Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Walkin' New York Blues (Part 1)

The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to America by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Australian politicians should be made to learn the inscription on the statue:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Perhaps the people of America should give it as a gift to Australia. It's the perfect Christmas gift!
It can be erected on Christmas Island. Liberty greeted me in November 2012 when I visited the land of dashed hopes and broken dreams. I visited America that month to run in the largest marathon in the world - the New York Marathon. I felt that this was my year to finally win a marathon race. My best ever finish in a marathon was a top 50. That was in my one and only previous attempt (I’m certain I finished in the top 50 percent). This time barring a disaster, like a hurricane, I should win – that was my dream.
So of course Hurricane Sandy put paid to my ambitions... Well that’s the way it goes in the land of hope and dreams. I did get to tour three of the five boroughs of New York City. All for free. On my trusty siki.
New York is described as the cultural capital of the world. It is home to the world tower and the United Nations Headquarters
The flags of the member nations were fluttering, yet somehow no one knew where the Chonglian embassy was.
So I went looking for my cousin’s house. In my search, I came across many huge houses. Some were as big as the whole of my village. 
One of the houses in the big apple had a big apple. It looked like King Kong had a bite of it. 

Another house looked like someone’s good idea of an erection gone bad.

New York indeed has many architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. Art deco and skyscrapers mix with modern office towers and older stone and brick buildings that date all the way back to the 1650s. The Chrysler Building and Empire State Building have distinctive ornamentation, and are considered some of the finest examples of the Art Deco style.

The towering spire of the Empire State Building is a fixture in New York City’s skyline. It offers visitors wonderful views of New York City and the surrounding area. A terrace at more than 100 floors above was once intended as a docking station for airships. 

Not far from The Empire State Building is Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. 
Morgan was standing guard there, waxing clerical, 
but the freeman was not free to move, looking quizzical.

Ground Zero
Following the 9/11 attacks, when nearly 3,000 people died in the the World Trade Center, a new complex is being built on the site in Midtown Manhattan. This includes the new supertall skyscraper - One World Trade Center, now the tallest building in New York, a 9/11 memorial and museum, and three other office towers. 

The New York Public Library is a National Historic Landmark. It has the largest collection of any public library system in the country. Two marble lions mark the entrance to this Beaux Arts masterpiece.

Times Square "The Crossroads of the World", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theatre district. It is one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Times Square has the most visitors yearly of any tourist attraction in the US.

That house below is for my door-to-door package. It should be big enough for my clan.

The Hudson River separates the noo from the new: Noo Yawk and New JoizeyBoth river and bridge were named after explorer Henry Hudson.
The Hudson River Greenway starts near Inwood Hill Park in the north (at the juncture of the Harlem river), then runs alongside the Hudson river on Manhattan’s West Side, through to Battery Park in the south. 

Apparently the Hudson River Greenway is the most used bikeway in the US although you wouldn’t know it that day. Maybe it’s the cyclists’ day off, or Sandy’s on. Majority of the greenway pavement is about the same level as the Hudson River which leaves it at the mercy of a hurricane. Indeed when Hurricane Sandy hit, the Hudson River spilled over the sea wall along the west side promenade in Battery Park. But this isn’t the story of the hurricane. The one the marathoners came to blame.
One day I traversed about a 10km part of the greenway from Joan of arc Park to Battery Park. I had finished a short jog around Central Park (3.57 km2), the most visited city park in the United States.
The park contains a myriad of attractions lakes and ponds, ice-skating rinks, a zoo, the Conservatory Garden, etc. My thirsty wanted kapi and my hungry needed kanin, so I had breakfast at a diner near the Jackie Onassis Reservoir where I ran. If Central Park is a must see for tourists to New York, the reservoir is a must run for runners. It is apparently a favorite jogging spot for Bill Clinton.

After a lap around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, I walked around a little in the Upper West Side. I braved the elements and tried to keep the chilly wind off my gitara or slender frame. But it snuffed out all the warmth of the hot pancakes and coffee I had for breakfast. The Atlantic Ocean and the partial sheltering of the Appalachians keep Manhattan Island warmer than other inland places at similar or lesser latitudes. It was only early November, but the New York city winter is already bleeding me.
But I soldiered on past Riverside Park where a young Barack Obama used to run, the soldiers monument, a dog park and marina. I shivered on parallel to the Joe DiMaggio Highway towards riverside park south. Then I came to the 90s piers past the sanitarium and Manhattan cruisers.
It was quite a ways to my destination to rendezvous with a lady in Battery Park.
 An intrepid traveller at the USS Intrepid dock.
There was no heat in Hell’s Kitchen so I moved on.
Past piers, CitySightseeing cruises, I even circled the Circle line.

Once I saw a tricycle, but I walked on. Maid ipilitik.

I pass├ęd wrecks, shorebirds, water taxis, and views gazing across to the Jersey shore.
I wandered around West Village, the Meatpacking district and whatever else interested the roving eye along the Hudson and across to New Jersey. Then on past the Jacob Javits Center midtown at 39th, onwards to the Port authority heliport at 30th, a sailing school near the 60s piers opposite Lincoln Highway, kayaking and skating, the Chelsea piers, 40s piers, parks, marinas and ferry terminals all the way down to Battery Park on the south end of Manhattan island.
At the park I finally came face to face with Liberty. I admired the great statuesque lady from a distance.
 The busiest ferry in the United States is the Staten Island Ferry.
Also along the esplanade is a monument to American battles.

I walked around with nowhere to go - and froze right to the bone. I was almost frozen like a statue before I moved off to Wall Street, the world's leading financial center and home to the New York Stock Exchange.
I charged past Wall street but got stopped in my tracks by the charging bull. What balls.

I passed another statue as I went past the federation hall national monument.
It was awful cold and I cursed ten-fold, but I remembered a Bruce Springsteen video (The Ghost of Tom Joad) invoking the ghosts of John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie, saying something about the high times on Wall Street, and hard times on Main Street. Call me whingey but I laid low on high street and got back on main street - I went walkin’ Broadway. And after a rocking, reeling, rolling ride I landed up on the downtown side, Greenwich Village. There was no terlet in sight, so I walked on past Walker Street and did the basics on 6th. The event could not prevent me from 7th, but on 8th I lost faith at the icy breeze blowing late. The cold winds made me swear near Madison square, where I finally found warm salvation in tidy Pennsylvania Station at Toidy-Toid.
Continued in Part 2. Click here..

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