Wide Awake In America
By Dwip October 7, 2006, 2:22 pm Comments (4) RSS Feed for this post

I knew, pretty much from the start of this whole East Coast adventure, that eventually Sarah (Regina, for those who weren’t aware) was going to drag me off to New York City. So you can imagine my unsurprise and indeed some amusement when the idea was broached that we go Friday. Several permutations were tossed about, including one where I was bound to meet more or less everyone Sarah knows, but what we settled on was that I would meet up with her at the train station in New Haven, whereupon we would meet up with Bryan (TNK of Tonto and this blog fame) at Penn Station in NYC, whereupon we would tour an entirely unsuspecting New York City.

The plan was for us to meet at the station before our 11:57 train. No problem. Got stuck behind a bus going in, but still plenty of time to spare. But wait! If you thought driving in New Haven downtown was bad, try parking there. Fortunately, I finally found some on the 6th level of a nearby garage, but we cut things a little close there.

I shant bore you with the train ride, though I enjoyed it. Instead, we’ll begin with Grand Central Station:

It was much lighter than it appears, of course, and you can’t really see the neat ceiling with constellations on it. Suffice it to say that as train stations go, it’s pretty neat, though it felt a little small in comparison to, say, Waterloo Station. From there we caught the subway (it still confuses me) over to Penn Station to pick up Bryan, which was accomplished, notwithstanding the much-complained-about-by-Sarah confusingness of the station (it kinda is).

Also in one station or another, we saw this:

I was like “Whoa, that’s bizzare. Must take picture!” at which it was explained to me that if I attempted to take a picture of every weird thing in NYC, I’d be there a long time. However, I replied, there are some things that pictures MUST be taken of, such as this or the head of Richard Nixon on the body of a dog. I was not met with rebuttal.

Our first stop was Greenwich Village, where it immediately became apparent that Sarah was either trying to get us killed by traffic, or strand us in New York City by ourselves (keeping up with her is sometimes impossible, to understate things). Bryan and I picked up on this, and for the rest of the day we threw back and forth accusations about who was trying to kill who. Thankfully, I survived, I am sure because I was Sarah’s ride home. But. Look at this picture from our lunch stop (good pizza, yay!), and observe teh evil!

Undeniable, I am sure. The eyes, the expression, the posture – all of them scream “I’m going to KILL YOU! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!”

So we were wary.

After several brief incidents with traffic (and teaching Sarah about that new invention, the stoplight), plus a record store with WAY too many U2 bootlegs (where I picked up two NIN CDs and the first Jane’s Addiction album), we arrived at Washington Square Park, where you can observe Bryan and Sarah cavorting in the fountain:

(Sarah has the presumably better version with all three of us. Also the great pic of Bryan and I acting like jackasses in front of a rather more stern-looking statue of Garibaldi)

Then we went to the Strand, which is a Very Large Bookstore (I still think Powell’s is bigger, or at least their sci-fi section is, which is what counts ;). Being me, I emerged with 3 Very Large Books (but at half-price, how do you lose), and would have emerged with an awesome collection of early maps, had it not weighed more than me and cost $150. I almost did anyway, because it was THAT cool. Seriously.

Some more wandering around brought us here:

The blue storage container is actually a store. Clever. There’s smoke coming out that hole on the building for some reason, and I have no idea what the numbers do. Just smile and nod. Smile and nod.

Some discussion on everyone’s part led us to make for the Empire State Building, which we arrived at just at dusk. Trying to look up at the top from in front of it is a pretty crazy experience, but worth the try. Obviously we went up top for the look, which cost us $16 and a metal detector visit, which let me just say that trying to put on your belt in front of God and man after having to take it off for the detector is a singularly humiliating experience.

The view, OTOH. I can’t really describe it, so I’m not even going to try:

[EDIT] Due to popular demand, here is a high-res version.[/EDIT]

And the awesome one:

And the high quality version for great justice.

Also the obligatory people shot:

(Alas, the me/Bryan and Bryan/Sarah versions didn’t come out near so well)

From there, we walked to Times Square, which is very bright, glittery, and has some…interesting sights:

And the crowd favorite:

Yes, that’s a recruiting center in the middle of Times Square. For great amusement.

From there, we rode the subway back to where we had just been, and went for a quick bite (it was past 8pm by this time, and we had trains) at Papaya Dog, where, as is tradition, everyone but me ate normally, and I ate fries, because I am me (this subject provided us with much mealtime discussion, to be sure).

Also seen on the subway were plenty of this sort of thing, though rarely right out on the platform:

And when we got to Grand Central Station once again after having dropped Bryan off at Penn, we were greeted by the either Spanish or Columbian Navy band (we asked, but weren’t sure), playing in honor of Columbus Day. It was way cool, and a very fitting end to our stay.

And then we got on our train and went back to New Haven.

(And Sarah’s take on things)

Other random things:

Bryan’s having travelled from Bleecker Street, Newark to Bleecker Street, New York.

Bryan’s several mentions of his sure demise upon return to the unsavory streets of Newark.

Seriously, Sarah tried to get us killed by traffic that much. And get us lost. Or stranded. She’d be very heartbroken to be stranded in New York forever, I’m sure.

Couldn’t find a copy of Tigana in the Strand, for the lose.

Found a lot of Joy Division in Bleecker Street Records, but didn’t leave with any, because I’m dumb.

Driving in New Haven at night still totally sucks. You have no idea.

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Comments on Wide Awake In America
avatar Comment by Tim #1
October 7, 2006 at 3:28 pm

Sounds like a blast, I love big cities. One day I’ll make it to New York. Remind me to bore you with my London adventures sometime.

avatar Comment by suz #2
October 8, 2006 at 5:17 pm

Remind ME to visit the Empire State Building at dusk, if I ever go – those are some awesome skyline shots. Any chance of a link to a high-res of the first skyline?

avatar Comment by Dwip #3
October 8, 2006 at 5:36 pm

Ask, and you shall recieve – link is edited into the post below the low-res version. Enjoy.

There are also about 15 other various ESB skyline shots, but most of them are really, to quote Sarah, blurtastic, so we’ll be keeping them to our furry little selves. Just go see it for yourselves. It’s neat, I promise, but windy, so dress warm.

avatar Comment by suz #4
October 8, 2006 at 8:18 pm