17 Nov Saturday in New York
When you’re lucky, you’re lucky. The first full day I caught in NY made me fall in love with the city instantly.
Amazing weather and a bright blue sky made me think of this day as an early summer day not the 28th of October.
As I walked on 8th avenue towards Columbus Circle I started catching a taste of the city. Morning joggers, tourists with cameras ready, policemen eating a bagel on a corner restaurant, all races and colors mixed on the wide avenues or on the narrow streets of New York.
I moved along Central Park West doing what a tourist does in a new city. Taking photos, my eyes hungry for the architecture. And details of the houses and buildings along Central Park.
For who thinks New York is all about skyscrapers, glass and steel is so wrong. There is architecture, beautiful architecture. There are small streets with colored buildings, with beautiful doors and stairs. And there are quiet streets that seem out of the movies.
My first stop was Strawberry Fields and while I never was a Beatles fan (part of it because I am too young to understand the period in which they earned their glory) I must say there are quite a few melodies from them that make me nod my head and smile while listening.
From there I moved slowly on the alleys of Central Park until I reached Bow Bridge.
Now, without exaggerating I think this is one of the most photographed places in New York. Places that are not skyscrapers or huge buildings.
As i walked on it, hears the sounds my steps made on it I looked at the other few tourists that got up early like me to avoid the crowds.
They were all smiling and taking pictures and…helping each other.
This is where I first got struck by NY hospitality. I don’t know if I was lucky but a big part of my trip was amazing due to the persons that I met and chatted with during these days. Be it my host, be it a beautiful girl looking at me on the street and smiling “hello”, be it strangers helping me with directions I consider myself lucky.
As I said this was the moment a nice lady approached me when she saw me taking a selfie and told me she can take my pic. Not only did she took my pic but as I descended near the bridge for more pics she instructed me and another woman to a special place in the corner of the park, a place not as photographed as the Bow Bridge but equally beautiful in my opinion.
After listening to her advice, I and the other women started towards that point sharing stories and speaking until we reached Bethesda Fountain where our ways split because she had already photographed this part of the park and I wanted to spend some time in the place where Keanu Reeves speaks his famous words” Tell them all. Whoever comes, whoever it is, I’ll kill them all.”
Yes, I am a John Wick fan and I can’t wait for a sequel.
This was the first place that morning where I started noticing more tourists since it was already 10 o’clock and the day was splendid.
Slowly I made my way towards The Pond. Now this is the place I was telling you about a bit earlier. You must search for it in one corner of the Park, close to the entrance near The Plaza Hotel. It is fairly easy to find and the brick bridge and the pond are amazing.
As I got out of the Park I couldn’t help take a few pictures of the Plaza Hotel due to the fact that I saw Home Alone when I was a kid more times than I can remember. Sweet memories because the movies were always on TV during the winter holidays, a time in which the whole family was home and fortunately for us no kid was ever lost.
Plaza Hotel or Home Alone
I Slowly made my way towards Carnegie Hall and took just one or two pictures there before moving out towards my next stop.
As it happens Rockefeller Plaza was the only sight I did not purchase an e-ticket before going to New York.
Seeing the large numbers by the doors, waiting for tickets I sat on a small bench in the Plaza, opened the Top of the Rock page and booked the first free spot for a day and night experience.
Before moving deeper in the story I must tell you that you must visit this building at night too. The view is simply amazing and if you are in luck of good weather the pictures you take will be stunning.
As I had one hour to spare before climbing up I moved a few meters and enjoyed the sight of St Patrick Cathedral, a real masterpiece that deserves if not a visit, at least a closer look and examination.
As for the Rockefeller Plaza I must say this. It might not be the tallest building, it may not be the most modern building. It may not seem your number one choice when picking tall buildings in New York but trust me it is.
For me this building, The Top of the Rock stood as a clear winner and gave me a superb view of the city both during day time and during the evening.
For now I will skip the restaurants for that day or the event that took place that night since they will be covered in different posts but will focus on another point.
When I was a kid in the first and second grade I had a colleague and friend that studied in the same class that I did.
1989 was the last year I have seen him and thanks to Facebook we exchanged a few words during the last year connecting after more than 25 years apart from that time.
When I got to New York I did what every tourist does (or almost every tourist). I checked in in Times Square. Tasteless I know but I’m still a kid most of the times.
But this was a special moment because he saw my check in and texted me if I wanted to meet, him living in the USA since 99. I immediately said yes and that evening I got the chance to catch up with my friend from school, a friend I haven’t seen in 28 years.
Did it felt weird? Nooo way. It felt like we never stopped talking, we laughed, joked and told stories and remembered old times.
Seeing him after all this years meant a whole lot more than you can imagine. I felt a wave of memories coming over from a time in which my only worries were if my mom will let me go out with the bigger boys or if cartoons will be aired that night on TV.
After we split I ran towards the Met Opera for a spectacle I will detail in a later post telling you all from price to dress code and more.
That night I climbed the Rock again, second time in that day and enjoyed the unbelievable view from the top, the colors and lights of the city and the peaceful, dark quiet of Central Park.
This is how my first day unfolded. Next post will be about day 2, Sunday the 29th of October