I can't imagine how anyone who rides the subways on a regular basis could be out of shape, because those stairs are quite an exercise program.

And this morning, I'm getting ready to head home. I have an 11:25 flight out of Newark to Atlanta, a three-hour layover there, and then a flight home. It's been a fun trip to New York, and I've enjoyed Karl's hospitality and the opportunity to hang out with both of my brothers. I will, however, be glad to get home at the end of the day.