Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New York Day 2 (or...holy crap, I'm still in New York!)

OK, so today found me slightly less overwhelmed as I made my way around the city.

I was able to get up at sunrise and enjoy a cup of coffee while wandering the streets and watch the city wake up and get rolling.  Despite the constant barrage of activity I experienced all day yesterday, I found that there really was a quieter lull that early...although I could still sense the low hum of energy; almost like the city was just waiting for its shot of Red Bull in the form of people that would kick it right back up to full speed again.

Thankfully, having woken up so early, I could venture out early and start my exploration of the city.  After all the walking yesterday, it was time for a tour bus to take over and lead the charge.....

Dave will tell you everything "not in the tour book"

It was really very cool...not only did we drive around everything I walked the day before, but we wound our way downtown, through SoHo, Greenwich, Tribeca, and into the Financial District.  Along the way I got a chance to see the Antony Gormley statues along various roof tops of the Flatiron District

Kinda creepy in a way.

Along the tour I learned that there are places in New York where honking the horn is not only not allowed, but against the law!!

I also found out that there are also no McDonalds or Starbucks in the Village.  WHAT??!!  I know people who simply couldn't survive in these conditions!!

Final stop on the tour was Battery Park.  It was we go...on our way to the Statue of Liberty!!!!

American Merchant Mariners Memorial before the Statue of Liberty

It was simply amazing!!!  If you've never had the chance to take the ferry over to see Lady Liberty, you simply must do it.  You see it on TV all the time, in magazines, whatever, but to actually cruise past it on the boat was simply breathtaking...

After returning to shore, the next stop was a visit to the World Trade Center site.  Now again, keeping in mind that I've never been to New York, I have no frame of reference as to how awestruck I probably would have felt to look up and see these huge towering buildings looming over my head.  Instead, all I know is that I was simply saddened by the void I saw and felt in the skyline.

There's construction everywhere, as work on the new World Trade Center and memorial site continues.  But it's 9 years later, and there's still so much to be done.  You may recall that I ran the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego to help raise funds for the WTC Memorial...I thought it was a much needed project then and believe so even more after yesterday's visit.  They could still use your help with donations for this project; so if you could, please visit their site:

Moving on to the financial district....  I remembered that I still had stock options and shares from my previous employer that I hadn't checked the price on recently!!  So I decided to grab the bull by the horns...

and go see what was happening with them over at the New York Stock Exchange. 

Guess where the price still is?

Bummer.  So much for buying a vacation home in the Hamptons....

After leaving all of my money behind, I wandered around the city, past the Brooklyn Bridge...

Through Chinatown and Little Italy. 

These areas are so vibrant in color.  Listening to the people speak is a visit to the actual countries all by themselves...and the smells emanating from the shops and restaurants alone were intriguing and amazing.  Such culture in just a few square blocks.  Incredible!!

Of course no trip to New York was going to be complete without a visit to my own personal Xanadu...

Kate Spade....the FLAGSHIP store.  Mama.....I'm home.

So several hours later, I emerged....and re-entered the city.  For those of you who didn't think I'd do it....I did manage to brave the New York Subway system.

Not much different from the Metro in DC...just with a slightly bigger map!!

As night began to fall on the city, the day wound down with a trip back to the Empire State Building.  This time, we're goin' to the top!!!!

Talk about BREATHTAKING!!!  The view of the city is awe inspiring.  It's so beautiful and so amazing.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It simply must be experienced if you haven't before.

Now, I will say this.  For those of you who have seen Sleepless in Seattle, I don't know if perhaps the foot-traffic on the Observation Deck is a little lighter in February like it is in the movie...but I will tell you that on a Tuesday night in August it is simply PACKED!!!  But again, the view can't be missed so go if you won't be disappointed. 

And of course - I couldn't leave without the obligatory "tourist" shot -

It think it's safe to say that this trip has been nothing short of amazing in terms of sights, sounds, just the whole "New York" experience! And I still have one more day to go!!!  I know that there's so much here that I'm not going to see or do in 3 days time--not for lack of trying though, mind you.  But I can't help but think that even if I had an entire year available to me, I still couldn't begin to scratch the surface of all this city has to offer.  I can now understand the appeal of this city...and though don't think I could ever live here, I hope this won't be my only visit.